The Week of Seven Fishes Commences

December 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

Pepper bisque

Season’s greetings friends, and also, happy Boxing Day!

I’m guest blogging for Amy for the next week. Why you ask? Well, you are in for a treat. Starting today and for the next week, I will be posting entries highlighting the “Week of Seven Fishes.” Since we are far away from our closest and dearest friends, and were unable to host our annual “Feast of Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve, Amy suggested I prepare a week of seven fishes here in our little Maine cottage for the two of us.

I thought this was a great idea. The bounty from the sea that surrounds us–which I am admiring from my couch as I write this entry–is amazing. So why not use this bounty for an extended version of the feast. In the past I’ve prepared shrimp, crab, mussels, and, of course, lobster from right here in the Sheepscot Bay. We’ve also had amazing clams (especially razor clams), oysters, whelks, sea urchin, and plenty of fish from very close by. We will soon add scallops to the list. The season has just begun, and we are waiting for a local fisherman to bring us some of those lovely mollusks, with the roe intact per my special request.

Last night began our journey into the week of seven fishes. The first fish I used was crab, Jonah crab to be exact. This appetizer combined flavors from two of my favorite places, Maine and Spain. I combined the crab with some wonderful piquillo peppers to make a hearty bisque. The recipe follows. It is pretty straightforward, and the dish was a winner. I am sure you can substitute roasted red peppers for the piquillos, and if you’re not a big crab fan, how about using shrimp? I bet lobster would work pretty well too! Anyway, I recommend it. This is a great dish to warm up on when the temperature drops below freezing. Which is every day up here lately. Hey, we’re embracing it–by staying indoors and eating.

OK, until tomorrow.

Maine Crab and Piquillo Pepper Bisque
(inspired by a recipe from the Plating Up blog at Maine Food & Lifestyle)

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped (one for soup and one for crab garnish)
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
Chopped jalapeno pepper (optional, and use as much or little of the pepper as you like)
1 chopped shallot
2 medium-sized piquillo peppers, chopped
1 t pimenton (smoked paprika)
3 or so cups of lobster or fish stock
½ cup diced peeled golden potato
1/3 cup half-and-half or whole milk
Small amount of chopped parsley
½ pound crab meat (Jonah, Blue, any US variety will work well, but please try to get hand-picked and stay away from the cheap imports)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. crab meat

Melt butter with oil in medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion, celery, jalapeno, salt, and pepper and sauté about 5-7 minutes. Add shallot, piquillo, and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add stock and potato, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer until potato is tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Add parsley and half-and-half or milk. Purée soup in blender or with immersion blender. Bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes if desired to thicken.  Mix in 1/2 of crab. Season more to taste.

Take the remaining crab and sauté in small amount of butter or olive oil with second clove of chopped garlic to warm before using as the garnish. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crab meat.

Eat.

Serves 4

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