Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for flounder, swordfish, crudités, linguica, clams, blueberries and buttermilk.

Menu ideas and recipes for flounder, swordfish, crudités, linguica, clams, pasta, blueberries and buttermilk.

Flounder and swordfish

If you’re not the kind of person who scarfs up all the crumbs from the bottom of a potato chip bag (ahem), then you can save them for potato chip flounder. Otherwise, do what I did and buy a bag of jalapeno potato chips for this tasty simple dish. Make the dill tartar sauce too—it’s wicked good.

This maple teriyaki marinade was great on baked swordfish. The recipe made enough that I used the remainder on blackfin tuna, but heated the leftover marinade up with a cornstarch slurry to make a fantastic sauce.

I’m thankful for my North Carolina fish share from Locals Seafood in the Raleigh State Farmers Market shops. Two pounds of fish delivered straight from the coast every week.

Blueberry buttermilk scones

Sunday morning, I made Joanne Chang’s maple blueberry scones. Highly recommended.

Have you ever had buttermilk fresh from a farm? Oh my word. I’ve been getting mine from Mae Farm in the Raleigh State Farmers Market shops. They sell Ran-Lew Dairy products, including buttermilk. I took a sip the first time I brought some home—salty, sweet, tangy, creamy. All kinds of delicious. Now I get it.

blueberry scones

Summer veggie tray

If you need a good dip for a vegetable tray, I like this buttermilk ranch dressing. This time, I added parsley and chives because I didn’t have enough dill. My summer crudités included blanched green beans, sugar snap peas and broccoli florets, zucchini, summer squash, cukes, carrots, grape tomatoes, and red bell pepper.

Blanching works great on green vegetables, like beans, snap peas and broccoli. Just throw them in a pot of salted boiling water for a minute or two, drain them, and immediately plunge them into an ice water bath to preserve and enhance the color.

Linguica, clam and summer vegetable pasta

I used the leftover crudités in a linguica and clam summer vegetable pasta. I had plans to make a linguica pizza and a clam white pizza with some sourdough discard. But, I spent the Sunday afternoon Zooming with a dear faraway friend so opted for a quick pasta instead.

My “recipe” included linguiça, red onion, red and orange bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, broccoli florets, snap peas, grape tomatoes, corn, spinach, basil, canned clams and their juice, fettuccine, pasta water and butter. Here’s how I did it.

  • Get your pasta water boiling. When it’s ready, add pasta and salt. Cook per package instructions. Ladle out and reserve at least a cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Sauté 1 pound of chopped linguiça in a bit of olive oil in a large pan. When done, remove the sausage but leave in the oil.
  • Add more oil if necessary. Sauté chopped onion, sweet bell pepper and squash. Season with salt. When nearly done, make room in the middle and add minced garlic. Cook for a minute or until it’s starting to golden.
  • Add broccoli (if it’s already cooked, if not, add it to the onion mix), chopped snap peas, halved tomatoes and corn (I scraped the kernels off 2 cobs). Season. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the tomatoes soften.
  • Put the linguiça back in.
  • Stir in chopped spinach (I used about a half package, the kind in the salad mix section of the supermarket), basil (as much as you like), two cans of chopped or minced clams with their juice.
  • Add drained pasta and about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Mix it all up and let simmer a bit. Add more pasta water if you want more liquid.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in a few pads of butter.

Sorry, no amounts because you rely on your judgement/taste—and I can’t remember what I ended up using since it was a mix of leftovers and fresh ingredients.

Linguiça is a mildly spicy Portuguese pork sausage made with garlic and paprika. I buy mine online from Gaspar’s in southern Massachusetts.

Until next week, stay awkward, brave and kind. (phrase from Brené Brown)


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