America’s love affair with the sea’s bounty has always been robust—we stuff ourselves to the gills with fish, shellfish and crustaceans caught right outside our back door (if we’re lucky enough to live by the ocean) or halfway across the country (if we’re landlocked). There’s little argument today about the lack of fresh seafood available to the home cook, regardless of geographic location. Even Heartland states boast scads of mom-and-pop seafood markets, grocery store fish counters, roadside fishmongers and restaurant chefs who apply the same fierce devotion as their coastal counterparts to delivering succulent treasures from the deep blue.
The world is certainly the consumer’s oyster—no baiting the hook required here. Cast your line into the depths of cyberspace for door-to-door delivery of glossy slabs of fish, plump-bellied clams and prawns as big as a kid’s fist. And June is National Seafood Month—reason enough to get in the kitchen and create a memorable ocean-inspired meal. Heavenly fish tacos, juicy scallops, ceviche, paella, lobster mac-and-cheese or even an authentic Maine clambake—incorporate your favorite catch into weeknight dining or weekend entertaining.
Not within a stone’s throw of the high sea? Fear not—there’s a fish being pulled from the water somewhere in the world, right this second, with your name on it.
-Kimberly Winter Stern
Fish is what’s for dinner—spice up your catch by marrying it with a heat-seeking homemade barbecue sauce (use the leftover for your next batch of smoked ribs) or a jazzy Cajun spice. Toss together micro greens with heirloom tomatoes from the farmers’ market, add a hunk of crusty artisan bread and a bottle of your favorite wine for a summertime-and-the-living-is-easy feast. Enjoy these recipes from the Leawood, Kansas, Dean & DeLuca kitchens.
CHIPOTLE BARBECUE SAUCE
Makes ½ gallon
56 ounces ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup tomato paste
16 ounces orange juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 each zested and juiced navel orange
¼ cup liquid smoke
1/8 cup minced chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Lightly brown tomato paste and deglaze with vinegars. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly, taste and adjust seasonings. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly season the salmon filets with salt and pepper.
Place fish flesh side down for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn to mark properly. Flip the fish over and brush with barbecue glaze, turn heat down to medium, continue cooking for another 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 140 F.
CAJUN SCALLOP SKEWERS
Makes 5 skewers
Remove abductor muscles from scallops. Gently toss scallops with seasoning blend, salt, pepper, and oil.
Skewer with eight-inch bamboo skewers and place on sheet pan (about 4 per skewer). Roast in 375° oven for 7-9 minutes to internal temperature of 140 F.
Overland Park, Kan.-based freelance writer Kimberly Winter Stern writes travel, food, lifestyle and design. Also known as the gregarious and cuisine-informed Kim Dishes, listeners tune in weekly for her on-the-road segments on “LIVE! From Jasper’s Kitchen,” a popular Kansas City radio food show. Prolific in eating, writing and discovering, this foodie satisfies an innate desire to sample the world’s gastronomic rainbow by meeting food artisans and trendsetters, gaining insight into the culinary points-of-view of everyone from cheese makers, chocolatiers and chefs who set their city’s locavore pace to farmers who are passionate producers. Stern is a sought-after writer, with work appearing in Better Homes and Gardens, Unity, KANSAS! Magazine, 435 South magazine, KC Homes & Gardens, Generation Boom, Shawnee Magazine, KC Magazine, KC Home Design, KC Business and Midwest CEO. Stern is a national blogger for the Dean & DeLuca Gourmet Food Blog where she cooks, styles, shoots and writes about life and cooking … and loves to lick the bowl clean. This writer may have been given product and/or other compensation from Dean & DeLuca for this post.