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Entries in Seafood (23)

Tuesday
Jun122012

Sea Bass Ceviche

*Post by Angela.

It’s safe to say Mark and I are fans of Chef Ricardo Zarate and the bold flavors of Peruvian cuisine. Picca is now a go-to recommendation for us for friends visiting the city, and we had a great meal at the new and improved Mo-Chica last month. So when I came across this recipe for ceviche, we picked up some beautiful local sea bass at the Hollywood farmers market and gave it a go.

The results? Not quite the bright and pungent ceviches at Chef Zarate’s establishments. Somewhere along the way, something happened to make the ceviche “sauce” a bit too fruity, and a tad too sweet. I think I can tweak this so that it works better, but this first go-round was still good enough that we filled our stomachs.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 red onion
  • 4 sticks celery, peeled
  • 1 lb + 1/8 lb fresh sea bass
  • 1 cup lime juice, key lime if available
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon aji limon paste (the original recipe calls for aji amarillo paste, but we couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

I’ve made ceviches before, but never one with honey or coconut milk. As I added those ingredients to the blender along with the garlic, ¼ of the red onion (thinly sliced), the celery, the 1/8 lb piece of sea bass, the lime juice and the aji limon paste (which we found at Whole Foods), I started having misgivings about this recipe...

 

 

...but at that point, I couldn’t stop, so I pulsed the blender until the mixture was nice and smooth.

 

 

I cubed up my sea bass, tossed it with the remaining thinly sliced red onion and the cilantro, then poured the sauce over the top and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.

 

 

I served it up with some steamed white rice and roasted corn with lime cilantro butter. As I said, it was good (and nice and light) but not even close to Zarate good. I have to do some more sleuthing to uncover Zarate’s secrets, so…more visits to Picca/Mo-Chica? I can handle that.

 

Thursday
May102012

Coconut Lime Swordfish

*Post by Angela.

People, I have achieved my end game. I finally managed to make a seafood dish that Mark really, sincerely loved (I did, too!). Don’t get me wrong, in the last few years he’s grown to like seafood when we dine out, and he’s always open to trying new things. But after a few not entirely successful tries to make his mouth water with ocean-dwelling protein prepared at home, I got discouraged. And lazy. And stopped making seafood at home at all.

That all changed last week. We finally made our way over to the Hollywood farmers market at the insistence of our dear friends, who had been talking up the fishmonger there at every opportunity. Some awfully pretty swordfish was on special, and while waiting in line to purchase it, I pulled up this recipe. “BOOM,” was Mark’s reaction, being a lover of coconutty things. I had a good feeling about this attempt, and I was right. The meatiness of the swordfish + the light yet powerfully flavorful sauce is irresistible.

 

 

List of ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemongrass, peeled and finely minced (or 2 tbsp grated lemon peel if you can’t find lemongrass)
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp chili paste
  • 4 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 ½ lbs swordfish steak, cut into four 6-oz portions
  • Cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil

Honestly, this recipe is as easy as it gets. First, I turned on my broiler. After giving all the choppable ingredients a nice rough run through with my knife, I combined the coconut milk, cilantro, lemongrass, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili paste, shallots, and garlic in my food processor and pulsed until well-combined and coarsely chopped.

 

 

 

I put the fish in a roasting pan lightly coated with oil and spread half of my delightful smelling shallot mixture evenly over all 4 steaks, creating sort of a coating.

 

 

I broiled the steaks for almost exactly 15 minutes (until the fish was just cooked through), then served them up with the remaining sauce, some steamed white rice and a little spicy garlicky bok choy action.

 

 

FINALLY. Success was mine! A wonderfully elegant fish dish that Mark loved. Loved so much, in fact, that he suggested we head to the farmers market every other weekend to make Sunday nights seafood night. My friends, the dragon is slain.

 

Wednesday
Mar072012

L & E Oyster Bar in Silverlake

*Post by Angela.

Back in DC, I was blessed to have lived across the street from Hank's Oyster Bar, a really fantastic little establishment devoted to bringing diners the best bivales available. Until recently, I wasn't aware of any similar outlets for my oyster loving ways in Los Angeles. But January brought us the opening of L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake, a cozy joint soaked in green and concrete from the same folks behind Bar Covell.

 

 

Nestled on a quiet residential strip on Silverlake Boulevard, L&E is pretty small, and seating is limited - they don't take reservations, so either get there early, or be prepared to wait. A large part of the interior is taken up by the bar, which serves a not-insubstantial selection of wines (both by the glass and by the bottle), as well as a small selection of California craft beers.

 

 

Seated on the enclosed patio, we got right down to business with the Daily Dozen, a platter of 3 different types of oysters (4 of each kind) selected by the chef. Both the Sunset Beach and Kumai oysters were wonderful (medium-sized, plump, and just a tiny bit of a sweet finish), but my personal favorite was the Fire Island oyster, medium-sized with a perfect balance of salinity and a beautifully clean aftertaste. The platter was accompanied by three sauce options: horseradish, cocktail sauce, and a mignonette. 

 

 

In addition to its daily oyster offerings, L&E has four entree options on the menu. The blackened catfish, with roasted sunchokes, blistered shishito peppers, and pepper and celery slaw, was pleasant enough, if a little unexciting. The best part of the dish were the luscious creamy grits that served as a bed for the fish.

 

 

The kitchen was on more solid ground with the Knife & Fork Fried Oyster Po'Boy, served with sauce gribiche (a mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce), wild lettuce, tomato and pickled red onion. The plump oysters were fantastically juicy, and perfectly breaded & fried.

 

 

The chimmichuri steak sandwich, with tomato, watercress, and horseradish aioli, was the sole meat entree option. While ultimately forgettable - the skirt steak was a bit on the chewy side and the chimmichuri didn't make much of an appearance - it's an inoffensive option for non-seafood lovers. On the other hand, we couldn't stop eating the accompanying mountain of crispy thin French fries.

 

 

The last member of our party rounded things out by getting the final of the four entree items, the Cajun shrimp pie. We didn't try it, but it smelled really good, and the crust looked light and flaky with 'L & E' branded into its skin. 

 

 

For dessert, we finished our meal with the chocolate tart with salted caramel sauce and the date bread pudding. While I preferred the lightly sweet date dessert, Mark unsurprisingly favored the rich and a little salty chocolate tart. But neither stood out enough to trump those oysters. No doubt, that's why we were there. 

 

Maybe nostalgia prevents any oyster bar from ever topping Hank's in my memory, but L&E is a pretty decent substitute. The rest of the menu has a little room for improvement to catch up, but these guys are serious about oysters, and the ones we sampled were top notch.

L&E Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday
Feb162012

Ricky's Fish Tacos - Silverlake

*Post by Angela.

Every month, it seems as though dozens of new high-concept/fancy/$$$ restaurants open in Los Angeles. And yes, we do enjoy trying them out, although the speed at which that happens depends on the state of our bank accounts. But the fancy stuff? That’s not the main reason why we love the L.A. food scene.

Much of the beauty of this city is the sheer number of quality cheap food options. And the place that epitomizes the glory that is street food? The parking lot operation you see below.

 

 

Ricky’s Fish Tacos are bomb as hell.

Tucked away in a small lot right off Sunset Junction (around the corner from the Vista movie theater), Ricky Piña mans the double fryer to produce the most amazing fish and shrimp tacos we’ve ever had.   

 

 

The batter is a thing of beauty - light, airy, and crunchy. Both the fish and shrimp come out cooked perfectly, and when stuffed into a warmed tortilla along with shredded lettuce and your choice of any number of available salsas (don't forget the crema!), eating tacos is transformed into something almost sacred.

In addition to the usual fish and shrimp tacos, on certain days Ricky will throw some lobster in the mix for a few dollars more (watch his Twitter feed for the next offering). They are really delicious, served with a generous squirt of lobster crema, though I don't know that anything can top Ricky's basic fish taco (made with Vietnamese catfish). The meaty, flavorful variety of catfish makes for the best fish taco in LA, and anyone who says differently clearly hasn't visited Ricky's. 

 

 

If you haven't already caved to the pressure, drop what you're doing right now, hit the ATM for some cash and drive over to Ricky's (as long as it's before 4 pm, when he shuts it down). And be prepared to wait a little bit, as making tacos this good takes some time. But what's a little time in exchange for a food experience that embodies the best of what L.A. has to offer?

Ricky's Fish Tacos (Food Stand) on Urbanspoon

Friday
Jun172011

Senor Fish

*Post by Angela.

Fish tacos are a regional favorite here in Southern California, and are something I crave on the regular. We'd heard a friend sing the praises of Senor Fish from the moment we arrived, so when I saw the Groupon deal for the popular area chain, I snagged two and dragged Mark over to the Eagle Rock location for some seafood and tortillas. This wasn't too difficult after a promise to visit the Eagle Rock Brewery after dinner.

 

 

I don't know if it is the typical Senor Fish layout, but the Eagle Rock location featured a relatively small inside dining area. Which didn't matter, because on that particular evening, the weather was beautiful and after ordering and grabbing a couple of Stone IPAs, we chose to scarf outside on the sprawling deck encircling the colorful building.  

 

 

Mark contented himself with an asada (beef) quesadilla (below), which was a pretty average offering. The meat was tasty, but a little on the stringy side.

 

 

I, on the other hand, was there strictly for the seafood. I started out with one each of the fish and shrimp tacos (below). These were very messy but pretty nice - the seafood bits were fried just enough to cook them through, and the batter was light and crunchy. However, nothing really jumped out at me about the flavors - I've had better and worse. I would have loved something...well, more, a lacking that wasn't rectified by the addition of Senor Fish's array of salsas. I enjoyed these, but I'm pretty confident I could make equally good versions at home.

 

 

By far the best thing out of the kitchen? The scallop burrito, huge and hearty (below). While there was a whole lot going on inside that tortilla, the rest of the fillings didn't overwhelm the flavor of the scallops - partially because the burrito was absolutely stuffed with the plump and delicate seafood.

 

 

The verdict? Not bad for an affordable chain, especially with the online deal. While I know I can find better fish tacos in the area, I'm happy to have another Senor Fish Groupon to use sometime this summer.

Señor Fish on Urbanspoon