Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy Summer Seafood Dining

I have been remiss in my blogging - it's been a while. But now it's truly summer, the flowers are blooming like crazy, the baby birds are showing up at the feeders, and we're enjoying fish on the grill several times a week.
     Two of my favorite summer meals are grilled salmon with one of Jaime's fresh pestos -- he can turn almost anything green into the most incredible pesto -- and Salad Nicoise, a beautiful bowl of goodness that's great for entertaining.
     Jaime makes great basil pesto, which is what most people think of, but he also makes Mustard
Green Pesto, Arugula Pesto, Cilantro Pesto, and Poblano Pesto, all the main ingredients supplied by our local farmer's market. With a food processor, you could easily make these at home, but if you're close to our Hinsdale store, just come and buy Jaime's. Both the mustard greens and arugula add a touch of spiciness to your meal - grill your fish for 8 or 9 minutes (depending on thickness, maybe less, maybe more) and add the pesto to the top of the fish for the last minute of cooking. You don't want to cook the pesto, you're just warming it up. Too much cooking and it will lose it's flavor.
    Salad Nicoise is a French potato salad topped with tuna, green beans, hard boiled eggs, fresh tomato wedges and Nicoise olives. Great for summer entertaining, you can make the entire meal ahead and just assemble it while your guests enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres on the patio.
Here's my recipe:
This is an easy French-inspired summertime meal that has something for everyone, and uses loads of fresh market ingredients.  
TIME/SERVINGS  Total Time: About 30 mins      Makes: 4 - 6 servings
For the dressing:
1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large chopped shallot
French Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, or chives
For the salad:
10 - 12 ounces new potatoes, red & purple 
salt & pepper
6 - 8 ounces fillet (French) green beans 
4 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
8 ounces fresh ahi or albacore tuna, seared and baked or grilled & chilled 
8 ounces yellow cherry  tomatoes or wedges of large tomatoes
10 ounces Bibb or butter lettuce (about 1 head), washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry (optional)
1/2 cup black olives, such as ni├žoise or kalamata 
For the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium, glass or non-metalic bowl until combined. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in the herbs, taste, and season with more salt and pepper as needed; set aside.
For the salad:
Sear and bake or lightly grill the fresh ahi or albacore tuna so that it is still a little pink on the inside. A 1” thick piece of  tuna will require 1 minute of searing each side, then another 3-4 minutes in a 425° oven. Set aside. (Fish will continue cooking, so err to the rare). Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a cutting board until cool enough to handle but still warm. (Do not let the potatoes cool completely.) Meanwhile, return the water to a boil over high heat. Add a little salt, then add the green beans and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool. Spread the beans on paper towels and let them sit until dry. When the potatoes are ready, slice them in half.  Place in a small bowl and toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat.
Taste, adding more dressing, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside.Slice each egg lengthwise into quarters and set aside. Place the green beans, tuna, and tomatoes in separate small bowls. Toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Taste, adding more dressing, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside. Arrange the lettuce in a large wooden or ceramic salad bowl. Place the potatoes in the center of the lettuce, then the tomatoes, 
tuna and green beans over the potatoes. Top with the anchovy fillets, egg quarters and olives. Serve immediately and, if you choose, with remaining dressing on the side.
Add a chilled bottle of Pouilly Fume and some crusty bread and you have a meal fit for a Roi! 
NB: If you're making this for a party, keep all of the various dressed parts of the salad in the fridge until you're ready to serve, then simply put it all together. I actually drop the beans in the same pot with the eggs - saves water.

Come and see Jaime grilling on Saturdays, and have a taste of his many wonderful salsas and pestos - he'll be in front of the store from 11-2 most Saturdays, weather permitting. Learn from the best! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

If you love your heart, show it!

February is National Heart Month - something to do with Valentines Day - and a great chance for everyone to examine your relationship with your own "ticker." Perhaps you'll decide to treat it with a bit more care and affection.
     There are many ways you can do this, beginning with a visit to your doctor for a check-up, just to see how things are pumping along. Some regular exercise may be in order, and perhaps some changes in your diet. Or maybe your doctor has already told you this, and you just cant find the time to exercise, or the will power to say 'no' to high cholesterol foods.
   Well, here are my suggestions:
1) Exercise: If you don't have the time or money for fancy health clubs or classes, go for a walk, take the dog, if you have one, it's good for his/her heart, too. A good, brisk walk is great for your whole body, you can think about anything you like while you're doing it, and it's free.
2) Diet: By now you've probably read at least one article about fish and their 'omega 3 fatty acids' which help break down cholesterol. When you think about where fish live, in ice cold water, it's easy to see why their body fluids have to be special in order to keep flowing at such low temperatures. Think of what happens to animal fat when it simply cools to room temperature! Then think of that same stuff chugging through your veins. It sure doesn't make your heart's job any easier.
     How you cook your seafood matters as well as what you eat. Start with preparations that are naturally healthy to begin with - poaching, steaming, braising, oven broiling and foil or parchment paper steaming are good examples of ways to cook fish that's moist and flavorful without adding calories.
POACHING: Poaching can be done either on the stove top or in the oven. Your fish must be completely submerged in liquid - a flavorful stock, jusice, wine or court bouillon - and gently cooked just below a simmer. Firm fleshed fish, such a salmon, turbot, bass, mahi mahi, opah, whitefish or lake trout, can be successfully cooked using this method. Serve poached fish either hot or cool, as part of a salad, as part of  a buffet, incorporated into a pasta dish, in crepes, canapes or other appetizer recipes.
BRAISING: In seafood cookery, braising is used to keep thick or muscular cuts of fish moist and tender. Braised fish or shellfish is quickly simmered in a small amount of liquid in a covered vessel placed in a 450 degree oven or over a hot burner. The fish is served basted with it's reduced cooking juices. Meatier fish works well with this method, such as swordfish, salmon or marlin.
STEAMING: An easy way to steam fish requires a wok, a collapsible steamer and a dinner plate. Place the steamer unit inside the wok, add a cup of water, and place the dinner plate on top of the steamer so that it is suspended over the water. Place fish fillets skin side down on the plate, and season with herbs or thinly sliced vegetables. Cover the wok, bring the water to a boil over high heat, and cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness - usually 5 to 7 minutes is long enough. Fish good for steaming include sole, snapper, walleye, black sea bass, cod.
FOIL OR PARCHMENT STEAMING: Wrap your fish snugly in foil or parchment paper with your favorite vegetables and seasonings, crimping the edges to keep in the steam. Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees) for 15- 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.  Our papillotes come under this heading - we make them with salmon, but can make them with other fish as well - they're like a healthy delicious gift on everyone's plate.
OVEN BROILING: By substituting unsaturated oils for butter or margarine, e.g. olive oil, this cooking method can be made more healthful. You can add a bit of liquid to the pan and baste the fish to keep it from drying out. For best results, only use fish that are more than 1/2" thick, preferably with the skin left on, or whole fish.
Now that I've had this heart-to-heart with you, I hope you have one with yours! (Hope you had a happy Valentines Day).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Setting up for a Super Super Bowl

If your idea of a great Super Bowl party is one where firing up the big screen TV is the hardest thing you do, we’re on your side. Make Burhop’s your one-stop shop for great appetizers and a simple and delicious meal you can serve at half time. If you don't live near enough to us to stop in, we can still offer some great ideas for entertaining your favorite football fans. 
KICK-OFF: Nothing makes fans feel more festive than a party tray of Burhop’s cocktail shrimp and sauce. Or choose from Shrimp & Claws, Poached Salmon, Hot or Cold Smoked Salmon, or tell us what you want and we’ll custom make a tray.  Our Seafood Spreads are a great way to feed a crowd -- just put it in a bowl, add crackers, and watch it disappear.  And we have great fresh Salsas, made in our kitchen, delicious with your favorite tortilla chips. Nothing in a jar can compete.
A SOUPER BOWL:  When half time rolls around, be ready with one of our great meals-in-a-bowl – Burhop’s award-winning Seafood Chili, Shrimp Etouffee, Sopa de Pescado, Shrimp Gumbo and more – all from Burhop’s own recipes, nothing warms up the conversation like a steaming bowl of seafood soup from Burhop’s. Serve them over steamed rice to make them go further. Add some crusty bread, a green salad and half time is a hit!
ROLL OUT PLAY: If you have more of a finger food crowd to please, we suggest our Shrimp or Tilapia Quesadillas (ready to heat and eat), or our Sandwich Rolls – New England Lobster, Seafood Harvest, Cranberry Tuna or Nutty Tuna. A half a roll and a cup of hot soup would be a really scrumptious meal that you can set out on the table and let everyone serve themselves.
If you’re thinking rolls for a crowd, please call ahead – we can put together everything you need, so that you can put them together just before they’re served to avoid a soggy roll. Our rolls come with a small serving of our fresh coleslaw.
END ZONE: For dessert, a slice of Burhop’s great Key Lime Pie or our Wisconsin Baked-in-a-Bag fruit pies are easy to serve, the perfect ending to a great game and a great party.  With Burhop’s on your side, you’ll be a winner whoever comes out on top in the football game.  (End zone celebrations encouraged). Call us for more ideas and to place an order – because so much of our product is made fresh, we can run out. If you order at least 24 hours ahead, we will set aside what you need, or (staff & product availability permitting) make something up just for you.
     We're having friends over who are definitely not football fans, but we've agreed to eat well, talk a lot, and watch the commercials. When the food's good and the Bears aren't playing, no need to worry about the outcome!