March 8, 2007
February 22, 2007
Some friends and I went fishing on a brisk fall day and caught this Bluefish and some Porgies. Bluefish are lookers and fighters. They’re lots of fun and aggressive. They’re up and down the Atlantic coast from south of Rio de Janeiro to Nova Scotia. They are also found all over the world. Who knew? They’re sold locally at many markets on the east coast.
Most people will tell you here on the Long Island they’re not fond of eating Bluefish. It seems it has a stigma amongst Islanders, there’s a reason. If not prepared properly it tends to have a oily, tough, fishy, quality, which can overwhelm all senses. As far as cooking recipes I’ve heard everything from marinating it in milk over night to Bluefish Ceviche. Ceviche sounds like a great use for Bluefish its very firm and holds together well. The lemon juice marinade subdues the difficult qualities of the fish. Ceviche sounds good but later today we’re going to be smoking this mighty specimen.
Porgies are a common costal fish. I’ve heard locally they’re sold in some restaurants as Tilapia. Which is fine with me because porgies are great tasting versatile fish, which can be prepare all kind of ways. Their habitat stretches from Florida to Nova Scotia. They feed on squid. Good thing too because that’s what we used as bait. Porgies are great pan-fried, broiled, baked, and smoked!
I like to cook my porgies whole, head, scales, everything. They are boney. And the easiest way to retrieve the meat is to cook it whole when smoking, broiling or baking. The skin comes off like a shell and the meat flakes away from the bone. Once it’s cooked you can incorporate all kinds of sauces, fresh salsas, relishes, or have it plain with a little olive oil and lemon. I love fresh broiled Porgies with blackbean sauce. Porgy is a mellow light flakey fish. Here I’ve gutted it and stuffed it with garlic, chili peppers, basil, and parsley. I get all the herbs fresh from my garden. It doesn’t get any easier or better than that. The Bluefish filets are in the plastic page on the upper left hand side of the picture.
So here are the Porgies and Bluefish filets smoked. The Porgies I stuffed with herbs, garlic and hot red peppers. Some I stuffed with sage, some basil, and some garlic. I didn’t what to throw everything into each of them. I wanted the combinations of herbs and garlic, or hot red pepper, or only herbs, to be distinct. I made a honey, sage, and pepper glaze for the Bluefish filets. Inside the smoker we placed a steal bowl full of herbs and red wine. We smoked with mesquite.
I flaked the skin off the porgies and removed the meat gingerly to keep the filets whole. I prepared a roasted bell pepper puree, with garlic, olive oil and a small amount of heavy cream for the porgies. For the Bluefish I made a fresh tarter sauce with chives and capers. I severed both with garlic sautéed kale and Swiss chard, Gorgonzola arugula salad with caramelized walnuts, and spageitti squash with olive oil and fresh Parmesan cheese.
I’ll be posting many other great culinary dishes made with the freshest local ingredients from New York to LA and all points in between. Also in a week I’ll post the recipes for the meal described above “Smoking Blues and Porgies” If you have any questions ask.
Below is a picture of the garden and the smoker, enjoy.
February 15, 2007
Hello I’m Chef John Allen. I specialize in Northern Italian and California cuisine. I’ve worked as a private chef and at four-star restaurants. My interest is in healthy food from my garden and found locally, wild fish, fowl, venison, bison, organic chicken and premium meats. I travel from New York to Los Angeles searching for the best local premium foods and dishes. My interest in food is global. I eat local.