Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Seafood

Dinner tonight! Galician fish stew

Rich fish stew

If you're looking for a simple but hearty way to end the day, look no further than a rich fish stew. This Galician dish combines white fish fillets (use something like cod or halibut) with potatoes, garlic, onion and notes of bay leaf and pimenton for a simple yet flavorful meal. The whole thing comes together in about an hour, and the recipe can be found below.

For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Food editor Russ Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.

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-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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Construction to start soon on Connie & Ted's

Cimarusti
When I called Michael Cimarusti at Providence about the restaurant's Friday lunch service for a Critic’s Choice I’m writing for May 12, he gave me an update on Connie & Ted’s. That’s the name of the New England seafood shack he’s opening this fall on the site of the old (and now closed) Silver Spoon diner at Santa Monica Boulevard and Havenhurst Drive in West Hollywood.

“I really wanted to open a clam shack,” he said. “This is going to be a little bigger, but we’ll still have a screen door slapping at the front.” He’ll have a big oyster bar. And a menu that encompasses crab cakes, lobster rolls, fried clams -- everything you’d typically find at the seashore in New England. 

I’m selfishly hoping he’ll also have those clam fritters with yuzu kosho mayonnaise he serves at Friday lunch at Providence. And his signature white chowda’. 

The new place is named after his grandparents, who lived in Providence, R.I. They were Constance and Edward, but everyone called them Connie and Ted, and the restaurant will be a tribute to them and everything he learned about seafood the summers he spent at their house. 

On Friday, Cimarusti and his team are meeting with the five contractors who have put in bids. Once they decide on one, the project is ready to go. Permits are already pulled, which is good news. I can’t wait to see what Cimarusti will do with a casual seafood place. Start the countdown.

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-- S. Irene Virbila
Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: Michael Cimarusti. Credit: Connie Aramaki / For The Times.

The apéritif hour: Sardines on toast

Sardine can2While I was in Seattle some months ago shopping at the Spanish Table, the Spanish import store, I picked up some sardines from Galicia. The northwest corner of Spain is renowned for its seafood and these sardines may be the best I’ve ever had from a tin. Plump and meaty, they’re sweet-fleshed and delicious. The brand is Matiz Gallego and they’re hand-packed in olive oil.

Since then, I spotted the characteristic blue-and-white package at Sur La Table, $2.95 for a 4.2-ounce tin, and have been serving them with a glass of wine as an aperitif. They’re great because you can always have them on hand.

Inspired by Octavio Becerra’s sardines on toast at the late great Palate Food + Wine, Sardines TWO (1 of 1) here’s how I do it. Take a thin slice of baguette, toast it, spread with sweet butter, lay the sardine on top and finish it off with  a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of chives or a little red onion. Sometimes I use pumpernickel as the bread.

Serve with a glass of Albariño from Galicia, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry rosé.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

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Photos: Sardines in tin; sardines on toast. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

Hungry Cat's Crabfest 8 (and more half-price oysters)

Bluecrab
It's only April but already the Hungry Cat is selling tickets for its Crabfest -- which takes place Sunday, July 15. Guess spots go fast when people hear "crabs, crabs and more crabs." It's the eighth annual blue crab extravaganza for the original Hollywood Hungry Cat -- expect messy crab cracking and Old Bay-stained fingers. Tickets, $75 each, are pre-sale only and won't be sold the day of the event. Call or stop by the Hollywood location to purchase tickets. 

Meanwhile, the Hungry Cat in Santa Monica Canyon is celebrating its first anniversary on Wednesday, April 25. That means half-price oysters (regularly $15 for a half dozen or $30 for a dozen) and all-night happy hour -- half-price cocktails and draft beer. 

Hollywood Hungry Cat, 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 462-2155 (you can also email infohollywood@thehungrycat.com); Santa Monica Canyon Hungry Cat, 100 W. Channel Road, (310) 459-3337, www.thehungrycat.com. 

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Photo: Maryland blue crab. Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press.

Test Kitchen tips: Tackling sea urchin

Preparing sea urchin can be intimidating but is fairly simple
Sea urchins can be pretty intimidating to the uninitiated (picture a tribble, but covered in sharp, spiky brown needles) but nothing beats the flavor of freshly prepared sea urchin roe, or uni. Believe it or not, sea urchins are not as difficult to tackle as they first appear. Preparing them takes a little time -- and caution -- but it can be done. And the results are well worth the effort.

Use the roe to top sushi, or toss it in at the last minute with a pasta dish. You can even use it to flavor savory custards. Follow the jump for a quick tutorial on preparing sea urchin roe.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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-- Noelle Carter
twitter.com/noellecarter

Photo credits: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

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Santa's feeling crabby!

Russ Parsons says his all-time favorite holiday tradition is his family's Christmas Eve Dungeness crab feast
I'm a sucker for Christmas traditions, but my all-time favorite is my family's Christmas Eve Dungeness crab feast. Somehow there's nothing that better expresses the simple pleasures of Christmas in California than a big pot of crabs and many bottles of champagne.

We keep it to just immediate family -- my daughter and her boyfriend, my brother- and sister-in-law and my wife and me. And we keep the menu simple -- when you've got great crab, all you need is a little something to nibble on first (sliced sausage, toasted almonds and Okie b-i-l's Rotel cheese dip), a good green salad and lots of Christmas cookies, persimmons and Kishu mandarins after.

One of my favorite parts of the meal is the shopping. This year, I went to the 99 Ranch in Gardena that's fairly near me. The scene was a panorama of California's Christmas celebrations -- the guy in line before me was a Nigerian buying live tilapia (to steam with red peppers, he told me); the Asian guy behind me was negotiating with his cute little boy, Giovanni, about whether to buy two crabs and two lobsters, or all crab, or all lobsters (oddly, Dungeness crab and Maine lobsters were exactly the same price this year); and the lady in front of me in the checkout line was an Australian buying oysters and lobster to make some kind of ceviche -- she wasn't quite sure exactly how but said she'd "follow the inspiration."

And a merry Cali Christmas to you too!

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-- Russ Parsons

Photo credit: Russ Parsons / Los Angeles Times

The Jolly Oyster and its equally jolly eater

Jolly.ashxThis just in: Ventura now boasts a fresh oyster concession at San Buenaventura State Beach and Park. The Jolly Oyster stand sells clams and oysters by the piece or by the pound, to eat right there or take away.

Take away? Why would you do that when the stand provides picnic tables and even barbecues? 

And should you arrive unprepared, afflicted by the sudden urge to eat oysters, they’ll sell you oyster knives, towels and beverages, though not wine. That, you’ll have to bring yourself, and yes, it is legal, in the state park.

Like Hog Island Oysters  in Northern California, the Jolly Oyster grows its own kumamoto and Pacific oysters, plus Manila clams. But these come from waters off the coast of Baja California, close enough for the bivalves to be shipped in the morning for that afternoon’s eating.

Sounds good, especially when the oysters are only $1 to $1.40 apiece. This, I'm thinking, could easily become my favorite pit stop on the way to Santa Barbara.

The Jolly Oyster, San Buenaventura State Beach (entrance on San Pedro Street, near  intersection of Harbor Boulevard and off Highway 101), Ventura; www.thejollyoyster.com. Open daily, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. To dusk. Oysters, $1 to $1.40 per piece; clams, $7 per pound. Discounts on larger orders.

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Illustration: The Jolly Oyster logo. Credit: Jolly Oyster

Slurpin' oysters in Seattle

Taylor1 (1 of 1) A couple of weeks ago I was in Seattle for the weekend, arriving in the early afternoon hungry after only a teeny bag of peanuts and a glass of water on the plane. I’d come up to visit my friend Roberta, who teaches Italian there. Since we’d planned to have a small dinner party the next night, our first order of business was shopping. We started at Pike Place Market, went on to The Spanish Table and ended at Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. Two doors down is the very new Taylor Shellfish Farms store

Oysters! Not only do they sell clams and oysters raised from their own beds farther north, you can eat the oysters right there too, at a very good price. The charge for shucking a dozen oysters is just $5 for the first dozen and $2 for the second dozen. No fancy condiments, but an
excellent mignonette, some lemon wedges and a miniature bottle of Tabasco. Fine by me. We gobbled our first dozen and moved on to the second, Samish Bay oysters at $7.99 a dozen. Heaven.

The last time I was in town, Roberta took me to the then new (and still Taylor2 (1 of 1) newish) Walrus and the Carpenter, a delightfully quirky oyster bar from chef Renée Erickson of Boat Street Café. The main event is slurping down a dozen different oysters on the half shell at market price. But Erickson's menu also proposes some terrific appetizers such as radishes with cultured butter and salt, grilled asparagus with anchovies and breadcrumbs or grilled sardines with walnuts, parsley and salt. Add an excellent steak tartare and Stumptown coffee. Plates are mostly small, but generous enough to share. While you’re there, check out that massive branch chandelier! 

Taylor Shellfish Farms, Melrose Market Seattle, 1521 Melrose Ave., Seattle; (206) 501-4321; www.taylorshellfishstore.com. Open daily 10 a.m. To 7 p.m.

Walrus and the Carpenter, an Oyster Bar, 4743 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle; (206) 395-9227; http://thewalrusbar.com/. Open daily 4 p.m. til late.

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-- S. Irene Virbila
Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: Taylor Shellfish. Credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times.

Dinner for one

IMG_0833 
I’ve never felt uncomfortable eating alone. In fact, as long as it only happens  every once in a while, I look at it as kind of a treat. Or, at least, an opportunity to treat myself. So when my wife left town for a few days to visit friends, I took full advantage.

Friday night I celebrated my temporary bachelorhood with my semi-annual hamburger at Bake ‘n’ Broil. After 20 years of eating there, one of the owners, Andy Child, has become a friend and he very thoughtfully tucked in a portion of their brownie pie for me to take home.

But the real treat was Sunday night. What with one thing or another, it’s been a while since I have been kayaking, so Sunday morning I drove down to the Back Bay at Newport Beach and spent a couple of hours watching the terns and ospreys. As I almost always do, I finished with a visit to Pearson’s Port, conveniently located right next to the kayak landing.

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Racing against the tide for dinner

 

Think running out to the grocery store to shop for dinner is a hassle? Check out this video from the BBC on people of Kangiqsujuaq going mussel-hunting under an ice field in Canada, timing the low tide. If they take a minute too long, it means death. Of course, it does make a nice break from their usual diet of seal meat.

-- Russ Parsons

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Video credit: BBC

 

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.