Tag Archives: Jalapeno

Calamari and Kiwi

While a crispy fried calamari is a favorite appetizer, especially in restaurants, there are a myriad ways to prepare squid as a first course.  I am trying my hand at cooking squid as it takes only a few minutes (easy for a weeknight) and is very reasonably priced (about $7.99 per pound).  Last night, I created this dish as I had a jalapeño in my vegetable drawer and a golden kiwi in my fruit bowl.

For this appetizer for two, use four medium to large squid tubes and four tentacles.

After rinsing the squid, use kitchen scissors to slice the squid bodies into rings of about 1/4 inch wide.  Roughly chop about four thin slices of jalapeño – this quantity depends on your heat tolerance! Slice the kiwi into eight slices and fan them along the bottom of an appetizer bowl or plate (I used two small antique vaseline glass bowls).

Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil in a wok until it sizzles.  Then, add the jalapeño and sauté for about two minutes.  Add the squid and cook for two minutes.  While the squid is cooking, move it around with a wooden spoon and coat it in the oils.  Spoon the squid atop the kiwi along with the oils and jalapeño, and season with sea salt to taste.

calamari-and-kiwi

The sweetness of the kiwi is a bright balance to the kick of the jalapeño!

Sweetbreads With Some Heat

This recipe for offal is a simple summer appetizer with a kick…

Rinse one pound of sweetbreads, then cover them with water in a large pot.  Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and two pinches of salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a colander to rinse, then place in a bowl of water and ice to cool.  Remove the sweetbreads from the bowl and drain on a paper towel.

Use your finders to separate the sweetbreads into small pieces, removing the membrane.   Season with salt and pepper and dredge in cornmeal.  In a nonstick pan, heat several tablespoons of olive oil then sauté the sweetbreads until golden brown and no longer pink.  Add slices of jalapeño to taste as they sauté.  Arrange on an appetizer plate alongside several slides of focaccia.

Sweetbreads and Jalapeno

If you have never enjoyed organ meats, sweetbreads are a good place to start due to their mild taste and smooth texture!

Corn Salsa and Crab Cakes

Corn salsa is a refreshing, and somewhat spicy, way to enjoy summer’s bounty of fresh corn.  I recommend pairing this salsa with crab cakes…

Ingredients for Corn Salsa:

2 ears of corn, preferably white, sweet corn

2 scallions, thinly sliced

4 slices jalapeno, chopped

1 large tomato, cut into small chunks

Chiffonade of 5 basil leaves

Juice of 1/2 lime

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a large bowl.  Add the scallions, jalapeno, tomato, basil and lime juice.  Mix together and taste before adding the desired amount of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Corn and Scallions

Ingredients for Crab Cakes:

16 ounce container lump or jumbo lump crab meat

1 egg

Zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

2/3 to 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons butter

My recipe for crab cakes is very simple – no filler! In a large bowl, mix the crab and egg with a fork.  Then, mix in the lemon zest as well as sea salt and pepper to taste.  Add the bread crumbs last, using your hands to mix the ingredients and feel for the amount of bread crumbs necessary to bind the crab.  Shape the mixture into 4 cakes, and chill on a plate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.  Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a nonstick pan.  When the butter begins to foam, add the crab cakes and sauté until golden brown on each side (about 8 minutes total).

Plate the crab cakes topped with the salsa; or, serve the salsa in a flat serving dish alongside other summer favorites, such as slices of nectarine and mozzarella.

Corn Salsa