The weather seems to finally have turned, and I’ve really been craving lighter, brighter flavors. It’s perfect timing, really, because the farmers’ markets around Boston are finally open for the season, which means that we can now shop at a farmers’ market in Providence or Boston nearly every day of the week. It’s really the beginning of the very best time of the year to cook and eat around these parts.
The warmer weather also means that I love to escape from my windowless office whenever possible and take a lunchtime stroll up the North End to visit my favorite fishmongers. Liz and Keri always have beautiful fresh seafood, and it’s always a treat to visit their adorable shop, chat with them, and know that I’m bringing home something delicious to cook up.
For the second week running, one of those delicious offerings from the sea was soft shell crabs, in season right now, and particularly sweet and tasty. Last week I soaked some in buttermilk, dredged them in flour, and served the crispy little guys on a “broken” basil and lemon puree; this time around I went with a different take. They got a super light coating of seasoned Wondra flour, then a brief saute in a hot pan slicked with a little bit of grapeseed oil, then I served them up with a sprinkle of slivered almonds and a dipping sauce composed of tamari, mirin, rice wine vinegar, shaved green garlic, and a little toasted sesame oil.
On the side, I served up a salad of cucumber ribbons dressed with a light rice wine vinaigrette, slivers of nori from She Sells Seaweed, and black sesame seeds, very much inspired by a dish we had at last years Farm Fresh RI Local Food Fest.
Last night’s seafood preparation was even simpler. I had two gorgeous pieces of mahi mahi, which I salted, dried well, then seared in a bit of grapeseed oil until the skin was crackly-crisp. When I flipped the fish so the skin side was up, I added a nub of anchovy butter, which soaked into the flesh of the fish, infusing it with more rich flavor, and I served the seared filets on top of a basil and garlic scape citronette, with simply halved and salted tiny heirloom tomatoes from Kimball’s Fruit Farm scattered around. Quick, simple, delicious.