Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This week was Jason’s turn to host soup night. Jason is a huge seafood fan, and his menu reflected this love. This year the souperstars have really been experimenting with seafood. Jason played his hand at squid and clams. Eating squid, clams, and listening to some R and B, not a bad evening.

Squid Salad
Manhattan Clam Chowder
Key Lime Pie

Squid Salad
Serves 12
*adapted from

2 bay leaves
4 peppercorns
2 tbs salt
5 pounds squid (fresh or frozen and thawed), thoroughly cleaned (see below)

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


How to Clean Squid: Working in a kitchen sink, hold the body of squid firmly in one hand. Grasp head firmly with the other hand and pull, twisting gently from side to side. Head and contents of body should come away in one piece. Cut tentacles off head and set aside. Discard head and contents of body. Grasp tip of pointed, thin, clear cartilage protruding from body, pull out and discard. Rinse squid under cold running water. Peel off and discard spotted outer membrane. Pull off side fins and set aside. Rinse inside of squid body thoroughly under running water to remove any grit or other matter.

Source: Louisiana Cookin', December 2005.

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in large stock pot. Add bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, and cleaned squid, and cook for about 5 minutes or just until squid is soft. Don't overcook! Drain and allow squid to cool to touch. Remove bay leaves and peppercorns.

To make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and set aside. 

When squid is cool, slice into 1/4-inch rings and place in a large bowl, Toss with dressing and allow to marinate in refrigerator 2 to 3 hours. Serve on a platter of greens.

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Serves 8
*adapted from Emeril Lagasse
 8 pounds quahog or large cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed, opened clams discarded
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup diced carrot
1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, quickly stir clams well with a wooden spoon, and recover. Allow clams to cook 5 to 10 minutes longer (this will depend on the type and size of clams you are using), or until most of the clams are opened. Transfer clams to a large bowl or baking dish and strain broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. (You should have about 6 cups of clam broth. If not, add enough water to bring the volume up to 6 cups.) When clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set clams and broth aside.

In a large heavy pot add bacon and render until golden and crispy. Pour off all fat except 4 tablespoons. Add celery, bell pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Do not allow to color. Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Increase heat to high and add potatoes, reserved clam broth, and chicken stock and bring to a boil, covered. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the broth has thickened somewhat. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and add reserved clams and parsley and season with pepper and salt, if necessary. Allow chowder to sit for up to 1 hour to allow flavors to meld, then reheat slowly over low fire if necessary. Do not allow to boil. Serve with French bread.

Key Lime Pie
Serves 8
*adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbs (1/2 stick butter) melted
2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
2 whole eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tbs powdered sugar
1 tbs lime zest


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. 

Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.

Beer and Wine Served

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