A top restaurant in Alicante brings customers a taste of New England
Mariscada (seafood feast) 'Boston Style' at restaurant Monastrell.
Monastrell, an excellent restaurant attached to the Hospes Amerigo Hotel in the southeastern Spanish Mediterranean city of Alicante, is known for its tradition-based contemporary cooking. Chef-owner María José San Román, however, likes to surprise her clientele occasionally, and on Nov. 29 she's doing it with a "Mariscada [seafood feast] 'Boston Style.'" Everything, she warns diners, will be "boiled and served directly on the table." The food will be, she adds, "in the American style but very Alicante because it will rely on the best products of our region."
On the menu: Atlantic lobster (as opposed to the clawless Mediterranean variety), red shrimp, clams, mazorca de maïz (corn-on-the-cob to you), whole steamed artichokes, scallions, red potatoes, and sausage, along with fresh lemons, baguettes, and five sauces: barbecue, cocktail sauce, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, and hot sauce.
One aspect of the €40 ($55) feast that might give New Englanders pause is the dessert: helado de azafrán — saffron ice cream. San Román, as it happens, is an expert on that pricey spice, serving as a spokesperson for the Spanish saffron industry and shipping her own line of saffron to gourmet stores around the globe. Probably even to Boston.
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 2 pounds raw peanuts in the shell or 3 pounds green peanuts
Place 2 gallons of water in a 10- to 12-quart stockpot. Add 1/2 cup of the salt to water stir until salt dissolves. Add raw peanuts. (Skip this step if you are using green peanuts.) Use a large dinner plate to help submerge the floating peanuts. Soak peanuts 8 hours or overnight. (This step saves a little time boiling, but if you don&rsquot have the luxury of soaking time, you can skip it.)
Drain soaking water add 2 gallons water and 1 cup salt to peanuts. (Note level of water on side of pot.) Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until peanuts are as soft as roasted chestnuts or softer, 5 to 8 hours (2 to 3 hours for green peanuts), keeping water in pot within an inch or so of its original level with regular additions of water. After peanuts have boiled 3 hours (1 hour for green peanuts), sample them to check their texture and salinity. Remove a peanut, and wait until it is cool enough to handle. Open the shell, and give the peanut a chew, slurping some brine with it. If it crunches, cook it more. If the brine lacks salt, add more by 1/4-cup amounts. If it is too salty, remove some of the water, and replace with the same volume of fresh water. Allow an hour for the salinity to equalize before testing again. Sample peanuts every hour until they are pleasantly yielding and as salty and appetizing as a good pickle.
When peanuts are cooked, remove from heat, and let them cool in the pot 1 hour (20 minutes for green peanuts). When cool enough to handle, drain and eat. Or store in the shell, in a sealed container, in the refrigerator 7 to 10 days or in the freezer several months.
Soak peanuts in water to cover in a large stock pot at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. (You may need to weigh down peanuts with a large plate or lid to ensure that they are fully submerged.) Drain and rinse.
Place peanuts and desired amount of salt in stock pot with 4 1/2 qt. water bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 6 hours or until peanuts are tender, adding water as needed to keep peanuts covered stir occasionally.
Remove from heat let stand 1 hour.
Cajun Boiled Peanuts: Proceed with Step 1, adding 1/2 cup Cajun seasoning to water. Proceed with Step 2, using 1/2 cup salt and 5 to 7 Tbsp. liquid Cajun crab boil before bringing to a boil. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Ham-Flavored Boiled Peanuts: Proceed with Step Omit Step 2, and bring 6 qt. water and 2 smoked ham hocks to a boil in a large stock pot. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours. Remove and discard ham hocks. Cool broth chill 8 hours. Skim fat from broth. Add peanuts and 1/2 cup salt to broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 6 hours or until tender, adding water as needed to keep peanuts covered stir occasionally. Remove from heat let stand 1 hour.
The most popular variety of clam chowder, [ citation needed ] the milk-based New England clam chowder, which was influenced by French and Nova Scotian cuisine, became common in the 18th century. The first recipe for Manhattan clam chowder, with tomatoes and no milk, was published before 1919,  and the current name is attested in 1934. In 1939, the legislature of the state of Maine considered outlawing the use of tomatoes in clam chowder, but this did not pass. 
As recipes for clam chowder spread throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, many regionally developed variants have arisen.
Manhattan clam chowder Edit
Manhattan clam chowder has a red, tomato-based broth, initially introduced by Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine. Thyme is often used as a seasoning.
In the 1890s, this chowder was called "Fulton Fish Market clam chowder" and "New York City clam chowder. [ citation needed ] Manhattan clam chowder is included in Victor Hirtzler's Hotel St. Francis Cookbook (1919) as "clam chowder."  The "Manhattan" name is first attested in a 1934 cookbook. 
Today, Manhattan-style chowder often contains other vegetables, such as adding celery and carrots to include a mirepoix. 
New England clam chowder Edit
New England clam chowder, occasionally referred to as Boston or Boston-style clam chowder,  is a milk or cream-based chowder, and is often of a thicker consistency than other regional styles. It is commonly made with milk, butter, potatoes, salt pork, onion, and clams.  Flour or, historically, crushed hard tack may be added as a thickener.
New England clam chowder is usually accompanied by oyster crackers. Crackers may be crushed and mixed into the soup for thickener, or used as a garnish. 
Rhode Island clam chowder Edit
Rhode Island clam chowder is made with clear broth, and contains no dairy or tomatoes. It is common in southeastern Rhode Island through eastern Connecticut.  In Rhode Island, it is sometimes called "South County Style" referring to Washington County, where it apparently originated.
Long Island clam chowder Edit
Long Island clam chowder is part New England-style and part Manhattan-style, making it a pinkish creamy tomato clam chowder. The name is a joke: Long Island is between Manhattan and New England.  The two parent chowders are typically cooked separately before being poured in the same bowl. This variant is popular in many small restaurants across Suffolk County, New York. 
FOOD Counting Sheep
In addition to an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 elves, the 280,000 citizens of Iceland share their pristine sub-Arctic island with some 500,000 sheep. These they consume at the astonishing annual rate of about 55 pounds per capita. This appetite for lamb -- Americans consumed a little more than a pound per capita in 1999 -- is more than mere culinary enthusiasm it's a matter of ecological survival. For Iceland's sheep are rapidly depleting the fragile ground cover of grass, moss, sedge and berries that lends the lamb its unmatched flavor but also keeps the thin but irreplaceable topsoil from blowing out to sea and leaving the fertile coast as barren as the uninhabitable interior of volcanic rock and glacier.
Of the many ways human beings have contrived to fend off ecological disaster, Iceland's attempt to preserve its meager topsoil by consuming its lambs before they consume Iceland is surely the tastiest. The free-range newborns that are set loose each spring upon the mountain meadows are as delicately flavored, tender and greaseless as the salt-meadow lambs of France. Smaller than either the French or our own Colorado lambs, Icelandic lambs lack the heft and intensity Americans are used to, but this is a fair exchange for the purity of their flavor, untainted by antibiotics, growth hormones or pesticides. Since Iceland derives much of its energy from geothermal springs and burns relatively little fossil fuel, its atmosphere is largely uncorrupted, and shellfish, cod, haddock and other fish abound in its clean waters.
Icelanders, descendants of medieval Norsemen whose ancient language they still speak, are not as insular as you might expect of an island people, but rather self-sufficient from the long experience of fending for themselves on rugged land. This is reflected in their confident humor, which lacks the tragic or bitter undertone found in other cultures. And the reticence that accompanies this self-sufficiency may explain why Icelandic lamb is hardly known to the outside world. Until the crisis caused by the relentlessly nibbling lambs, Iceland had little inclination to market its lamb beyond its borders. Icelanders welcome the outside world and warily keep abreast of its woes, but the island has little economic or cultural need for the rest of us, except as a market for its cod and other fish, which earns about two-thirds of Iceland's export income.
Iceland's rates of life expectancy and literacy are higher than those in the United States. With a population two-thirds the size of Staten Island's, Iceland has its own international and domestic airlines, a resident opera company, a famous rock star (Bjork), a world-class novelist (Olaf Olafsson), a symphony orchestra and until Halldor Laxness died four years ago, a Nobel Prize winner in literature. Reykjavik, the capital, has nine theaters attended by 270,000 patrons annually, nearly equivalent to Iceland's entire population 30 fine restaurants, with at least 2 of them first class numerous bookstores and several publishing companies, which release about a thousand titles a year. Nearly all Icelanders consider themselves Lutheran, but it is not clear what this means, since many of them also believe in elves, or at least hesitate to admit that they don't, as skeptics elsewhere may hesitate to call themselves godless.
When I visited Iceland for the first time some eight years ago, I knew nothing about the local cuisine and expected less. I had heard that the shepherds entertain themselves on long winter nights by inventing new verses in which to retell the ancient tales of Icelandic voyagers and by feasting on boiled sheep's head and rotten shark meat.
I assumed that the rest of the Icelandic menu was similarly exotic and was surprised to discover that Iceland grows its own tomatoes and cucumbers, to say nothing of bananas, in greenhouses warmed by the same geothermal springs that supply household heat and hot water. However, the thought of rotten shark was so fixed in my mind that I did not associate the possibility of a decent dinner with the sight of a sleek trawler coming ashore one morning unloading fresh cod or with the sheep that blocked our way on a country road. It was not until my friends and I decided to cook at home and I bought a few pounds of boned lamb loin that I learned the truth about Icelandic ingredients.
At a friend's house, we browned these loins, each about three and a half ounces, in butter, finished them in the oven and served them with small potatoes in the Icelandic style -- boiled first, then lightly caramelized on top of the stove with butter and sugar. It was an evening I shall never forget, and one that I have since recreated many times, omitting the sugary potatoes and adding a dab of rosemary-infused demi-glace in a red-wine reduction to the lamb. A recent dinner for 10 in Sag Harbor began with Icelandic langoustes napped with garlic-infused butter, haddock and cod caught in Iceland the day before and shipped by air, fresh peas in the French style, with lettuce, and roasted tomatoes. My friend Sheila Lukens, with her sixth sense for what goes with what, supplied three bottles of Bandol Rosé (Domaine Tempier).
A government agency has now been assigned the task of protecting Iceland's topsoil, and the lamb population has already been reduced by about 15 percent since 1990. While Icelandic lamb may soon be more widely available, at the moment the easiest way to order lamb and seafood is from www.icelandnaturally.com for next-day delivery to the United States. The loins, together with the smaller tenderloins, arrive boned and fresh from September through early November, when the 6-month-old lambs are butchered, since there is no way to house the flocks over the winter. The rest of the year they are shipped frozen, which does not affect their flavor or texture.
3 pounds boned Icelandic lamb loins (about 3 ounces each) and tenderloins (1 to 2 ounces each) see note
1 bottle pinot noir or other full-bodied red wine
1 medium carrot, trimmed, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 celery rib, trimmed and chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
16 1/2-ounce container Dɺrtagnan Rich Duck and Veal Stock
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter.
1. One hour before you are ready to cook the lamb, remove it from the refrigerator.
2. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart nonreactive shallow saucepan, bring the wine to a boil. With a long match, ignite the wine and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the flame subsides and the alcohol evaporates. Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the demi-glace and simmer about 15 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat add the rosemary to steep and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add about half the loins and brown about 1 minute on each side. (Do not overcrowd the meat.) Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Repeat with the remaining loins.
4. Return all the loins to the skillet and transfer it to the oven. Roast the loins for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the meat is firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part registers 120 degrees. Transfer the loins to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let stand 5 minutes. (The temperature will reach 125 to 130 degrees for medium rare.)
5. Wipe out the skillet. Brown the tenderloins in batches with the remaining tablespoon of oil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare.
6. Add any juices from the meat to the reserved sauce. Strain it into a bowl through a fine sieve, pressing the vegetables with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Wipe out the saucepan, add the strained sauce and return to a simmer. Whisk in the butter until melted. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. (Makes about 1 cup.)
7. Slice the loins on the bias and the tenderloins into thirds. Divide among 6 plates, nap with sauce and serve with Roasted Tomatoes and Summer Peas (see recipes).
NOTE: For American lamb, prepare as directed, but use 3 pounds of tenderloins (about 6 ounces each), trimmed. Brown in batches, 3 minutes per side, and finish in the oven until the lamb reaches the same internal temperature.
Dɺrtagnan Rich Duck and Veal Stock Demi-Glace can be purchased at Dean & DeLuca and other fine food stores, or call (800)327-8246.
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
6 firm medium-size tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the garlic and water to cover in a small saucepan bring to a boil. Poach the garlic for about 4 minutes drain. When the garlic is cool, chop it finely and combine with the thyme in a cup.
2. With a sharp knife, slice 1/2 inch from the top of each tomato. Coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with the oil and sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Arrange the tomatoes cut side down in the skillet and set it over medium heat. Cook 8 minutes, or until the sugar starts to caramelize.
3. Remove the skillet from the heat. Turn the tomatoes over, sprinkle with the thyme and garlic, then season with salt and pepper. Place the skillet in the oven and roast tomatoes about 10 minutes, or until heated through and soft.
1 head Boston lettuce, rinsed and torn
3 pounds fresh green peas, shelled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Spread the lettuce in the bottom of a large pot, add the peas and sugar and dot with butter. Cover the pot and set over medium heat. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes uncover and test the peas -- they should be bright green and tender. (If not, continue to cook, checking every 2 minutes.) Stir season with salt and pepper.
- 2 1/2 gallons water
- 1 1/2 cups Old Bay Seasoning or Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 2 lemongrass stalks, smashed
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 heads garlic, halved horizontally
- 3/4 cup kosher salt, divided
- 2 pounds small red potatoes
- 6 pounds live crawfish, cleaned
- 3 ears fresh corn, halved
- 2 cups (1 lb.) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons very finely chopped lemongrass
- 1/2 cup chopped garlic (from 16 cloves or 1 large head)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 bunch cilantro sprigs
Prepare the crawfish boil: Place water, Old Bay, fish sauce, lemongrass, lemons, garlic, and ¼ cup of the salt in a large stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Add potatoes, and cook until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup salt. Increase heat to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Add crawfish and corn boil until crawfish are bright red, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
Prepare the butter sauce: Heat ¼ cup butter in a stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add lemongrass sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until very soft, stirring very frequently. Add remaining butter, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Cook until butter is melted and garlic is just softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat stir in lemon juice. Cover to keep warm.
Drain crawfish mixture. Discard garlic, lemons, and lemongrass. Place crawfish, corn, and potatoes in a huge bowl. Toss with half of the butter sauce and cilantro serve with remaining sauce.
How to Sauté Onions
In a large skillet or pan heat oil or butter over medium-high heat until hot. Use about 1 Tbsp. fat per small to medium onion (you can use just about any fat, so follow these directions for how to sauté onions in butter, vegetable oil, olive oil, or another fat). If you want to sauté onions without oil, be sure to use a nonstick pan, and add a small amount of water or vegetable broth to help keep onions from sticking.
Add chopped or sliced onionsਊnd cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. That&aposs how long to sauté onions to remove the harsh onion flavor and just barely start to sweeten the cooking onion. If desired, cook a little longer until edges just start to brown to bring more sweetness. Remove from heat and use as desired.
If you want to learn how to sauté onions and peppers, the process is pretty similar. So both veggies cook in a similar amount of time, cut your onions and peppers into similar-size pieces. Then follow the instructions above and cook the onions and peppers together in oil until both are tender (it should take closer to 7 minutes).
Test Kitchen Tip: The onions will cook more evenly if you don&apost crowd them. Stir the onions frequently and keep an eye on the heat. If the heat is too high, the onions can burn.
Easy Ways to Use Sautéed Onions
Now that you know how to sauté them, put your cooked onions to use in all kinds of recipes. Here are ideas to get you started.
- 2 pounds dried pinto or navy beans
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 4 canned plum tomatoes, seeded and crushed
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion (about 1 pound), peeled, halved
- 12 whole cloves
- 12 ounces salt pork
Soak the beans in cold water overnight in a large container. Drain in a colander.
Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine molasses, mustard, brown sugar, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Stud the onion halves with the cloves, and place in the bottom of a terra-cotta bean pot or Dutch oven.
Score the salt pork 1/4 inch deep 1 inch apart, and slice into two even pieces. Transfer to the bean pot. Add the soaked beans. Pour the molasses mixture over beans, stir, and cover. The liquid should cover the beans by 1/2 inch. Add more water if necessary.
Transfer to oven to bake, without stirring, until the beans are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 6 hours. Check the beans every 45 minutes, adding more hot water if necessary to keep beans slightly soupy at all times. For the last 50 to 60 minutes of cooking, uncover beans, and, using tongs or a long fork, pull the pork to the surface. Remove from oven, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.
The most popular variety of clam chowder, [ citation needed ] the milk-based New England clam chowder, which was influenced by French and Nova Scotian cuisine, became common in the 18th century. The first recipe for Manhattan clam chowder, with tomatoes and no milk, was published before 1919, Β] and the current name is attested in 1934. In 1939, the legislature of the state of Maine considered outlawing the use of tomatoes in clam chowder, but this did not pass. Ώ]
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and very soft, about 20 minutes.
Increase heat to high add chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add beer, ketchup, vinegar, mustard, tomato paste, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, trim all visible fat from the pork.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the pork, spooning sauce over it. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the pork over, cover, and bake for 1 1/2 hours more. Uncover and bake until a fork inserted into the meat turns easily, 1 to 2 hours more.
Transfer the pork to a large bowl and cover with foil. Pour the sauce into a large measuring cup or glass bowl and refrigerate until the fat and sauce begin to separate, 15 minutes. Skim off the fat. Return the sauce to the pan and heat over medium-high until hot, about 4 minutes.
Remove the bone and any remaining pieces of fat from the meat. The bone should easily slip away from the tender meat. Pull the pork apart into long shreds using two forks. Add the hot sauce to the meat stir to combine. Serve hot.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Ingredient Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle chile pepper can be found in the specialty spice section of most supermarkets. Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
Shopping tip: Boston butt (or &ldquoBoston-style butt,&rdquo &ldquofresh pork butt,&rdquo &ldquopork shoulder&rdquo) can weigh upwards of 10 pounds, so you may have to ask your butcher to cut one down for this recipe.