It happened y’all. Seafood Boil 2012. The third year was the biggest, and perhaps we should say the best. But that means we’ll have to really kick it up a notch if we do it again next year, so let’s just stick with the word biggest for now. We have fully recuperated and are now sharing a bit more of the fun with you. We’ve already popped up a couple of teaser posts with photos from this year and times before. It’s always nice to reminisce and share, especially when it comes to good food. Take a quick ride with us down memory lane, even if the memory is only less than two years old.
The Jolly Oyster offered ample space for our group to gather around tables and grills in Ventura. If you live in Southern California and love your share of oysters and clams, the Jolly Oyster is perfect for you. The outdoor truck on the beach sells the freshest shuck-your-own goods for guests to purchase and eat right there in the San Buenaventura Park. It’s just about an hour and a half from Los Angeles, and we all know the drive up the 101 is a beaut. It is well worth the trip. Working with Kitchen Play this year was a great collaboration that resulted in fantastic sponsorships and product giveaways sponsored by Alaska Seafood, Calphalon, Discover Endive and California Olive Ranch. We made three recipes featuring Alaska seafood, and the top choice amongst the crowd was the Buffalo Cod Quesadilla. They flew off the grill before we could even put them on a platter. You’d be surprised how easy the recipe is to make, and we know you’ll love it.
California Olive Ranch olive oils kept our endive from burning on the grilled, and of course it added a great flavor. The grilled endive was sliced and used for a topping over crackers with fig jam. The Arbequina oil was fresh and fruity, which made it a great base for the dressing in for a pasta salad featuring Alaska smoked salmon and a colorful salad with endive, tomatoes and oranges for Discover Endive. For dessert, we had not one, not two, but three–yes three–peach cobblers. One of them was made in the new cast iron Dutch oven of two good friends. When peach cobbler is baked under hot coals, you will eat every bite.
There were many contributions to this year’s potluck that made it a great feasts. Friends brought seafood galore–lobsters, crab legs mussels, shrimp–gumbo, salads, chips, beer and wine. The Jolly Oyster set up a table with four of their signature sauces, each one pairing with the oysters for a tongue tingling surprise. Their spicy Thai, French-inspired mignonette and the New Orleans-inspired acme sauce were big hits. The latter variety is perfect for grilled oysters similar to the Acme Oyster House in Louisiana. Pull them off the grate, sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley, then slide them into your mouth. You will then have stepped into Heaven.
We came, we boiled, we ate. That’s what our seafood boils are all about, and that’s why we continue to host the event each year. All of our friends, and their friends plus more, make the entire afternoon one to remember. I cursed at all of the seagulls for trying to eat our food. Amir turned into a master oyster shucker after one shell’s crack. Friends took pictures of their multi-colored pedicures in the sand. Cute dogs poked around under tables…and sometimes on top of tables. A first time oyster eater scored the biggest oyster we’ve ever seen before. S’mores were eaten like they were going out of style. Many folks fell in love with seafood in their quesadillas. Others had their first bites of endive–raw and grilled. At the end of the day, we chose three two winners to take home prizes based on their fun tweets and Instagram photos using the hash tag #seafood boil. Two attendees walked away with Calphalon stainless steel kitchen tools, and one guest, Allison Levine of Please the Palate, will have California Olive Ranch oils in her possession soon enough. There’s nothing better than walking away with a gift!
We are so happy and thankful to have worked with Kitchen Play, all of our sponsors, and Greg this year. Be sure to check out the post on Kitchen Play, as well as Greg’s recipe for sockeye salmon burgers. Erin of Well in L.A. was sweet enough to share her time at the boil as well. For even more (can you believe there’s more?), check out our Facebook album and Pinterest page. Stay tuned for next year’s party, and follow our sponsors and partners on Twitter as well: @Kitchen_Play, @asmiakseafood, @DiscoverEndive, @Calphalon, @CA_EVOO.
Here are a few recipes from the afternoon. There were so many peach cobblers that day, and it’s a shame we’re making you wait for one of the special recipes. We’ll post it soon!
Alaska seafood has developed techniques that allow fish to be cooked directly from the frozen state. The original recipe features thawed fish that has been pan fried in olive oil. We received our seafood via overnight delivery the day before the event, so it was the perfect opportunity to save time by cooking the fish while frozen. Instead of pan frying in olive, the fish was poached, flaked and seasoned with a tiny bit of grapeseed oil, salt and pepper.
Buffalo Cod Quesadillas – Serves 8 (Adapted from recipes provided by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute)
8 – 3 ounce Alaska Cod fillets, frozen
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Grapeseed oil, for seasoning the fish
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded 4 Cheese Mexican Blend
2 cups diced tomatoes
4 ounces prepared Buffalo wing sauce
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
8 – 10 inch flour tortillas
1 cup Ranch or blue cheese dressing, prepared
1. Set a large pot of water over a medium high flame and bring to a simmer. Drop the frozen fish fillets into the pot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until opaque through the center. Remove from the pot, drain of any water and place the fish into a bowl. Drizzle with salt, pepper and a bit of grapeseed oil.
2. Add the two cheeses, tomatoes, Buffalo wing sauce and cilantro to the fish and stir to combine. Once mixed, evenly place onto half of each tortilla and fold over to create a half circle.
3. Grill until heated through*, then serve with the Ranch or blue cheese dressing.
*If you choose not to grill the quesadillas, you can quickly pan fry them until the tortillas have crisped a bit.
Are you wondering what surimi means? It’s imitation crab made of Alaska Pollock flavored with crab and other seafood such as shrimp and scallops. You may find lobster in the mix as well. Surimi can be purchased as whole ‘legs’, chunks or shredded. This recipe features the shredded variety. The original recipe suggest a wasabi or ginger flavored dressing. If your premade dressing is missing a spicy boost, we suggest pouring the dressing into a food processor with a bit of wasabi in a tube and fresh ginger. Blend until smooth, adjust as desired, then add to the seafood salad.
Surimi Seafood Lettuce Cups – Serves 4 (Adapted from recipes provided by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute)
12 ounces shredded Alaska surimi seafood
1-1/2 cups cooked Japanese sushi rice
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and diced Persian cucumber
1/2 cup diced avocado
1 cup Asian-style salad dressing
8 iceberg lettuce leaves
Nori, sesame seeds, pickled ginger, optional
1. In a large bowl, mix the surimi, rice, cucumber and avocado until combined. Drizzle the dressing on top and stir again.
2. Evenly spoon the salad into the lettuce cups and serve immediately. Top with nori, sesame seeds or pickled ginger, if desired.
Grilled Endive and Fig Jam Crostini – Serves 24
1 pound ripe figs, stems removed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon California Olive Ranch olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
24 thin crackers or lightly toasted baguette slices
1 pound endive (about 5 heads), trimmed and halved
3 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1″ slices
Kosher salt, for seasoning
Olive oil, for drizzling
1. For the fig jam, place a heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Add figs, sugar, honey, lemon juice and zest. Mash figs with a potato masher and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, or until mixture is thick and dark in color. Stir often throughout cooking time. Cool completely.
2. For the spread, place the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, garlic, parsley leaves, salt, olive oil, lemon juice into a food processor. Blend until completely smooth and well combined. Set aside.
3. Drizzle endive with olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt. On a hot grill, cook endive about 6 minutes on each side, or until slightly browned. Slice into thin strips. Set aside.
4. Assemble by spreading about teaspoon of spread mixture onto each cracker. Add a few endive slices onto each cracker, topping with a slice of prosciutto and about 1/2 teaspoon of fig jam.
For this recipe, both the jam and spread can be prepared a couple of days ahead. They will store perfectly well in air tight containers in the fridge.
This salad is very easy to tweak. You could add Parmesan or feta cheese just before serving, or swap orange juice for lemon juice and maple syrup for the honey in the dressing. We actually adding the honey on our own, as it’s not in the original recipe. Another great addition would be fresh arugula for extra bite.
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad – Serves 4 (Adapted from recipes provided by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute)
1/3 cup California Olive Ranch olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked and cooled
8 ounces Alaska Smoked Salmon, cut into chunks
12 ounces frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, mustard, honey, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, smoked salmon, peas, peppers and green onions. Drizzle the dressing on top and stir until combined. Serve cold or cover and chill until ready to eat.
Endive and Arugula Citrus Salad – Serves 4
2 ounces fresh parsley leaves and stems
Juice of 1 large grapefruit
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup California Olive Ranch olive oil
5 ounces arugula
2 cups sliced endive
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 fennel bulb, shaved or thinly sliced
4 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the parsley, citrus juices, agave, salt, and oil. Set aside.
2. In a large salad bowl, toss together arugula, endive, tomatoes, fennel, and tangerines with the salad dressing. Top with goat cheese. Serve immediately.
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