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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Seafood Chowder

Italians were some of the first European explorers and settlers in California. Religious work and the search for new fishing grounds were initial reasons for Italians to explore what later became the thirty-first state, but their reasons for staying, expanded after arriving in California. Though we often associate Italians in California with San Francisco, the initial settlers, who were from the region of Liguria in Italy, established themselves in such diverse communities as Monterey, Stockton and San Diego during the years of Spanish Rule. The arrival of the”Genovesi” in California, beginning in the 1850’s, coincided with the early development of the state. It wasn’t long before Italian fishermen had established themselves in fishing villages from Eureka to Benicia, Martinez, Pittsburg, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Diego and Monterey. By the 1880’s, California had become a leading fishery and its coastal waters were dominated by Italian fishermen and their graceful sailing “feluccas”.

Italian Feluucas

Chumming for tuna 

The Italian immigrants who settled near downtown San Diego in the 1920s were mostly fishermen from Genoa and Sicily. They worked on or owned fishing boats and opened seafood markets or processing plants. Also, many Italians moved to San Diego from San Francisco after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in search of tuna and other deep-sea sport and commercial fish.

Fishing Family 1917

The example of Joseph Busalacchi is typical of the Italian fisherman who left fishing and succeeded as a merchandiser of ocean products. Mr. Busalacchi was born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1899 and came to San Diego in 1921 to join his brother Mario, who was a fisherman there. In 1925, Joe opened a small market at Fifth and E Streets. Soon after this, the owner of the Union Fish Company, Anthony Trapani, asked Joe to work for him. Mr. Busalacchi worked for the Union Fish Company for nineteen years, most of the time as manager. In 1944 Mr. Trapani retired and left the business to Joe and to the bookkeeper of the company, George Bissel. In 1950 Mr. Busalacchi bought out Bissel’s share. When the Navy took over the company’s location at the foot of Market Street, Mr. Busalacchi opened a new storage and freezer plant at 1004 Morena Boulevard, where it is still located. Then, in 1965, Mr. Busalacchi opened the Sportsman’s Seafood Market at 1617 Quivira Road, where he sold fresh fish and provided smoking and canning services for sportsmen who brought in their catch. 

Anthony's Fish Grotto 1946

Original Anthony’s Fish Grotto 

Anthony's Fish Grotto 1996

New Anthony’s Fish Grotto (1966)

Women of the Italian fishing families also made their contribution. For example, Catherine Bregante was born in Riva Trigoso, Italy, on the seacoast not far from Genoa. In 1912 her family came to San Diego and settled at 2136 Columbia Street. In 1916 her father, Anthony, opened a small fish market on F Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets. Catherine and her brother Anthony, Jr., operated the market. In 1926 the store moved to a larger location at the foot of Broadway, where both wholesale and retail business was conducted. A food counter was installed and seafood cocktails and chowder were served and the company prospered through the depression years. Michael Ghio, Catherine’s husband since 1916, worked in the Bregante business, however, in 1934 Michael Ghio died. Catherine supported her children by continuing to work in the seafood restaurant. In 1946 when her sons, Tod and Anthony, came home from service in the war, they opened the first Anthony’s Grotto, a restaurant on the wharf with a seating capacity of sixteen. From the first Grotto the business grew into a multi-outlet industry with about 600 employees and an annual payroll in excess of $4 million.

The tuna clipper Venetian

The tuna clipper, Venetian

Commercial fishing is a risky enterprise that requires hard work, a willingness to take a chance and the propensity to rely on one’s own ability to survive. All successful fishermen have had, and still have, these qualities. The Italian fishermen, however, had another trait that was vital to the success of the San Diego fishing industry. This trait was an entrepreneurial instinct that impelled them to develop the fresh fish marketing structure that first encouraged the fishing business to grow. Those early fishing boats, which were built and then enlarged to supply that market, were the foundation upon which the modern tuna fleet was built. Although fishing, which the Italians dominated, is now a minor part of San Diego’s industry, it must be recognized that the city’s seafood industry has its roots in that early Italian fishing/marketing structure.

Source: Center for Migration Studies and San Diego History Center.

When Italian immigrants settled along San Diego’s waterfront in the early 1900s, they formed the “Italian Colony,” a tightly knit community that provided refuge and a shared culture and heritage. Extended families, new businesses and church traditions formed the foundation for a lasting social code. It was no coincidence that the area would become known as “Little Italy”—it was exactly that for its inhabitants—a home away from their native land. But by the mid-1960s, changes brought by war and urban modernization began to unravel the community. By the early 40s, thousands of Italian families lived in San Diego and the fishing community was the center of the Pacific Coast tuna industry, but Italy’s involvement in World War II — and the restrictions the US government imposed on Italians in America — limited the fishermen’s livelihood. After the war, competition from Japanese fishing fleets and new industry regulations further impaired the fishing industry. In the late 50s, the landscape of the neighborhood was drastically changed with the construction of Interstate 5. The Interstate construction destroyed 35% of the neighborhood and, during the same time period, the California tuna industry began to decline which caused the neighborhood to suffer economically.

In the past 20 years, San Diego’s Little Italy has experienced a resurgence. The Little Italy Association was formed in 1996 and has implemented street improvements, renovations and new buildings to create a thriving waterfront community filled with retail and professional businesses, restaurants, specialty stores and artwork depicting the Italian American experience.

OLR was the center of San Diego’s “Little Italy” 1925

Thanks to Italian American residents, like Sicilian baker and Sicilian Heritage Foundation organizer, Mario Cefalu, San diego’s “Little italy” is thriving once again. The area is beautifully maintained and full of tributes to the Italian history of the block. Every Saturday the Mercato, Little Italy’s Farmers’ Market, offers food, flowers and merchandise with an Italian perspective. Carnevale, a Sicilian Festival, Taste of Little Italy, a restaurant tour with special menus and live music, Art Walks through studios and galleries and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony are some of the annual events. In October, Our Lady of the Rosary Church holds a procession that has been an annual event for more than 50 years and the Little Italy Festa is one of the largest Italian festivals in America.

India Street is lined with restaurants, sidewalk cafes and shops and, most of them are new, coming after the renewal projects. For some of the best pizza on the block, served in appropriately decorated Italian American checked-tablecloth-fashion, head to Filippi’s Pizza Grotto (1747 India St.). Vincent De Philippis and his wife Madeleine came to America in 1922 and in 1950 opened a deli on India Street. That deli expanded into a small pizza empire named, Filippi’s. If it’s pasta you’re after, try family run Assenti’s Pasta (2044 India St.), offering homemade pasta.

The original Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is still owned and operated by the family

Italian Seafood Cuisine from San Diego

Steamed Mussels with White Wine & Chiles

You should buy the mussels on the day that you are going to cook them. Scrub and debeard them in advance of cooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat leafed parsley, plus a little for garnish
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 red chiles finely chopped
  • 1 large baguette

Directions:

Place the olive oil in a large wide pot over medium heat.

Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.

Add the scallions and the chiles and saute for another minute.

Add the mussels and toss quickly to coat.

Add the white wine and and cover the pot.

Continue to cook over a medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until the mussels begin to open. 

Add the tablespoon of chopped parsley and toss to combine.

Continue cooking until all the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Place the mussels in warmed serving bowls or one large bowl (family style) and spoon over the wine mixture.

Sprinkle with the additional parsley and serve with the baguette. for dipping

Tuna with Tomato-Caper Sauce

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tuna steaks (such as albacore or yellowfin; each about 6 oz. and 1 in. thick)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (8 oz.), peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) crushed tomatoes in purée
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Pat tuna steaks dry with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly all over with salt and pepper. Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat. When hot, add onion and stir frequently until limp, about 5 minutes.

Push onion to the side of the pan and add tuna steaks. Cook, turning once, just until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Stir in crushed tomatoes, wine, vinegar, capers and oregano.

Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until tuna is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), about 15 minutes. Transfer tuna to plates and top equally with sauce.

Seafood Pasta

Chef Geno Bernardo

Ingredients:

For spaghetti:

  • 8 ounces cooked linguine
  • 4 per serving of shrimp
  • 2 ounces cooked Alaskan king crab meat, per serving
  • 1/2 per serving of Maine lobster tail, claw, elbow (with tail shell, cut into pieces)
  • 4 per serving of Little Neck clams or Manila clams
  • 2 ounces calamari, per serving
  • 8 per serving of mussels
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup celery, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 cup fennel, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 cup leeks, cut into thin strips
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

For seafood marinara:

  • 1 cup lobster stock (made from lobster shells)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted saffron
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 quart tomato basil marinara

Directions:

For seafood marinara:

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

For spaghetti:

In a small pot steam the mussels and clams in the wine.

In a large skillet sauté the shrimp and calamari. Add the seafood marinara. Add the basil, vegetables, butter and linguine.

Season to taste and serve family-style topped with the crabmeat and lobster.

Cracker-Crusted Pacific Cod with White Polenta

Steve Black Executive Chef at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island – his comments on this dish.

“At a recent offsite gig, our client chose the humble Pacific codfish for their main course because it is one of the best-eating fish and it comes from a healthy, sustainable stock unlike the Atlantic codfish that continue to struggle. Atlantic cod have been overfished in the Gulf of Maine for decades. I paired the fish with white polenta, another favorite that comes out creamy and delicious the way we slow-simmer it, adding in a lot of cheese. I wanted to give the plate some color to make it visually appealing so I added the roasted roma tomatoes, asparagus and some edible flowers.You can find white polenta in specialty food stores and I like it as it’s less grainy than regular polenta. Just like all polentas, it does bloom up a bit so I would say 12 to 16 ounces is plenty for this dish and will leave you with some leftovers.‘

Serves 6

For the Creamy White Polenta:

  • 12 ounces White Polenta
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic & Shallots
  • 2-3 Pints Chicken Base/Stock
  • 1 Pint Heavy Cream
  • 1 Wheel Herbed Boursin Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Chives
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper

For the Cracker-Crusted Cod:

  • 6 Boneless Cod Fillets (6 to 7 ounces)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Seasoning Salt
  • 2 Sleeves Ritz Crackers, ground up fine
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 30 Pieces Blanched Green Asparagus
  • 1 Cup Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes (coated in olive oil and roasted for 30 minutes at 200 degrees)
  • 4 Ounces Sweet Butter
  • Lemon vinaigrette, directions below 

Directions:

Start by making the polenta. Take a stockpot and heat up the olive oil along with the chopped garlic and shallots. Simmer on low heat for five minutes.

Turn up the heat and add the polenta, starting with two pints of chicken base or stock (you can always add more) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low, gentle simmer and cover the pot. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Take a look to see how the water has been absorbed. Now you can add the heavy cream and all three cheeses. Cover and let simmer again for 15 to 20 minutes. You will also want to taste the liquid and add some salt and pepper and even some extra chicken stock if need be.

The polenta is almost done at this point. You are looking for the same consistently of loose mashed potatoes. You may have to simmer with the cover removed for the liquid to evaporate quicker. Once you have the right consistency and flavor, place the polenta on the side, covered. Just before service, you can stir fresh chives into the polenta.

I like to make the preserved lemon vinaigrette by using a basic dressing and simply blending in some preserved lemons. You could also use fresh orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit or whatever juice you want. Put half a bottle of champagne vinaigrette into a blender with a quarter-cup of preserved lemons (we make our own here in the hotel and I add sugar instead of straight salt for a better-flavored preserved lemon). Blend at high speed for two minutes and taste. Adjust the seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper or sweet orange juice or lemonade. Turn the blender on high again and drizzle in a half-cup of olive oil. You can make this in advance and store in the fridge.

Now it’s time to move on to the fish. Combine the crackers and the panko crumbs. Mix the egg, milk and seasoning salt together. Add the flour and whip until you have a thick batter. Pour enough of the egg batter over the fish to create an even coat of batter on the fillets. You only need a little as the Ritz/panko mix will adhere to the batter really well. If you want to make this healthier, use olive oil to coat the fish instead of the egg batter.

Bread each piece of cod with the Ritz/panko mix and set aside.

Take a saute pan and heat to medium, add the canola oil and then brown off the battered fish on both sides. I prefer to brown the fish quickly and then finish roasting it in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes until the internal temp hits 145.

Spread your dried tomatoes on a pan and heat up in the oven. While the fish is roasting melt the butter in a sauté pan and heat up your asparagus. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the chives into your white polenta and spoon a nice portion onto each plate followed by the asparagus and tomatoes. Top with the cod, drizzle some vinaigrette on top, garnish and serve.

Basil & Artichoke Crusted Halibut

Steve Black Executive Chef at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island.

“While there are a lot of ingredients used in this recipe, it’s really relatively simple to prepare. The preparation combines many fresh flavors with one of the best-tasting, flaky fish out there —halibut. The braised fennel and tomato sauce used on the halibut is also delicious on just about any other seafood, including shrimp and mahimahi to name a few.”

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 Ounces fresh cleaned basil leaves
  • 6 Ounces drained, marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 6 Ounces extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup grated parmesan
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
  • 6 pieces halibut fillets weighing 6 to 7 ounces each
  • 4 Ounces Japanese panko breadcrumbs

Sauce:

  • 3 oz. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup diced fennel
  • 1/2 Cup diced onion
  • ½1/2Cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 Cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 Cup diced yellow squash
  • 1/2 Cup diced eggplant
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 Cup white wine
  • 2 Cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 Cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream

Directions:

For this recipe, I like to start off by making the braised fennel and tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil on medium high in a saucepot. Add the fennel, onion, zucchini, red pepper,  squash, eggplant, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and saute for three minutes, then turn down the heat to a simmer and add the wine and marinara. Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add the heavy cream and simmer another 15 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens. The vegetables will turn soft with the tomato cream sauce for a nice consistency. Pull from the heat, taste for seasoning and add the basil and hold on the side.

Now move on to making the crust for your halibut. In a mixer or hand immersion blender, puree the basil, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. Add a quarter cup of the parmesan and then drizzle in four ounces of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set this mix in the refrigerator.

Season the halibut fillets with salt and pepper on both sides and in a medium size nonstick sauté pan, add two ounces of olive oil and let it come up to heat. Add in the fish, letting each side sizzle until brown.

Once both sides of the fish are seared, remove the pan from the heat and spread the basil/artichoke mix on the top of each fillet. Mix the panko crumbs with two ounces of grated parmesan and then top the basil/artichoke mix with the breadcrumbs and finish the fish by baking it in a 350-degree oven for 10 more minutes.

For plating, spoon the fennel-tomato sauce into the bottom of a bowl and top with the cooked halibut.

Yellowtail & Lobster Stew

Steve Black Executive Chef at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island.

” I went on a five-day trip on the Royal Polaris a while back and the yellowtail fishing was incredible with anglers loading up on fish up to 40 pounds. With the yellowtail season on the horizon, I thought I’d share this incredibly simple recipe that can be used with lobster to create more of a Northeast-style stew or chowder. I had to add the fresh yellowtail I brought home from that trip and man, was it good! “

Ingredients:

Serves 8

  • 1.5 Pounds of spiny baja lobster, steamed, meat removed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Pound fresh yellowtail, (a type of Amberjack) seasoned and cut into large chunks
  • 8 ozs. Sweet butter
  • 4 ozs. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ozs. Cognac
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 2 Cups heavy cream
  • 2 Cups evaporated milk
  • 2 Cups whole milk
  • 1/4 Cup chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat up the oil and butter. Add the yellowtail and brown the meat for three minutes. Add the lobster and cognac and flame off the alcohol.

Add the paprika, heavy cream, evaporated milk and whole milk, chives and salt and pepper, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, but keep an eye on it. You do not want to let this to come to a boil or it may curdle the milk. Let the stew simmer until all of the flavors are well combined.

The stew should take on a nice red color from the paprika and lobster meat. Taste the stew to check the seasoning and then serve with crisp, warm bread.

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One of the best things about grilling, (other than not having dirty pots to clean up) is that tonight’s grilled dinner can also be a new meal for tomorrow. Grilled steak, veggies or chicken can be mixed into pasta, risotto or a frittata, providing most (if not all) of the flavor, plus a subtle smokiness.

Think about it. You can fire up the grill once and cook enough for two or even three meals―tonight’s dinner, plus extra that can be turned into a second, different meal for lunch or dinner.

Extra grilled chicken breasts can make a chicken salad later in the week; a second pork tenderloin may turn into sandwiches for lunch or leftover grilled vegetables can serve as a side dish for another meal.

To store food for the next meal, place it on a clean platter and let it cool. Then, cover and refrigerate for up to four days. Doubling up on cooking takes very little extra effort and you’ll be rewarded with a head start on another wholesome and healthful meal.

Some Other Advantages

1. Saves time when planning meals.

2. Larger quantities of food may cost less than individual or small quantities.

3. Foods may taste better as a new dish than they do as leftovers.

4. It provides greater variety in the foods that you eat, which means less boredom with food and better nutrition.

It’s not about having the same meal twice, but rather making one meal into another that tastes and looks different.

Sausage Mixed Grill

Servings: 4

Prick fresh sausages all over before grilling to release the excess fat.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Applegate Farms turkey breakfast sausages
  • 4 Chicken Sausages (al Fresco fresh)
  • 4 hot or sweet Italian pork sausages (my favorite comes from Fortuna)
  • 16 multicolored mini bell peppers
  • 2 heads of radicchio, cut into 6 wedges each
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Light a grill and oil the grates. Poke the sausages all over with a knife. Thread each type of sausage onto a pair of skewers (to facilitate turning). Thread the peppers and radicchio onto separate paired skewers as well. Brush the sausages and vegetables with olive oil. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Grill the sausages over moderate heat, turning, until cooked through, 10 minutes for the breakfast sausages and chicken sausages and 25 minutes for the Italian sausages. Grill the peppers, turning, until lightly charred, 10 minutes. Grill the radicchio until crisp, 2 minutes per side. Reserve half of the sausages and vegetables for Pasta with Grilled Sausages and Vegetables.

Pasta with Grilled Sausages and Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound gemelli pasta or any short pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Leftover sausages and vegetables, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound smoked mozzarella, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup chopped basil

Directions:

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the garlic and shallot for 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and leftover sausages and vegetables and heat. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water to the skillet with the sausages. Toss. Add the cheese, toss well and sprinkle with the basil.


Herb-Rubbed T-Bone Steaks

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T-bone steaks, cut 1 inch thick (3 1/4 -3 1/2 pounds) at room temperature

Directions:

Light a grill and oil the grates.

In a small bowl, mix the basil, oregano, fennel, paprika and garlic powder with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Season the steaks with the spice rub.

Grill over moderate heat for 8 minutes per side for medium-rare; transfer to a work surface and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Slice one steak for dinner and reserve the second steak for Steak Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing.

Steak Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 small garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 small shallot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 ounces crumbled Roquefort or Maytag blue cheese
  • 2 romaine lettuce hearts, quartered
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin rings
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, halved
  • Leftover T-Bone Steak, sliced

Directions:

In a food processor bowl place the garlic, shallot, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Process until the garlic and shallot are finely chopped.

Add the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk and process until smooth. Add the blue cheese and pulse once or twice to combine.

Transfer the dressing to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and hard-cooked eggs on a serving plate and drizzle with some of the dressing.

Arrange the steak slices on the top of the salad and drizzle with more dressing.

 

Grilled Vegetables

Use vegetables of choice, but here are some suggestions: eggplant, zucchini, asparagus and yellow squash, all work in place of the vegetables listed.

Serve half the grilled vegetables over rice, orzo or polenta and add a tomato salad for a vegetarian dinner.

8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 (4-inch) portobello mushroom caps (about 1 pound)
  • 4 medium red bell peppers, quartered
  • 2 medium Vidalia or other sweet onions, each cut into 4 slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 12 asparagus
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Oil grates.

Arrange mushrooms gill side up, bell pepper quarters, asparagus and onion slices on a baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt and black pepper.

Drizzle vinegar over mushrooms. Place vegetables on the grill and cook 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Reserve half the vegetables for the Pita Sandwiches.

Vegetable Pitas with Goat Cheese and Pesto Mayo

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon commercial or homemade pesto
  • 2 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
  • 4 leaf lettuce leaves
  • 4 servings Grilled Vegetables
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese or cheese of choice

Combine mayonnaise and pesto.

Spread 1 tablespoon pesto mayonnaise mixture into each pita half. Stuff each pita half with 1 lettuce leaf, grilled vegetables and 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve immediately.

Serve with coleslaw.

 

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

Serve 4 chicken thighs with sauteed spinach over polenta. Reserve leftovers for the next day’s pizza.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Lemon juice

Directions:

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a heavy duty ziploc bag and mix well. Add chicken to the bag, seal, then shake contents around to make sure everything is coated. Chill for 3 to 24 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high-350-400 degrees F.  Oil grates.

Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.

Grill chicken with grill lid covered for 4-6 minutes per side, depending on size. Transfer chicken to a platter, brush tops with lemon juice and cover with aluminum foil.

Let stand for 10 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to skip this step. This is what locks in all the great flavor). Set aside 2 chicken thighs for the pizza.

Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pizza dough, at room temperature
  • Cornmeal
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 leftover grilled rosemary chicken thighs, sliced thin
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded,
  • Fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Oil a pizza pan and sprinkle with a little cornmeal.

Spread the pizza dough in the pan.

Spread dough with marinara sauce, leaving a 1 inch border.

Distribute the mozzarella cheese evenly on top of the sauce.

Place sliced chicken over the cheese.

Layer onions over chicken and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil.

 

Grilled Halibut with Blueberry-Pepper Sauce

Serve with green beans.

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ lbs fresh halibut or any white fish fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plain Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Olive oil for brushing on fish
  • Lemon or orange wedges (optional)
  • Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Directions:

For blueberry-pepper sauce:

In a medium bowl, use a potato masher or fork to mash 3/4 cups of the blueberries. Stir in the remaining whole 3/4 cups blueberries, the 1 teaspoon sage and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, the 1/4 cup sage, the 1 teaspoon orange peel and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add orange juice and the 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring until lightly moistened; set aside.

Pat fish dry with paper towels. Divide fish into 8 pieces. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat grill and grease grill grates. For a charcoal grill, place fish, skin sides up on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 5 minutes.

Turn fish; top 4 fish fillets evenly with panko mixture, gently pressing onto fish. Leave 4 fillets without topping.

Grill for 7 to 10 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Set aside the 4 untopped fish fillets and refrigerate for chowder.

(For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on greased grill rack directly over heat. Cover and grill as above.)

To serve, place the 4 crumb topped fillets on a serving platter. Serve with blueberry-pepper sauce. If desired, garnish with lemon wedges and sage leaves.

Summer Fish Chowder

Ingredients:

  • Leftover grilled white fish fillets from Grilled Halibut with Blueberry Pepper Sauce recipe, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ½ cups clam broth or fish stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 pound peeled, diced Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons instant flour (Wondra)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Chopped chives for garnish

Directions:

Heat oil in a soup pot and add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook gently. Add the garlic, potato, corn and coat in the fat.

Sprinkle in the flour and black pepper to taste. Stir well. 

Gradually add the clam broth or fish stock, stirring all the time until flour is dissolved. Cook at a simmer for about 25 minutes. Add the milk and butter slowly, stirring constantly, to the soup when the potatoes are soft.

Add the fish and heat on low for 4- 5 minutes; only until the fish is hot. Taste before adding any salt because clam broth can be salty.

Serve with corn muffins.


There are around 5,000 different species of crab, which can be found all over the world. 4,500 of these species are said to be “true” crabs, while the other 500 are made up of different species of hermit crabs.The majority of crabs live in the water, however, there are a small number of crabs that live on land and breathe air.

The majority of the crab population can be found in the waters around China, followed by the U.S. and Japan.  While most crabs are found in the Asian seas, the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of crabs. Crab dishes are very popular in Japan, France, Spain, Hong Kong, the U.S., Canada and Portugal.

Crabs and crustaceans were considered a delicacy in ancient Rome. In particular, Apicius, a well known “foodie” of the time, described how to cook crustaceans in his book, De Re Coquinaria, and it seems that he was a real fan. Legend has it that when he learned that there were extremely large lobsters living along the coast of Libya, he hired a boat and sailed there just to try them. Once he arrived and discovered that the local lobsters were almost identical to those found in Rome, he turned around and came back to Italy without even debarking.

Although there are many different types of crab and each offer their own distinctive taste and texture, all crabmeat is essentially sweet. The many crab species fished from North America’s coastal waters vary greatly in size, appearance, taste and texture and lend themselves to an immense array of dishes. There are six varieties that are used the most and are commercially available, either live, cooked, frozen or in lump form (that is, picked from the shell and packaged).

If you are planning on cooking the crab at home and eating it straight from the shell, it is best to buy live crabs for better taste. Frozen crabs can also be bought. Buy your crabs from a well-known and reputable fish market or, as a second choice, from a large supermarket. If you are buying from the latter, make sure to find out how long the crabs have been in the tank. If it is longer than a week, they should really be avoided.

When I was young, my family and I would spend our summers at the shore. One of the activities involved crabbing in the bay near our house. My father would take me to the dock very early in the morning. It was a simple affair: string, bait and a basket. My father would attach the bait to the string, drop the bait end into the water and tie the other end to the dock. My job was to check the strings every once in awhile to see if we caught a crab. If we did, we would pull up the string and place the crab in a covered basket. Believe or not, we caught many crabs this way, more than enough for dinner. My father would be very happy and always bragged about the crab catch. He loved to make spaghetti sauce with crabs cooked in the sauce. I was not a fan and didn’t eat crab then. Times have changed.

If you are buying live crabs, it is best to consume them when they are as fresh as possible, preferably on the same day, although they will keep overnight in the refrigerator. Put the live crabs in a bowl or a container where they can still breathe and cover them with damp paper towels or a damp cloth. Place them in a cold area of your refrigerator until you are ready to use them. 

Boiling live crab

Pour 5 quarts of water into a large pot and add 5 tablespoons of sea salt. Bring to a rapid boil.

Grasp the live crab by the back legs and drop it into the water headfirst. Bring the water back to the boil and only then start timing.

You should cook large crabs (about 2 lb.) for around 15-20 minutes and smaller crabs around 8 – 10 minutes.

The crab’s shell should turn a bright orange when done.

When the crabs are done, immerse them for a few seconds in cold water, so that cooking stops and they do not overcook.

Defrosting a whole crab

If you have decided to purchase pre-cooked frozen crab, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight in order to defrost.

If you need to defrost the crab quickly, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a sink full of cold water. Do not use hot water. A two pound crab will defrost in one hour.

Storing cooked crab meat

Freshly cooked crab meat is best eaten on the same day, however, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. The cooked meat should be removed from the shell beforehand.

Cooked crab meat can be frozen and will keep for four months. Make sure that it is tightly wrapped or placed in an airtight container before freezing.

Some of the more common types of crab are described below.

Alaskan King Crab are the largest and most sought after crab in the world due to its size, which can reach up to 25 pounds and measure up to 10 feet. It may be large, but only about one-fourth is edible, primarily the legs and claws. Only males are harvested. The delicately-flavored meat is snowy white with a bright red outer edge. Their preferred habitat is in the coldest waters in the world. King Crab is caught chiefly by commercial fisherman in various areas in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska: Bristol Bay, Norton Sound, St. Matthew Island, Pribilof Island and the Kodiak Islands.

Alaskan Snow Crab are the type of crab you mainly find in a seafood restaurant. There are four species of Snow Crab and two species are found in Alaskan waters. Alaskan Snow Crab are mainly caught by commercial fishermen in the Bering Sea waters and the Chukchi Sea. Many of the same crabs are also found in Japan. Their habitat is in very cold waters. Snow Crab grow by molting when they shed their exterior. Then they grow tissue to fill each new, larger exo-skeleton. They molt several times per year when they are young but only once per year when they get larger and mature. The average snow crab weighs between 2 and 4 pounds.

The Blue Crab habitat is mainly around the Chesapeake Bay area on the Atlantic coast, areas in the Gulf of Mexico and other areas as far south as the Bahamas. This species of crab has blue highlights and their shells are extremely sharp. Blue crabs can also be eaten in it’s soft shell stage. To eat these crab in the soft shell stage, they have to caught, processed and cooked before they molt to their hard shell state. 

Dungeness Crab is a type of crab that inhabits grass beds and water bottoms all the way from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down through the Pacific Ocean waters of California and even into parts of the Gulf of Mexico. They are named after Dungeness, Washington, which is located near Port Angeles, WA, in the Puget Sound area. This area is where Captain George Vancouver explored the Strait of Juan de Fuca, along the northern area of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula in the late eighteenth century. Dungeness Crab is considered a characteristic food of the Great Pacific Northwest.

Stone Crabs have large, very hard claws that are prized for their meat. Most of the harvest comes from Florida, where it is harvested from October 15 to May 15. Only the claws are eaten, so fishermen twist off one claw from each stone crab and toss them back to grow a new one. Crabs will regenerate new claws within 18 months. The law requires the claws of just caught stone crabs be boiled for 7 minutes and then either put on ice or frozen. The freezing process seems to remove an unpleasant iodine taste which is often noticed in the meat. To serve, the claws are cracked with a mallet and served cold with dipping sauces. Minimum size for claws is 2 to 2.75 ounces. The meat has a firm texture and a sweet flavor.

Red Rock Crabs and their cousins, the Jonah Crab, are light to dark brownish red, depending on where they are caught. The further north they are fished, the darker the shells get. Red Rock crabs are found along the Atlantic coast all the way from Nova Scotia to the shores of Florida. Neither are sold in upscale fish stores or in the major supermarkets, but you may be able to find them in Spanish or Chinese markets.

Freshwater Crabs: There are many species that live in freshwater- especially in the streams and billabongs of Australia- but also on every other continent.The Southern European Crab, pictured above, has been eaten by people since Roman Times. Unfortunately, freshwater crabs are threatened by human activities more than most groups of animals and many species are in danger of becoming extinct.

The four basic types of shelled meat that you can buy and their uses follow:

Jumbo Lump or Lump Crab Meat

Jumbo Lump meat comes from the pair of large muscles that drive the crab’s swimming legs. With care and skill these lumps can be removed intact, resulting in the prized whole Jumbo Lump with its incomparable visual appeal. Grades identified simply as lump are from smaller crab varieties.

Use Jumbo Lump when you want to display beautiful white meat in:

Crab cocktails

Solid-meat crab cakes

Crab Louis – lumps of crab meat and hard boiled eggs on Boston lettuce, with Russian dressing.

Crab Imperial – a baked dish combining crab with mayonnaise or a sherried white sauce, spooned into scallop shells, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or bread crumbs and browned.

Lump or Backfin Lump Crab Meat

Lump or Backfin is the preferred grade for many traditional crab dishes. It has the same fine flavor and texture of Jumbo Lump, but is in slightly smaller pieces. Some companies call this grade Lump, some Backfin and some Backfin Lump. If you purchase a can labeled Lump, it will be all lump meat and will not contain any Jumbo Lump.

Use Lump or Backfin when you want beautiful white crab but don’t want the expense of Jumbo Lump, for example:

Crab Benedict (Eggs Benedict with crab instead of ham)

Gazpacho: add a 1/2 cup of crab to the center of the soup

Pasta:  add to Spaghetti Carbonara instead of bacon or add a cup to Fettuccini all’Amatriciana

Risotto

White Crab Meat

 

White crab meat is ideal for crab cake recipes that have multiple ingredients (bread crumbs, vegetables) that are mixed with mayonnaise and in crab recipes where the size and shape of the crab flake becomes indistinguishable from the rest of the ingredients.

White crab meat is a more economical alternative for:

Appetizers

Bisques and chowders

Omelets

Pizza

Sandwiches and salads

Stuffed tomatoes

Claw Crab Meat

Claw Crab meat is the “dark meat” of the crab. The reddish-brown claw and leg meat is actually more flavorful than the white meat and is preferred by many who like the more robust flavor and appreciate the lower price. Claw meat also stands up to bolder seasonings. Some people mix it with Backfin Lump for visual appeal, while keeping the overall price down.

Try claw meat and, if you like the flavor, you may have an economical alternative and a reason to enjoy crab more often. You can use it in any preparation, but especially in

Cheese melts

Crab tacos

Cioppino or other fish stews

What To Look For In Canned Crab Meat

When you do a comparative test among different brands of canned crab meat, you can immediately discern differences in the size, color, texture, shell content, scent and the flavor of the meat. Each bite of crab meat should taste and smell the same. If it doesn’t, you need to find a better brand.

Cooking With Crab

If you are planning on buying crab legs, try not to buy ones that have been thawed, since they will not retain their taste and freshness. Always try to buy frozen crab legs or pre-cooked and frozen crab legs.

Thawed crab legs can be maintained in the refrigerator for two days before they go bad, but they should really be cooked as soon as they have been defrosted.

To defrost frozen crab legs, place them in the refrigerator for about 8 hours. If you place them on a rack in a watertight container, they can drain as they are defrosting.

Pre-cooked frozen crab legs can be heated in a number of ways, even in the microwave. My preferred way is to bake them in the oven.

To bake crab legs

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Crack the whole crab legs and place them on a baking tray.

Brush the crab legs with butter or oil, seasoning and lemon juice and bake in the oven for 8 – 9 minutes.

Crab Stuffed Artichokes

4 appetizer servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons crab boil or Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 cup crab meat
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the stems from the artichokes to leave a neat, flat base. Lay each artichoke on its side, and cut away the upper third with a sharp knife. With kitchen shears, remove the prickly leaf tips from each remaining leaf. Rub the cut sides and bottom with a lemon slice, squeezing lemon juice onto the cut areas and set aside.

Place the prepared artichokes, lemon slices, crab boil and bay leaves in the boiling water and simmer, partially covered, until the bottom is tender and can be pierced with a sharp knife and an outer leaf pulls out easily, about 25 minutes.

Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander.

Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.

To the onions in the pan, add the garlic and oregano and continue to cook for 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir in the bread crumbs, crab meat, lemon zest, Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix well and adjust seasonings with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the artichokes are cool enough to handle, press the leaves gently back so that the artichoke opens to reveal the inner choke and prickly leaves. Pull out the cone of undeveloped white leaves and gently scrape out the choke with a spoon. Gently pull the leaves outward from the center until the leaves open slightly.

Fill the artichoke cavities with the crab stuffing and pack a little bit into the space between the leaves.

Place the artichokes in an earthenware baking dish and drizzle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the dish and place in the oven. Bake until the artichokes are golden brown and the bread crumbs develop a crust, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle each with some grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Cioppino-Style Roasted Crab

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 2 – 15-ounce cans chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) dried crushed red pepper
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 – 2-pound cooked Dungeness crabs, cleaned, quartered, cracked or 2 pounds Alaska king crab legs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in large deep ovenproof skillet or large metal roasting pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to high and boil 2 minutes. Add clam juice, tomatoes with juice, 1 cup water, bay leaves, parsley and crushed red pepper and bring to boil. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 minutes. Add crab pieces; nestle into sauce. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until crab pieces are heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Place crab with juices in large bowl to serve.

Spaghettini with Crab and Spicy Lemon Sauce

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound spaghettini (thin spaghetti)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely chopped fresh parsley plus whole sprigs for garnish
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced crosswise (optional)

Directions:

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the next 4 ingredients.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta, 1/4 cup cooking liquid, chopped parsley and crab meat to skillet. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to large platter.Top with prosciutto, if desired. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley sprigs. 

Roasted Shellfish with Fennel and Citrus

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds stone crab claws or Canadian snow crab legs, shells cracked with mallet or cut with scissors
  • 1 1/2 pounds small clams, scrubbed
  • 16 mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Chopped fresh chives

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a heavy large roasting pan over 2 burners and heat over medium heat. Add oregano and fennel and stir 1 minute. Add olive oil, cracked crab, clams and mussels; stir to coat. Place pan in the oven. Roast until crab is heated through and clams and mussels open, stirring occasionally and transferring clams and mussels to a platter as they open, about 10 minutes.

After all the shellfish has been transferred to the platter (discard any clams and mussels that do not open); tent with foil to keep warm. Heat the same roasting pan over 2 burners over high heat. Add shallots and wine and boil 1 minute. Add citrus juices and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over shellfish. Sprinkle with chives and serve.


Warm weather doesn’t mean you put comforting foods like soup on the back burner. There are a variety of soups that are hearty, healthy, and refreshing. Summer soups are especially great for vegetarians, since they usually don’t involve any meat (you can substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock in any recipe). Two brands of store bought vegetable broth, I find full of flavor are Imagine and Pacific.

Soups are very easy to digest and a large pot of soup is a very affordable way to feed a family or a group of people. Soup stretches a little meat a long way.

Soup is easy to make and it is a complete one-pot meal with minimal effort and minimal clean up.
It is a quick meal for any time of the day. Simply heat and eat. Soup is also an easy lunch to take to work.

Here are some suggestions to try and they are probably soups you have eaten in the past.
1) Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a chunky vegetable soup popular in Spain. You can make it with tomato, which is the most common, or with radishes or watermelon.
2) Sweet Fruit Soups
Using yogurt, you can create a chilled melon soup or a strawberry orange soup. Using lemon juice and sparkling wine, you can create sparkling pineapple soup.
3) Vegetable soups
Avocados, potatoes, spinach, carrots, asparagus, and fennel can all be the star ingredient of a summer soup. Many can be chilled and served that way.

The abundance of summer local vegetables are perfect for soups and are a delicious way to use up this bounty. Whether you’re using fruits, vegetables, or a combination of both, you’re likely to come across some interesting flavors you haven’t experienced before. Spicing your summer soups up with cayenne, cinnamon, pepper, and garlic will add to the number of unique combinations you have available to enjoy.

Following are some summertime soup recipes that you might not have had before.

Golden Summer Squash & Corn Soup      

4 servings, scant 1 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 medium summer squash, (about 1 pound), diced
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano, divided
  • 1- 14-15 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, (from 1 large ear; see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add squash and 1 teaspoon herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add broth and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft and mostly translucent, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the soup to the pan and stir in corn. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with the remaining 2 teaspoons herbs and cheese.

Tip: To remove corn from the cob, stand an uncooked ear of corn on its stem end in a shallow bowl and slice the kernels off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. If making a soup, after cutting off the kernels, you can reverse the knife and use the dull side to press down the length of the ear to push out the rest of the corn and its milk.

Cold Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until almost smooth, or until desired consistency is reached.
Transfer to a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
This quick and easy tomato soup is delicious hot or cold. Makes four servings.

Meatball and Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-32 oz carton low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons long grain rice
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Meatballs, recipe below
Directions:
 

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil and brown meatballs on all sides. Add onion, oregano, broth, and rice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is tender (about 25 minutes).Add zucchini and cook, uncovered, until just tender (4 to 6 minutes). Season to taste with salt and serve.

Meatballs

  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey or chicken
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat egg. Mix in salt, garlic, pepper, and bread crumbs. Lightly mix in meat. Shape into 3/4-inch meatballs.

Fresh Summer Minestrone

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 pound new or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 small carrots, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from about 1 medium ear of corn)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 ounces spinach leaves, trimmed and sliced into thin strips (2 cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 heaping tablespoons mixed minced herbs such as basil, marjoram or oregano, thyme and flat-leaf parsley
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil. in a saucepan or kettle

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans and boiling water; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes.

Add potato and carrot; continue to cook, covered, until beans are tender, about 40 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop tomatoes into water and boil 30 seconds; drain, peel, seed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

When beans are tender, add tomato, corn, peas and spinach; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or room temperature, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with herbs and extra pepper.

Chicken & Barley Soup          

Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large bone-in chicken breast (10-12 ounces), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup trimmed and diagonally sliced asparagus (¼ inch thick)
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 strip orange zest (1/2 by 2 inches)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Grate or finely chop 1 clove garlic; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone.

3. When the barley is done, add the chicken, tomatoes,, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.

4. Coarsely chop the remaining garlic clove. Gather basil, orange zest and the garlic and finely chop together. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.

Seafood Chowder                                                                                                                 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound white fish ( ex. haddock, cod, grouper), cut into small pieces
  • 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp, cut into thirds
  • 1 1/2 cups water or fish stock or clam broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 pound peeled, diced Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons flour (Wondra is good for sauces)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Chopped parsley and basil

Directions:

Heat oil in a soup pot and add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook gently. Add the garlic, potato, corn and coat in the fat.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir well, simply stir Wondra into the cold broth and whisk into the soup.
Gradually add the fish stock, stirring all the time until flour is dissolved. Cook at a simmer for about 25 minutes.
Add the fish and shrimp and cook for 5 mins.
Warm the milk and butter  in a glass measuring cup in the microwave and pour very slowly into the soup when the potatoes are soft. Top each bowl with some chopped herbs.



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