FISH HEADS RULE!! #FISH BROTH (TEA)

I had just finished my morning’s work out and my endorphins were kicking. Moreover, I had all this pent-up energy within. What did I do? I headed for my kitchen and grabbed a couple of snapper fish that I had reserved for tomorrow’s dinner. Immediately I had a clear plan. I grabbed my cutting board and butcher’s knife and went chopping.

Those big guys stood erect and stared back at me. Their eyes were brilliant as they ogled me. It was as if they were beckoning me to come and get them. And I did. I took my knife and gently but firmly removed their heads, and set them aside. Where I come from, we don’t toss these.

Funny how a couple of fish heads bring back heart-warming memories when things were simple. You see, my dad used to bring home these King fish heads at least once a week. And mom being that ‘iron chef’ that she was turned out some mouth-watering fish broths for the entire family (well, it was one of dad’s favorites). In Jamaica, we call it ‘fish tea’. It’s a cross between soup and broth. It’s an excellent starter for a meal.

So, with that in mind, I decided to replicate my dear mom’s fish tea. I gathered a few root vegetables and fish heads.

SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR FISH BROTH (TEA)
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR FISH BROTH (TEA)

With a few rough chops I added same to stock pot and allowed them to simmer under low to medium heat. I also added veggie bouillon and seasoned along with a pinch of jerk sauce, crushed garlic,thyme, pimento and salt and black pepper to taste.

FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING
FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING

Close to the end I tossed in a few pieces of blanched chopped okra I had in the freezer.

In less than half an hour my fish tea was ready for serving. In my broth (tea), I don’t strain; everything  is consumed. It’s vital to be careful of all those bones. I don’t worry. By now, I’m a pro!

FINISHED FISH BROTH (TEA)
FINISHED FISH BROTH (TEA)

I know what I’ll be having for a light lunch today. I’ll pair with some crusty English muffins with a smear of butter. By then, I’ll be relaxed and ready for a siesta. By the way, the rest of the fish (body) will be done up in an escovitched. I can’t wait.

Advertisements

WENT FISHING!! #SCORED SNAPPER SLICES IN HOISIN SAUCE

I’m a huge lover of fish. It seems like I’ve consumed same a ‘million’ and one ways in various styles. I love it in the fillet form as well as  the whole fish with the beautiful head and its bones. That’s how many islanders, specifically Jamaicans love to consume their fish. We’re pros to this. And when I do devour it with the bones and head, I’ve to give undivided attention. If not careful, this could be risky ‘business’ (well, consumption).

UNCOOKED SNAPPER SLICES FOR PAN-FRYING AND INPUT IN HOISIN SAUCE
SEASONED SNAPPER SLICES FOR PAN-FRYING AND INPUT IN HOISIN SAUCE

Anyway guys, so I decided on cooking fish for supper. I made sure to score my fish slices so as to allow  the penetration of seasonings/spices within. Escoveitched fish was on my mind. What do you know? At the last moment I ‘flipped flopped’ and decided to go a tad oriental-style. I had some hoisin sauce left back from a few weeks ago when I cooked a chicken dish. I had not used it since, so It had been just perching there inside the refrigerator door as if to say, “pick me!” And I did.

The main ingredients in hoisin sauce are plum puree, soy, vinegar, sugar, miso (paste made from soybean) and others. It’s dark in color and possesses a combination of sweet and salty taste. This pungent and bold sauce is popularly used as a dipping sauce in many oriental eateries and kitchens.

First, I lightly dredged my fish slices and pan-fried them in a hot skillet with a combination of coconut and canola oil. After draining oil, julienned veggies were added to skillet. These were softened making sure to remove bits at the bottom of pan which only provided more enhancement to dish.

VEGGIES SIMMERING IN HOISIN SAUCE
VEGGIES SIMMERING IN HOISIN SAUCE

At this point, I added three teaspoons of hoisin sauce (a little goes a long way). Also, added to that were crushed pimento (all spice), drizzle of vinegar, thyme and a splash of water. Snapper slices were then placed back in skillet on low heat. This was allowed to simmer for approximately five minutes. Sauce was spooned on each pieces for even more absorption of sauce.

I served my hoisin fish with a warm cabbage and carrot slaw along with rice and red beans(not in pic). All the flavors and spices complimented each other. Moreover, the right amount of hoisin sauce was administered to dish so as to yield a succulent and delicious taste to fish.

WARM CABBAGE AND CARROT SLAW
WARM CABBAGE AND CARROT SLAW

USHER IN THE WARM AND THE EXOTIC FLAVORS ##GRILLED SHRIMP IN A COCONUT/CURRY SAUCE

It seems like the whole world is under a cold spell. The blizzard of 2015 has made its mark on the New England region of the United States and other locales. Even sunny South Florida is experiencing 40’s and 50’s in temperatures. But, I’m not complaining; I’ve decided to go Jamaican with an infusion of Mediterranean spices and flavors.

GRILLED SHRIMP IN COCONUT/CURRY SAUCE WITH JASMINE RICE/WARM KALE/SALAD
GRILLED SHRIMP IN COCONUT/CURRY SAUCE WITH JASMINE RICE/WARM KALE/SALAD

I simmered some fresh coconut milk to a custard-like consistency on low to medium heat. To that I added a pinch of curry power about 1/4 teaspoon, chopped onion, garlic, minced scotch bonnet peppers (optional), thyme, all spice (pimento), a pinch of salt and pepper. Had a few grape tomatoes on hand and decided to toss in with a pinch of sugar.

At this point, my Georgie (George Foreman grill) entered the picture (so glad I decided to pay him a revisit). A drizzle of olive oil was added to shrimp. Then, salt and black pepper were added to taste along with a pinch of curry power and crushed garlic.  After removing garlic from shrimp, they were then placed on heated/oiled grill for 2 to 3 minutes.

Grilled shrimp were then added to coconut/curry sauce (off the burner) in order to soak up all the delicious and exotic flavors.  Shrimp dish was served with steamed Jasmine rice along with a warm kale salad.

Guys, my palate was transported to Jamaica and the Mediterranean isles with the coconut/curry sauce. Now, those are what good things are made.

I’M IN A NEW ENGLAND STATE OF MIND #HAM CHOWDER WITH A CARIBBEAN/MEDITERRANAN FLAVORS

This time of the year brings on a ‘mixed-bag’ of weather patterns. The past few days have been very dark, cool, and precipitous in South Florida. The sun has disappeared for a few days and makes me feel like I’m in a Maine or New Hampshire territory.

With days like these, one can’t help but to crave warm and comforting dishes like a clam chowder. Well, I’m not a lover of clam, so my culinary mind went to the my freezer. Inside this freezer, tucked in the rear are some left-over servings of baked ham from past Christmas(have to use that up). So, instead of clam, I made yours truly ham chowder with a Caribbean and a Mediterranean twist.

The main ingredients for Ham Chowder
The main ingredients for Ham Chowder

Ingredients:

  • Left-over Ham (1/4 cup)diced
  • Crispy bacon (2 strips)
  • Irish potato (1 large) diced
  • Cauliflower (3/4 cup)
  • Celery (2 stalks) diced
  • Loose corn (1/2 cup)
  • Onion (Med.) diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut milk (1 cup)
  • Paprika (1/4 tsp)
  • Cumin (pinch)
  • Curry powder (pinch)
  • Corn starch (1 tsp)
  • Water (3 cups)
  • All spice (pimento) (1/4 tsp)
  • Thyme (1 tsp)
  • Parsley (garnish)

Method:

  1. In a sturdy stock pot, render bacon slices and set aside.
  2. Drain excess bacon fat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add diced onions, celery,  chopped cauliflower, loose corn, etc. and slowly stir removing all the bits.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and other seasonings along with thyme.
  4. Add Coconut milk and water.
  5. Place lid on pot and allow to simmer until tender.
  6. Mix corn starch (if needed) to provide extra thickness).
  7. Few minutes to completion of dish add diced left-over ham.
    Ham Chowder and baguette
    Ham Chowder and baguette

    Ham Chowder simmering in stock pot
    Ham Chowder simmering in stock pot

I served my Caribbean/Mediterranean ham chowder with a garnish of parsley and bacon bits along with a generous and warm piece of crusty baguette. The flavors were bold, flavorful and super delicious. I was over the moon as I watched the ducks did their dips.

What do you know? On this cool and marvelous Florida day, the sun has chosen to raise its brilliant head. Now, it’s perfect. Guys, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.