Salmon Songs III: Croquettes with Fennel, Red Bell Pepper, and Arugula Slaw

Alan Davidson explains in his delightfully erudite tome The Oxford Companion To Food (a book to feast upon), “croquette” is a French culinary term which has been adopted into English. He goes on to cite Phillips’ (whom we don’t know) 1706 definition: “In Cookery, Croquets are a certain Compound made of delicious Stuff’d Meat, some … Continue reading Salmon Songs III: Croquettes with Fennel, Red Bell Pepper, and Arugula Slaw

Songs to Salmon: Wild Salmon with Watercress Cream, Smoked Salmon, and Toasted Almonds

Here in the southern heart of king salmon country on the northern California coast (Oakland, California, to be exact), there’s happiness on the topic of salmon because they’re back after years of diminishing populations and concern over their potential extinction. Thank you Fish and Game and all the environmental activists who have endeavored to ensure … Continue reading Songs to Salmon: Wild Salmon with Watercress Cream, Smoked Salmon, and Toasted Almonds

Thai-Style Curried Shrimp in Coconut Milk Broth

The outstanding thing about this delicate and tasty curried shrimp dish is that all the ingredients can be from your cupboard or freezer or frig stock, there to put together at a moment’s notice. Fermented fish sauce plays a key role. The Thai version (nam pla) in particular has recently become a darling of Western restaurant chefs, and home cooks can now routinely find it in supermarkets. Serves 2

1/ 3 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/ 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped Continue reading “Thai-Style Curried Shrimp in Coconut Milk Broth”

Whitefish Fillets Poached in Chardonnay Broth with Leeks, Carrots, and Bread Toasts

Hearty, meaty whitefish, such as sea bass, halibut, cod, can benefit from a little glamor, dressing up, when they come to the table. Julienne strips of carrot and leek, sprightly green celery leaves provide and enrich a simple Chardonnay wine broth that’s perfect for sopping with the crunchy toasts. It’s a perfect dish for fitting … Continue reading Whitefish Fillets Poached in Chardonnay Broth with Leeks, Carrots, and Bread Toasts

Mussels Alive, Alive, O!

Mussel beds at minus low tide off the northern California coast. It's stock footage, but just as my eye saw it whenever I was there.

When I first came to live in northern California in 1962 as a freshman at UC Berkeley, I never expected to find myself foraging for mussels in the rocky tide pools along the northern California coast. Then one day, a new found friend suggested we go mussel “hunting.” There would be a minus 2 tide at 8:30 a.m., revealing the mussel-populated rocks above water. We set off at 6:30 a.m. for the 2 hour  journey there, a convenient time for foragers who Continue reading “Mussels Alive, Alive, O!”

Sea Scallops with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

My ardor for sea scallops comes threefold. The first time was standing in front of one of the most beloved paintings of the Italian Renaissance, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. It depicts Aphrodite,

Balsamic-glazed sea scallops presented slightly Asian style

goddess of love, whose name means “born from the foam,” rising from the sea upon a scallop shell wafted by the west wind, Zepheros. The second was Michael Field, a pianist and cookbook author, who wrote so enticingly of scallops with a fresh tomato fondue sauce in his Michael Field’s Cooking School cookbook that Continue reading “Sea Scallops with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze”