Recipe: Coconut-Braised Golden Pompano

Coconut Braised Pompano

Cook a whole fish? With the bones and everything? That idea may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be—cooking a whole fish can be as easy as simply tossing it in the oven. Pats of butter and capers? Lemon slices and cherry tomatoes? You can work with nearly anything already in your pantry!

Here we’ve created a coconut marinade to braise fish in. We’ve used a golden pompano, with plenty of white, mildly sweet meat, but you could substitute another medium textured fish if you like. With just a handful of ingredients and some time in the oven, you’ll have a gourmet dinner with minimal prep.

If you’re interested in buying pompano, give us a call!

Coconut-Braised Golden Pompano

Recipe by Chiara D’Amore-Klaiman

Prep time: 4 5min
Cook time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

1 golden pompano (defrost overnight in refrigerator)
lime wedges for garnish

Coconut Marinade/Braising liquid:

1/3 cup grated fresh coconut (use Microplane for grated items)
2 Tbs grated ginger
grated zest of 1/2 lime (zest the lime, then cut into wedges for garnish)
sliced green chili, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 1/2 cup leaves)
1 can (12–14 oz) coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 Tbs (or to taste) red chili flakes (Korean chili flakes are best but you could use regular red chili flakes or sub in 1/2 tsp or to taste cayenne pepper)
salt to taste

Golden Pompano

Clean and descale the pompano, removing all internal organs and gills, then score the fish on both sides to allow the coconut marinade/braising mixture to penetrate.

Coconut Marinade

For the coconut marinade/braising mixture, combine all ingredients (except the fish) in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

Spoon 1/4 of the coconut marinade/braising liquid into a non-reactive metal baking dish or glass baking dish, place the pompano in the dish and pour the remaining liquid over the fish. Cover with foil and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour (can leave overnight for a quick meal the following day).

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Preheat your oven to 375°F (this would be a good time to start some brown rice).

Once oven is ready, remove the fish from the fridge (still covered in foil) and place directly in oven. Cook for 30 min then remove from oven, peel back the foil (do NOT tear it) and flip the fish using a spatula and a fork (be very careful not to splash), then return the foil cover and place the pan back in the oven for another 20–30 min (this would be a good time to start some white rice). The fish is done when the flesh is opaque.

Serve with wedges of lime to garnish. Don’t forget the meat in the head, as this fish has a good bit of very succulent meat in its ‘forehead’!

Think You Know Oysters? Come to Oyster Trivia Night!

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Grey Lady Oysters

Do you know how many gallons of water an adult oyster can filter each day? What 18th century ladies man was said to breakfast on 50 oysters each day? What species of oyster grows from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico?

We know you love eating oysters, but what else do you know about THE original NYC food? Now’s your big chance to show off your smarts, achieve everlasting glory and win oyster-themed prizes at Oyster Trivia Night!

In conjunction with Sustainable Seafood Week, join us at Grey Lady (77 Delancey St at Allen) on Tuesday, June 23 at 8 pm for a night of oysters, drinks and hard hitting questions. You may not know all the answers, but you will come away surprised at the myriad roles our favorite bivalve has played in history, biology, cuisine and more. Sign up with a friend, or join a team when you arrive, and put your thinking cap on!

Tickets are $36 and our room capacity is limited, so be sure to sign up before they’re gone. You will receive 6 oysters on the half shell, and an assorted cheese/nut/vegetable crudite board will be available. Additional food and drinks can be purchased a la carte, so do check out Grey Lady’s beer and cocktail list (psst, there’s even an oyster shooter).

For tickets: http://oystertrivia.bpt.me

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Billion Oyster Project, a non-profit program to restore oysters to New York Harbor and educate students in marine science and ecosystems.

See you there!

Grey Lady Oyster Bar

Grey Lady Lobster Roll

We’re Hiring for a Sales Rep!

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W&T Seafood Team

Hey folks, we are searching for someone who loves seafood (oysters, especially) to fill our full-time Sales Representative position!

At W&T Seafood, we pride ourselves on our extensive supplier relationships and the ability to bring the best shellfish and seafood products to New York’s finest chefs. Our specialty is in fresh shellfish, but we also carry a large selection of frozen seafood products.

You will be joining a fun, tightly-knit team in a friendly and casual work environment. We are a small team that assigns projects according to your interests and personal strengths, subject to the needs of the company. You will have individual, independent projects, but also collaborate occasionally on events and larger projects with others.

Primary Role and Responsibilities

You will be the primary contact for our existing customers (an ever-growing list of chefs and seafood buyers). You will be responsible for introducing and recommending products to our customers and therefore must fully learn and understand their businesses and needs.

You will need to continuously acquire new customers, which will require the ability to multi-task and perform research through non-traditional means (word-of-mouth from existing customers, online research, cold calling).

You must have an interest in seafood and become knowledgeable of our product offerings. (Prior knowledge and experience is not required, but business curiosity and a desire to learn is required.)

Day-to-day tasks include taking and managing orders (from invoice to delivery), managing inventory, setting up meetings with potential customers, researching new customers, and updating and learning more about our product offerings.

You will be required to attend events that take place in the evenings and weekends. Don’t worry, you are usually fed, or it is oyster-related. Otherwise, it is a field trip to visit one of our growers or suppliers.

Requirements

  • Passion for food, especially seafood, a must (you don’t have to eat out often or know every chef on Food Network, but you must be interested in learning or have knowledge of food systems).
  • Must be available to work some nights and weekends as needed.
  • Strong relationship-building skills. You must enjoy socializing and meeting new people.
  • Excellent communication skills. You will have a smartphone and will be expected to respond to customers in a timely fashion.
  • Self-motivated team player. You must be accountable for yourself and for your team. Because we are a small business and a small team, we would like to avoid office politics. We are very honest with each other and pride ourselves on the candor between team members.
  • Basic computer skills. You should be able to write and send a professional-sounding email, update information in our database, perform basic internet research, and create simple documents using Microsoft Office.
  • Must be able to consume raw oysters and other seafood. You will be required to taste a significant amount of seafood in order to properly represent the product to our customers.
  • Knowledge of oysters and other seafood a plus.
  • Previous sales and/or retail/restaurant experience a plus.
  • Valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle a plus.

To learn more about W&T Seafood, see us at www.wtseafood.com. Please no phone inquiries.

To apply, email a cover letter AND resume to info@wtseafood.com.

Meetup: Seafood & Soul Food at Mayfield

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Mayfield Oysters

It may be chilly out but you can take a quick trip south with the next Oyster Lovers Meetup at Mayfield! I’m excited to announce a six-course dinner at one of Brooklyn’s most lauded restaurants on Tuesday, February 24th at 6:30 pm.

Chef Lev has come up with a fabulous oystercentric menu for us, featuring raw oysters, cornmeal fried oysters, roasted oysters, oyster chowder, and their house special fried quail. Check it out:

1st Course: Montauk Pearls (LI), Moon Shoals (MA), Kusshi (BC)
2nd Course: Cornmeal-fried Blue Points, house smoked salmon, celeriac remoulade, horseradish cream
3rd Course: Roasted Island Creeks, creamed chard, prosciutto chip, lemon, sauce Choron
4th Course: Oyster chowder, potato, scallion, jalapeno
5th Course: Buttermilk fried quail, spoon bread, collard greens
6th Course: Ricotta donuts, cinnamon sugar, Nutella

By now, you may have guessed that Mayfield is named after Curtis Mayfield, the soul singer, songwriter and civil rights activist. As the NYT puts it, “To aspire to soul is at once laudable and hazardous. It’s a welcome surprise that the chef, Lev Gewirtzman, gets so much right, starting with the earthy, flawless collards, spoon bread with the body of a soufflé and the heart of a pudding, and buttermilk-fried quail, like a Southern Christmas breakfast.”

So, join us for a Southern-influenced meal with Brooklyn sensibilities! This dinner will be $48 plus tax and tip. Our group is currently capped at 14, so sign up today before we’re out of space! Note: refunds will not be issued for this event, so please be confident that you can make it.

RSVP and Details: http://www.meetup.com/New-York-Oyster-Lovers/events/219989560

See you there!

Mayfield Quail

Mayfield Door

Hack the Recipe: Fung Tu’s Manila Clam & Black Bean Sauce Noodles

Manila Clam & Black Bean Sauce Noodles

A couple weeks ago, Serious Eats published an article on the clam and black bean sauce noodles at Fung Tu. They interview Chef Jonathan Wu and follow him step by step through a dish that is “a simple one, and easy enough for home cooks to adapt to their kitchens.” There’s enough detail in the article that you can figure out most of the recipe, but there’s no actual recipe published. (Not surprising, I don’t blame Wu at all for not wanting to make it that easy.) Moreover, the steps Wu follows make about 12 servings of noodles. I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t cook for quite that many mouths in one sitting.

Well, this sounded like a challenge. Could I figure out how to replicate the dish and adopt the recipe for say, four servings?

It helps that one of the key ingredients is manila clams, and I happen to be working for a company that sells manila clams. So after rustling up the other ingredients and doing some educated guesswork, I came up with the recipe below for the noodle dish.

My only problem was that more clam broth was generated than needed for the noodles. I ended up reserving about 1.5 cups of the broth and freezing it for later. If the full amount had been used, the noodles would have ended up far too soupy and salty.

The chili oil was also a bit of a conundrum, since Wu lists the ingredients that he uses (neutral-flavored oil, dried chilies, smoky chipotles, fresh chilies, garlic, confit shallots, fermented black beans and tomato paste) but no proportions. In the absence of any guidance, I simply made something up based on what I had already in my kitchen.
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Barnstable: Welcome to the Napa Valley of Oysters!

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Photos: W&T Seafood

One of the best parts about working in the oyster industry is that you’ll naturally find yourself in scenic, postcard-perfect coastal inlets and rustic seaside towns. This is why when Tamar Haspel at Barnstable Oyster announced that I’d be spending the afternoon counting, cleaning, bagging and tagging oysters, I didn’t bat an eye. Repetitious manual labor out on the water? Throw me the nearest set of waders!

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About two years ago, Nellie went to visit Barnstable Oyster immediately after Hurricane Sandy had swept through and pummeled much of the East Coast. Luckily, there wasn’t much damage done to the oysters, and Barnstable Oyster has been growing slowly but surely ever since. I stopped by a few weeks ago to catch up and hang out with our favorite do-it-all oyster farmers, husband & wife power team Kevin Flaherty and Tamar Haspel.

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But first, the paperwork. Tamar and Kevin take safety regulations very seriously, and do their best to go above and beyond what is required. Each bag is marked with a tag to record the exposure time and the ice time, with the idea being that oysters that are harvested and cooled rapidly will not incubators for vibrio bacteria. Last year, after reports of vibrio-induced illness, there were widespread harvest closures in Katama Bay and Duxbury. This affects all growers at once, so it’s paramount that everyone be vigilant and not cut corners. “We have two hours to ice the oysters after harvest, which means we must be at the dock well before two hours,” said Tamar. “Based on the tides, we can know the exposure time for the oysters pretty easily, but the ice time is trickier to estimate. Unfortunately, the tags can’t be written on when wet, and the oysters need to be tagged out on the boat.”

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It was a common theme among oyster farmers, who are constantly trying to balance the best way to adhere to regulations and meet the practical needs of their operations. “The rules are applied to everyone equally,” explained Kevin, “from people who don’t have boats and just drive trucks straight onto culling flats, to people who have boats and also dockside facilities, to us with our shit pick-up truck that we’ll run into the ground with saltwater corrosion. Some of the rules may seem silly and don’t apply to us, but it does apply to someone. If we do have a particular way of doing things, we can ask an officer to come check us out and they’ll make exemptions sometimes.”

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A short drive and bumpy boat ride later (“hold on to your hat!”), we were at the Barnstable Oyster lease. “Welcome to the Napa Valley of oysters!” said Kevin. “There’s about 45 oyster leases here run by different farmers. We’re friendly with all of our neighbors here.” I looked around. Which indistinguishable patch of ocean was it?

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Then, magically the waters parted. In just thirty minutes, the tide had receded and row after row of shining oysters appeared. (Note to any filmmakers out there, we ought to have a time-lapse video of the bay to capture this incredibly dynamic place.)

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Meanwhile, Kevin was hard at work power hosing each tray of oysters. Tamar and Kevin are truly perfectionists when it comes to their babies, and we cleaned each one, picked off any stray barnacles and carefully counted them into bags. “Each bag of oysters is a 100-count, so count until 101 and then tie it off,” said Kevin. We counted in silence, trying not to break each other’s concentration, until we’d gotten through 19 bags of oysters, some of which would be destined for their spotlight at the Brooklyn Oyster Riot in two days. “My, aren’t these beautiful animals!” Tamar exclaimed. “Sometimes I like to look at the shells and see which ones have upturned hinges, or downturned ones, or which ones are more rounded or crescent shaped. I wonder if it’s genetic, or if it affects the taste, and how it all comes together.” I chose a couple dozen oysters, up and downturned, and we packed them away for a late snack.

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Back at the farm, Kevin iced the oysters and arranged them carefully in a cooler, with 2″ of ice on the bottom, 2″ around every bag, and 3″ on the top. According to regulations, oysters must be cooled to <50°F within 10 hours of harvest time. Kevin's next task would be to drop off his oysters at his interstate shipper's facility, from which they will be trucked to NYC. "We'll be driving for about 45 minutes and the oysters will cool off in that time, and today wasn't a terribly hot day. So, I'm hoping that by the time we get there, the oysters will already be under 50° when we deliver them." Sure enough, after unloading the oysters into the walk-in, the temperature gun read a cool 47°. Kevin grinned. IMG_20140909_112746

Now, here’s the part that will make you truly jealous. Not only are Tamar and Kevin accomplished oyster farmers, growing one of the finest oysters I’ve ever seen, they are also chicken wranglers, beekeepers, oven builders, bread bakers, jam makers, vegetable gardeners, shed builders, log splitters, turkey smokers, master chefs, trout fishers, deer hunters and consummate party hosts. Oh, and Tamar is a full-time writer with a wonderful column in the Washington Post.

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As we walked around the property, Kevin regaled me with stories of projects past and future. “Sometimes I work on things while Tamar is out of town,” Kevin said. “Take this tool shed, a friend and I basically put it up in a week, so it was a surprise when she got back.” We donned beekeeping hats and gloves and went to inspect the hive. “Don’t worry, we’ll use plenty of smoke, and wear loose, light colored clothing, so you won’t get stung,” said Kevin. “Why light colors?” I asked. “Because dark clothing makes you look like a bear, which is the natural enemy of the hive,” Kevin replied. Frame by frame, we examined the hive for its ratio of honeycomb and honey, worker bees and drones (“look for the ones that are fat and lazy, like men”). Sadly, the hive wasn’t holding much honey, which means the colony will need to be fed to ensure it makes it through the upcoming winter.

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It was time for a quick round of oysters before the plane ride back to New York. We shucked and slurped each oyster, marveling at the complex dance of salt and honey on our tongues. “Man,” said Tamar, “sometimes I forget how great it is to be able to bring home and eat your own oysters! Now if only we could land a bluefin tuna…”

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Thanks for coming out,” said Kevin. “I’m so glad you got to see where the magic happens!” Until next time!