Monday, March 26, 2012

A Fine Time to Brine

Does brining sound complicated to you?  Well, it did to me before I knew what it actually was.   Now that I know how easy it can be, I do it all the time...when I have the time.  
I think you will all enjoy this guest blog entry from Matthew Ward, Executive Sous Chef at the The Adolphus in Dallas, TX. 

Take it away, Matt! 

With the chill of winter finally vacating stage right, it’s time to start getting excited about the arrival of spring & summer.  What excites me most about this time of year is the art of grilling and the endless possibilities that come with it.  I’ve rediscovered a foolproof way to keep my chickens and cuts of pork juicier and more flavorful.  It takes only three simple ingredients: water, salt and sugar.  Brining, simply put, is just a dry cure in water.  The three main ingredients work together; resulting in a juicer and more flavorful piece of chicken or pork.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring your brine.  All kinds of fruit juices can be substituted for the water in whole or part.  Herbs and spices can be added to the brine to add more complexity to the brine. The most important thing is to keep the water to salt ratio the same and to adjust brining times to suite the size of your cut of chicken or pork.  Larger cuts need a longer soak versus smaller cuts like chicken breast or pork chops.  I’ve included a favorite brining recipe of mine that I’ve used for half chickens that I cook on the grill each summer.       
Lemon & Rosemary Brine

1 gallon          Water
1 cup               Kosher Salt
¼ cup            Sugar
¼ cup            Brown Sugar
1 bunch          Rosemary, fresh
1 bunch          Thyme, fresh 
3 each             Bay Leaves
2 each             Shallots, sliced
2 each             Heads of Garlic, crushed
1 tbsp.             White Peppercorns, crushed
4 each             Lemons, cut in half, squeezed

4 each            Half Chickens, approx. 1 ½ lbs. each

Combine all of the ingredients (up to lemons) in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Let all the ingredients steep and cool down to room temperature.  Place in the refrigerator and leave until the brine is cold.  Place half chickens in the brining solution, return to the refrigerator & let sit for four hours.  Make sure the chickens are completely submerged in the brine.  Use a small plate to hold the chickens down if needed.  After four hours remove the chickens from the brine & discard the brine.  Pat the chicken dry & let sit for 30 to 45 minutes.

From this point the seasonings are up to you.  I usually season the chicken with some kosher salt & fresh ground pepper and let the brine work its magic on the grill.  My method is to grill the chicken on medium high until the skin gets nice and crispy and then move it to the cooler side of my grill to finish.  You will be amazed how juicy the birds are and how subtle the saltiness finishes with every bite.

Thanks, Matt! 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nana's Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone from BISCo. headquarters. 

I would like to share with you a very special recipe from my Nana's kitchen.  Nana was a great cook who loved to show her family love by preparing meals and opening her home to everyone.  One tidbit, I never once saw her wear a pair of pants-dresses and skirts only for this lady.  One of Nana's specialties was Irish Soda Bread.  I would like to share this with you today and may you have the luck of the Irish in making it.  

Nana's Irish Soda Bread 
4 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 oz sugar
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups buttermilk

Mix all dry ingredients then add the buttermilk. Kneed into a dough. Form a loaf and bake at
350 for one hour.   Enjoy with some butter and a strong cup of tea.  


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting Our Grill On!

Today at Block Island Seafood Co. we are heating things up with a guest post by Matthew Ward, Executive Sous Chef at the The Adolphus in Dallas.   This recipe for Spanish Romesco will certainly make its way into the BISCo. test kitchen this summer.  Just hope I can do it justice.  

Take it away, Matt! 

Grilling Sauces
There’s nothing like a great sauce to serve with grilled meats and vegetables this summer.  I’ve decided to feature a traditional Spanish sauce when entertaining this summer.  The Spanish favorite I am talking about is romesco.  Romesco originated in Tarragons, Spain and is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyoras - a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, sherry wine vinegar and onion.  In this version I like to use roasted tomatoes and shallots that have been roasted in the oven.  I also use regular red bell peppers that are readily available all year round.  Roasting the tomatoes and shallots; add a whole other dimension to the sauce.  In Spain they like to serve romesco with seafood and I totally agree.  Serve it with some grilled scallops, halibut or sea bass.  I’ve also found it to be wonderful on a medley of grilled vegetables.  The possibilities are endless with romesco.  I hope you add it to your summer grilling reportaire this season.

Spanish Romesco
2 ea.              Red Peppers
2 ea.              Shallots, peeled
½ cup           Almonds, sliced
3 cloves        Garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp.           Smoked Paprika
1 tsp.             Cayenne
2 ea.              Crusty Bread, stale or toasted, no crust
2 ea.              Tomatoes, cut in half, seeds removed
1 tbsp            Sherry Wine Vinegar
¼ cup           Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil for Sautéing
Vegetable Stock, if needed, to adjust consistency

1)  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes and shallots olive oil and place on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and cook for about twenty minutes.  A light browning is great.  This will bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes and shallots. Remove and set aside till ready to make the sauce.

2)  Roast and peel peppers, by placing them over an open flame on the stove or on the grill. Char them well on all sides.  When nice and black put them in a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  This will create steam.  In about 10 minutes you will be able to rinse off the char and have a nice roasted pepper.  Remove the seeds and rough chop.

3)  In a pan, sauté the shallots, peppers in a small amount of olive oil.  Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Then add the tomato and the roasted pepper.  Sauté for five minutes more or until all the ingredients are softened.

4)  Carefully put everything but the olive oil in a blender and blend.  Be very careful because the contents are hot.  With the blender running, add the olive oil in a thin stream.  If necessary add a bit of vegetable stock to the sauce.  It really depends on the moisture content of the vegetables.

5)  At this point you can serve the sauce with your wonderfully grilled creations or refrigerate it until ready to use.  To reheat, place in a sauce pan and heat gently till sauce is hot.  This recipe should make you about 2 cups of finished sauce.

Thanks, Matt, for sharing this with us! 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Incredible Edible Book Challenge - Riverhead Library

Got what it takes to enter the 2012 Incredible Edible Book Challenge? Look out Randy, J. Lo and Steven Tyler---Block Island Seafood Co. is proud to be a part of this event as a judge! Can't wait to see all of the awesome entries!

 Incredible Edible Book Challenge Small Poster


About Me

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Block Island Seafood Company (BISCO) helps fellow seafood enthusiasts enjoy the gifts of summer in their own homes all year long. BISCO will leave your family and friends with a memorable experience beyond the traditional catered gathering by providing a dynamic chef and extraordinary cuisine. Block Island, RI (41°09'N 71°33'W) is a small island that sits in the Atlantic Ocean between Rhode Island and Montauk Point, NY. For many years it has been a vacation spot for me and my family, and now I’d like to bring Block Island to your dinner table.