Sea Food

Sea Food, Pasta

Cherrystones with Saffron + Fregola

Cherrystone Clams with Saffron + Fregola |

Happy Thanksgiving week, y'all! Every day I am #blessed with many things to be grateful for. Here's a sampling from this month.

1) After four(!) separate trips to the RMV I successfully had my father-in-law's low-number license plates transferred to me. Did you know people like low-number plates? I didn't know it was a thing until we so innocently said, "Sure, we'd like granddad's old plates." It was an epic adventure involving many RMV personalities. There were ogres and trolls who thwarted our mission and fairies and genies who ultimately made our wish come true. If you spot us on the road (#50517) know we earned those digits.

2) November marks my first blogiversary for this here site. By the numbers that's 36 posts, 47 recipes, ~200 hours diverted from Netflix binging, and too-many-to-count new friends. It's been such a fun hobby. Thank you to all for reading!

3) I rang in 31 on an unseasonably warm weekend with family from near and far, cupcakes delivered to my door, and a little 5K to counteract all the feasting. A success I'd say.

When you're done with all the obligatory cooking this week, have some fun and make clams in a brilliant yellow saffron sauce.  My friend and neighbor Julia at Formaggio Kitchen gave me some handy saffron-buying tips. Apparently yellow threads are filler for this very expensive spice. The good stuff will just have red threads. The more you know!

Cherrystone Clams with Saffron + Fregola |
Peeled Tomatoes |
Fegola |
Saffron Steeping |
Cherrystone Clams with Saffron + Fregola |
Cherrystones with Saffron + Fregola |


Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a first course
  • 1 dozen cherrystone clams, rinsed and scrubbed clean
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, cut into small dice (reserve fronds for garnish)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 cup fregola pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided


  • Peel the tomatoes by submerging in boiling water until skin splits (about 1 min). Remove with tongs and let sit until cool enough to handle. Slide skins off and discard. Remove core and roughly chop.
  • In heavy bottomed saucepan for which you have a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped fennel, shallot, garlic, and salt. Saute for 4-6 minutes until vegetables have softened. Stir regularly taking care not to brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add wine and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook the fregola and steep the saffron. Place saffron in a small bowl and pour in 1 cup boiling water. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Cook fregola in salted boiling water until al dente (about 10-12 minutes). When pasta is done drain and set aside.
  • Add saffron and steeping liquid to your saucepan with the vegetables. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  • Return saucepan to your burner and add clams. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Discard any clams that don't open.
  • Divide fregola among serving bowls and ladle clams and saffron broth on top. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Sea Food, Snacks

Smoked Bluefish Pâté + Olive Oil Crackers

Smoked Bluefish Pate |
Olive Oil Crackers |

Oh, summer! Where'd you saunter off to? I blinked and now the sun sets at 7 o'clock. I'll quit my belly aching though because we've got one weekend left. Three juicy days to be precise. Where's everyone headed? I hope your plans involve beach houses and camp fires and coconut sunscreen.

To bid adieu to summer I figured we must throw a party. A party with dip. The title says pâté because 'bluefish dip' sounds a bit frightening - like a dare I definitely want to pass on. But's let's be honest, this is pretty much dip. It involves a brick of cream cheese for goodness sake! And where there is dip, must follow crackers. A couple weeks back I suppose you could say I was dissing crackers. To redeem myself I decided to make a homemade batch just the way I like them - crispy, seedy, salty, and a tad sweet. If you're not off to the beach or the woods this weekend and up for a medium-effort project to tackle, this is a fun one. 

Happy Labor Day, y'all. (And Happy Birthday Mom!)

Bluefish Pate Mise En Place |
Seed Blend |
Lemon |
Seeded Olive Oil Crackers |
Seeded Olive Oil Crackers |
Seeded Olive Oil Crackers |
Smoked Bluefish Pate |


Bluefish Pate

  • 8 oz. smoked bluefish
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup. chopped chives
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs.)
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 8 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tbs. capers
  • 1/4 c. creme fraiche

Olive Oil Crackers

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. fennel seeds
  • 2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil + 2 Tbs. water for brushing



Bluefish Pâté

Makes ~2 cups
  • In a food processor blend cream cheese, chives, lemon juice, shallot, Tabasco, and capers until smooth
  • Add bluefish and pulse until well incorporated (pâté will be thick)
  • Add creme fraiche and blend until smooth
  • Serve garnished with chopped chives and a dusting of cayenne pepper

Olive Oil Crackers

Makes about 50 crackers
  • In a food processor combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder)
  • With the motor running add water and olive oil through the feed tube
  • Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times until smooth (dough will be soft) 
  • Shape into a square
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • While dough is chilling: mix seeds and salt in a small dish and set aside; mix 2 Tbs. each olive oil and water in a small ramekin and set aside; pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Unwrap chilled dough and cut square into fourths
  • Using a pasta maker, roll dough sections one by one into thin sheets (I rolled to setting 3 on a KitchenAid pasta maker attachment); alternatively roll out dough using a rolling pin
  • Lay dough sheets on a cutting board and pierce all over with the tines of a fork (to prevent bubbles)
  • With a pastry brush, brush dough all over with olive oil/water mixture
  • Sprinkle seed/salt mixture all over dough
  • Using a sharp knife cut dough into crackers (of any shape and size you desire)
  • With your hands or a thin spatula peel crackers off cutting board and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (they won't expand too much; it's okay to place them close together)
  • Bake in a 450 degree oven for 5-7 minutes; crackers are done when the edges begin to turn golden
  • Using a spatula transfer crackers to a wire rack or plate to cool (crackers will get harder as they cool)
  • Store in a ziplock bag

Sea Food

Slow Roasted Cod + Salsa Verde

Slow Roasted Cod |
Salsa Verde |

When I was in 7th grade my father fulfilled a lifelong dream of his - owning a seaside cottage on Cape Cod. It had window boxes, shag carpet, and an outdoor shower. 800 square feet of paradise. His timing though was a bit unfortunate. You see, this new addition to our family coincided with the precise moment in my life when hanging out at the mall food court became ineffably more appealing than a weekend at the beach. Can you imagine the torture? Perhaps due to my exasperation over these new arrangements, it was around the same time that I swore off sea food all together (fish sticks had been on my approved list). That first summer was a steady succession of chicken sandwiches, sampled at every mid-Cape fish fry and clam shack we visited.

Fortunately I have graduated from my regrettable middle-school attitude and my sea food aversion. The little cottage is no longer ours, but my parents now live on the Cape year round so I make the pilgrimage from Boston regularly. These days each visit is an occasion to make amends with the lobster, mussels, chowder, and oysters I neglected in my youth. Sweet absolution.

In honor of my grown-up palate and Massachusettts' most beloved fish, I wanted to share this cod recipe. Last January, Bon Appetit introduced me to this slow-roasted salmon with citrus, fennel, and chiles, praising the 'low and slow' baking technique. I've never looked back. It produces divine results with fish of every stripe.

Salt Packed Capers |

I prefer salt-packed capers to those in brine. The flavor is more herbal than vinegary, and they can live in the cupboard, freeing up valuable fridge real estate.

Slow Roasted Cod |
Slow Roasted Cod |


Slow Roasted Cod


Serves 2-3 (can easily be doubled or tripled)
  • 1 lb. fresh cod filet (Salmon or another white fish like halibut would make good substitutes.)
  • 1 Tbs. whole capers (If packed in salt, rinse well)
  • 1 Tbs. finely diced preserved lemon rind (Follow the link for instructions on making your own, or pick some up here.)
  • 1 red chile (The jar of preserved lemons we had included a beautiful mirasol pepper; we tossed it in since we like a little heat but it's not essential)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (This amount can be reduced. Really the fish should just be well coated. We like a heavy pour so we can dip bread in the warm, infused oil)


  • Place fish in a baking dish and salt; let sit for 30 minutes or so to come to room temperature
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  • Rinse capers and dice preserved lemon
  • Pour olive oil over fish and scatter with capers and preserved lemon
  • If using chile, place in baking dish
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through (when pierced with a fork or knife fish will flake and be opaque)
  • Top with salsa verde and serve immediately


Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is awesome on fish, and equally if not more awesome for bread dunking while you slow roast. This is Alice Water's recipe with orange zest swapped in for lemon. Both are great.


  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  • Zest of one orange (lemon zest is more traditional but we had an orange on hand)

  • 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed and finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  • Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes or more for flavors to come together
  • Taste for salt before serving; depending on your capers you may or may not need it