Tag Archives: seafood

Shellfish Harvesting: A morning at Dosewallips in photos

BRINNON — The Olympic Mountains and a bald eagle perched in a tall tree stood guard over a wide expanse of tideland near the estuary of the Dosewallips River.

“Welcome to my office,” said John Adams, Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Dosewallips manager.

He was talking to a group of a couple dozen people plucking oysters from the beach as part of an outdoor program on shellfish foraging with Bainbridge island Metro Parks and Recreation District and Langdon Cook, blogger and author of “Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager.”

It was among a series of classes (I also went to one on nettle foraging) designed to get people outdoors and get people reconnected with the bounty around them.

We had started the day at Dosewallips State Park, going over what kind of clams we might find on the beach — butter, varnish/mahogany, manilla and native littlenecks.

“Digging for oysters and clams is super easy and cooking them is even easier,” Cook reassured everyone before we headed just north of the park to Taylor Shellfish property to forage.

Before you go:

To harvest clams and oysters on a public beach, you need a permit, which is sold online or at most sporting goods stores, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and Kingston and North Mason chamber of commerce offices. You must be 15 or older. Cost is $12 annually or cheaper for a one-day permit. How many shellfish you can harvest varies from beach to beach.

Clam Rules: Most species must be 1.5 inches wide. Fill in your hole when you’re done digging in it.

Oyster rules: Bring your shucking knife, because on public beaches, you’re required to leave the shells there (the backs of those shells are where new oysters will grow).Oysters must be 2.5 inches or larger.

Where to go: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has lists of public beaches where you can harvest shellfish. You can search by county or click on the map, then click on a beach to see whether it’s open and to find links to the Health Department for any toxin concerns.

When to go: Low tide is the best time to find oysters. Consult your favorite tide chart or try this one, which has a clickable map with links to that area’s high and low tides by month and day.

Up Next on The Food Life: How to cook ’em

Alaskan Seafood Available at Poulsbo, Port Orchard docks

If you’re looking pretty fresh seafood (frozen at sea), Sound Food reports that Troller Point Fisheries is offering their sustainably harvested seafood today through Friday in Poulsbo and in Port Orchard this weekend.

They’ll be in Poulsbo today and Friday and at Port Orchard marina Saturday through Monday.

Making the Most of a Shellfish: One Golden Lobster, Three Ways

I know I should have walked away from it.

Maybe it was the hot sun that burned only half my face. Maybe it was the joy of a Mariners win (and not just any win, a Yankee whooping with a seventh-inning five-run salvo). Or maybe it was the beer we had during the game.

But by the time we hit the Pike Place Market to grab some goods before the ferry ride home, I was feeling pretty giddy and indulgent.

As I walked past the stalls, I grabbed a $1 bag of basil, two ears of sweet corn for $1.75, and a $5 bouquet.

And then I saw the seafood. And there, curled into crushed ice was a giant lobster tail as big as my forearm (minus the hand). The prices had been erased from the board, but I figured it at $30 or $40 (knowing nothing about the price of lobster, of course). I’ve never actually purchased fresh lobster, live or in the store. My only real experience with it is cooked and in a restaurant so, I really have no idea why I thought I could expect it would cost less than $40.

And even that is pretty steep. I mean, my husband and I are journalists, and while we do OK financially, our life runs a little less “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” than it does to “y’all come back now, y’hear.”

I gave a nod of approval as a fishmonger picked up a tail and passed it to the back for wrapping. When they brought it back up to the counter, a man reached out his hand and announced that it would be $57.

Like I said, I knew I should have just walked away, $57 richer. But pride kicked its way into the fight and won, sending me digging in my wallet for more cash.

Yeah, I’m gonna go with blaming the beer on this one. Never mind that I only had one.

New lesson: always ask “how much” before your buy and that as lobster gets bigger, the price apparently goes up exponentially.

But with Golden Lobster in hand as we headed home, I vowed that not a shred of it would go to waste.

To start it, I cut off the large chunk of meat hanging from the tail for use later. I basted the tail meat itself in butter and parsley and grilled it.

Lobster broth
Lobster broth

We each ate about a quarter of the tail (it was that big and pretty filling) and saved the shells.

With the shells, I made a lobster broth with a recipe I found on The Splendid Table’s website. That recipe also could probably work with shrimp if you aren’t quite as inclined to buy your own Golden Lobster.

And I decided to use the remaining meat for a pasta. In my search, I learned that August is Maine Lobster month and hit the Maine Lobster Promotional Council for the following lobster linguine. Continue reading

Southwest Crab, Pepper Soup – Lunch Group Still Going

Southwest Crab and Pepper Soup
Southwest Crab and Pepper Soup

I wrote a couple weeks back about a little work lunch group we started here, and I’ve got a good crockpot soup recipe addition.

I had initially planned to blog about it every week, but last week’s soup ended up so unimpressive that I just couldn’t bear to. It sounded good. It had Italian sausage, winter vegetables, potatoes. It was edible, but it was undercooked, and by 1:30 p.m., I couldn’t wait for lunch anymore. Lesson learned: pre-prepping the ingredients and refrigerating things like potatoes will affect the cooking time. Also, sometimes the long, slow cooking time is just better.

This week’s offering also could have benefitted from a little longer cooking time, but it still turned out well. I made a Southwest crab soup (recipe below). The soup was intended to be soupy, not a thick chowder, but a little longer with the cream could have helped. A couple of diced potatoes probably would have made the soup more rib-stickingly delicious. I also think I could have stood an extra chipotle pepper. I used homemade vegetable stock I substituted half the crab for imitation crab to cut cost. Continue reading

Quick and Tasty Mussel Dinner

Mussels steamed in wine
Mussels steamed in wine

After bringing home goodies from the market (mussels, pears, truffle oil and a few other things), I was pretty eager to cook them up, but after spending the day in Seattle, not too keen on an hour in the kitchen.

So I took another note from that Mark Bittman article I’d recently read and made a quick mussel dish, though I forgot to grab a bunch of basil (which I’m kicking myself for because it was only $1.99 for a big handful).

Here’s how Bittman suggests making them:

“Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.”

I made due sans basil by tossing in some chopped parsley and cooking it for a couple minutes with the mussels.

Instead of bread, I opted to go on carb overload and cook up some Linguine, tossed with the mussel and wine juices, a few tabelspoons of olive oil, and a tablespoon of that white truffle cream I also bought at Pike’s Place market and a little salt and pepper.

It was pretty good, though I still wish I had gotten the basil to give it a little more depth. Next time.

Tomorrow: What I did with my pears.