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Shrimp in Salmoriglio
Salmoriglio (Makes about 1 cup)
This southern Italian specialty pulls double duty. It works equally well as a marinade for grilled or griddled fish and as a sauce for grilled, broiled, poached, and baked seafood.
12 large shrimp
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves only
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to form a paste. Alternatively, use a mortar pestle to crush by hand. The sauce keeps up to 2 days.
Marinate head-on, shell-on shrimp in Salmoriglio for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight. Very lightly oil the griddle* and heat over high heat. Place the shrimp on the smoking hot griddle and cook, undisturbed, until they begin to turn color about halfway up the side, about 6 minutes. The shrimp used here are U-12 size. Adjust the cooking time for smaller or larger shrimp. When the shrimp are cooked halfway through and becoming opaque, flip them and turn off the heat. Allow the shrimp to sit until cooked through, at least 2 minutes more. Serve the shrimp on the sizzling griddle.
*Griddling is very similar to sauteing, but it uses less fat and can be served right in the pan. There are a number of beautiful cast iron griddles available—the key is to use a flat one, not a ridged grill pan. One of the advantages of griddling is that the super-high heat turns marinades into a crust that adheres to the ingredient, thus giving texture and flavor.
Tomato Salad with Poached Halibut
The sweet-cool combo of tomato, parsley, and mint brings out the very best in mild halibut. The fish’s poaching liquid is reduced and used as the salad’s vinaigrette.
1 pound halibut fillet, skinned
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Pernod
1 shallot, thinly sliced and briefly rinsed under cold water
2 large ripe tomatoes, preferably a mix of heirloom varieties, cored and cut in thin wedges (or quartered for smaller ones)
2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn
1 cup mint leaves, torn
freshly ground pepper-allspice (optional)
Season the fish with salt and place it in a shallow sauté pan that is just slightly larger than the halibut. Add the olive oil, vinegar, Pernod, shallot, and enough water to come halfway up the sides of the fish. Place the pan over very low heat and let it slowly come to a simmer, 7 to 10 minutes. Gently flip the fish and cook 5 minutes more. Remove the fish from the pan and transfer to a plate to cool. Meanwhile, bring the cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until cooled. Combine the tomatoes, parsley, mint, and chilled cooking liquid in a large bowl, tossing gently to coat. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Arrange the salad on a large platter and gently flake the cooled halibut over the salad. Garnish with freshly ground pepper-allspice, if desired.
Linguine with Canned Shrimp and Butter
This is my wife’s favorite easy weeknight meal—after cooking the pasta, the sauce takes less than 5 minutes to come together. It’s a great way to keep seafood in your weekly meal plan even if dropping by the store for the catch of the day isn’t possible.
1 pound linguine
4 Tablespoons butter, divided use
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives
2 (4-ounce) cans Oregon or Maine shrimp, drained and liquid reserved
Freshly ground pepper-allspice (optional)
Cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water to al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water for the sauce. Heat 2 Tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until just barely colored, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved shrimp liquid and the reserved pasta cooking water and bring to a boil. Add the cooked pasta and parsley and cook until heated through. Stir in the shrimp and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then toss to combine and melt the butter. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with freshly ground pepper-allspice
over the top, if desired.
Roasted Salmon with Seaweed Butter
Best for flaky white fish and orange-fleshed fish
Makes enough for 4 servings
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 Tablespoon flaked dried kelp or dulse
1 teaspoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liquor
freshly ground pepper-allspice
Combine the butter, kelp, and Pernod in a bowl and season with salt and pepper-allspice. Whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined. Shape the butter into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to use.
Lightly oil an oven-safe pan. Arrange the fish skin side down in the pan and season generously with salt. Place the pan in 275F oven. Remove from the oven when just done, about 20 minutes per inch of thickness. The flesh will flake under gentle pressure. Remove the skin by sliding a spatula between the flesh and skin and transfer the fish to a plate. Dot the fish with thin slices of Seaweed Butter Let the butter melt to thoroughly coat the fish and serve.
When cooking at home, slow roasting is the best method for preserving the succulence and texture for which pristine seafood is so admired. The key to roasting is maintaining an even, constant temperature. To me, slow roasting means cooking at 300F or less; I prefer going as low as 275F.
To prepare seafood for slow roasting, season it with salt, drizzle it with a little olive oil, and arrange it on a pan with a good amount of space between each fillet so they can cook evenly. Place the pan in the oven and check after about 15 minutes. At 275F, the rule of thumb is 20 to 25 minutes of cooking for each inch of thickness (but most seafood is not that thick, so you need to check earlier). When done, the fish may not look much different than it did when it went in, but give the flesh a gentle squeeze between two fingers—it should flake apart. This guarantees it is fully cooked.
This test is especially important with salmon. With higher-heat methods, salmon’s color generally changes from orange to light pink as it cooks. In the case of slow roasting, it mostly stays dark orange. With white fish such as halibut (another great candidate for slow roasting), the fish will go from translucent to opaque when fully cooked, giving a more obvious impression.