Tag

seafood

Last night we had the chance to dine at the Mesa Grill in Las Vegas (at Caesars Palace). H had been there before and really liked it. It was my first time. Although I am not the biggest Bobby Flay’s fan I was looking forward to trying Mesa.

Overall the service was excellent. It was friendly, unpretentious and professional. There were ten of us including a toddler and our waiter was textbook good on helping us with everything.

Food was very good, but I would not considered it in the great/fantastic category. In fact, some of the dishes were excellent. Others were a bit “meh, it’s good but for the price…not that great”.

I ordered the Chorizo Meatballs for appetizers and the Cascabel Chile Crusted Rabbit as the main entree. The chorize meatballs were fantastic. Great smoky fire, perfectly cooked and the sauce was also delicious. The Rabbit was more in the “meh” category. It was good, but nothing special. The couscous was very bland (the last thing you’d expect from a Bobby Flay’ dish).

Some of the other diners had different experience. H loved her Chile Verde Cioppino. Another friend was lukewarm on the Espresso steak.

Overall I am glad we went. We had lots of fun. But I also now know there are better places to go in Vegas.

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I ordered the Seelbach. It was really good and worked well with food.

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Jalapeno Corn Muffins

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Crispy Blue Corn Lobster Tacoc plus Pickled Habanero Relish

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Chorizo Meatballs with Red Chile Tomato Sauce plus Cotija

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Cascabel Chile Crusted Rabbit. Toasted Cous Cous, Fava Beans, Smoked Red Pepper Sauce plus Queso Blanco.

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Green Chile Cioppino with Jumbo Prawn, Scallop, Grouper, Little Neck Clams, Mussels. Served with Blue Corn Stick plus Scallion Butter

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This past weekend we headed out to the Pacific coast for a razor clamming gateway. This was my first time, but fortunately our friends had been there before. “Razor clamming” is essentially the harvesting of the pacific razor clam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_razor_clam). In Washington State the harvesting of razor clams in is highly regulated. You can find location and dates here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/. You will also need to get a Wild ID.

One of the things that early on sounded very restricting is that you can also catch up to 15 clams a day. It sounded very little…well it’s not. In a couple of hours it is not easy for beginners to even get to ten.

We headed to Seabrook. Housing is great there, easy access to a great beach with little day traffic, and pricing is great as well.

We lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and warm all weekend, which made the morning activities much easier and a lot more fun.

As for the actual cooking. We lightly fried the clams in butter after buttering them in a mix of thick cornmeal, flour, pepper and salt. The sauce was mix of mayo, wasabi, lime juice, and spicy sauce.

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Bacalao a bras was one of my favorite dishes when I was living in Lisbon.

From wikipedia: ” is one of the most popular ways to prepare codfish in Portugal. It is made from shreds of salted cod (bacalhau), onions and thinly chopped (matchstick sized) fried potatoes in a bound of scrambled eggs. It is usually garnished with black olives and sprinkled with fresh parsley. It is a very common dish in cafes and restaurants as well as households through Portugal as a lunch option. The origin of the recipe is uncertain, but it is said to have originated in Bairro Alto, an old quarter of Lisbon. The noun “Brás” (or sometimes Braz) is supposedly the surname of its creator.”

Although most suggest to keep the bacalao in water for at least 24hr I usually do it for at least 48 hours. I change the water 2-3 times/day.

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Grilled octopus must be my all-time favorite!  I love it cooked in many different ways.

I was at Pike Place Market and one of the my favorite spots was selling fresh octopus. How could I have passed on it?!

H and I headed home and started the tenderizing process. There are many ways to tenderize an octopus. There is a great article on ny times about the many different approaches. I went for simmering it in red vinegar and let it rest for 72 hours.  That is a long time when you’re dying to eat it!

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After the marinate time clock ticked it was fairly simple. We grilled the octopus on a le creuset grill pan. The plan was to grill it on the bbq outsite, but we are in Seattle and of course it was raining. The grilling is supposed to take about 3 minutes on each side. We did it for a bit longer (about 5 mins).

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As the octupus was grilling we prepared the salad which is part of the recipe. I wanted it to keep fresh and crunchy. We opted for celery, green onions, and fennel. For the dressing we went for a fairly standard three parts olive oil and about one part lemon. Definitely be generous with the olive oil and add the salt and pepper to your liking.

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As soon as the octopus was done we chopped it and mixed it into the rest of the salad.  We gave it a nice toss and our octopus salad was ready to be plated!

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Pasta with clams is a great all year around dish. It is easy to prepare, but it require good execution.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of clams
  • 1/2 pound of linguini (see it on Amazon)
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a clove of garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • About a quarter of a thai chili pepper  (optional – note that you can use chili flakes)
  • italian parsley (optional)
  • one once of white wine

 

The steps:

Step #0 – Start boiling plenty of water in a pot.  This dish is actually really quick, by the time you get the sauce going you should have the pasta cooking.  I usually start making the sauce as the water starts boiling and I put the pasta in.

Step #1 – In a deeper pan throw in olive oil, chopped garlic and the clams. Cook it over medium heat.  After a few minutes the clams will start opening up and release water.  Here’s a quick tip: take some of the water released by the clam and set it aside, it will be useful later to make sure that the sauce does not get too dry.

Step #2 – After you save some of the water add the white wine and let it reduce for couple of minutes.  Season with pepper/salt.

Step #3 – You are about done with the sauce.  This is where you need to make a judgement call on how how dry the sauce is.  If it seems a little dry add some of the clams’ water you saved.  If you do so, make sure you cook it for about a minute.  The pasta should be done by now and it’s time to blend.  Add the parsley, the chilli flakes and extra pepper.

Step #4 – You are done.  Time to plate!

 

Enjoy!