Author Archives: ncsg

Enjoying the Blues

tips from the kitchen

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Bluefish is a tender-fleshed fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. As such, its quality declines quickly upon death. The trick is to buy the freshest blues available from a source that you know handles fish the right way — immediately cleaning and icing the fish when it is caught.

To deal with the strong flavor of blues, some ethnic groups have prepared the fish using equally flavorful spices and herbs. Basil, oregano, garlic, onion or all of these together applied with a heavy hand is a common practice.

Also, one can use cooking methods that render out as much of the fat as possible, i.e., broiling on a rack or grilling.

Another approach has been to use lots of lemon (an acetic factor) to cut the oiliness of the flesh, cut through the strong flavor and, some say, to fool the taste buds.

Guest contributor Michael Voiland, executive director of North Carolina Sea Grant.

Congratulations to Andrea Reusing: Honored Chef Has Local Food Focus

Seafood Traditions

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Many folks say the James Beard Foundation awards are like the Oscars of the food world.  So folks from across North Carolina were excited with the news that Andrea Reusing of Lantern Restaurant  in Chapel Hill was named 2011 Best Chef in the Southeast.  See details in the Mouthful blog posting.

And half of the semifinalists for the southeast chef honors came from North Carolina.

Like many of the nominees, Andrea Reusing’s menus have a local focus, including seasonal, local seafood. Just check her restaurant’s site and the listings will make you hungry. She has been involved in “farm to fork” and other efforts to bring public attention to farming and fishing families and other local food providers.

Learn more about Andrea — and her new book, Cooking in the Moment — in a podcast from The State of Things on WUNC.

And, if you have soft-shell crabs from your local market or community-supported fisheries delivery, consider her recipe below.

Contributed by Katie Mosher

Recipe reprinted from Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing. Copyright (c) 2011. Photographs (c) 2011 by John Kernick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

Garlic and Black Pepper Soft-Shell Crabs

serves 4

Vegetable oil, for frying

3 cups rice flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup minced garlic

½ cup fish sauce

8 large soft-shell crabs, preferably jumbo or “whale” size, dressed and cut in half crosswise

Fill a deep, heavy pot with a lid about one-third full with oil, and heat it until a deep-fat thermometer reads 375°F.

In the meantime, combine the rice flour, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Put the fish sauce in a small bowl. Dip each piece of crab very briefly into the fish sauce, gently shaking off excess, and then into the rice flour mix. Roll the crab over and shake off any extra flour. Set aside. Repeat this process, until all the crab halves are dredged.

When the oil reaches 375°F, gently lay the crabs, top side down, in the oil. Don’t crowd the pot—if necessary, fry them in batches—and use the lid as needed when the crabs are first added to the oil to avoid splattering. After 1 to 2 minutes, when the crabs are golden brown, turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain on clean brown paper bags and eat hot.