Monday, June 3, 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things - Clam Appetizer + Fluke 2 Ways

Life can be one unpredictable blankety-blank - as we can all attest. For this reason, 
I especially relish those blocks of time when everything just seems to go perfectly.
I encourage you to do the same!  
It's in this very grateful spirit that I give you 

Things that rocked this weekend:

~Beautiful warm weather 

~Getting all our chores done efficiently - just look at that mulch :) 

~Being first in line for the catch of the day -- more on that later
 ~ A few stellar finds at the neighbor's yard sale
~ A long bike ride 
~These Oysters with a Red Horseradish Granita that made for a super lunch...
 ~ And my personal favorite - a luscious mid-afternoon nap. 
Now I know you'll agree that an amazing weekend deserves to be closed out with a wonderful meal, and if you're anything like us, perfectly balmy weather whets your appetite for Seafood.  Getting our hands on a super fresh catch of Local Fluke provided an inspiring jumping off point for a Summery Menu celebrating the fruits of the sea.
Local Fluke Ceviche
Clams with Bacon, Tomatoes & Peppers
Pan Seared Fluke with Lime Butter  

Fluke Ceviche, Photo: NK

Fluke Ceviche
Inspired by Martha Stewart
Serves 2 as a light appetizer 

6 Ounces of very fresh Fluke Fillet, cut into a medium dice or to the size you prefer
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1 heaping Tablespoon chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/4 small Red Onion, cut into a very fine mince
1/4 Jalapeno, seeded and very thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1. Combine Fish and Lime Juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least a half hour or up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. When Fish is opaque, mix in all other ingredients. Stir and serve chilled. Enjoy! 
Next up, we have our crowd pleasing Clam Appetizer, a twist on my Classic Zuppa di Vongole, but do check out our old favorite HERE. 
Clams with Bacon, Blistered Grape Tomatoes & Yellow Peppers, Photo: NK

Clams with Bacon, Grape Tomatoes, & Yellow Peppers
Adapted from Mario Batali's Italian Grill
Serves 2-3 as an Appetizer or 2 as a light Entree

18 Small Littleneck Clams, Scrubbed
2 strips of good quality Bacon (we like Coleman or Boar's Head), cut into a small dice
1/2 a Yellow Bell Pepper, de-seeded and chopped into a half-inch dice
About 18 Grape Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 Cups Dry White Wine
Slices of Crusty Bread, for dipping in Broth (optional) 
Parsley or Cilantro Garnish (optional)  

1. In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat Oil over low heat for a minute. Add the Grape Tomatoes and allow them to cook for about 4-5 minutes until the skin begins to blister and brown just a bit. Pick out the Tomatoes with tongs and set aside in a bowl. 

2. In the same skillet, over low heat, add the Bacon and cook for about 4 minutes until it is beginning to brown. Now add Bell Pepper, Garlic, and Crushed Red Pepper. Cook, stirring often for another 3 minutes. 

3. Add Wine to the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Bring to a boil. Add the Clams to the skillet and cover. 

4. Allow the Clams to cook, covered, for 5 minutes over medium heat. Open the pot lid and begin to pull out Clams immediately as the open. If you leave them long after they pop open they will become rubbery. It may take another 3-4 minutes for all Clams to open. Discard any that do not. 

5. Portion Clams into each bowl. Top with Broth including bits of Pepper and Bacon. Sprinkle each plate with Grape Tomatoes. Garnish if you choose and serve immediately alongside Crusty Bread and enjoy! 
And for Fluke fans that don't fancy it raw, here's an easy way to prepare this versatile and hearty white fillet.
Pan Seared Fluke with Lime Butter, Photo: NK
Pan Seared Fluke with Lime Butter 
Servings Vary 

Fresh Fluke Fillets (one 6-8 ounce portion per person will do)
Olive Oil (about a Tablespoon per pound of Fish) 
Lime Zest - about a 1/2 teaspoon per Fillet
Lime Juice - about 1/2 a Lime per Fillet 
1/2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (per Fillet)
Sliced Jalapeno (optional) 
Sliced Red Onion (optional)
Cilantro (optional garnish) 
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper 
1. Heat a nonstick skillet with a Tablespoon of Olive Oil Medium high heat. 
Salt and Pepper the Fillets
2. Heat each Fillet on one side until browned and almost cooked through - timing will vary based on Fillet size. Flip Over and sear on the opposite side for another minute or two. When finished, Fish will be opaque and flake easily with a fork.
3. Plate the warm Fillets right away and place a 1/2 Tablespoon of Butter on each. Spread Butter around until it melts. Sprinkle with Lime Zest and squeeze Lime Juice over each portion. Garnish with sliced Jalapeno, Cilantro, and Red Onion.

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