Friday, April 5, 2013

Panko-Crusted Halibut & Grilled Oysters



One of the things I love most about living in the Pacific Northwest is the wide variety of fresh seafood. I am not talking about what they call fresh at the grocery store, but literally "alive" or "right off the boat" and sold on the dock fresh. Crab, oysters, clams, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, cod, halibut, the list goes on and on. If you travel down to the docks when they ships come in you can usually pick up a whole fresh tuna for about $1.99/pound...now that is amazing! 

Over this spring break we stayed in a place on Discovery Bay, which is about 20 minutes outside of Port Townsend. For those outdoor enthusiast, this is an amazing destination with rain forests, beaches and tide pools, snow capped mountains (in April) that you can visit at over 5,000 feet, bays and inlets for kayaking and canoeing,plenty of places for gorgeous hikes, and many great restaurants and shops.

Take the ferry in Port Angeles to Victoria and you fall in love with all the sights, sounds, and tastes of Canada. Enjoy the 1 1/2 hour ride as you take in the breathtaking scenery to Vancouver Island. There too, you will find amazing, fresh seafood as well as a mixture of Indian, Asian, and British foods. Visit the many popular sights when you are there such as Butchard Gardens and Craigdarroch Castle. You will need a good four to five to take it all in. I highly recommend you drive you car over, though the expensive is more. For a family of four plus car it was about $225 round trip. Many of the place you cannot get to by foot as they are too far from downtown and taking the bus in an unknown town or paying for a taxi ride is out of the question. Trust me, you will not be sorry you spent the money and have your own car. Just make sure to have some Canadian change for the parking meters downtown. You can exchange some US currency on the ferry over in order to have the change you will need for parking as some of the parking in downtown is metered and you must use change. You an use debit and credit cards at parking lots and garages, but it will cost you more.

Anyhow, back to the halibut and oysters! In Port Townsend we found a fish shop on the docks that sells direct from the fisherman there. You can buy a whole halibut for $11.95/pound. Compare that to the $17.95 (or more) per pound everywhere else. Granted, you have to buy a whole one, but the halibut are not huge and average about 4-5 pounds. We are fish lovers, so finishing that off in a week is not a problem for us. We also picked up some amazing Pacific Oysters. The funny thing about oysters is that depending on where you buy them on the Pacific Coast they will have slightly different flavors. We have had oysters from pretty much every local oyster farm in the Pacific Northwest from Washington to Oregon. Though some love them raw, I prefer mine grilled and drenched in butter...yummy! 

If you ever want a relaxing and peaceful getaway then I highly recommend checking out the Pacific Northwest for your next vacation spot. It is family friendly with lots of fun things to see and do for adults and kids! We had an amazing time and I look forward to my next trip in the summer of 2014!

Panko-Breaded Halibut

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 5 medium or 10 small pieces
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided






Directions:

Combine milk and eggs in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add fish and toss gently to coat. Place panko, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes in a large zip-top bag. Add fish to panko mixture; seal bag. Shake bag to coat fish.



Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of fish; cook 4 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining fish.






BBQ Grilled Oysters

Ingredients:

medium fresh (live) oysters in the shell
melted butter

parsley, finely chopped
lemon wedges

Oysters in the shell should feel heavy and full of water. Live oysters will be tightly clamped shut, or will clamp shut when tapped. Dead oysters will have loose shells and must be discarded along with those which have broken shells. The flavor is best when fresh oysters are consumed within 24 hours of purchase.



Directions:

Preheat barbecue grill. Scrub the oyster shells under cold running water with a brush. Discard any open shells, as the oyster is dead and not edible.


Place oysters (cup side on bottom) on a large baking sheet on hot grill about 4 inches from hot coals. Cover barbecue with lid, open any vents, and cook 8 to 10 minutes (depending on size) or until shells begin to open.

Remove all oysters when the first one opens. Some shells will not be opened, so some prying will be necessary. Using a mitt or towel to protect your hand, remove the oysters from the grill, taking care not to spill their juices.

Pry the oysters the rest of the way open with an oyster knife. Sever the muscle that connect the shells, leaving the oyster on the half shell. Transfer onto a serving platter.

Serve with melted butter, parsley and lemon wedges. Enjoy!