Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Sardine cans - Menu ideas and recipes for oysters, shrimp, Portuguese sausage, greens, broccoli, carrots, almaco jack, striped mullet, catfish, and sardines

Menu ideas and recipes for oysters, shrimp, Portuguese sausage, greens, broccoli, carrots, almaco jack, striped mullet, catfish, and sardines

Portugal meets Louisiana, thanks to Emeril

Here’s one of those Sunday “don’t-go-back-for-thirds-because-we’re-having-this-again-on-Tuesday” dinners: an oyster, shrimp and chouriço bake inspired by Emeril Lagasse. I adapted it this time by using Portuguese chouriço instead of andouille, steaming the oysters for ease of opening, adding chard and shrimp, and using shrimp broth instead of water.

Broccoli’s triple treat

On the side, a pesto veggie sauté made with carrots and the last of the broccoli stems and florets from our garden. Growing your own broccoli is a triple treat because you get florets, stems, and leaves. Oh my, those leaves are good. The flavor reminds me of spinach and beet greens.

Portuguese fish skillet

Long ago, before I got a weekly seafood share, I made this dish with frozen cod. I based it loosely on dishes I remember having in Portugal or having in Portuguese restaurants up north. This time, I used almaco jack. Any meaty fillet will do.

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound diced linguiça or chouriço
  • 1 large red or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces white wine
  • 1/2 cup (or more) shrimp, fish, or chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 14-ounce can white beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 to 1-1/2# chunky fish fillets, cut into large pieces
  • Fresh Italian parsley

Add oil to a large pan over medium-low to medium heat, and cook the sausage until it browns. Remove it with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the onion and red bell pepper pan and cook until softened. Add the smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and garlic, and cook until the garlic just starts to golden.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan—scraping anything up and letting it reduce. Add the broth and diced tomatoes, bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with the lid. After about 10 minutes, taste and season as needed.

Add the beans and lemon juice, and cook for about 5 minutes with the lid off. Return the sausage to the pan, mixing it in. Place the fish fillet chunks  into the pan so they’re partly under the sauce. Put the lid on and simmer gently for another 8 to 10 minutes, spooning the sauce over it a couple of times as it cooks. Taste for lemon, salt and pepper. When done, scatter with the fresh parsley.

houses on the coast in Costa Nova, outside Aveiro (Portugal) - Menu ideas and recipes for oysters, shrimp, Portuguese sausage, greens, broccoli, carrots, almaco jack, striped mullet, catfish, and sardines

Mummy Lorraine striped mullet

Mummy Lorraine fish, in this case, striped mullet, is a regular in my fish repertoire because it doesn’t take much effort. Top fish fillets with a mix of crushed Ritz crackers, lemon zest, garlic salt, and melted butter, then bake.

Thai-style catfish

Whenever I get catfish in my seafood share, for just a second I start thinking about how I might prepare it. But then I remember this Thai-style catfish recipe and any hope of making something new is dashed. It’s a quick dish to put together. Don’t skip the dipping sauce.

Sardine pasta

I usually rely on leftovers for lunch, but the frig was empty, so I pulled out a can of sardines and made a tasty pasta. This Spanish brand in my pantry is leagues above anything you’ll find in the supermarket, but you can find excellent canned Portuguese sardines too. I followed a quasi-recipe from the late actor (and amazing cook from what I’ve heard) Vincent Schiavelli. The recipe is at the bottom of this article. I know I’ll make this one again and again.

Sardine cans - Menu ideas and recipes for oysters, shrimp, Portuguese sausage, greens, broccoli, carrots, almaco jack, striped mullet, catfish, and sardines

It’s a new moon tonight—one of the best times of the year to set intentions (like eating more seafood!), get clear on your desires, and make a fresh start.


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Creative Commons licensed photos by Héctor Martínez and Chris King

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