Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Hawthornes Attend Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium.

Two Wednesdays ago, sadly,
was our last class of this year's
North Carolina Aquarium's seafood series.
Today's class was brought to you by Striper's Bar and Grille.
And it was quite an enjoyable presentation.
Chef Jamie Deen (not that Jamie Deen)
is entertaining and engaging,
enlisting audience participation.
The seafood de jour is striped bass or rockfish.
Rockfish is a fairly mild, flavorful, firm, white fish 
that is quite versatile, lending itself to
almost any cooking technique and style.

Our first offering was a blackened rockfish salad.

Chef Deen added salt, pepper, and blackening spice
to the fish (1 ½ lb.) and sautéed it in canola oil.
He made a wet mix of 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1 ½ TB Dijon mustard, and ¼ cup relish.
Add the fish to the mayo mixture
 along with 3 celery stalks, chopped, and ½ red onion, chopped.

Good salad,
although I probably would have preferred this served chilled.
I have a thing about warmed-over mayonnaise.

Next, we had Striper's Rockfish Chowder, 
the winning chowder at this year's 
Taste of the Beach Chowder Cook-Off.

Rockfish Chowder
16 ounces rock fish, grilled
small yellow onion, diced
2 smoked red bell peppers, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces bacon, diced
16 ounces red potatoes, diced and par cooked
2 quarts heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Pour a little oil in a medium stock pan and add
onions, peppers, garlic, and bacon.
Sauté over medium high heat,
stirring occasionally to keep from burning.
Once the bacon is brown, 
add in the heavy cream, rockfish, and cooked potatoes.
Continue to simmer over medium low heat.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Cheddar Bay Croutons.

Cheddar Bay Croutons
Loaf bread, ½-inch cube
1 cup olive oil
4 TB Old Bay seasoning
1 cup Cheddar Jack cheese, grated

Drizzle olive oil over bread
and mix with hands to ensure even coating,
being careful not to break up the bread.
Place oiled bread cubes on a baking sheet
and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.
Place in 350° oven
and bake for about 15 minutes or until almost crunchy.
Once they are ¾ baked,
pull them out and sprinkle with the cheese.
Return to oven to finish cooking.
Once the cheese is browned,
remove from oven and cool.

The chowder was very good
and I enjoyed the cheddar croutons.
Nice touch.

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