Pan Seared Tuna Cooking Demo at IBSS 2007

March 22, 2007 in cooking, Fish, Food Porn, ingredient, International Boston Seafood Show, seafood

Pan Seared Tuna

(Sample of pan seared tuna)

If you can believe it, I have even more photos from the [tag]IBSS[/tag]. This set today is from a [tag]cooking[/tag] [tag]demonstration[/tag] at the cooking theater that day. The [tag]Phillips[/tag] Seafood Company had some of their [tag]corporate chef[/tag]s cooking up some of their products. My feet were screaming for a rest and there was simply no better place to take a break, watch some entertaining cooking, and eat some delicious [tag]seafood[/tag], brought right to you. You can’t beat that!

I did not catch the names of the various chefs so this is not really hard-boiled journalism (as if it ever is!). Just enjoy it for the food.

Pan Seared Tuna

The chef here is actually cooking a different dish but I thought I would share anyways.

The [tag]tuna[/tag] [tag]steak[/tag]s, seasoned and ready for the pan.

Here is a shot of the steaks from the mirror above the cooktop.

Tuna steaks hitting the hot [tag]saute[/tag] [tag]pan[/tag], hot oil and tuna goodness sparkling up into the air.

Here the chefs are portioning out samples for the crowd.

Succulent delicious barely cooked tuna. Fantastic. See another view at the top of this page.

All the pics here are mine. I am flying without photoshop right now so I am not yet up to speed on watermarking the images. All photos – all rights reserved.

Ginger Sesame Key Lime Shrimp Grits

March 19, 2007 in cheese, cookbook, cooking, Fish, Food Porn, ingredient, International Boston Seafood Show, recipe, seafood

shrimp grits

There was a sense of [tag]manifest destiny[/tag] around this dish when it came together for me the other day. I was coming off my [tag]seafood[/tag] high from the [tag]International Boston Seafood Show[/tag], I had found some huge super [tag]jumbo[/tag] [tag]raw[/tag] [tag]shrimp[/tag] on sale for $9.99/lb (thats good around here), and I had been hankering for [tag]Paula Deen[/tag]’s [tag]Shrimp Grits[/tag] that I had seen in the [tag]Best of the Best cookbook[/tag] I got last year from [tag]Food & Wine Magazine[/tag].

The source cookbook was [tag]Paula Deen & Friends: Living It Up, Southern Style[/tag].

[tag]Leite’s Culinaria[/tag] has done a beautiful job of spotlighting this recipe so I won’t do the same. What I will do instead is show you the recipe for my [tag]adaptation[/tag], which is really quite different than what Miss Paula did.

Before I get started, please let me emphasize that you can NOT use second rate [tag]instant grits[/tag]. There is no use to even starting out if thats what you are going to use. Having lived in the south a long time, I can appreciate a good grit and let me tell you, the best has always been [tag]stone-ground[/tag]. I used [tag]Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits[/tag] (not sure they need to say “corn,” are there other types of grits?). Fantastic flavor and texture, I can not rave enough about Bob’s Red Mill anything.

[tag]Nika’s Ginger Sesame Key Lime Shrimp Grits[/tag]

Serves four for lunch


  • 1 C Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits
  • 5 C water
  • 1/2 tsp [tag]sea salt[/tag]
  • 1/8 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 C [tag]cheddar cheese[/tag], very finely grated
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp, raw and de-veined
  • 2 [tag]green onion[/tag]s, diced
  • 2 cloves [tag]garlic[/tag], minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp [tag]ginger[/tag], minced
  • handful of [tag]cilantro[/tag], chopped
  • 3 tablespoons [tag]Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice[/tag]
  • 3 tablespoons [tag]Sesame Seed Oil[/tag]
  • Olive Oil, as needed to saute (add a pat of butter if desired)
  • Coarse Ground Sea Salt to season
  • [tag]Toasted sesame seeds[/tag] to [tag]garnish[/tag]


Bring 5 C of fresh cold water, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and a dash of roasted sesame seed oil to a boil.

Add 1 C [tag]grits[/tag], bring it back to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook over low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring diligently. Beware of any splattering grits during this time. Those flying wet grit splashes hurt like the dickens if they get on you. Make sure to keep kids and pets away while making this.

Turn off the heat and add the 1/8 stick butter and a cup of the finely shredded cheese, mix, and cover the pot. Put it at the back of the stove while you do the rest of the recipe, making sure there is no heat under the pot.

Rinse and pat the shrimp dry and select two to be minced into tiny pieces. Put the rest of the whole shrimp aside, on ice or in the fridge.

Over medium heat in a small pan, sweat the minced garlic and ginger in about one tablespoon of olive oil, a pat of unsalted butter, a pinch of sea salt, and 1/8 teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil. Do not use high heat as the garlic will become bitter. If your pan is large, you may need to add more of the oils and butter, up to you.

Add minced shrimp, green onions, key lime juice, and cilantro (save some raw to garnish) and cook until just soft and the shrimp mince is releasing its juicy goodness.

Making sure that the heat is on medium low (just barely enough to cook at all), add the shrimp to the pan and slowly cook until just barely pink. You want the shrimp to be still a bit raw and wonderfully crunchy. I know that some of you need to go to a complete cooked shrimp, thats ok. This is really about they way you like your shrimp. Shrimp is the focus in this dish so take care to make the best shrimp you can.

Portion out the still hot grits (they are amazing in their heat holding capacity), add a small handful of finely shredded cheese, a slight dribble of sesame seed oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and top with the shrimp. The carry-over heat of the shrimp and the grits will take them to completion. Make sure to serve all the juices in the pan too.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. You may want to add a fresh dash of key lime juice now if you really like the citrus bang like I do.


Let me know if you make this recipe and if you liked it.

shrimp grits

I made an soy based sauce because I like that flavor (others in my family do not so they were happy without it).

Mix: Ponzu citric flavored soy sauce, sesame seed oil, minced ginger, tiny amount of minced garlic, and minced cilantro.

When I was looking for props for these shots, I pulled out one of the several Asian teapots I have (bought off of eBay ages ago). When I looked at it more closely, I realized that it was adorned with shrimp! Talk about 1) serendipity and 2) my inattention to detail :-).

shrimp teapot

Resources for Ingredients:

Books of Interest:

Related Posts:

International Boston Seafood Show 2007: Mantis Shrimp

March 17, 2007 in deep fry, Fish, ingredient, International Boston Seafood Show, Japanese, product, review, seafood

What is a [tag]Mantis Shrimp[/tag]?

Well, you are looking at three of them in the photo above. I was walking through the IBSS and came across some [tag]Southeast Asian[/tag] [tag]seafood[/tag] purveyors who had some interesting displays, this one included. These [tag]animal[/tag]s are much larger than most shrimp, you would likely need two hands to hold one of them. They tend to be about 30 cm (11.8 inches) in length but have been known to grow to 38 cm (15 inches).

While they are referred to as shrimp and are in the crustacea subphylum, they are not actually shrimp at all. Their name comes from the fact that they look like a cross between a [tag]praying mantis[/tag] ([tag]terrestrial[/tag]) and a shrimp. They are also much more intelligent and fierce than your average shrimp. Their odd looking [tag]appendage[/tag]s in the front are not just funky eye candy. No, the [tag]mantis[/tag] [tag]shrimp[/tag] can use these claws to attack prey and predator (including fishermen’s fingers), with great force.

Pet mantis shrimp are so tough they can even break through the double glass walls of an [tag]aquarium[/tag].

“A truly pugnacious stomatopod (ed: mantis shrimp) can threaten not only aquarium fish but also the aquarium itself. In 1998, a 4-inch mantis shrimp at the Sea Life Centre in Norfolk, England, shattered the quarter-inch-thick glass of its aquarium. The power puncher was promptly christened “Tyson.” ” Source = NWF

Yikes, this guy is not going to be added to any aquarium I have!

One other interesting fact about these curious sea creatures is that their eyes are the most [tag]complex eye structure[/tag]s known in nature. They are the only animals to have something called “hyperspectral color vision.”

“Mantis shrimp have the world’s most complex color vision system,” according to Justin Marshall of the University of Queensland. “These lowly crustaceans possess four times as many color receptors as humans, four of which sample the ultraviolet, a region of the spectrum to which we are blind.” Stomatopods also can see polarized light. Marshall believes that for a mantis shrimp, polarized vision may be as rich a sensory experience as color vision.” Source = NWF

Ok, one more neat fact and then I will get on the the meat of the matter. These mantis shrimp are not only wily and throw their back into their battles, they are able to create balls of fire in their [tag]claw[/tag]s. Remember I said they can break an aquarium wall? Well, with those fierce claws, they can flick them out to attack their prey or tormentor. When the claw is flicked out, a “[tag]cavitation bubble[/tag]” forms (a void that is left behind by the rapid displacement of the claw). Things on this micro-scale (and nano-scale) are non-intuitive for us. We would not expect that this cavitation bubble would flash with light, heat as hot as the surface of the sun, and pop to produce sonic wavefronts that travel away from the mantis shrimp at high speeds (called [tag]sonoluminescence[/tag]).

You can try to view a [tag]video[/tag] of this activity at this link (I could not open the mov file, but thats just me, hope it works for you) – This video was found on this page and they give these credits – “Courtesy of Sheila Patek, Wyatt Korff and Roy Caldwell/UC Berkeley.”

For far more information on this and other aspects of Mantis Shrimp visit “Shrimp spring into shattering action” by [tag]April Holladay[/tag], a science journalist for I have borrowed a few resource links from her excellent article and put them at the bottom of this post.

Good eating, if you can get a hold of it that is.

They taste less like shrimp and more like [tag]lobster[/tag]. The Japanese call it “shako” and eat it raw and [tag]tempura[/tag] fried. The Italians eat it as a stewed dish called “canocie in busara” (stewed mantis shrimp) (found in “Cofanetto cucina del Bel Paese“). The Chinese eat them a million different ways, to be sure. You can visit one off-the-beaten path restaurant in Hong Kong to get your Mantis Shrimp fix, fried, combined with pepper and its own roe. The Spanish call them “[tag]galera[/tag]” and boil them in salt water. They probably serve them as a tapas in some seaside locations.

I hope you have learned something interesting about these odd creatures. I sure have. I am not sure I will be eating them any time soon as they are rarely found in any market I go to and I hear they are quite [tag]expensive[/tag].

Have you eaten these? Where did you find them? How were they cooked? Did you like them? Share if you can.

Resources for learning more:

Books of Interest:

International Boston Seafood Show 2007: Frozen Sushi from Polar Seas – Delicious!

March 16, 2007 in Fish, Growers & Grocers Blog, International Boston Seafood Show, Japanese, review, seafood, Well Fed Network

When my daughter and I went to the [tag]2007 International Boston Seafood Show[/tag] this last Monday, we got to meet [tag]Kathy Maister[/tag] and Stephen from [tag][/tag] and [tag][/tag] respectively. Wow, what a couple of awesome foodies and food bloggers. We were chatting (after various mishaps in trying to find one another in that huge place) and getting to know each other while surrounded by a huge array of awesome smelling [tag]food[/tag], calling our names. We did not get to talk long enough by any measure. We will be planning more [tag]New England[/tag] [tag]food blogger[/tag] get togethers for a bit later this year. If you are in this orbit drop a note with an email so I can keep you in the loop. I live in central MA so it takes me 1.5 hours to get in but I consider [tag]Boston[/tag] part of my neighborhood.

[This post will appear on the [tag]Growers and Grocers[/tag] blog, a member of the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag]]

This last Monday when I attended the 2007 International Boston Seafood Show, I got to sample quite a few products. Let me assure you, I had to pace myself because there were so many tempting foods.

One product that I sampled toward the end of the day was the [tag]frozen[/tag] [tag]sushi[/tag] by [tag]Polar Seas[/tag] (a PDF of their products), a collaborative product of [tag]Brooklyn[/tag], NY, based [tag]True World foods[/tag] and [tag]Kyokuyo Co[/tag]. in [tag]Japan[/tag].

I tried it with some trepidation because I have had some fantastically bad chilled (frozen?) sushi at grocery stores and I am still scarred. I have never bought sushi frozen in a box for that reason.

But I had to give it a try, mostly because I felt like I would be able to tell whether it was at least edible. Most of the other samples I had that day were fried, lots of masking.

Good sushi is based on fresh fish but perhaps more importantly, in terms of where it can go horribly wrong, good sushi MUST have GOOD RICE, period.

Frozen or chilled sushi [tag]rice[/tag] can be vile and nauseating: mushy, watery, and revolting on the tongue. Can you tell I feel pretty strongly about the sushi rice? Just a bit.

We taste tested three different types of Polar Seas frozen sushi (images below from product PDF):

[tag]Spicy Tuna roll[/tag]:

[tag]Tuna Nigiri[/tag]:

[tag]Shrimp Nigiri[/tag]:

The [tag]shrimp[/tag] didn’t taste like eggs like a lot of frozen shrimp does, thank goodness. It tasted like a natural non-preserved shrimp.

The samples were flying off the trays (the crowd was a couple people deep around the display) so when we asked for [tag]Tuna[/tag] [tag]Nigiri[/tag] they said there was none thawed but some that was frozen. They gave us a frozen piece and we walked away with it on a plate. It thawed rapidly and before we expected it, we were enjoying a delicious tuna nigiri. Additionally, the tuna tasted fresher than what we have had in sushi restaurants.

Makes you wonder about the possibility of using this frozen product in an ice-packed lunch box. Put the pieces in frozen, put in your ice packs, and then allow them to thaw right before eating. I would have to test that concept out a bit before recommending it.

The [tag]spicy[/tag] tuna roll was flavorful and quite satisfying. We also tried several [tag]unagi nigiri[/tag] (BBQed eel) but do not have photos to share. We could not get enough of it, so delish.

But the rice..

Oh, the rice was spot on. It wasn’t gummy, it was tasty, it was good sushi rice, and it was a pleasant surprise.