Four Seafood Recipes for Wine Lovers
One of the great joys of spending time oceanside is the abundance of ultrafresh seafood. And it’s a pleasure that’s increasingly matched by great local wines. We spoke with chefs in some of the country’s best wine-producing shellfish regions to help you channel that experience from home, no sunscreen needed.
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Courtesy Gary Singh, executive chef, Bibi Ji, Santa Barbara, CA
Aquaculturalist Bernard Friedman grows these shellfish at Hope Ranch on the Santa Barbara coast. Traditional mussel preparations abound throughout the region, but this Indian-inspired dish by Executive Chef Gary Singh of Bibi Ji, co-owned by renowned sommelier and author Rajat Parr, makes for a heavily spiced, addictively delicious diversion from the norm.
Hope Ranch Mussels
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 quart tomato sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 ¾ tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup cream
- 5 pounds mussels
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
Heat olive oil on high in pot. Lower heat and add cloves garlic and ginger, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add yellow onion and salt. Cook onion until soft, 5–10 minutes. Add tomato sauce, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin, paprika and chili powder. Season with salt, to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and add lemon juice and cream. Cook for 5 minutes to merge flavors.
In different saucepan, bring sauce and mussels to full boil and cook until all mussels open. Add water, to thin, if desired. Remove any unopened mussels and garnish with 1 cup cilantro leaves. Serves 4.
Alejandro Medina, Bibi Ji’s managing partner, recommends Lo-Fi 2016 Riesling (Santa Barbara County). “The texture and acidity in the wine balance the saltiness and spice of our mussels,” he says.
“Lo-Fi winemakers Mike Roth and Craig Winchester produce wines in a natural form and work with organically farmed vineyards.”
Tortoise Creek 2017 Cuvée Jeanne Sauvignon Blanc (Central Coast) is a casual option with mellow and refreshing lime, apple and guava notes to balance the spice.
Courtesy Pat Donahue, executive chef, Anthony’s Restaurants, Seattle
Dungeness crab is a Washington delicacy. This hearty fall recipe from Pat Donahue at Anthony’s Restaurants brings a wonderful richness of flavor, with the crab served over a delicate “soufflé,” or pudding, of cornbread. The combination plays perfectly off a Washington State Chardonnay.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cob corn, shucked
- 2 tablespoons diced red pepper
- 1½ teaspoons minced basil
- 1½ teaspoons lime juice
- 1½ teaspoons orange juice
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1½ cups crumbled cornbread (ingredients and recipe below)
- 4 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 12 ounces Dungeness crab leg meat
- 4 sprigs tarragon or microgreens, for garnish
- 2 cups warm Creamy Lobster Sauce (ingredients and recipe below)
Heat oven to 350˚F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and brush onto corn. Place on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Hold cob with pointed top turned down against a cutting board. Carefully cut kernels off and add to bowl with red pepper, basil, lime juice and orange juice. Season with salt, to taste. Toss gently to combine. Extra salsa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Reduce oven to 325˚F. Bring milk to boil in small saucepan over high heat. Add cream, then remove from heat and pour over crumbled cornbread. Set aside until liquid is absorbed. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, 1½ teaspoons salt and pepper. Fold into cornbread mixture. Butter 8×8-inch pan with remaining 2 tablespoons butter, pour in batter. Place in larger roasting pan, and fill roasting pan with enough hot tap water to come halfway up sides of small pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until custard is set in center. Remove from oven and hot water bath to cool. Cut into 4 squares.
Divide cornbread soufflé between 4 plates or shallow bowls. Distribute crab meat among plates. Ladle ½ cup lobster sauce around and on top of soufflé. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons roasted corn salsa around pudding and crab. Garnish with tarragon or microgreens. Serves 4.
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup corn flour
- 1½ tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1¼ cups plus 1½ teaspoons whole milk
- 1 egg
Heat oven 325˚F. In large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix together melted butter, milk and eggs. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into buttered 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Gently flip onto cutting board, to cool.
In small bowl, combine ¾ cup water, 4 teaspoons lobster base (like Better Than Bouillon) and 4 teaspoons tomato paste. Whisk until well mixed. In medium saucepan, melt 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add 6 tablespoons flour and whisk for 1–2 minutes to make roux. Slowly add 3 cups heavy whipping cream, and bring to boil, whisking to keep flour from sticking to pot. Add lobster base mixture and whisk until combined. Use silicone spatula to get roux out from corners of pot, and whisk well. Stir in ⅛ teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon Pernod or Sambuca, 3 tablespoons Lillet Blanc, and salt and pepper, to taste. Use immediately or keep warm in double broiler. Makes about 1 quart.
Woodward Canyon 2018 Chardonnay (Washington) is a luxurious wine with lemony acidity that is a perfect counterpoint to the sweet seafood and corn in this dish. A kiss of new French oak adds enough texture to stand up to such rich food, helps compliment the creaminess of the lobster sauce and ensures crab remains the star.
Courtesy Jim Richard, chef/owner, Stinky’s Fish Camp, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Stinky’s Fish Camp, in beachfront South Walton County on the Florida panhandle, is a prime spot to enjoy “Gulf-to-table” cuisine, including Gulf oysters prepared nine different ways. These oysters are large, meaty and perfect for baking, but you can use any large variety for this recipe.
- 12 Gulf (or other large) oysters on the half shell
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¾ cup grated smoked Gruyère
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
- 4 lemon wedges, for to garnish
Heat oven to 400˚F. Place oysters in a shallow baking dish.
Mix together butter, lemon juice, horseradish, Tabasco and shallot. Divide among oysters (about 2 teaspoons per oyster). Divide bacon and cheese among oysters.
Bake until cheese is bubbling, 7–9 minutes. Serve immediately, with chopped parsley sprinkled on top and lemon wedges alongside. Serves 4 as an appetizer.
Cooked Gulf oysters go beautifully with Gulf-adjacent sparkler William Chris 2018 Pétillant Naturel Rosé (Texas). Though it has refreshingly spritzy bubbles and crisp acidity, it has the expressive fruit and body to stand up to the dish’s bold flavors.
Richard also loves local brew Grayton Beer Company 30A Beach Blonde Ale with these oysters. “It’s crisp and dry with just a hint of sweetness,” he says.
Courtesy Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez, chefs/owners, Chaval, Portland, ME
A classic noodle dish from the coast of Spain is re-envisioned for the New England shore at Chaval in Portland, Maine. Here, married partners Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti interpret classic, bistro-style French and Spanish dishes to show off seasonal local ingredients—in this case, sweet, juicy lobster. Have your fishmonger steam it for you, if you like.
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 14–18 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Spanish onions, small diced
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes, excess liquid drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- ½ cup Sherry
- 3 cups fideos (or thin vermicelli pasta broken into 1-inch pieces)
- 12 ounces Spanish chorizo, small diced
- 2½–3 quarts lobster broth (use store bought, or see ingredients and directions below)
- 4 ounces piquillo pepper, small diced
- 13–16 ounces cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup julienned snow peas, for garnish
- 1 small bunch chives, fine chopped, for garnish
One to 5 days before serving dish, mix together mayonnaise, 6–8 minced cloves garlic, mustard and vinegar. Refrigerate.
To cook, heat oven to 350˚F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add 1 onion and remaining 8–10 cloves garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of paprika, and cook, stirring gently to combine, 3–4 minutes. Add Sherry and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook to combine, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Spread fideos on baking sheet or in shallow, flat-bottomed pot. Toast in oven until golden brown, 6–7 minutes, rotating once halfway through.
In large braising pan, warm remaining olive oil. Add chorizo and remaining onion. Stir in 2 heaping tablespoons tomato mixture and remaining paprika. Add fideos, and stir to coat, then add lobster broth and pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring about every minute. (The less you stir, the more crust or “soccrat” will form on bottom). Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, adding more broth if noodles aren’t tender. Stir in lobster meat and piquillo peppers, and cook until lobster is warmed through, about 2 minutes. Garnish with snow peas and chives, and either dollop with mayonnaise mixture or pass at the table. Serves 6.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4-6 lobster carapace, cut into medium pieces
- 1 medium onion, large diced
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 large carrot, large diced
- 2 ribs celery, large diced
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
Warm oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add lobster shells and vegetables, and cook until lobster starts to turn red. Add herbs, spices and orange and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Deglaze with white wine and tomato paste, cook for about 3 minutes, then add tomatoes water to cover (about 3 quarts). Bring to a simmer and cook to meld flavors, about 30 minutes. Strain.
Made in Maine from Northeast-grown fruit, Oyster River Winegrowers 2018 Morphos Pétillant Naturel (America) is a barn-fermented pét-nat with a little bit of skin contact that provides just the right structure to stand up to this tomatoey dish. On the palate, it’s light and lemony enough to ensure the lobster stays squarely in the spotlight.
For a richer alternative with some mineral undertones, look to Spain and Avancia 2017 Cuvée de O Godello (Valdeorras).
- 1A Mussels Recipe that Pairs Perfect with Wine
- 2Dungeness Crab with Roasted Corn Salsa
- 3Baked Oysters with Bacon and Smoked Gruyère
- 4Maine Lobster Fideos