Spring is here! So what better way to say good-bye to winter than with some fresh seafood. Bob Kinkead, chef and owner of Washington D.C.'s acclaimed Kinkead's restaurant, was invited on the “Today” show to share some favorite recipes from his new book, "Kinkead's Cookbook." Here are the recipes.
Pepita-Crusted Salmon With Chiles, Corn and Shrimp RagoûtBob Kinkead
To make the ancho crema, in a saucepan over high heat place the ancho with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Strain and dry. Remove the seeds and stems. In a blender, combine the softened ancho, orange juice, and salt. Puree to a paste. If too dry, add a little water. In a stainless steel bowl, mix the puree into the Salvadoran cream. The crema should be thick but pourable. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
To make the cilantro cream, in a small saucepan bring 2 cups of water and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Blanch the cilantro leaves and scallion for 1 minute and refresh in an ice-water bath. Strain and squeeze dry. Transfer to a blender and puree. Place the puree in a stainless steel bowl, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and remaining salt, and mix well. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
To make the salmon, preheat the oven to 375°F. Blanch the corn in salted, boiling water for 4 minutes, or until tender. Strain and reserve. In a food processor, place the pepitas and tortilla chips and pulse to a medium coarse mixture.
Salt and pepper each salmon fillet and dip into the buttermilk on one side only. Next, dip each fillet into the pepita-tortilla mixture. Let rest in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil. When hot, sauté the fillets, coated side down, for 3 minutes or so, until they start to brown. Carefully turn over and place in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes, until just barely cooked in the center. You will most likely need to do this in two batches for 6 portions.
To make the shrimp ragout, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil and sauté the onions until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and add the blanched corn, scallions, poblanos, tomatillos, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, and half of the diced tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Chop half of the cilantro leaves and set some aside for garnish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer from the heat and stir in most of the chopped cilantro leaves and crabmeat.
To make a tomato relish, combine the remaining tomatoes with the olive oil, the remaining chopped cilantro, and the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice.
To serve, divide the shrimp ragout onto 6 warm plates. There should be slightly more than 3/4 cup on each. Top with a fillet of salmon. To garnish, drizzle on the ancho crema and cilantro cream. Top each fillet with the tomato relish and sprinkle with the whole cilantro leaves.
Grilled Oysters and PancettaBob Kinkead
Serves 6 as a first course or makes 30 hors d’oeuvres
Soak six 7-inch wood skewers in ice water for 1 hour. Shuck the oysters and drain, reserving the liquid. Clean and reserve the deep top shells; discard the bottom shells.
In a sauté pan over high heat, bring about 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Blanch the pancetta for 1 to 2 minutes, drain, and cool. Unroll the pancetta so that it is like strips of bacon. Dry the oysters in a paper towel and roll one strip of pancetta around each. For each serving, double-skewer five pancetta-rolled oysters and chill for 30 minutes.
To make the oyster butter sauce, in a noncorrosive saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar, white wine, and 1/4 of the minced shallots. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to almost a glaze. Add the oyster liquor and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the butter, add salt and pepper to taste, and remove from the heat.
To make the balsamic mignonette, in a bowl, combine the remaining shallots with the cracked black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and Chianti.
To grill the oysters and pancetta, preheat a grill (preferably charcoal or, better yet, wood-fired). When hot, grill the skewers on one side until the meat is brown and not sticking to the grill. Turn and grill the other side. The pancetta should be crispy and the oysters still moist. Keep warm.
To serve, spread the rock salt on 6 plates and place 5 of the empty oyster shells on each. Remove the oysters from the skewers. Place a cooked oyster in each shell. Spoon about a half teaspoon of the balsamic mignonette on each oyster. Garnish with the oyster butter sauce and a small rosemary sprig. Serve hot.