Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crab and Truffle Salad

Serves 4 as a first course

Mustard Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 ounces truffles
  • 3/4 pound fresh cooked crab meat
  • 1 pound asparagus, or 2 pounds broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

To make the dressing, combine the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the oil and mix well. Add more mustard, salt, and pepper to your taste.

Place thin truffle slices between chunks of crab on individual salad plates. Arrange the asparagus or broccoli on each plate. Pour the dressing over and garnish with lemon wedges.

--John and Pat Rawlinson

Famed Winter Truffles Available in Summer

Italian composer Rossini once said: “I have wept three times in my life. Once when my first opera failed. Once again the first time I heard Paganini play the violin. And once when a truffled turkey fell overboard at a boating picnic."

Truffled turkey was a much sought after dish in Rossini’s time. We usually prefer them with scallops or lobster, or stirred into a butter buerre-blanc and ladled over halibut or sole.

The truffle is a form of fungi which grows through a symbiotic relationship with tree roots. Most commonly truffles are found growing in the roots of beech, poplar, birch or oak. They feed on sugars released by the roots systems of these trees, and in return help the roots to better absorb water and nutrient from the soil.

The size of a truffle ranges roughly from that of a pea to that of a potato, with the larger ones being considered the most valuable. To harvest them requires the use of specially trained dogs (and sometimes pigs) who sniff them out from underneath the leaf litter and shallow soil where they lie hidden.

We are very lucky to have Winter Truffles available during the upcoming months. The Winter Truffle is superior in quality to that of the summer variety. Ours are shipped in overnight-express from Western Australia; and it is only thanks to the fact that it is now winter in the southern hemisphere that we can enjoy access to this renowned delicacy!

The cool, rainy climate of Western Australia is ideal for the cultivation of the Black Winter Truffle. The ones that we will have available over the course the next season are the exact same species of truffle and are of the same premiere quality as those from the famed region of Perigord, France.

Most foodies have at one time or another experimented with truffle oil. However, this product, which one can find commonly in gourmet stores and supermarkets, is simply olive oil flavored with synthetic chemicals and does not actually contain any of the prized fungi.

A fresh truffle is something that the aspiring cook should try at least once. When you cut into one a distinctive scent will fill the kitchen. It’s an expansive, earthy and slightly musky fragrance. Many chefs like to store common ingredients like rice or eggs or potato in a closed container with fresh sliced truffles for a few days and simply allow the flavor of the delicacy to infuse into that of the rice, eggs, or potato.

It is absolutely necessary to use truffles when they are fresh since the flavor and fragrance of this delicacy will dissipate over time.

Truffles wonderfully complement seafood and give a cook a lot of room for creativity. Try them with Chillean Seabass, Crabmeat, Trout, and Scallops. Black Truffles can be eaten raw or cooked. Just a few shavings can make a dish dazzle!

We will have shipments of this remarkable ingredient arriving at Kanaloa every Thursday. They are portioned in one ounce increments and will be available for purchase at $100 per ounce. Please note that we will need orders to be placed at least one week in advance.

Also keep in mind that we can over-night our prized truffles anywhere in the U.S. They make the perfect gift for that die-hard foodie who lives out-of-state!

If you are looking for Truffles or any other out-of-the ordinary seafood item or ingredient sure to ask our staff about our “Fish Wish List”!

Local White Sea Bass, The Prime Rib of the Ocean

Just in time for the Grilling Season, the ocean’s own version of prime rib is now available. Local White Sea bass is a meaty fish with large flakes and a fine texture. The species comes from a sustainable, well-managed stock right off the coast of California. For a beautiful, hypnotic video of schools of sea bass swimming through our off-shore kelp forests, enjoy this link

Local White Sea Bass has been given a “best choice” rating from the Monterey Aquarium. The population, which was once low due to over-fishing, has been brought back to healthy, sustainable levels thanks to the efforts of state run hatcheries and a rigorously enforced quota system.

Local fishermen consider this to be one of the best-eating fish from the sea - certainly one of the tastiest from off the coast of California. It is ideal for outdoor cooking, but is also delicious pan-seared or broiled. This fish serves as a great substitute in recipes calling for swordfish, tuna, or shark.

The White Seabass is a gun-metal silver color, and has white flesh with a dark red muscle running through its center line. A member of the drum family, the fish makes a loud clicking noise when threatened or distressed. It also uses this sound as radar when hunting its prey.

Native Americans along the coast of California greatly prized the White Sea Bass, so much so that they used to use its ear bones as currency!

Don’t miss the opportunity to try this delicious, versatile fish. The season begins in June. We will have fillets available throughout the summer and into the fall. Be sure to try Local White Sea Bass the next time you plan to grill. You won’t be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grilling Tips

  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, DRY YOUR FISH! Place 2-3 paper towels on a plate, lay your fish on the towels, and pat dry both sides until there is NO moisture on the surface of the fish. Repeat as necessary!
  • Lightly oil your fish with a neutral-flavor cooking oil that has a high smoke point. (Grape seed oil is Kevin’s favorite, but you can also use canola oil, or rice oil)
  • Avoid Olive Oil at all costs! It has a very low smoke point, and when it gets too hot it will actually add a bitter olive flavor to your fish!
  • Season fish evenly with salt and pepper on both sides!
  • Make sure your grill is very clean. A light coating of oil on the grates will help reduce "stickage".
  • Be sure the grill is hot before placing fish on the grates. When you place your fish on the grill it should sizzle, if there is no sizzle remove fish and wait for your grill to get hotter!
  • Baste or brush fish with lemon and butter (or any other marinade) while it is cooking.
  • Admire the sizzle and smoke of your hot grill!
  • Turn the fish only once. Resist the urge to flip repeatedly. When turning your fish (for the one and only time) place it on a new section of grill. That way you have a sizzle again!
  • Use a wide flat spatula to handle your fish. Avoid tongs, leave those for hot dogs!
  • As a general rule, cook fish for a total of about eight minutes per inch of thickness (Use less time for med-rare fish!)!

And finally, enjoy your delicious meal with friends and family!