Roasted Salmon Steaks – with a lemon-butter sauce. Easy and delicious!
4-6 Fishvish Atlantic Salmon Steaks (500 grams)
1/3 cup butter
Juice of 2 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Chopped coriander or basil leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 200° C.
Butter a 9-by 12-inch baking dish.
Place the Fishvish Atlantic Salmon Steaks in the prepared dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and paprika; add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Liberally drizzle the sauce over the salmon. Bake for 10 minutes per 1-inch of thickness, or until desired doneness.
Kerala style fish mappas or meen mappas is a Syrian Christian delicacy, also known as Kottayam Style Meen Mappas wherein the fish- usually a white meat fish – is cooked in creamy coconut milk with tomatoes.
I have used Atlantic Pollock here because I wanted to use a different fish than the usual Pomfret or Tilapia or Butterfish for this dish. It worked absolutely brilliantly, far far better than I had even imagined. It’s important to note that patting the fillets dry before cutting into chunks and cooking keeps them whole i.e. they dont disintegrate when making the curry.
The fact that is has coconut and tomatoes makes it an ideal summer curry. It’s absolutely delicious with rice but I personally prefer to eat it with Kerala Porotta.
300 gms Basmati rice
1 tbsp Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
2 Large Onions, sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
450 gms Tomatoes, cut into chunks
3 tbsp Tikka Curry Paste (Recipe below or just buy ready made)
Bubba’s big shrimp love spills over from last week
Kabob, kebob, kebab, kabab may mean different things in various parts of the world, but more often than not, the grilled meat connotation seems to be all-pervading. In case of the USA, the term ‘kabob’ is used for meat skewered on a stick (the term popular in India for such food is ‘tikka’).
These shrimp/prawn kabobs are marinated in Italian salad dressing; the dried herbs and slightly sweet tanginess punctuated by fruity olive oil impart a lot of flavour to the crustaceans and other vegetables. The recipe calls for onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and green bell peppers, but you could also use other bell peppers, zucchini etc. The marinating time is essential for the flavours to soak in, and if you don’t want to light up the grill, that’s okay. A hot oven will work in a pinch.
“Shrimp Creole originated in South Louisiana where gulf shrimp are plentiful”, the recipe introduction tells us. At its most basic, this dish is another variant of one of those stews served over rice. That’s not all though; this one is packed with flavour in the form of spices and shrimp stock. We’re talking aromatics, bay leaves, hot sauce and signature Creole seasoning made with ground spices mixed with dried herbs.
This version by Emeril Lagasse, well-known for his Cajun and Creole food expertise and recipes, uses a flour and water mix to thicken the stew; there are other versions that use cornstarch. Either way, it’s the vegetables, spices and large prawns that make the dish the delight it is. Serve over long-grained white rice for the best meal experience.
“Bubba’s Shrimp Gumbo”, Paula Deen calls this recipe. The ‘Bubba’, however, is not our favourite Pvt. Benjamin Buford Blue, best mate to Forrest Gump, however; it’s her brother whose recipe she shares. Every gumbo, even the ones made with chicken etc. needs to have okra, and this one does too; the okra also helps thicken the stew, as Paula informs us.
Lots of butter, shrimp stock and clam juice (skip this if not available), and those fragrant spices in Cajun seasoning make this hearty and delicioso. The sausage renders deep, smoky flavours, therefore do not skimp on that one. Like most stews, this one is great over rice (with a dash of butter), and even better the next day.
Pineapple and shrimp may not be the first pairing to come to your mind; not like butter and shrimp or garlic and shrimp, but if you think about it, the fruit augments the saline sweetness of the seafood with its fragrant mellowness. This recipe adds more sweetness, and smoky spice in the form of BBQ sauce, and we know the great comradeship BBQ sauce and prawns share. The awesome threesome come together in a stir-fry dotted with crisp bits of onion, garlic, and bell pepper; you could even toss celery bits in the butter with the other veggies.
A touch of hot green chilli pepper will even out the square of flavour, and the 3 lead stars get to shine brighter. A great supporting cast does just that.
Pineapple may be the new good friend to prawns, but let’s not forget the original fair-and-foul-weather besties who’ve always been there, ever ready to boost and bring out the best in our favourite seafood, and also rescue the saddest prawn dish. All hail the three stalwarts, prawns’ knights in shining armour—lemon, butter and garlic, a.k.a. Those-Who-Can-Never-Go-Wrong.
Some people like to marinate their prawns in a squeeze of lemon and freshly cracked black pepper, or even a touch of cayenne, so that is a great tip to use for a change. Also, feel free to sub a splash of wine for the water. If you really love your lemon flavours, you may want to consider adding a bit of grated zest to the pan. Serve over pasta, as recommended, or on bruschetta, with or without the tomato and basil.
Coconut shrimp or prawns in India may bring to mind a masala stir-fry with coconut slivers, curry leaves and lots of heat, or a coconut-laced fragrant curry. Bubba, however, was possibly talking about coconut-crusted fried shrimp, crisp on the outside, melting within.
The recipe is fairly easy, and calls for few things—6 ingredients in all, not counting salt and pepper—, but is one of those dishes that give you more for very less. Skip the sweetened coconut in favour of unsweetened, if you so desire. Either way, the “awesomesauce” the author recommends—1 part Thai chilli sauce to 2 parts orange marmalade—sounds like the perfect accompaniment to this crunchy appetizer.
A simple recipe like this calls for great prawns to begin with. Find them here
Prawns stir-fried with just salt and pepper are comforting in a way only the simplest, most flavourful ingredients can be. Like cheese, or butter, or chocolate. This dish takes the flavours in its deceptively simple name several notches higher, with the addition of Sichuan peppercorns and a fresh red chilli. The prawns are crunchy thanks to the seasoned cornstarch rub at the beginning. The fried prawns are tossed with ground Sichuan pepper and chilli bits. Serve with chopped coriander, and a squeeze of lime if needed.
This one comes from a “restaurant” in California that has a single dish on the menu—shrimp soup. For an establishment that focuses on doing one dish, and doing it best, the name “Killer Shrimp” is surely justified. The list of ingredients is not very long, but the cooking time of 3 hours may put you off. This, however, is essential to the “slaying” ability of the dish; the first hour sees the clam juice (or prawn stock), broth, butter, rosemary and spices simmer gently; the latter two hours asks for the addition of wine and occasional stirring.
The last 3 minutes of cooking time is when the eponymous ingredient makes an appearance, and yet receives top billing—talk about star power! The soup gets its colour from the tomato paste, and the unhurried hours of simmering. Serve with the crusty French loaf as instructed, or inside a bread bowl; your meal is ready.
There’s shrimp Creole and Cajun-style Gumbo, and there’s real Southern-style Cajun shrimp stew with a rich shrimp stock base simmered and brought to perfection in a couple of hours. This comes with potatoes which add body to the broth, and also add to the heartiness. The roux made with oil and flour (can use butter instead of oil) adds deep flavour and thickness; combined with onion, and sometimes green pepper, forms the base of many a Cajun stewed dish.
Serve with rice, or eat with a side of thick loaves. And remember to never overcook your shrimp; it hates heat, as much as a Polar bear does.
You can almost imagine Southern ladies serving this cold prawn salad alongside pitchers of cold ice tea for lunch on a hot day, followed by some pie maybe, for dessert. Or making sandwiches with it. You could even devise wraps with it, makes for a cooling meal, especially in the sweltering summers, when no one wants to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen. This is best served cold, so account for the chilling time; this also brings the flavours together, and you end up with a bowl of creamy mayo-slathered prawns with the crunch of vegetable bits.
Old Bay seasoning is good to have around, and you could also make your own. For a serving variation, fold the salad onto each lettuce ‘cup’. Serve immediately.
The shrimp and potatoes in this dish are seasoned with curry powder and cooked separately. A final toss in the skillet brings the aforementioned ingredients together, with salt and pepper making the final connect.
The olive oil adds freshness, but you could try using the same amount of butter to cook the prawns; prawns and butter revive their old relationship and bring the potatoes in on the camaraderie with equal enthusiasm. The curry powder bestows flavour blessings on the union of the trio, the spring onions are the final garnish at the celebration.
A dash of lemon at the finish wouldn’t be amiss either. Bring out the wine to round up the festivities.
The Old Bay mayo returns for another round of Southern gastronomic adventure; this time as one of the protagonists in Shrimp Burgers with Old Bay Mayo. Another reason why you need to have some lying around, and there are plenty more. The prawns, meanwhile, get the royal burger treatment; some coarsely chopped, some processed with bread crumbs, egg and seasoning and formed into patties.
Fried in a skillet, the crisp patties sit on top of Old Bay mayo-slathered bun halves and are topped with avocado, lettuce and tomato. Add a slice of cheese while frying, if the whole cheeseburger experience is what you love. The burger is brilliant, either way, and may just become your new go-to burger.
We will assume Bubba meant a shrimp Po’ Boy when he was talking about a shrimp sandwich. What better way to put crunchy, full-on flavoured prawns between slices of crusty and soft baguette? Of course, the bread needs to have a remoulade slapped on—this is no ordinary mayo, it has spicy Cajun genes, mustard and horseradish in its DNA.
The crunchy shrimp isn’t the usual bread crumb-crusted affair either. The staple of the American South, cornmeal makes a dashing appearance as the breading ingredient of choice. Lettuce and tomato slices make sandwich complete. And follow the recipe to the T, especially when it says “Serve at once with hot sauce and a beer.”
“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.”
Out of all the characters in Forrest Gump, Pvt. Benjamin Buford ‘Bubba’ Blue may be remembered most for his culinary contribution; in sixty two words, Bubba gave millions of shrimp fanatics the succinct recipe and cooking inspo guide to everything you could do with shrimp. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Chain of restaurants came about as a result of Bubba’s love for shrimp that was extended to other seafood and meats.
Of course, nitpickers will mention shrimp curry, mousse, braised shrimp etc. that Bubba doesn’t touch upon at all. But as Forrest’s “best good friend” says, more or less, “That- that’s about it.”
Here is the first part of recipes inspired by Bubba’s shrimp love. Now you may not always get your hands on shrimp, so there’s prawns you can forever count upon to step in. The difference between shrimps and prawns is not really just size, contrary to popular belief. It’s mostly anatomical, and since they are both incredibly tasty, one can be substituted with the other at all times.
No better time to get the prawn cooking apron cracking than the weekend; order all prawn sizes here
Bubba’s Shrimp Recipe Ideas:
Both Forrest and Bubba were from Alabama, (“not relations”, even if Lt. Dan thought so), so the love of BBQ would be as deep ingrained as the presence of iced teas and mint juleps. And this is not your regular BBQ sauce-smothered grilled meat we’re talking about; this one has plenty of butter, bay leaves, even Worcestershire sauce and that old Southern spice rack staple, Old Bay seasoning. If Old Bay seasoning can’t be found at your local store, it’s pretty easy to put together yourself. This shrimp or prawn dish is best served with a side of crusty bread.
No no, this is not boiled shrimp added to bland pasta or stuffed inside pastry dough. The crawfish boil from Louisiana has a shrimp version, which has the same blend of Cajun spices and seasoning and the deliciousness of jumbo crustaceans. The ingredient list may read a little long, but you’ll easily find the ingredients around in your pantry. A squeeze of lemon makes the dish roar into throbbing life.
When a recipe is called ‘Outrageously Good Broiled Shrimp’, you better believe it. Big-sized shrimp (or prawn) are brushed with butter, so the seasoned bread crumbs and chopped parsley will stay put. A daub of more butter and the pan-ful of prawns goes under the broiler, to be broiled until lightly charred. Since these cook really quickly, this dish can be put together at the last minute, when you need a quick appetizer or have unexpected company over. A squeeze of citrus is optional, but really recommended to bring out the garlic and parsley flavours.
Ok, so this may have all the usual prawn-friendly favourites of garlic, butter and parsley, but never underestimate what white wine and a buttered panko crumb topping can do to good quality prawns. A total time of 20 minutes, including prep and cooking, is what you’ll need to put this together. How much more quickly it disappears is another question entirely. Serve with a salad or stir-fried/roasted veggies, or maybe tomato-rubbed toasts for a satiating meal. A glass of white won’t be out of line either.
This simple dish of prawns tossed with garlic, herbs and red pepper flakes is great on its own, and even better when served atop a simple spaghetti aglio olio or tagliatelle cooked with tomatoes and garlic. Be careful not to overcook your prawns; there’s nothing worse than biting into a forkful of perfectly seasoned rubber that smells of the sea.
Don’t be too surprised if this one skillet dish becomes a summer favourite the very first time you make it. Easy to put together and quick to cook, it’s what you need to stay out of hot kitchens chilling with cold brews. This calls for both dried oregano and snipped fresh basil, and don’t skip the squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil on top.
Frying and prawns go together, just like Forrest and Jenny, “peas in a pod”. Shrimp popcorn has always held its own, against regular popcorn or even chicken nuggets, for that matter. The panko bread crumbs in this bring on next-level crunch. XXL-sized prawns are the best contenders for deep-frying, opt for smaller-sized ones only if you need to. Crispy prawns don’t need too much by way of dips, but most people like to serve tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, BBQ or even ranch dressing. A light aioli won’t be too outré either; after all, ketchup needs a worthy companion too sometimes.
Jumbo prawns are stir-fried with garlic and olive oil and set aside. Next, veggies like grape tomatoes, zucchini chunks and corn kernels are tossed in the same pan, with the prawns thrown in the last few seconds of cooking. Everything gets turned in onto a platter, and chiffonaded basil, freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of lemon on top gives it its Italian flavours and freshness. Great on its own, you may want to serve it over rice too.
Eugène Delacroix, Still Life with Lobster and trophies of hunting and fishing (1826–1827), Louvre
The abundance and variety of life in the rivers and the oceans has caught the imagination of artists and influenced their work through the ages. From fish pendants to octopus vases, here are some artefacts from across the world that were inspired by seafood.
1. Octopus Vases
Pottery was a flourishing art in Mycenae (Ancient Greece). Sometime between 14th and 13th century B.C.E., the Mycenaeans started to decorate their pots with representations of octopus. A trend that continued later on with their next generation of potters getting more creative with the octopus designs.
Chinese potters have been creating beautiful ceramics since ages. Amongst other popular designs painted on their porcelain, like dragons and flowers, they also featured fish. The Ming Dynasty, which is known for having promoted the production of ceramics in China during their reign, seemed to favour the use of fish designs on their plates, vases and pots.
Plate with Design of Two Fish from Longquan Kiln: Singapore International Auction Pte Ltd, 3109 Ming Dynasty
Goldfish Vase from the Jiajing period (1521–67) of the Ming dynasty; Porcelain; Paris, Musée Guimet 261101
3. Seafood Plates
What’s special about these plates from the 4th century B.C.E. is that not only are they are decorated with seafood motifs but are also supposed to have been created specifically for eating seafood. The plates have a cavity at the centre for special sauces and oils to dip the seafood in. These fish plates are expected to be from South Italy.
Scorpion Fish Painter, piatti da pesce a figure rosse, 380-75 B.C.E.
Three sea-perch and three limpets, Apulian red-figured fish plate, ca. 340–320 B.C.E., British Museum
Piatto da pesce a figure rosse, 380-75 B.C.E.
4. Aquatic Animals Wall Paintings
Ancient Egyptians are well known for decorating their tombs with wall paintings and carvings, vases, jewellery, and statues. In one of the paintings on the wall in The Tomb of Nebamun (an Egyptian official), c 1350 B.C.E., there’s a beautiful pond with trees on all the sides and fish and ducks swimming in it.
Pond in a garden. Fragment from the Tomb of Nebamun, 1400 B.C.E.
5. Fish Amulets
Ancient Egyptians featured marine life in their art as seafood formed an important part of their diet and life. The Nile tilapia, catfish and other species of fish found in their waters were popular designs for their jewellery pieces made with gold, precious and semiprecious stones.
Egyptian – Tilapia Fish, created: between 1976 and 1783 B.C.E. (Middle Kingdom), Walters Art Museum
Egypt, Between circa 1450 and circa 1300 B.C.E. (New Kingdom), Walters Art Museum.
6. Sea Creatures Mosaic
Just like the Greek, Egyptian, and other ancient civilisations, the Romans too used marine life as a theme for their works of art. A popular medium of art used by the Roman Empire was mosaics. Some of these beautiful mosaics have fish and other sea creatures as their subject-matter.
Roman mosaic from in house VIII.2.16 in Pompeii. Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Naples), inv. nr. 120177
Sea creatures mosaic from Pompeii; National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy
7. Crab Ceramic Vessel
The Moche civilisation (northern Peru) modelled clay to style and decorate their pots and vessels. They created figures and forms on their red and white/cream painted ceramics. Plants, animals, human, and seafood like crabs and fish were commonly sculpted on these vessels.
Ceramic Moche stirrup spout vessel representing a crustacean.
Seafood motifs are visible in the art of different civilisations since prehistoric times. Much has changed since those times but our love for seafood has remained the same (if not grown stronger) and we continue to be inspired by it. Sea creatures feature in our stories, poems, paintings, movies and all other forms of art as they are an intrinsic part of our life since time immemorial.
If you have come across some interesting pieces of seafood art then do share them with us. We speak for our fellow seafoodies, when we say that we are always looking for some seafood inspiration!