Something about the ocean air makes everything more relaxing, more peaceful, and more flavorful – especially the seafood!! Probably the natural salt enhancement. My feast last night began with a very successful trip to a fresh seafood market on the Outer Banks, Austin’s in Nags Head.
The prices are the best on the island, the selection is outstanding, and the quality is very high. You can’t go wrong here. For last night’s menu, I chose shrimp (of course), calamari, sea scallops, and clams. I began with the sea scallops, sprinkled a little salt and pepper and then seared them in butter. You only need about 1-2 minutes on each side on a med/high light. I cut some plum slices to make a nice bed for the scallops. Then, I grabbed a bottle of Shipwreck Coconut Rum and reduced it in the pan to pour on top. Holy smokes this was delicious!!
The coconut rum reduced into the butter so effortlessly and made an insanely delicious sauce. I may or may not have drank the little bit left on the plate. Ok, I did. We lightly steamed the clams and drizzled with some butter, but in my feasting frenzy, I somehow forgot to take a pic!! Ugh!! They were very fresh and plump.
Then came the fry fest. Things tend to get a little crazy when I’m frying, like an “everyone stand back” situation. I’m one of the mean, cursing and yelling chefs when I’m frying. Yeah, it’s like that. But it usually comes out great with minimal casualties. If you’ve never burned yourself frying stuff, hats off to ya! But all clear this time.
I’ve only made calamari once before and I used a breading mix that was a bit too salty that time. This was redemption time and, thus, I kept it pretty simple. The seafood breader from Austins, a little bit of Spice Cave’s “Sea,” which by the way went great on seared tuna the other night (www.thespicecave.com), and an egg-white wash with some ginger ale (ran out of beer last night! I know!) to get things started. Dip first in the wet, roll it in the dry, drop into hot vegetable oil and try not to get burned!! I did the same with the shrimp and with some zucchini sticks. I didn’t take pics while frying because it was messy and crazy and I probably need a go pro (that’s the camera thing people put on their heads, right?).
I believe this was my best seafood feast ever. And I have a solid reputation for a great fried shrimp, toot toot! The drink I paired the dinner with was also excellent, thanks to these two beverage makers.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!! Happy Birthday America!