Monthly Archives: August 2012

Two Ways to Broil Bluefish

Experienced anglers know the thrill and excitement of the bluefish catch for when it is hooked it fights like no other species. They also know that bluefish taste best when they are running close to shore in the summertime feeding on the schools of herring they follow up the Atlantic or Gulf coasts. So what do you do with the bluefish when you happen to catch it like this lucky guy?

You open a bottle of champagne…

Just kidding, but seriously, did you ever catch and/or cook the bluefish? If you catch it, you fillet it, if you buy it you ask your fishmonger to do that.

During BBQ season the best way is to grill blue fish fillets with just salt, pepper and some drizzled olive oil. Prepare the grill. Put the bluefish on the hottest part of the grill, skin side down for 2 minutes. Then rotate the grate so the fish is over the cool part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until cooked for about 8-10 minutes. When done, squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle with your favourite herbs. But when its raining like today, its better to broil it.

If you never tried blue fish before, without a doubt, one of the following recipes will make your first foray into its cooking a smashing success. The bacon in both recipes enhances the rich and seductive flavour of this fish.
Broiled Bluefish with Mustard, Bacon & Thyme
3 tablespoons Traditional or Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1 tablespoon of crumbs (optional)
1 sliced lime (optional)
1 strip bacon in cuts
two 6-ounze portions skin-on bluefish fillets
coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper (optional)
Preheat the broiler for 15 minutes or more.
Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly oil it and set the bluefish on it, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Stir the mustard and mayonnaise together and slather fillets` top with it. Sprinkle with dry thyme and crumbs. Top with lime slices and bacon.

Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for about 8 minutes until the fish is almost cooked through, then, turn off the broiler and keep fish in the oven for another 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately with rice, green beans and/or a glass of some good Chardonnay.
Broiled Bluefish with Bacon & Tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon of crumbs (optional)
2 Roma tomatoes , sliced
2 strips bacon in cuts
two 6-ounze portions skin-on bluefish fillets
coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper (optional)
Preheat the broiler for 15 minutes or more.
Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly oil it and set the bluefish on it, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with dry oregano and crumbs. Top with tomatoes and bacon cuts.
Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes, then, switch off the broiler and keep fish in the oven at 400 degrees for another 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with rice, green beans and/or a glass of some good Chardonnay.

Pow Wow & Clay Roasted Herb Chicken

A month or so ago we went to see the PowWow, a Native American celebration event in the Mohawk reservation in Kahnawake.

For those of you who don’t know, Kahnawake is a First Nations reservation located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River (in Quebec, Canada) right across from Montreal. This reservation is arguably considered to be Canada’s contraband country (cigarettes & alcohol), and represents a nation within a nation within a nation: the signs in the village feature the Mohawk, French and English languages.

During the times of Pow Wow in July the village is in its most peaceful state while it hosts friends, family, dancers from other tribes and visitors. The origin of Pow Wow goes back as far as 100 years into the Native American culture and is about gathering of medicine men or spiritual leaders of different Indian tribes.

You can see both Native and non-Native people from all over North America dancing, singing and socializing and honouring native Indian American culture in their unique regalia.

What is great about this show is that its open to the public, women and children are welcome, there is no violence or sacrifice rituals and there are no drunken “Indians whooping it up”. The whole experience is almost meditative.

Little information is available on this ancient custom, but once you get to see it you will never forget it and will surely be willing to know more about it and to see it again. Pow Wow takes place on or around July 14th & 15th, sometimes a bit earlier (Saturday & Sunday). No reservations required, a small fee of $7.00 is charged to enter the grounds. Next year we are definitely going for more of this one of a kind experience.

Inspired by this exotic adventure I decided to cook something approaching the First Nations food. And the first thing that came into my mind was to roast a bird in a clay. Why? Because I will finally get to try the gadget from William Sonoma that has been screaming from pantry: ”Hey, I am about to expire!!!”: nine pounds of chicken roasting clay…

According to the instructions, this gadget was supposed to make chicken roasting process fun and easy: encase the bird, harden during cooking, trap the heat and juices and then get cracked with a mallet to release the bird. Except the clay was sticky and almost unmanageable and it took me a century to complete the wrapping part.

Although, the slam-cracking part was fun, especially if you have children around.

Even though the chicken turned out to be pale (I broiled it on top for a minute to get the look), the meat really turned out to be succulent and flavorful. 
The question is however, would I do it again at the price of this gadget and the time it took me to wrap it? I doubt it. I do know how to make a succulent chicken without this extra mile. Despite some positive reviews there is a reason why this clay roasting kit is no longer available at William Sonoma. I guess, the gadget is a gadget.
For the record, William Sonoma did not invent this dish. Here is a recipe-legend of a traditional Chinese dish called Beggar’s Chicken cooked in a pond mud The New York Times featured in 1990. Who would ever thought? Yet, many other sources refer to the same recipe as one of the First Nations staple dishes with no need to pluck the feathers at all. This rustic version starts with unplucked chicken, cooked covered with mud/clay all over it, buried in a mountain of camp fire ashes. When done, the whole piece is thrown down to the ground to break the clay. As you remove the clay/mud pieces, the feather gets plucked with it. Keep it in mind for some fun camping times…

Clay Roasted Herb Chicken


8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbs. finely sliced green onion
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 chickens, each 4 1/2 to 5 lb.
9 lb. roasting clay


Preheat an oven to 425°F.

Mix together the butter, lemon zest, green onion, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper until well blended.

Working with 1 chicken at a time, slip 4 to 5 Tbs. of the herb butter under the skin and massage the butter to distribute it evenly. Rub 1 Tbs. of the herb butter on the outside of the chicken. Wrap each chicken separately in a large piece of parchment paper, with the seam underneath, so the chicken is completely covered.

On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out a 2 1/4-lb. piece of clay into an oval about 14 inches long and 11 inches wide. Place 1 parchment-wrapped chicken in the center. On another sheet of parchment paper, roll out another 2 1/4-lb. piece of clay into the same-size oval. Place, clay side down, on top of the chicken and gently pull off the parchment. Carefully crimp the edges of the 2 clay ovals together to completely encase the chicken, pushing out any air pockets. Repeat the process with the other chicken.

Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper. Place both clay-wrapped chickens in the pan, transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chickens rest for 15 minutes before cracking the clay.

Using a mallet, tap on the clay to break through the baked shells. Carefully remove large pieces of hot clay and brush away any small pieces. Discard the clay. Open the parchment and, using tongs, transfer the chickens to a cutting board. Carve the chickens into serving pieces and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe adapted from William-Sonoma Kitchen website.