Friday, 17 June 2016 09:44 Written by John Reardon
Hello my Foodie Friends. As I reflect on this coming weekend being Father’s day, I recognize my blessing of two incredible children and that I love being a father. I also find that I miss my own father who passed six years ago. There are so many precious memories I have of my own childhood and of my children. Among my very special memories are our summer experiences on the coast of Rhode Island. Prior to moving to Upstate New York, we lived on the coast of Connecticut. Our good neighbors and friends, Ron and Deede, owned a fifty foot “boat” named “The Graduate” that they docked in West Greenwich Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay. Weekend excursions included boating to Newport Rhode Island or just hanging out on the boat. Ron is a master captain in boating and comes from a military background in the Navy. He is also a master chef!! He was always very proud driving “The Graduate”and serving his crew incredible seafood dishes. Ahh…what fabulous memories of our rides. Our children were very young at the time of most of our adventures. There was one very special time when Ron allowed our three-year-son Johnny, to take the helm and to sit in Ron’s chair to drive the boat. Johnny sat proudly with a very determined look in Ron’s captain’s chair, holding firmly onto the boat's steering wheel and exclaimed “big boy driving the boat!” It was precious. Each summer that we were able to join Ron and Deede on “The Graduate”, Ron would allow Johnny to take the helm and be the “big boy driving the boat”. These are among the special memories of being on the water, with amazing friends, breathing in the sea air and feeling it on your skin. With boating brought the feasting on spectacular seafood meals made by Ron and Deede. This is one of our favorite recipes from our fun seaside adventures: INGREDIENTS: MUSSEL BROTH 1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded 1 shallot, thinly sliced 4 tarragon sprigs 2 cups dry white wine 1/4 cup Pernod CARAMELIZED FENNEL AND LEEKS 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch dice 2 leeks, light green and white parts only, sliced 1/2 inch thick MUSSELS 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 shallots, thinly sliced 5 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded 1/4 cup Pernod 3/4 cup crème fraîche Kosher salt Small tarragon leaves, for garnish Toasted or grilled baguettes, for serving Mussels with Caramelized Fennel and Leaks This is a simple mussel broth with caramelized vegetables and crème fraiche that pump up the flavor of the steamed mussels. HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE MAKE THE MUSSEL BROTH Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Strain the broth and reserve the mussels. MAKE THE CARAMELIZED FENNEL AND LEEKS In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the fennel and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and the fennel is lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat. PREPARE THE MUSSELS In a pot, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until softened, 2 minutes. Add the mussels and Pernod and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mussel broth and the fennel mixture. Cover and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl as they open. PREPARE THE MUSSELS Bring the broth to a simmer. Whisk in the crème fraîche and season with salt. Add all of the mussels and cook until hot. Transfer the mussels and broth to bowls; garnish with tarragon. Serve with toasted baguettes. The caramelized fennel mixture can be refrigerated for 2 days. A great item to have when serving this dish is a lemon stretchy that is a lemon wedge straining cover. This fine mesh cotton tool helps to keep seeds out of your food. You simply cut the lemon, stretch the elastic open and place the wrap over the cut end. I can’t help but smile at the priceless memories we all had with Ron and Deede on “The Graduate” with our big boy “driving the boat” and our daughter giggling at the sea spray blown up from the sides of the boat. Enjoy Father’s Day and relish in the joys of being a parent!! Make some seafood meals to remind you of the ocean and those precious memories you have made with friends and family. At Compliments to the Chef located at 46 Marion Avenue in Saratoga Springs, New York, we have many seafood and culinary accessories to assist you with your creations and family traditions. Happy Father’s Day! Make beautiful, life-long memories. Remember, “Life Happens in th e Kitchen”. Take care, John and Paula.
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