This is how you celebrate springtime!

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  Every year from April to September millions of blue crab molt their old hard shell for a new one. Not all market places or cities are close or lucky enough to be able to take part in this yearly event, atleast in a cost efficient way. This delicacy must be harvested at just the right time from the water before hardening. The mouth and abdomen is discarded along with the gills or “dead man’s fingers “for you old timers. After cleaning the crab you can eat it whole, typically deep fried or sauteed.

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Medium pan seared strip steak rice and cornmeal fried soft shell crab

I always fry my soft shell in flour but this time I switched it up to a fine yellow corn meal. Some recipes call for an egg batter which I feel is tasty but can overshadow the delicate crispness of the fried shell. I should’ve used a better grade of cornmeal but altogether I think now I’m switching forever. Another note on switching forever! The strip steak you see was perfect melt in your mouth tender after the normal few minutes in the pan then finish in the oven with a rest time. The main difference between this steak and any other was the fact that it was all organic raised grass fed beef! I never thought I would truly be able to tell. I feel it had more flavor and more tenderness. It could’ve been the butter and rosemary I basted it in.

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Bacon Wrapped Trout Stuffed With Fresh Dill

 

“First knife skills. Then,knowing how to control heat. Most important is choosing the right product…the rest is simple.” -Justin Quek
 
      What better way to celebrate the springtime weather than fresh fish and herbs?! This is an easy way to turn an otherwise less flavorful fish into a quick,sexy,savory filling meal.  This recipe only uses 6 ingredients , four of which should always be in your kitchen . The dill works with the lemon to add a soft sweetness to the flesh while olive oil and bacon juices keep the meat irresistibly moist. I used uncured bacon with this fish because I didn’t  want the extra saltiness and added preservatives. If you worry about contaminants while eating fish you’ll be happy to hear trout has the lowest amounts of dioxin levels of all oily fish.

Bacon wrapped trout stuffed with dill

1 whole trout

Salt and pepper

4-5 sprigs dill

2-4 lemon slices

2-4 slice uncured bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

      1. Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper then stuff with dill sprigs.

      2. Lay lemon slices inside or on top of fish. Wrap fish with bacon slices nice and tight. 

      3. Heat up olive oil in a large pan and sear the fish on both sides to lightly crisp the bacon.

       4. Flip fish back to serving side and finish in preheated oven at 425degrees for about 20 minutes depending on size    Garnish with lemon and dill

       

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“The fact is that it takes more than ingredients and technique to cook a good meal. A good cook puts something of himself into the preparation. He cooks with enjoyment, anticipation, spontaneity, and he is willing to experiment .” – Pearl Bailey

Sazon blackened red snapper with spiced pineapple pork belly and rice and beans

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Yesterday I planned on baking this beautiful red snapper I picked up from the international market with fresh herbs and veggies. When I informed my roommate of the fish dinner plans he told me that our oven is on the fritz! I checked and confirmed but atleast the stove top works!
There was no way I was going to freeze my fresh fish so I settled for a pan fry. This of course required me to go grab a deep enough pan to fry my snapper correctly and another trip to the store.

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I seasoned my fish with a special sazon blend from the market. Sazon is a popular Latin spice blend of coriander, black pepper, salt, oregano, cumin, and garlic powder. The key ingredient is achiote or annatto. It’s scent is described as “slightly peppery with a hint and nutmeg” and it’s flavor as “slightly nutty, sweet and peppery”. I also added it to my rice for extra flavor and color. You will probably see me use a lot of this spice blend!

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So at first I was only doing the blackened snapper with rice and pigeon peas. Then I got the idea to put some ponzu sauce I had to use. Ponzu sauce is a citrus based sauce used in Japanese cuisine. It is made with mirin, rice vinegar, tuna flakes, seaweed and a citrus juice. I reduced a can of pineapple rings, the ponzu sauce and red pepper together until thick and saucey.

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In the meantime, I pulled out some uncured bacon otherwise known as pork belly and seasoned and fried that with a Chinese five spice blend I got from the market. Chinese five spice is a blend of different proportions of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, fennel seeds, and this one has the addition of Mandarin orange peel. The fatty yet crisp pork belly and blackened snapper pair excellently with the spicy pineapple and rice.

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So needless to say after all this preparation and eating I had no motivation to go out. I created an island meal in my apartment but it’s still the middle of November outside!  Its time for hot tea and a movie now. If u like this please like it and follow!
-FC