Grill pan | Grilled Scallops

I own one of those large panini press style “healthy” table top grills, which I occasionally bring out for things like pork medallions, slabs of chicken, shellfish. Occasionally would be the key word here, let’s just say it’s a bit of hassle to clean up. So, a more handy stove top grill pan has been on my wish list for quite some time. I recently bought one and I love it. I can use it to grill bread, make sandwiches, or for things like this:

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Or grilling scallops… HMMMMMMMMMM:
 

Grilled scallops

Grilled scallops

When I grill scallops, I buy fresh, large sea scallops, and don’t add anything to them except for a tiny bit of salt and pepper. The scallops will release their own scallopy juices and, combined with the dark color and aroma you can only get from a grill, taste totally awesome. With this grill pan, I don’t have to wait for sunny weather to enjoy my scallops! This time, I added a bit of color using some chopped red bell peppers, and green onions and lemon balm that came from my garden. I wish I had more of this to go on top, more like a tapenade, because it looked so pretty like that, and it wasn’t so strong tasting that it stole the show from the scallops at all.

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Zucchini blossoms stuffed with shrimp and garlic

The first time I heard about zucchini blossoms was on an episode of Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill, where he fried these yellow squash blossoms that were stuffed with pork and cheese. I have never seen them in markets here, but finally came across these beautiful blossoms at the Steveston’s Farmer’s Market this Sunday. (More posts about the Market later! Stay tuned!)

 

Since I’ve never tried them before, I only bought a few flowers. I got about 1/2 a dozen for 50 cents! I’m going back to get more for sure. I didn’t cook them like most people do, ie. batter, deep fry in oil, because, heck, I am always looking for the healthier way out. Since I happened to have bought over a pound of fresh shrimp from one of the boats parked at the Steveston Pier that day, I decided to stuff these blossoms with a few of the smaller shrimp I had. And nothing else accents shrimp like garlic. So it was a whole clove of garlic too. It was great! 

 

 

Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed With Shrimp and Garlic:

1. Cut the stems off the blossoms and soak the blossoms in water/ rinse very well but very gently. Rip out the stamen/ style/stigma inside. Pat them dry on a piece of paper towel.

2. Carefully place a small shrimp (cooked, I used fresh, but can be from frozen) inside the blossom, then place a clove of garlic on top of the shrimp. If one clove is too much for you, just mince some up and throw a bit in instead.

3. Twist the top of the blossom to close. 

4. Grill on high for about 5 minutes, turning once (again, careful, because it’s easy to un-twist the blossom and have everything fall out.)

5. Eat! Just stuff the whole blossom into your mouth!

Usher in the grilling season! Grilled scallops and prawns

The weather is co-operating, finally. Went down to the Steveston Farmer’s Market this weekend and bought some Mizuno greens, butter lettuce and grape tomatos. Local veggies are so fresh and good! Got some fresh sea scallops and prawns and grilled them outside. (Yes, OUTSIDE! Wow, Vancouver!) I love grilled scallops and prawns – it’s so simple, you just chuck them on the grill, don’t even have to season them with anything – just a sprinkle of ground pepper afterwards, it’s the best way to enjoy them. So sweet. And eating a nice, refreshing meal out under a gazebo? Added bonus!

grilled scallops and prawn

Grilled scallops and prawn on a bed of Mizuno greens and butter lettuce

 

Grilling season is exciting! And we have a woodpecker in the neighbourhood. I’ve never seen him though, but I can hear him often. 

Asparagus dressed with Sole

Pretty, pretty. I love asparagus. I love Spring.


This is pretty simple. Bought some fresh sole fillets, wrap asparagus along with some sliced white mushrooms inside. S and P. Bake. Yummy.

Green Tea Halibut with Edamame and Okra

The inspiration for this dish came actually from a batch of beautiful fresh okra, and a curiosity about cooking with tea.

Okra

I’ve always wanted to try the various ways you can use tea to cook fish (poaching, crusting, smoking). So my first attempt was to marinate halibut with green tea. The marinade also had a bit of miso, wine, and fresh ginger. The fish was then baked, along with edamame beans and whole okra pods. I liked it (and I didn’t expect you can just bake edamame straight and have it kinda crunchy like that and still edible without pre-cooking it first). The tea wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be, there is only a slight hint of it, so next time I will try some stronger stuff- maybe that expensive container of Dragon Well black tea.

Green Tea Halibut

 

Recipe follows…

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White bass steamed with umeboshi (pickled plum) and garlic

White bass is a fresh water bass, and kind of a fishy fish. If you find tilapia fishy (I don’t), this may be a bit fishier than tilapia for you. But the meat is also slightly fattier and juicier, plus it is cheaper than the market tilapia. It’s actually not fishy when cooked with some stronger but still simple ingredients – here it was simply steamed with umeboshi plums and fresh garlic slices, mixed in with some miso sauce, which went very nicely with the umeboshi.

 

Before: It is a good idea to sit the fish on a little bit of something (in this case it was stalks of green onion), to let the steam circulate:
before

After: Steam for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish, this one was a little over a pound), then drizzle with a bit of veg oil, and soy sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro – as typical in pretty much all Chinese steamed fish dishes! 😀
ume and garlic white bass

 

Delish. Sweet, sour, and savoury – all in one. Made it again simple Cantonese style – just steaming with ginger (minus the umeboshi and miso) – and that tasted fishier (but it was still good for me). If I were to cook white bass again (and I would), I would go with the umeboshi and garlic.

 

 

Oden 関東煮

Oden @ Sensoji

On a visit to Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple during Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the new year), I once had this oden from one of many many food stands there. They were selling each item for a whopping 500Yen (you get to choose 5 items, making this dish of a daikon slice, 3 fish balls, a bundle of Konnyaku noodles, one wedge of black Konnyaku, an egg, and that smidgen of mustard about $25 bucks CAD.) You would of course know that at the local 24hr Family Mart, you can get the same thing 10 times cheaper, but heck, it’s one of the biggest and oldest temples in Japan during its busiest time of the year, so they have the right to rip off tourists and festival-goers alike.

Truth be told, oden (関東煮) is really a very modest Japanese one-pot hot pot easily made at home. It basically consists of a dashi broth as a base, and then pretty much whatever you want to throw into it. Typically this would be things like daikon, tofu, shitake mushrooms, eggs, konnyaku, and various surimi-based products such as fish balls, fish cakes, surimi rolls, etc. Everything is cooked in the broth for an hour or so, and then served right in the big pot it is cooked in. Oden makes for a very comforting and filling meal, and really warms you up in the winter.

You can make your own dashi, but I just use Ajinomoto’s Hon Dashi powder. I like to throw in napa cabbage because it takes care of the vegetables as well, and napa soaks up the broth nicely. In this particular oden there were also fish balls, hanpen (triangular-shaped fish cake), tofu, chikuwa (surimi tubes), kamaboko, imitation crab sticks, and crimini mushrooms. It was all cooked in a giant wok (one of the biggest in the kitchen), and it didn’t cost me 2500Yen. 😉

Oden