After spending a recent (and most delicious) weekend in Washington, D.C., I’m dedicating this week’s Dinner Rush! to my father-in-law. For those who don’t know Ype Von Hengst, he’s an amazingly talented and accomplished chef who’s well-known for his multi-unit restaurant concept in the Mid-Atlantic region. One of his most-popular menu items (and also one of my personal favorites) is his Grilled Wasabi Salmon Sliders. These things fly out the door of his restaurant!
While not the exact recipe (he keeps his secrets closely guarded, that guy), I think I netted out pretty successfully in re-creating them at home. One definite thing revealed through my frequent tastings of Chef Ype’s sliders is that he uses the thicker part of the salmon, so make sure when you’re at the fish counter that you ask them for the center cut of the fillet (save yourself the time and have them skin it for you while they’re at it, too).
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Salmon Teriyaki Sliders
Blue Moon Fish at the Union Square Greenmarket
At the farmers’ market, I usually beeline for the fresh produce — this summer, juicy peaches and heirloom tomatoes in all colors of the rainbow have captured my attention. But after a recent dinner, I am now seeking out the seafood vendors first. Not all neighborhood farmers’ markets sell fish, but if you’re lucky enough to frequent one that does, you can seafood-shop like a chef — just make sure to get there early like they do.
At New York’s A Voce Madison, Chef Missy Robbins is creating tasting menus that highlight the fresh, local and sometimes wacky seafood she discovers on her morning trips to the Union Square Greenmarket, just a short walk from her restaurant.
Continue Reading Fishing at the Farmers’ Market
To celebrate this year of the Olympics and a presidential election, Cooking Channel asked fans what dishes represent their states and then worked with our kitchens to create original recipes for each of the 50 states. (Read all about the project here.) Each state has its own unique food scene, but we couldn’t help but notice some trends across the map from coast to coast.
Every state has its iconic dish that stirs up all kinds of pride. It sparks countless arguments over where to get the ultimate version, whose grandma’s recipe is better or what ingredients are completely sacrilegious to the original. Even the way you serve and eat the dish can separate true locals from pretenders.
To represent my home state of Maryland, Cooking Channel fans were 100 percent accurate in nominating Old Bay steamed blue crabs. Every summer growing up, my family would drive an hour and a half just for dinner on the Chesapeake Bay’s eastern shore, where we’d feast on crabs at a dockside place with rustic picnic tables covered in butcher paper (the only way hard-shell crabs should be served).
Continue Reading Trends Across the Country: East Coast Seafood
It’s safe to say I can get a little carried away on Hook, Line & Dinner, a little overly involved. Well, tonight is a prime example. I decided I was going to catch a snakehead fish, no matter what.
My relationship with the snakehead fish started a long time ago when I worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York. We were electro-fishing in a shallow body of water. The process temporarily stuns the fish so it can be collected, measured, inspected and returned unharmed into the water. I was in the water holding onto our boat when a three-foot snakehead fish burst out of the water and landed in our boat. Up until that moment, I had not believed the hype: “A fish/snake from Asia that can breathe out of water, walk on land and has been known to eat birds, batteries and attack swimmers.” The minute I saw that fish, I became a true believer. My boss, Melissa, normally soft-spoken, shouted, “Kill that f—ing fish!”
Snakehead fish are the poster child for invasive species — they eat, grow and multiply at an alarming rate with no natural predators. So, doing my part to help contain them, I hopped in the boat and literally wrested it into the cooler. It took all my body weight to hold the fish down. I had to sit on the cooler the whole trip back — the fish never showed signs of giving in!
Continue Reading The Illusive, Invasive and Infamous Snakehead Fish
Every episode of Hook, Line & Dinner needs a theme, and tonight’s is danger. And no, the threat isn’t the poisonous lionfish or the large sharks I swam with. It’s the barracuda, and not because of their size and sharp teeth and penchant for chasing after swimmers.
Throughout the episode, I make light of the foodborne illness ciguatera. Tourists to the Bahamas are very concerned with it while the locals believe it’s just a bunch of hogwash. The illness is said to be carried by large “top-of-the-food-chain” fish that swim in warm water. Symptoms of ciguatera are nasty and can get very serious. It’s hard to diagnose and has become a debatable topic. It’s believed to start with toxic plankton that’s eaten by small fish who are in turn eaten by larger fish. Once you eat that big fish — bam. You’ve got ciguatera.
Ebi, who was my barracuda guide, laughed with a roar every time I brought up the subject. He says it’s easy to tell if a fish has ciguatera: Feed the fish to a cat; if the cat dies , don’t eat the fish. It worried me, then, that I hadn’t seen any cats on the island. When I mentioned that to Ebi, he just laughed again.
Ebi and I Cooking Barracuda
We ended up catching three barracuda and ate the largest. I thought, the bigger the fish, the greater the chances, but Ebi wanted to cook that one so I said nothing.
Continue Reading Ooh, Barracuda!
Bringing in a Fish in New York
New York is not the first place you think of when it comes to seafood, surfing and fishing. In fact, when I moved there more than 12 years ago, I was quite sure my days as a waterman were over. But boy, was I wrong.
My first great discovery was surfing in Queens. One day, I ran into a guy carrying a surfboard on the L train in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “Where are you going with that?”, I asked him, expecting him to tell me about an art installation he was working on. “I’m going surfing. Out at the Rock,” he said.
I dropped everything I had going on that day (including watching my friend’s gift shop) and headed out to the local surf break in Queens. From that day on, my life was changed forever.
Continue Reading Fishing (and Surfing) in The Big Apple