Hungry Uncle’s Kitchen – November 16, 2015
I know you’ve all been feeling a little neglected. You’re used to some kitchen guidance from these pages. Hopefully my lackadaisical approach of late hasn’t prevented you from having fun behind the stove or grill. Hey, I really do have an excuse, developing a new barbecue sauce is hard work. Of course you’ll know that since you never, ever…EVER have missed one of my posts 😉
In an effort to change the format a bit I’m going to try something new. Instead of providing a recipe with an exhaustive ingredient list and step by step cooking instructions this will serve more as a guide or framework. You will be the best judge of what to add, subtract or alter. It’s all about creating a dish with input from your taste buds.
No matter where you go in the world any seaside culture has one or more seafood/fish stews or soups. The French have Bouillabaisse, the Italians Ciopinno, the Thai Tom Yum Talay and the Spanish Mariscada; not to mention countless variations around the USA.
One thing they all have in common is that they were generally born out of fisherman making use of local ingredients. These were not grand creations for gourmet dining by the wealthy but rather dishes of the common people who cooked with what ingredients they had- it’s truly amazing how many things throughout culinary history have gone from the tables of peasants to the tables of royalty. Did you really think you’d see the day when I didn’t weave some sort of history or at least irreverent commentary into my writing?
Call it soup, stew or whatever you’d like but here’s the concept. You create a broth using fish stock, chicken stock or whatever you can get your hands on. You can add wine to it or go without. You can add tomatoes, onions, leeks or potatoes if you’d like; even a touch of cream-I think you’re getting the idea. Herbs and spices always add a boost of flavor-thyme, rosemary, basil or paprika ….adjust them based on the fish or seafood you’ll be using. You never want the broth to overpower the protein. Just remember cook things like onions and leeks first so they have a chance to soften, then if you’re using potatoes boil them in your broth until tender Once you’ve gotten the “soup” to where you want it add the fish or seafood of your choosing based on their individual cooking times. Shrimp cook VERY quickly and should be added last, squid takes longer and should be added earlier. Fish fillets will vary in cooking time based on thickness and density. As you experiment you will inevitably have some misfires, everyone does. Not to worry it’s all part of the learning process. When you get it just where you want it, how good will you feel? It’s always appropriate to do a little chest pounding with friends and family and proclaim the success of your own recipe…with just a little help from Hungry Uncle.
Ok, now what are you still doing here? Get off the computer and go cook. Remember, with Hungry Uncle, “yes you can…” Ok that is a shameless rip-off of the horrible Atkins diet commercial with Sharon Osbourne. I just couldn’t resist and never thought I’d actually have the opportunity to express my feelings about it.
Somehow that voice of hers always went right through me. Quite frankly I’d rather watch Ozzy in his Black Sabbath days biting the head off a bat……