THE ALWAYS GREAT OYSTER CASSEROLE

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It’s time for that old standby tuna casserole to move over and make way for another Northwest favorite - Oyster Casserole. Though regional cousins (both hail from the Pacific Northwest) they are very different in more than one way.

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When the first tuna casserole recipes began appearing nationally in the mid 1930’s they contained the now familiar ingredients of canned tuna fish, canned mushroom soup, and corn flakes. Oyster casseroles have always called for fresher ingredients.

So why are tuna casseroles better known nationally then casseroles made with fresh oysters?

Tuna casseroles may in part owe their popularity to two factors - James Beard and transportation.

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James Beard grew up in the Pacific Northwest before rising to national fame as the leading food writer at the New York Times. As early as 1913 cooks from Portland to Seattle had mixed canned tuna with a white sauce (an earlier version of cream of mushroom soup) and topped their creation with either bread crumbs or crushed potato chips.

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No doubt James Beard knew about this regional favorite because in his 1955 Casserole Cookbook he included a recipe for a tuna casserole. As a result, the fame of tuna casseroles went national, especially in the Midwest where sea-fresh ingredients were then hard to obtain.

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Today coast-to-coast delivery of premium, fresh seafood is no longer a problem. Taylor Shellfish Farms can easily supply chefs with premier shellfish through their local wholesale vender or via direct delivery if needed.

As a result, Oyster Casseroles are growing in popularity with diners, especially when the flare of ingredients like chanterelles and wine are added to a savory made-from-scratch white sauce.

Oyster Casserole

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 3/4 pounds small chanterelle mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp of chopped chives 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 pints Taylor Shucked Oysters (Reserve enough oyster liquor to make a full cup of liquid) 
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup of Sauvignon Blanc Wine
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter 
  • 1 1/2 cups fine, dry breadcrumbs
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Directions

  1. Lightly butter a deep medium-size casserole dish.
  2. Preheat broiler to 500° F. 
  3. In a big skillet, melt four tablespoons of the butter. 
  4. Add onion and bell pepper.
  5. Cook until they get soft, about 5 to 6 minutes on medium-high. 
  6. Add mushrooms and chives.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook approximately 9 minutes until golden brown and most of liquid has cooked out.
  9. In a Dutch oven, melt remaining ½ cup butter. 
  10. On low heat, whisk in flour, and cook for a minute. 
  11. Whisk in the cream and oyster liquor. 
  12. Simmer, stirring often. 
  13. Keep stirring for 5 minutes until this stuff is smooth and thick. 
  14. Add two tablespoons of the cheese. 
  15. Add in all the wine.
  16. Season again with salt and pepper. 
  17. Cook two minutes more, whisking constantly. 
  18. Fold in oysters.
  19. Cook 3 more minutes. 
  20. Fold in mushroom mixture.
  21. Pour into buttered medium-size casserole dish.
  22. Combine remaining cheese and melted butter with enough breadcrumbs to cover.
  23. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over top of the casserole. 
  24. Bake under broiler 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
  25. Cool slightly before serving.
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GREEN SPANISH CLAM SOUP

With the vast majority of their borders facing the sea, it's not surprising that Spanish cuisine has created some of the finest shellfish dishes in the world. Many of those outstanding dishes came to America with immigrants from Spain during the last hundred years.

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Many of the immigrants from Spain since the 1880’s have settled on the West Coast and in the coastal Gulf states, thereby adding their culinary traditions to America’s always expanding heritage of diversity. 

One beloved Spanish dish that successfully made the transatlantic culinary journey is Green Spanish Clam Soup, savory enough to be served hot or cold.  It is a true delight and perfect for summer days at either cool mountain retreats or on sunny beach picnics. 

What can we say but enjoy and, “Thank you Spain!”

Green Spanish Clam Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 medium or 2 small leeks, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cupschicken broth 
  • 1 lb Taylor Manila Clams, rinsed
  • Salt, if desired
  • White pepper, if desired

Directions

  1. In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. 
  2. Stir in onion and leek. 
  3. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. 
  4. Stir in garlic, parsley and cilantro. 
  5. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  6. Add bread crumbs, and stir frequently until coated and light golden brown. 
  7. Stir in wine. 
  8. Let wine evaporate, then add broth.
  9. Stir in clams.
  10. Heat to boiling. 
  11. Reduce heat to medium. 
  12. Cover. 
  13. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until clams fully open. 
  14. Stir in salt and pepper.

PORTUGUESE CLAM CHOWDER JAPANESE STYLE

One of the delights of American cuisine is its amazing diversity. For over 200 years individuals from all over the world have journeyed to America and added their culinary traditions to the heritage of the American palate.

Often, over time, two very different streams of cuisine will meet and merge, creating uniquely American dishes. One such resulting dish is Portuguese Clam Chowder Japanese Style. 

In the late 1890s Japanese American farmers sold Mitsuba, known as Japanese wild parsley, in San Francisco open air food markets. Portuguese Americans sold fresh clams there as well. Before long Bay Area chefs were combiningthe two to create a new hybrid dish - Portuguese Clam Chowder Japanese Style.

Learning More About Japanese Mitsuba

Little known, Japanese Mitsuba has a very distinct appearance, a characteristic fragrance and is actually a member of the carrot familly, Apiaceae-Umbelliferae. As a result, its subtle flavor is reminiscent of a blend of celery leaves, Italian parsley and angelica. 

Some say it offers a hint of clove and has somewhat the sharpness of sorrel, in short a perfect match with fresh clams. Though known as Japanese Wild Parsley, it has been grown commercially for over a century in Japan and then in America. As a result, it is available in Asian markets year round.

Mitsuba, fresh or cooked, can also be added to salads, seafood casseroles, stir fries and sashimi. Mitsuba turns bitter when cooked more than a few minutes, so handle it very gently to preserve its special flavor. 

When Japanese Mitsuba is blended with fresh clams, so loved by the Portuguese, the result is a unique chowder, as special as America and truly reflective of our nation’s wonderfully diverse cuisine. 

Portuguese Clam Chowder Japanese Style

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 2 lbs Taylor Clams
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch matchsticks 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup shiitake Mushrooms, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 celery ribs, finely diced 
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme 
  • 2 bay leaves, whole 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white miso paste 
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half 
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 cup fresh Mitsuba, Japanese parsley leaves 
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil 

Directions

  1. In a soup pot, bring the wine and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. 
  2. Add the clams, cover and cook over high heat until the clams open, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a bowl. 
  4. Remove the clams from their shells.
  5. Coarsely chop clams. 
  6. Strain the broth.
  7. Separately cook bacon in butter over moderately high heat until the bacon is crisp. 
  8. Add the chopped onion, garlic, celery, thyme and bay leaves.
  9. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. 
  10. Stir in the miso paste. 
  11. Gradually add the reserved clam broth. 
  12. Add the cream and 1 cup of water to the pot and bring to a simmer. 
  13. Add the potato cubes.
  14. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  15. Simmer over low heat for about 8 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  16. In a blender, combine the parsley with 1/4 cup of water and puree until finely chopped. 
  17. Add the oil, and puree until smooth. 
  18. Season with salt.
  19. Puree a few of the potatoes and add to soup as thickening agent. 
  20. Add the reserved clams and simmer just until heated through. 
  21. Discard the bay leaves. 
  22. Portion into serving bowls.
  23. Drizzle with blended Mitsuba parsley oil.

WHY QUALITY SOURCING MATTERS

As every chef knows the best results can only be achieved when one starts with the best ingredients. In a world full of vendors, it’s vital to know what makes one’s suppliers unique from the mustard on the shelf to the fresh shellfish in the walk-in.

Just consider, for example, Dijon Mustard. What exactly is Dijon Mustard and why is it special? 

What Makes Dijon Mustard Unique?

French Dijon mustard is different from other mustards. It is based on a combination of “Verjus" and ground brown mustard seeds along with salt and other spices. The resulting mustard is a pale yellow color and has slightly creamy consistency. 

Since most other mustards are made with vinegar, the next question might be “What is Verjus?” Verjus is created from fresh grape juice, while vinegar is made traditionally from fermented fruit. Versus is acidic but less harsh, much like orange juice is less acidic than vinegar.  As a result, mustard made using Verjus doesn't compete with the other ingredients being used in a dish. Instead it compliments.

Why the word “Dijon” is Important? 

Mustard seeds and white grapes both grew well and in abundance in Dijon, France. Back in 1752 Jean Naigeon revolutionized the centuries-old mustard recipe by substituting verjus (the sour juice of unripe grapes) for the vinegar traditionally used in the making of mustard. 

This resulted in a smoother, less acerbic mustard which was immediately embraced by mustard lovers everywhere.

In 1777 another moutardier (the name for a French mustard maker) Maurice Grey, teamed up with Auguste Poupon and together they formed the Grey Poupon Mustard Company. It was Maurice Grey who invented a machine that would grind the mustard, automating the process and replacing the traditional grinding of mustard seeds by hand.

Knowing Your Shellfish Source Is Just as Important

Taylor Shellfish Farms has been supplying leading chefs quality shellfish for over 125 years. As a family owned business, they are dedicated to both providing the highest quality shellfish as well as supporting true sustainability to both local communities and the environment.

As a result, Taylor is the only the only shellfish company to be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the leading international third-party certifier of responsibly farmed seafood. Simply put, Taylor products are a must for any chef seeking to obtain top quality while working to protect the health of the planet. 

Why not put two such great products, mustard and shellfish, together and share the memorable result with guests in…

Mussels Dijonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 lbs Taylor Mussels, washed and beards removed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted. 
  2. Add the onions, shallots and garlic, and cook briefly, until wilted.Do not brown.
  3. Add the mussels, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, white wine, and cream.
  4. Cover closely and bring to a boil. 
  5. Cook, shaking gently to redistribute the mussels. 
  6. Cook until all the mussels are opened.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a serving bowl. Keep warm.
  8. Continue cooking the sauce for a minute, remove bay leaf and the thyme.
  9. Stir in the mustard with a wire whisk while heating. Do not boil.
  10. Season sauce to taste with salt if necessary.
  11. Spoon equal portions of it over the mussels.
  12. Sprinkle with parsley. 
  13. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

BE ITALIAN WITH CLAMS BRODETTO

For decades many Americans thought of Italian food as primarily being dishes composed of spaghetti and meat balls topped with red tomato sauce. 

Thankfully today Americans are far more aware of the stunning diversity of Italian cuisine, especially fish and shellfish.  And why not - with health and sustainability on the diner’s mind, Italy’s massive coastline has prompted endless dishes centered on ingredients from the sea.

One such classic dish is brodetto, similar in some ways to a French bouillabaisse but with a lighter broth. It can be prepared with both fish and shellfish or in its simplest form just clams. Either way, it’s a great way to “Be Italian” for a day.

Clams Brodetto

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 4 Garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 4 Scallions (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 4 lbs Taylor Clams
  • 1 cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Chives
  • 1/2 cup fresh Oregano leaves
  • Sliced Garlic Bread
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Directions

  1. Heat a few tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add red onion and cook one minute. 
  3. Add sliced garlic, scallions and salt, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cook until scallions and garlic color slightly, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add clams, tomato puree, wine and pepper flakes. 
  6. Bring to a boil. 
  7. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until clams open. 
  8. Uncover pan and add herbs. 
  9. Divide clams evenly into serving bowls.
  10. Spoon broth over them. 
  11. Serve each with toast.

HOW TO STAY COOL THIS SUMMER WITH OYSTER ICES

Every chef feels the heat that comes from prepping for graduation events to wedding celebrations. One classic way to beat the heat, ease staff fatigue and still delight the waiting guest is to serve cool savory ices with fresh Taylor Oysters, opened and ready. 

Oyster Ices

Ingredients

Tabasco Ice:

  • 1/4 cup Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Simple Syrup

Horseradish Ice:

  • 1/4cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Simple Syrup

Pickled Red Onion Ice:

  • 1/2 medium red onion (1 cup sliced)
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Simple Syrup

Directions

Tabasco Ice:

  • Pour Tabasco, simple syrup, and 1/2 cup water into a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • Pour into a 2 cup container and freeze overnight. 
  • A shallow container will flake more easily. 
  • Once frozen, flake with a fork and serve alongside raw oysters. 

Horseradish Ice:

  • Place horseradish, vinegar, simple syrup, and 1/2 cup water into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Strain liquid into a 2 cup container and freeze overnight. 
  • A shallow container will flake more easily. 
  • Once frozen, flake with a fork and serve alongside raw oysters. 

Pickled Red Onion Ice:

  • Peel, halve, and very thinly slice red onion. 
  • Place in a 1 quart heat-proof container. 
  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine vinegar, sugar and 1 cup water. 
  • Bring to boil, stir to dissolve sugar, and pour over onion slices. 
  • Let stand at room temp until cool. 
  • Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 10 minutes. 
  • Strain liquid into a 2 cup container and freeze overnight. 
  • A shallow container will flake more easily. 
  • Reserve pickled red onion for another use. 
  • Once frozen, flake with a fork and serve alongside raw oysters

NORTHWEST CLAM CHILI

While it is easy to think of chili as a single dish made up of beef and beans, there are in fact as many variations to this truly American dish as there are states and cities in the US.

Just consider for a moment some of America’s classic chilis: Texas’ original chili made famous the lovely Chili Queens of San Antonio, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Chili, Cincinnati’s beloved Pasta Chili and San Francisco’s Five Alarm Firemen’s Chili.

Out in the great Northwest seafood lovers favor White Clam Chili, a unique chili that reflects the rich flavors of this amazing region. The tidal flow of cool Northwest waters produce a clam that’s ideal for this unique chili. Enjoy!

Northwest Clam Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 pints of fresh shucked Taylor Clams 
  • 1 lb mini red potatoes 
  • 2 cups diced green bell peppers 
  • 1 cup diced yellow bell peppers 
  • 2 cups diced onions 
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc Wine 
  • 2 15 oz cans of cannellini beans drained 
  • 1 15 oz can of black eyed peas drained 
  • 1 tsp chili powder 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic 
  • 2 jalapeños peppers seeds removed and chopped 
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro 

Directions

  1. Chop fresh clams into soup-spoon size pieces. 
  2. Reserve the clam liquor. 
  3. Cook green and yellow peppers plus onions in a large soup pot. 
  4. Cook till onions are translucent. 
  5. Add white wine. 
  6. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  7. Add all the clam juice and all other ingredients, except the clams. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. 
  8. Add clams and cook for 3-5 additional minutes.
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OYSTERS NORMANDE

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America is blessed with an astonishing range of cuisine, thanks in large part to talented chefs who have made America their home. From the French trained chefs of early New Orleans to Albert Stockli of New York’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant, America’s diverse cuisine has been enhanced by their creative presence.

One of their greatest gifts to American cuisine has been awareness of the five“Mother Sauces” and their many variations. One such sauce, named for the region of France it originated in, is Sauce Normande, an extension of a classic velour sauce. 

Given Normandy’s rugged coastline and love of seafood, it’s not surprising that this sauce easily compliments America’s outstanding shellfish as well and has been a favorite of leading American chefs for over a hundred years.

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This versatile sauce in its simplest form consists of oyster liquor, egg yolks, butter, and heavy cream. These ingredients are simmered together until the sauce thickens into a rich cream which can be poured over oysters which have been baked, broiled, grilled, or sauteed. 

The high fat content of the sauce also enhances the flavor of the dish, giving it a fuller mouthfeel, rich in umami. Cider or dry white wine may also be used as primary ingredients.

Simply said, it’s a must sauce for all who love fresh savory oysters.

OYSTERS NORMANDE

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Dash of Cayenne
  • 1 cup oyster liquor
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 dozen large Taylor Pacific Oysters, grilled 

Directions

  1. Melt butter over low heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour and cayenne. 
  4. Stir until well blended.  
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Gradually stir in oyster liquor and return to heat.  
  7. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until thick and smooth.
  8. Set aside to cool
  9. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks slightly.
  10. Add cream and a little of the hot sauce.
  11. Stir slowly into cooled sauce.  
  12. Add wine or lemon juice.  
  13. Reheat over low heat, stirring constantly, until thoroughly warm.  
  14. Season to taste.  
  15. Serve as topping on warm grilled Taylor Pacific Oysters.

Before Alice Waters There Was Mussels Polonaise

Farm-to-Table and Tide-to-Table cuisine has become an enduring trend in the Culinary Industry that insures both fresh flavor and sustainability to diners. Alice Waters is often credited with initiating this vital trend. Yet before her very important contribution, there was Albert Stockli and Mussels Polonaise.

Albert Stockli was the original chef at the famed Four Seasons Restaurant, a restaurant that the phrase “power lunch” was coined for by Esquire Magazine. Opened in 1959 (Alice Water’s Chez Pannise opened later in 1971) the restaurant welcomed guests ranging from Jackie Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Norman Mailer and Barbara Walters along with many other influential people and celebrities

(The Seagram Building, site of The Four Seasons Restaurant, and massive hallway mural by Picasso) 

Even though its elegant decor, designed by the architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, was designated an interior landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, it was Chef Stockli’s remarkable cuisine that captured the attention of its discerning guests.

Born in Switzerland, Stockli took over housekeeping as the oldest child after his mother's death when he was just nine years old. He learned more formal cooking from an uncle who was a chef in a leading Zurich hotel.

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He soon moved on to Antwerp, Rotterdam and Paris, always studying and learning.  He became, however, increasingly impatient with the rigid culinary view of the time that postulated there was only one way of preparing each classical dish.

Seeking a change of venue and a new approach, he shipped out on a Dutch vessel to the East Indies. There he became intrigued by the new spices and flavors. He was also fascinated by the quick-cooking method used in the Indies to preserve the rich flavors of local meats and vegetables.

During World War II he bravely served on the hastily built Liberty Ships, bringing aid and support to America’s European Allies struggling against Hitler. At the war’s end he found work as chef at the Claridge Hotel in New Jersey.

He soon joined Restaurant Associates which had received the concession to run the restaurant at the then new Arrivals Building at Newark Airport. The owners were looking for a more ambitious and imaginative culinary approach for their new restaurant. There he invented dishes that brought patronage from not only travelers but also from non-traveling diners.

His next move was to the Hawaiian Room in the Lexington Hotel in Manhattan, where the menu soon included dishes like “Flaming Snow Mountain—an Ice Mountain of Tropical Fruits to Dip in a Delicious Ruin Sauce—Afire!”

In 1959 he opened the elite Four Seasons in the new Seagram Building on Park Avenue. Stockli, a six‐footer with a commanding presence extended by his chef's toque blanche, his dining room was the first destination restaurant to print its menu entirely in English.

But Chef Stockli’s innovations went even further. His inventive dishes featured fresh neighborhood foods – he visited farms and dairies himself, and had a network of hunters and fishermen who would bring him game. As a result, his restaurant was the first restaurant in the States to incorporate wild mushrooms into their menu.

Chef Stockli died just one year after Alice Waters opened Chez Pannise in California, Thankfully he left a record of his favorite recipes in his one and only cookbook, Splendid Fare. Written while in semi-retirement (for what chef ever stops cooking and creating entirely?), it preserved for lucky readers his dedication to fine flavorful food prepared with the freshest locally farmed ingredients possible.

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One of his favorite dishes was Mussles Polonaise, literally shellfish prepared in the Polish style. Chef Stockli’s insightful cuisine reflected his belief in culinary diversity and absolute freshness - resulting in dishes always to be created with respect for the original source while still honoring innovation and quality.

Mussels Polonaise

(adapted from Splendid Fare)

The Elegant Jackie Kennedy at the Four Seasons

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Taylor Mussels yielding 3 cups cooked Mussel Meat, Steamed until Done
  • 1 lb Cucumbers, peeled and slice in very thin discs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Lemon, juice of
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream 
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper 
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled, finely chopped or rubbed through a sieve

Directions

  1. Steam mussels until cooked.
  2. Remove meat from shells and refrigerate.
  3. Discard mussel shells.
  4. Slice the cucumber into paper thin discs.
  5. Place the sliced cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Allow cucumber slices to “sweat” for at least 1 hour.
  7. Squeeze all the moisture out of the cucumbers.
  8. Discard cucumber liquid.
  9. Return the cucumbers to bowl.
  10. Add lemon juice and heavy cream,
  11. In another bowl mix sour cream, oil, vinegar, chopped dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise.
  12. Pour mixture over cucumbers.
  13. Add the chilled mussels. 
  14. Chill entire mixture at least for 1 hour.
  15. Just before serving, plate and sprinkle finely chopped egg on top of the salad.

CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH SOMETHING TRULY AMERICAN - PICKLED OYSTERS

Why not celebrate the freedom of summer with something traditional and yet oh so hip: pickled oysters. 

Pickled foods have been around for thousands of years, dating as far back as 2030 BC. The word “pickle” came later from the Dutch pekel, meaning “salt” or “brine,” two very important components in the pickling process. 

Throughout history pickling was a necessity, as it was the best way to preserve food for a long period of time. As one of the earliest mobile foods, pickles filled the stomachs of hungry sailors and busy travelers.

All pickled foods are created by immersing them in an acidic liquid or saltwater brine until they are no longer considered raw or vulnerable to spoilage. 

American pickling was made easier and more sanitary during the 1850s, when two essential canning tools were invented here . First, a Scottish born chemist by the name of James Young created paraffin wax, which helped to create a seal for food preserved in jars. A few years later, John Mason developed and patented the first Mason jar. Mason’s jars were made from a heavyweight glass that was able to tolerate the high temperatures used in canning and processing pickles.

The pickles that were left to ferment for a few weeks turned bright green and were know then as “half sours” while pickles fermented for a longer period were called “full sours” and were a darker color green.

Today American pickles can be sweet, sour, salty, or hot and represent the broad culinary heritage of our nation. English immigrants prefer sweet pickles made with vinegar, sugar and spiced syrup. Individuals with a French heritage often enjoy tiny, spiced cornichons with rich pâtés and pungent cheeses. Russian Americans pickle their tomatoes while Japanese American enjoy pickled plums and daikon. Citizens with an Italian heritage often ask for pickled eggplants and peppers.

But best of all, yet little known, is an American classic enjoyed by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and shhh - some of hottest chefs in the U.S.

All American Pickled Oysters

Ingredients

  •  12 Fresh Taylor Pacific Oysters
  • Gherkin Vinegar, 100 ml (reserved from jar)
  • 1/2 Shallot, diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Green Jalapeño Chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 Gherkin Pickles, large and finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cucumber, finely chopped 
  • Light Olive Oill, 100 ml
  • Fresh Dill, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Shuck the oysters.
  2. Strain and save oyster liquid. 
  3. Wash and reserve bottom oyster shell
  4. Add the gherkin vinegar to the strained oyster juice.
  5. Add the shucked oysters.
  6. Refrigerate marinating mixture for 4 hours. 
  7. Add the shallot, garlic, chilli, gherkins, cucumber, and oil to oyster marinate.
  8. Stir mixture gently
  9. Replace oysters in the shell.
  10. Add marinate topping
  11. Garnish lightly dill.

OYSTERS CHURCHILL

No one would doubt Winston Churchill's place in history. Without his courage and determination, World War II and the fate of both England and Europe would have been quite different. 

And while many are familiar with his trademark "V for Victory" hand sign and ever present thick cigar, far fewer are familiar with his love of Oysters AND champagne.

As a young reporter, he traveled extensively and developed a taste for fine cuisine which, of course, included shellfish and a cooling glass of, as he called it, "the Bubbly”.

As London recovered from the damage of the War's nightly bombing, many a restaurant in the 1950's sought to thank the esteemed "Last Lion" for saving the Capital with special dishes named in his honor such as Oysters Churchill, a dish combining two of his favorite peacetime ingredients - Oysters and Champagne.

Oysters Churchill

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • 2 cups spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup coarse breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 dozen fresh Taylor Pacific Oysters on half shell
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10cups kosher salt
  • Lemon wedges and/or parsley for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat barbecue grill to medium.
  2. In a bowl combine champagne, spinach, onions, 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs, and parsley.
  3. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. 
  4. Add champagne-breadcrumb mixture. 
  5. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring until spinach is wilted. 
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Place oysters in the shell on a baking sheet. 
  9. Put 1 tablespoon of champagne-breadcrumb mixture on each oyster. 
  10. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on top of oysters.
  11. Place baking sheet on the barbecue grill. 
  12. Grill for about 5 minutes, with the lid closed, or until cheese is bubbling and is starting to brown.
  13. Cover the bottom of a shallow serving platter with a layer of kosher salt.
  14. Remove oysters from baking sheet. 
  15. Place oysters on the salted shallow serving platter. 
  16. Garnish with lemon wedges and/or parsley.

MUSSELS CAESAR STYLE

The mussel has been enjoyed since the stone age. The Roman emperors were especially fond of mussels as they grew near the elite resort centers of Pompeii and the recently discovered nearby seaside town of Baiae.

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If you are unfamiliar with Baiae don’t be surprised. It has been hidden under water until 1959 when Professor Lamboglia, the founder of the Center for Underwater Archaeology, found the major buildings. 

Julius Caesar had a villa there, and much of the town became imperial property under Augustus. With its large swimming pools and domed spa, it continued to be a favorite of the elite. Nero had a notable villa constructed in the middle of the 1st century and Hadrian died at his in 138 AD. In short, Baiae was the place to be - especially if you liked shellfish.

Mussels were so popular there they were written about in the only extant ancient Roman cookbook, De re coquinaria. It is attributed to Marcus Gavius Apicius.  

Apicius lived in the first century A.D. and was a very rich Roman. He was a famed gourmet in his own lifetime, yet killed himself when his fortune fell to the equivalent of a mere ten million dollars in modern currency. The thought that he couldn't afford the meals he was accustomed to anymore (think the Roman equivalents of caviar, truffles and Premier Grand Crû wine), was just too much and he poisoned himself.

Thankfully he left his favorite mussel recipe, complete with matching sauces, in De re coquinaria for us to enjoy.

Sadly there are no contemporary copies of De re coquinaria. The only copies that have survived the centuries are two ninth-century manuscripts, plus some slightly older fragments and excerpts. Never cooked from, it served only as an antique Latin text to practice translation from.

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In the fifteenth century, however, De re coquinaria was rediscovered as a cookbook. Italian humanists were curious about everything Roman, including what the Romans ate. The first printed edition of De re coquinaria dates from 1498. 

Today mussels are grown around the world, often on ropes similar to the method used in ancient Baiae. Many of the best come from the cool waters of the Pacific Northwest.  

A Modern Adaptation of Mussels Baiae

Ingredients

Main Mussels Dish

  • 4 lbs. Taylor Blue Mussels
  • 1 2/3 cup young leeks in small rings
  • 1/2 cup each of dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup passum (substitute sweet wine)
  • 1/2 water
  • 1/4 cup liquamen
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 or 3 sprigs satureia (or 1 tsp. dried)

Lovage sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. chopped lovage leafs
  • lots of freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 raw egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. white wine
  • 1 tsp. liquamen (substitute Vietnamese nuoc-nam or Thai nam-pla)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Cumin Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. liquamen (substitute Vietnamese nuoc-nam or Thai nam-pla)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh lovage
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Make the Two Sauces in Advance
  2. Lovage sauce:
  3. Mix egg yolk with vinegar, pepper and honey as if preparing mayonnaise.
  4. Add the olive oil in a small trickle while whisking well. 
  5. When the sauce has the thickness of mayonnaise, stop adding oil.

Cumin sauce:

Mix all the ingredients together.

Mussel Preparation

  1. Wash and clean the mussels. 
  2. Put mussels in a large pan. 
  3. Bring to the boil.
  4. Add the mussels.
  5. Cook until the mussels are steamed open.

To Serve

  1. Place the cooking pan with the mussels on the table for a rustic meal. 

  2. Place the two sauces alongside the pan. 
  3. Loosen Mussels from Shells and dip in one of the sauces.

WHY MILLENNIALS LOVE OYSTERS SO MUCH

Few words have as many happy associations as the word “oyster”.  From Shakespeare’s famous line “Why then the world’s mine oyster” to Rolex naming their legendary silver watchband after this culinary delight, oysters have come to mean all things good and Millennials know it.

Just consider what eating oysters can do for the active body:

    •    Boost the Immune System:
Oysters contain a large amount of both vitamin E and C. They also contain various other minerals that help the immune system. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of oysters can protect against free radicals, which are released during cellular metabolism.

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    •    Promote Heart Health: 
Oysters are good for the heart. They reduce the plaque that accumulates on arteries by limiting its binding to the artery walls and blood vessels. The high magnesium and potassium content in oysters helps lower blood pressure and relaxes the blood vessels

    •    Strengthen Eye Sight:
Oysters top the list for natural sources of zinc, the mineral that ensures that the eye’s pigment is adequately produced in the retina. The more zinc, the stronger your eyesight, because reduced pigmentation is often related to a reduction in the central visual field of vision.

    •    Improves Brain Function:
Oysters are a rich source of B12, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and iron, all benefiting brain function. Studies have shown that low iron in the brain reduces the ability of a person to concentrate while zinc deficiency can affect the memory.

    •    Acts as a Mood Boosting:
Due to the high levels of zinc found in oysters, they are known to stabilize mood. Zinc is considered an essential mineral because it is not stored by the body and needs to be consumed through diet.

    •    Makes You Beautiful :
The powerful mineral zinc plays a big role in skin repair by helping create and boost collagen. Collagen is crucial for the structural support in skin and reduces sagging. It also helps maintain stronger nails, and keeps scalp and hair healthy.

    •    Encourages Healthy Vascular System and Blood Vessels:
One single serving of oysters contains 16-18% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C  helps fight cardiovascular disease. Oysters are also high in omega–3 fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium which are known to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and can help lower blood pressure.

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    •    Increases Energy:
Oysters contain a good amount of B12 vitamins, which boost energy and turn the food into energy. Oysters also contain iron, which helps the body transport oxygen to individual cells giving an energy boost.

    •    Strengthens Bones:
The presence of selenium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus and calcium found in oysters leads to stronger bone health and density.

And it that’s not enough, they taste great - fresh on the half shell or prepared in hundreds of savory ways like the famed New Orleans entree, Oysters Rockefeller.

Oysters Rockefeller

Ingredients

  • 36 fresh Taylor Pacific Oysters
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons finely-minced onion 
  • 9 tablespoons finely-minced parsley 
  • 5 tablespoons homemade bread crumbs 
  • Tabasco Sauce to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Pernod
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Rock Salt
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions

  1. Using an oyster knife, shuck open the oyster shells, then remove the oysters. 
  2. Discard the top shells. 
  3. Reserve the oyster liquor.
  4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter; add spinach, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, Tabasco Sauce, Herbsaint, and salt.  
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes.  
  6. Remove from heat.  
  7. Press the spinach mixture through a sieve or food mill; let cool.  
  8. Preheat oven broiler.  
  9. Line an ovenproof plate or platter with a layer of rock salt about 1-inch deep (moisten the salt very slightly).  
  10. Set oysters in the rock salt.
  11. Place a little of the reserved oyster liquor on each oyster.  
  12. Spoon an equal amount of the prepared parsley mixture over each oyster .
  13. Spread parsley mixture to the rim of the shell.
  14. Broil approximately 5 minutes or until the edges of the oysters have curled and the topping is bubbling.  
  15. Garnish the plates with the parsley sprigs and the lemon wedges.  
  16. Serve immediately.

PROTECTING THE SEA AND ALL WHO WORK UPON ITS WATERS

Today many nations, organizations, companies and concerned chefs are working hard to protect the seas and the people who make their living from it.

Because of programs like Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, humanity’s attention is turning to the seas for alternate forms of protein and concern about honest sourcing and fair labor practices.

Yet the struggle for responsible actions upon the sea began over 150 years ago when Andrew Furuseth fought for the rights of common seamen. 

During his life time not only whales but also seamen were treated with indifferent cruelty. The rights of a seamen were as little valued then as the marine species that were being fished to near extinction. Sailors could be shanghaied, whipped, starved and beaten without recourse to any form of justice. Pay could be withheld for the slightest of reasons.

Furuseth is credited as the key figure behind the drafting and enacting the Seamen’s Act of 1915,  hailed by seamen as "The Magna Carta of the Sea”.  It fundamentally changed the life of the American sailor. Among other things, it:

  •     Abolished the practice of imprisonment for seamen who deserted their ship,
  •     Reduced the penalties for disobedience,
  •     Regulated a seaman's working hours both at sea and in port,
  •     Established a minimum quality for ship's food,
  •     Regulated the payment of seamen's wages,
  •     Required specific levels of safety, particularly the provision of lifeboats and,
  •     Required a minimum of 75% of the seamen aboard a vessel to understand the language spoken by the officers 

In short, the seamen’s life became better, much better.

For over 125 years Taylor Shellfish Farms has followed the tradition begun by Furuseuth of respecting the sea and the people who work upon its waters. Taylor’s efforts have been recognized by the Aquaculture Sustainability Council (ASC) as being the first U.S. shellfish grower to achieve responsible aquaculture certification for their farming operation in Washington State.  

Taylor’s 600 employees work hard year round to continue their active support of the tidal environment.  Today as never before it is vital everyone protect and value the sea. The health of our beautiful planet depends upon us.

RED, WHITE, OR CLEAR - CHOWDER IS TRULY THE ALL AMERICAN MEAL

Few American dishes represent the diversity of American cuisine as well as clam chowder.  Red, white, or clear it has changed form countless times yet is always a hit with diners.

But first off, what exactly is clam chowder?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary chowder is "a soup or stew of seafood (such as clams or fish) usually made with milk or tomatoes, salt pork, onions, and other vegetables." 

Yet the actual recipe of this soup varies depending what part of the country it comes from, but most often it includes clams, potatoes, onions, and some form of pork. 

The biggest variation between the recipes is the broth: Some chefs use milk to produce a thick, creamy broth while others use a red broth made with tomatoes and spices. in addition there’s also a clear broth made with just clam juice. 

While chowders may be made differently, they all share one thing in common: everyone rates their chowder as best!

So when was clam chowder first created?

Culinary historians believe that the New England style of chowder was introduced to New England and Canada by the mid-1700s. Chowder continued to gain popularity over the years and was being served in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House (America’s oldest continuously operating restaurant) as early as 1836. Clam chowder was so popular that it was even described in Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

Just how many different varieties of clam chowder are there?

The most popular and well known versions are the New England-style and Manhattan-style chowders, distinguished by their white and red colors, respectively. However, there are many other distinct varieties from all over the East Coast as well as the West Coast.

New England clam chowder was undoubtedly the first. It is defined as "a thick chowder made from clams, potatoes, onions, sometimes salt pork, and milk or cream." The recipe usually calls for heavy cream, light cream, or whole milk as the base for the soup. This addition of milk or cream — producing the soup's unmistakable white color — is the biggest difference between the New England style and all the rest.

Manhattan clam chowder, on the other hand, can be recognized by its red color, created by tomatoes and tomato paste. The broth is much thinner than the thicker New England version and while it also includes potatoes, most Manhattan-style chowders boast a variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, onion, and garlic for added flavor. 

The first recipe for "Manhattan Clam Chowder" was published in 1934 in a cookbook called Soups and Sauces by Virginia Elliott and Robert Jones. While the name "Manhattan" stuck, the soup has little to do with New York City's famed borough.

Not to be left out, New Jersey has also created its own version, which is somewhat similar to Manhattan clam chowder. It's made with tomatoes but also creamed asparagus, light cream, and bacon. It's also seasoned with Old Bay spice, parsley, and celery powder.

Going deeper into the South to Florida where St. Augustine calls Minorcan clam chowder one of its signature dishes. This one is similar to Manhattan-style with a tomato-based but with one very unique ingredient: datil pepper.

The pepper — varying in color from green to a yellowish orange — is indigenous to Cuba and was brought to Florida hundreds of years ago by the Spanish. Its sweet, tart, and spicy taste gives the soup it's one-of-a-kind flavor. The name Minorcan refers to Florida settlers from the island of Minorca, Spain who created the hearty soup using local ingredients but with Mediterranean style.

There is also a Rhode Island clam chowder, known for its clear broth. In fact, the small state also has a red version of the famous soup. Unlike the Manhattan-style chowder, this one is not made with any actual tomatoes — it's made with tomato purée— or any added vegetables.

In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there's a version dubbed Hatteras Island-style clam chowder — a broth-based soup that skips using both cream and tomatoes. It's commonly made with smaller clams due to their sweet flavor. The ingredients are cooked in a clam juice that uses only salt and pepper as a seasoning.

And not to be missed is the West Coast’s Cabo Clam Chowder, a California favorite with bold Latin flavors like chipotle. The recipe also includes onions, corns, jalapeños, and peppers, plus black beans, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and lime. The dish is most often garnished with tortilla strips.

With such a wide range of choices, it’s easy to see why America loves its chowder - each one as exciting as the region it calls home.  But why savor just local favorites when, thanks to chowders, you can enjoy truly American flavors from sea to shining sea… all thanks to the humble clam!

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OYSTERS AHOY!

While wandering in an antique shop or Sunday flea market have you ever seen a sailboat model with a sail so long it extended beyond the rear of the boat?

 Chances are you are looking a Skipjack sailing boat, the unique working boat that once dominated the oyster trade in Chesapeake Bay. In fact during the late 1800’s over 2,000 of this amazing boats plied the coastal waterways of Maryland.

Debate still remains about the origins of the name. Some claim it is derived from an archaic English term, meaning an "inexpensive yet useful servant.” But still others believe the name comes from the common 19th century name for seaman, “Jack”, and that the highly maneuverable sailboat seemed to literally skip over the water.

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Either way the skipjack was the workhorse of the early of the mid-Atlantic oyster trade, towing barges that in 1884 carried over 15 million bushels of oysters in a single year to waiting markets.

Sadly only about 40 of these lovely oyster boats actively work today due to over harvesting and the depletion of the surrounding oysters beds.

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To prevent this elegant craft from slipping into obscurity in 1985 Maryland declaimed the skipjack the official state boat.

Today, company like Taylor work hard to support sustainability and preserve America’s shellfish heritage. By partnering with organizations like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Taylor Shellfish actively works to make a sustainable future the daily commitment from all of its 600 employees.

LINGUINE AND CLAMS IN BLACK AND WHITE PEPPER BROTH

Black pepper has been a kitchen staple for centuries yet white pepper has largely remained its lesser known cousin.  Actually these two spices are more like brother and sister because both peppers come from the same spice berry - they are just processed differently.

Unlike black peppers, the spice berry, from which white peppers comes, is allowed to fully ripen before harvesting. 

When ready, the berries are soaked in water for at least eight days. Once the berry flesh has decomposed and softened, it is rubbed or scraped until only core seeds remain. The seeds are then dried until they turn gray or white.

Compared to black pepper, white peppers do not have very strong smell but its taste is more pungent than black pepper. 

Its unique piney flavor, along with the base flavor of black pepper, makes their combination a flavorful compliment to clams.

Linguine and Clams in Black and White Pepper Broth

Ingredients

  •         Coarse salt
  •         1/2 pound dried linguine
  •         2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
  •         1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  •         2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped, for garnish
  •         5 garlic cloves, minced
  •         2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  •         1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  •         1 cup dry white wine
  •         2 pounds Taylor Manila Clams
  •         1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  •         White Pepper to take, freshly ground
  •         Parsley

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  2. Add pasta.
  3. Cook until al dente. 
  4. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. 
  5. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. 
  6. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, and let drain. 
  7. Return saucepan to medium-low heat, and add 2 tablespoons butter, the parsley, garlic, 2 teaspoons pepper, and the red-pepper flakes. 
  8. Cook until garlic is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. 
  9. Add wine and clams, and bring to a simmer. 
  10. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, about 5 minutes (discard any unopened clams). 
  11. Add linguine, reserved cooking water, pancetta, remaining tablespoon butter, and the lemon zest.
  12. Toss to combine. 
  13. Season with white pepper.
  14. Garnish with parsley.

CHAMPAGNE FOAM FOR OYSTERS

Nothing but nothing but says elegance and celebration like champagne and oysters but sadly they are often served as separate courses.

Thankfully the wonders of molecular cuisine have brought the two together is a heavenly combination perfect for any wedding or romantic anniversary dinner – fresh Taylor Pacific oysters garnished with elegant champagne vinegar foam .

The secret ingredient that makes  this possible is Versawhip, a soy protein that helps build a rich firm foam.

Champagne Foam for Oysters

 Ingredients

  • 150 g Champagne vinegar (red wine vinegar works as well)
  • 150 g Water
  • 30 g Sugar
  • 16 g  Versawhip
  • 4 g Salt
  • Taylor Pacific Oysters on the Half Shell
  • Equipment - Pump Bottle

Directions

  1. Clean pump bottle
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated.
  3. Pour whisker mixture into pump bottle.
  4. Pump Champagne foam onto fresh Taylor Oysters on the Half Shell.

KALGUKSU CLAM SOUP

Translated this classic Korean noodle soup is also known as "Knife Noodle Soup" because the handmade noodle dough is cut by hand with a knife. While hand crafted noodles are historical, busy chefs today rely on more readily available dried udon noodles.

Traditionally the spicy seasonings would be served on the side, but contemporary chefs prefer to add their spices directly to this bracing clam soup along with spinach for a more direct  flavor experience.

Kalguksu Clam Soup

Ingredients

  • ½  lb.dried Udon Noodles
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsps Asian sesame oil
  • 1 ¼  tspss Asian chili-garlic sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp pure ancho chili powder
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 cups clam broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb. Taylor Milan Clams
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach (4 cups)
  • 2 scallions, thickly sliced

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the udon until al dente, about 6 minutes.
  2. Drain, shaking out the excess water.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the garlic, sesame oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons chili sauce, chile powder, sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Add the clam broth and water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the clams and cook until opened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer the clams to a bowl.
  7. Add the spinach, scallions and udon to the broth.
  8. Cook until the spinach is wilted, 1 minute.
  9. Ladle the udon soup into 4 bowls.
  10. Top with the clams.
  11. Provide extra chili sauce at table.

ANGELS AND DEVILS ON HORSEBACK JUST IN TIME FOR MARDi GRAS

Need a special dish for Mardi Gras? Why not fly high this year with Angels and Devils on Horseback?

Angels on Horseback are oysters wrapped in bacon and grilled. A devil is a tea-soaked prune treated just the same way. Both hail from the Victorian era.

The main reason for their popularity then was that oysters were the food of the poor during that period. Today they are, of course, a favorite food enjoyed by everyone. Their culinary progress is similar to sushi which was once a workman' quick meal and now is a gourmet treat.

The best oysters for the angels are the large pre-shucked Pacific Oysters like those produced by Taylor Shellfish Farms.  Grilled jointly they are the perfect hors d'oeuvre to enjoy while catching those soon to be cherished Mardi Gras beads.

Angels on Horseback

Ingredients

  • Wooden Toothpicks
  • 1 pint large Taylor Shucked Oysters
  • Cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut in half

Directions

  1. Soak 1 toothpick for each oyster in water.
  2. Heat grill to 350 degrees.
  3. Season your oysters with a little Cayenne or Tabasco sauce.
  4. Roll each oyster in a piece of bacon, securing it with a toothpick.
  5. Place them on a baking sheet.
  6. Grill until the bacon is crisp and the oysters are plump.
  7. Serve immediately.

Devils on Horseback

Ingredients

  • Wooden Toothpicks
  • 12 large prunes or 24 small ones, pitted
  • Freshly brewed, Earl Grey tea
  • 12 roasted, salted almonds
  • 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut in half

Directions

  1. Soak your prunes in the hot tea until plump – about 30 minutes.
  2. Fill the pit gap with a roasted almond.
  3. Roll each prune in a piece of bacon, securing it with a toothpick.
  4. Place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Grill until the bacon is crisp.