Tag: Seafood

Baked sea scallops in less than 30 minutes

Baked sea scallops in less than 30 minutes

The delicate flavor of scallops is a marvelous treat whenever they are in season. Sea scallops are the bigger scallops; the little ones are called bay scallops and are best used in dishes like Coquille St Jacques.

This recipe is so easy, you should start the rice you serve it with first, in a pan, an Instant Pot or a rice cooker. Then preheat the oven. We got our idea from one by Christine Laliberte.

  • About 1 lb sea scallops (around 16)
  • 5 Tb melted butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped in short lengths, green part included
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 Tb olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Lemon wedges or sliced for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Place the scallops, melted butter and chopped scallions in a bowl
  3. Add the garlic, using a garlic press or just mince it.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. In another bowl, add the breadcrumbs and mix in the olive oil.
  6. Place scallop mixture in a casserole and cover with the breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 11 minutes or more, until brown.
  8. Sprinkle parsley over the browned breadcrumbs and serve with rice.
Cru Oyster Bar: Nantucket’s newest bar

Cru Oyster Bar: Nantucket’s newest bar

Cru Oyster Bar opened about 5 years ago and received deserved praise from diners and the food press. In fact, Chef Erin Zircher was even invited to cook at a James Beard Foundation meal. The restaurant, at the end of Straight Wharf (site of the former Rope Walk) has a fantastic harbor view through the huge glass windows, some of which open when the weather permits.

We’ve eaten at Cru 4 previous times, and described most of the meals with high praise, as an elegant family restaurant with a terrific view. We remember seeing young people coloring on the provided menu pages with crayons, and seeing our own brood eating from children’s portions.

No more. The menu is simpler than it was formerly, but certainly not cheaper. Three minutes after we were seated at a nice window table, a group of about 8 men (ages 30 to 50) came in and began shouting to their comrades at the bar, which was just behind the window tables. This continued unabated. While this certainly showed a lack of consideration, it was apparently not unexpected, as the restaurant management did nothing to quell this disturbance.

We immediately asked to be moved to another table where we could actually converse, and they did move us to the second, darker dining room, where the noise was still substantial but more diffused. Here we were able to converse by cupping our hands behind our ears. In fact, this racket never really subsided during our entire meal. Cru is no longer a classy restaurant, but a raucous bar that serves some of the same food, albeit with less care.

For starters, we ordered a Blue Crab Cocktail ($23), served over lettuce and a horseradish crème sauce. There was plenty of crab, but it was kind of a dull presentation. On the other hand, the Shrimp Cocktail was priced a $5 a shrimp. (Really? Five dollars each?). It turned out that these shrimp made jumbo shrimp feel completely inferior. Each of them was gargantuan (we ordered 3 and couldn’t finish them). Something a considerate waiter might have alerted us to. Honestly, shrimp that big are just preposterous, and as you’d expect, not as tender as smaller ones would be.

One of our entrees was a really fine Nantucket Lobster Roll on a warm, buttered, toasted brioche roll for $36. There was a tremendous amount of lobster in this roll, and it was tender, buttery and delicious. In fact it was more than one of us could finish. This turned out to be fortuitous considering the other entrée.

Taking a turn away from the Nantucket’s emphasis on fine local seafood, we ordered their Chicken Under a Brick ($36). This is essentially half a spatchcocked chicken roasted under weights to help with uniform cooking, and served over a “summer bean salad.” Here is how Mark Bittman describes this recipe. In this case, it didn’t work very well. While the dark meat was good, the breast meat was tough and dry. When the waiter checked on us, we told him it wasn’t very good and he said he’d “tell the chef.” This did not, however, result in any changes. Fortunately, I was able to eat the rest of my wife’s lobster roll instead.

As soon as we could finish we asked for the check without even considering dessert in that din, and were shocked to find a bill of $171. OK, we had 4 glasses of wine, 2 while we waited interminably for our entrees, but they had offered no price adjustment on the terrible chicken dish. The waiter protested that my wife had “finished the chicken” so we weren’t due a refund. When we set him straight, he went away and eventually came back with a $139 bill. This is still a lot of money for at best middling food with none of its former distinction, and no dessert or coffee, but we paid and left.

If you’ve ever been hired for a job that turns into quite a different one after a couple of years, you can understand the chef’s predicament. She is doing a huge business with a rowdy crowd not really there for the fine food, but probably making a lot of money. And the waiter assured us that this was a quiet night after Labor Day and that it has been louder than this all summer. But this is not a place for comfortable dining and we won’t be back.


Cod Creole: an easy fish dish adding great flavors to white fish

Cod Creole: an easy fish dish adding great flavors to white fish

If you are tired of fried fish and fish with a lemon butter sauce, maybe it’s time to make a delicious creole sauce and use it to cook your fish. We made this simple half-hour meal using cod because that’s what looked good in our market, but it would work well with any white fish and pretty well with oilier fish as well. And we loved it!

This recipe is adapted from the book Turn Up the Flavor.

The original recipe suggested some red bell peppers, but if you have a few more interesting peppers around you can toss those in too. We found some sweet yellow peppers and a poblano pepper we’d picked recently from our now frost-ridden pepper patch. You could toss in a jalapeno or two, depending on how much heat your diners prefer.

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 “other” peppers, depending on what you have available
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 Tb Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb cod filets, or other white fish
  • 2 scallions, chopped diagonally
  • Brown rice

Sauteing vegetables
Sauteing vegetables
Heat oil in a large pan and add the peppers, onion, and celery. Saute until softened, and add the garlic. Cook 30 seconds.

Tomato juice, Srirach and Worcesterhire
Tomato juice, Srirach and Worcesterhire
Add the tomato juice and then the Sriracha and Worcestershire. Simmer about 4 minutes.

adding fish
Add the cod
Add the filets and nestle them among the vegetables.

Cooked cod
Cooked cod
Cook covered until the fish is opaque, about  8 minutes.

Cod creole with scallions
Cod creole with scallions
Spoon into serving bowl and decorate with chopped scallions.

Cod creole plated with brown rice
Cod creole plated with brown rice
Serve with brown rice.
Galley Beach: excellent but pricey

Galley Beach: excellent but pricey

tablesGalley Beach offers picturesque dining on Cliffside Beach, with a view of the ocean and sunset. Under the (returning) Chef W Scott Osif, the menu is again highly imaginative and very tasty. It is also almost unreasonably pricey, topping out with a jaw-dropping $58 veal chop entrée and a $59 lobster entrée. The complete set of entrée prices are almost all over $40: 42,45,40,59,39,58,54. The appetizers are somewhat more reasonable, running from$16 to $25. Portion sizes are again good-sized, unlike under the prior chef’s reign.  It is perfectly possible to make a meal out of two appetizers and feel completely satisfied.

There is no doubt that you will enjoy your meal and excellent service at Galley Beach, and some of the dishes are definitely worth sampling.

veggiesWe begin our evening with an appetizer Summer Vegetable Tasting ($19), made up of tomatoes, radishes, broccolini, melon,sunchoke and greens. Thoughtfully composed, this light appetizer was a welcome relief from Nantucket overkill.

chowderOur other appetizer was a truly excellent clam chowder ($16), made with Yukon gold potatoes and applewood smoked bacon. It was thick and bursting with clams and potatoes. Surely the best clam chowder on the island.

crab cakeFor one entrée, we chose the crab cake ($27), served with cucumber and tomato mint salad and a champagne beurre blanc. While this was nominally an appetizer, it was large and so filling it made an excellent dinner.

Our other entrée was Sea Scallops ($44) served with kale, pickled apple, celery root and a lemon coriander dressing.  Tscallopshe four large scallops were almost more than we could eat, but the accompaniments were fascinating and went well with the scallops.

Finally, we succumbed to a dessert, splitting an excellent Crème Brulee ($15) served with two huge blackberries. The crust was crispy and more important, the underlying custard was warm and not just pulled from the fridge and torched.creme brulee

Overall we had an excellent meal, which with two glasses of $22 chardonnay set us back $187 including tax but before tip. Galley Beach has set itself up with price points as a special occasion venue, or for the wealthy and this is too bad, because everyone would enjoy eating there. The view and service are excellent, and if you bring plenty of money, it is a terrific experience.

Incidentally, it appears that they have dropped the $15 valet parking of the past two years, which was really just annoying.

The Grey Lady: Nantucket’s newest seafood restaurant

You might think that The Grey Lady would be a perfect name for a Nantucket restaurant, but the operators of the 2 Chin’s Way establishment already have branches in New York and Aspen. This Grey Lady is on Chwindowin’s Way, just next to the Island Kitchen. Chin’s way is little more than an entrance to the parking lot for the two restaurants and runs between West Creek and Dave St, pretty much directly across from Stop and Shop.

The restaurant is in the building formerly occupied by the Bamboo Supper Club, with a long thin dining area and a bar on the other side of the wall. The décor is light an airy.

lobster rollOf the four things we ordered, the Lobster Roll was far awn away the best, although it was $38. It was a buttered brioche roll filled to the brim with warm, buttered lobster. They also offer it cold with mayonnaise, but this is the one you want. The lobster roll is served with copious hot French fries, and makes a very filling meal by itself.

fried oystersWe ordered Crispy Fried Oysters ($14) served with Buffalo style hot sauce, blue cheese dressing and shaved celery. Now, to us, Buffalo hot sauce is half Frank’s bottled sauce and half butter, but this was just Frank’s sauce dumped on all the oysters. The hot pepper smell was simply choking and the strong hot sauce flavor completely overpowered the oysters.

crab cakesOur other appetizer was a pair of Crab Cakes ($15) served with fresh tomatoes. The crab cakes were meaty and not filled with a lot of bread crumbs, but lacked much flavor: Baltimore style crab cakes usually have a mustard flavor.  And without any tartar sauce, they were kind of dry.

Finally, our other entrée was Pan Roasted flounderNative Flounder ($26) served with toasted corn, zucchini, Italian sausage, salsa verde and white bean puree. Unfortunately the flounder were too brown and overcooked and dry. And it really didn’t seem to make sense that sausage was served with the flounder.

Our bill with 2 beers and a glass of wine was $132.66 with tax but before tip. Our waitress was very fast and efficient, but the kitchen work needs some serious rethinking.

Le Languedoc: best burger on the island

Le Languedoc (on Broad St) is a French bistro with a small but imaginative menu of steaks, chicken lobster, fluke, quail, duck and sweetbreads. We’ve written about it before, describing their more formal menu, but had never ventured to the below stairs café where burgers and the like predominate.

Table setting
Table setting

This year, all that has changed. You can order the fancier menu in any room, and the cheeseburger in any room, and have the option of pairing that burger with an appetizer if you like. The dining room décor is really quite elegant with bottom-lit floating flowers and white tablecloth service.

Floating flower
Floating flower

We ate at Le Languedoc last night for the burgers, but preceded them with a couple of salads.

Tomato salad
Tomato salad

One was a delicious Bartlett Farms fresh tomato and bleu cheese salad ($18), and the other a Burrata salad ($16) with figs, Arugula, Zucchini, Seasoned Crumbs, and Balsamic dressing.

Burrata salad
Burrata salad

We both ordered the Cheeseburger and Garlic Fries ($18.75) and it is easily the best burger on the island.

as served
Burger and garlic fries

It’s a fairly thick burger, prepared to the doneness you request, served on an English muffin, open on the platter, with lettuce, tomato and onion under the top muffin, so you can edit them before putting the top layer on. The waiter brought us each three little dishes of ketchup, ketchup and mustard to use on or burger and with our fries.

Assembled burger
Assembled burger

The garlic fries were hot and mildly redolent of garlic so they don’t overwhelm you, but exceptionally good fries.

We should note that the burger and fries are quite filling, and you really don’t need those salads unless you are exceptionally hungry. Desserts are available, but we confess that we finished our meal with ice cream from the Juice Guys.

You can also get a rather good burger from LolaBurger (for about $17.50 with cheese and fries) at the Milestone Rotary, but not only is this one better; the atmosphere and service at Le Languedoc are unsurpassed. Besides, if someone wants to order from the rest of their menu they can do that, too!

The Sea Grille is always excellent

The Sea Grille is always excellent

You can tell that The Sea Grille is good by the crowd of both tourists and locals that eat there every night. Located on Sparks Ave, between the Shell station and the Boys and Girls Club, it is a somewhat unobtrusive large building with amply parking in the rear. Supervised by E J Harvey, the Sea Grille has been providing creative and comforting meals for over 20 year. And for non-seafood enthusiasts, they do serve steaks and chicken as well.

The Sea Grille’s large menu lists a number of fish they will cook for you steamed or fried, as well as a number of more elaborate Island Favorites and Creative Coastal items and some nightly specials. They also have several soups, including E J Harvey’s award winning Quahog Chowder.

On our Wednesday visit this week, the dining room (and parking lot) were lively, but not completely full. For busy times and weekends, you definitely should make a reservation.

Quahog chowder
Quahog chowder

On this visit, we succumbed again to our favorite: Harvey’s Quahog chowder ($8) and their creative and colorful Roasted Beet Salad ($14) with herb crusted local goat milk cheese, onion, caramelized pecans and country dressing.

The chowder (a quahog is a large clam) was full of pieces of chopped clam along with potatoes, and garnished with paprika, had an absolutely delicious flavor. Don’t miss this one!

Beet salad
Beet salad

The beet salad, with the accompanying goat cheese (shown a 2 o’clock in the photo) was excellent, with a mixture of red and yellow beets, red onions and lettuce.

We ordered their nightly special, Miso-glazed Hake ($34), served with a couple of head-on shrimp, rice and a delicious sweet miso sauce. And sitting right on top were little “tree branches,” which turned out to be batter fried broccoli (shown along the top rear). They were so good, we’ll never steam broccoli again!

Miso glazed hake
Miso glazed hake

For our second entree, we ordered the Free Form Ravioli ($33), a single huge ravioli stuffed with seafood: shrimp, scallops, lobster, ricotta and mushrooms, with a crispy leek.

Free Form ravioli
Free Form ravioli

The Sea Grille never disappoints: their food is always excellent and reasonably priced. You can’t go wrong in this family-friendly restaurant.Tables