Saturday, October 29, 2011

Peggy’s Bday : ) Chowder and Fish Sticks

I’m paying the price for letting another month go by before trying to recall how I made this entree for peggy’s bday! Soon, when my new site is ready, I will be posting weekly and with total recall ; ) In the meantime, this dish turned out delicious and this recipe will work, especially if you actually remember to put the potatoes on the plate, which I failed to do.

For some reason I wanted to do a seafood stew, but was also interested in making domino potatoes like these and so I decided to do a seafood dish with a chowder sauce. I also wanted shellfish and fin fish so what evolved was this chowder of littleneck clams, seared sea scallops and a halibut phyllo fish stick with sweet corn and clam chowder sauce.


Fish Sticks

3 5 oz. pieces halibut, cut a longer, skinnier shape
4 tbs butter, melted
phyllo dough
Old Bay seasoning

– lay out a sheet of phyllo dough (keeping the rest under a damp towel), brush with butter, sprinkle with a little Old Bay. Lay another phyllo sheet on top of that, brush with butter, sprinkle Old Bay and repeat with one more sheet so that there are three layers
– season the fish with pepper (I’m putting the salty Old Bay on the pastry and keeping the salt off of the fish because we’re making this ahead of time and I don’t want salt in contact with the fish, pulling water out of it), brush fish with butter, and lay on the phyllo sheets
– roll the fish lengthwise in the phyllo
– with scissors cut excess phyllo off and fold remaining phyllo around the ends of the fish the way you would wrap a gift
– place fish packet seam side down on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fire the dish

The Chowder

1 tbsp butter
1 shallot minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme, picked

2 lemons, zested on a microplane
3 cobs silver queen corn, cut from cob, sauteed with butter, salt and pepper – save the cobs
2 leeks, white and light green part, sliced thinly on a bias, sauteed until very soft, finish with a touch of butter
1.5 cups clam juice or seafood stock or about 1 bottle of store bought clam juice
1 pint heavy cream
dash tabasco sauce
dash worcestershire sauce
.75 cup dry white wine
2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
12 sea scallops, tendon removed
1 – 2 tbsp vegetable oil or clairfied butter
1 recipe domino potatoes

– heat the oven to 350 and if the halibut has been in the fridge, pull it out and leave on the counter
– put .5 cup water, the wine, juice from half a lemon and some kosher or sea salt in the bottom of a dutch oven and heat until it’s steaming
– add the littlenecks, top with a lid and casually sip on something while you stand guard and wait for the clams to open
– after 2 minutes, lift the lid and with a pair of tongs remove to a bowl any clams that have opened, then return the lid and repeat in another 30 – 45 seconds; repeat until all the clams have opened and been removed. If after 6 – 8 minutes there are unopened clams, discard them, and save the cooking liquid
– in a sauce pan melt the butter and saute the shallot and red pepper until soft
– add the cooking liquid from the littlenecks, clam juice and juice of remaining three lemon halves with a pinch more salt; simmer on medium high heat and allow to reduce by about half
– add the heavy cream, corn kernels and cobs and allow to simmer and thicken; taste and season after 5 – 10 minutes; finish with lemon zest, tabasco and worcestershire
– drop the halibut into the oven and set the timer to 20 minutes
– heat a separate skillet with the oil or clairfied butter to smoking, pat scallops dry on a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and lay flat in the pan; after about two minutes flip them over and after another two minutes, if you like, cut a big pat of butter into the pan and when it gets foamy take a soup spoon and baste the scallops with it.. sweet butter on sweet scallops… yum. Remove to a paper towel and hold on a warm spot on the counter
– drop the potatoes into the oven to rewarm about 5 minutes


To Pick Up…

– pull the fish out when the phyllo is browned and crispy; about 20 – 25 minutes and rest on a cutting board
– rewarm the leeks and place in the upper middle of 6 plates or wide shallow bowls
– plate 3 littlenecks and 2 scallops per plate around the leeks
– add a portion of the potatoes to each plate, or be like me and leave them in the oven for your mother-in-law to find during clean up! well, at least now that I’ve written out the plan, I’ll have a reminder next time : )
– cut each of the three fishsticks in half on a bias and add a half to each plate with the phyllo side down and the cut side towards the presentation side of the plate
– take the chowder and spoon generously into the clams and around the plate and pour some onto the extra clams to go in the middle of the table and enjoy!

Final Note… this recipe can be simplified by just doing the fish sticks with a corn cream sauce, or the chowder with clams only; by simply adding small scallops or shrimp to the chowder rather than searing separately. I wanted to combine some of the textures of the different techniques but it doesn’t have to be that complicated and you have a better chance of getting all of your desired components onto the plate if you simplify.


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