I know, I know. I meant to stay quiet until the end of 2009, but I just had to post this. It's been a great culinary week. It started with seafood shopping and the amazing Chelsea Market (16th street and 9th avenue) for our Vigilia dinner. I made Lucille's favorite dish...zuppa di pesce (fish soup). We were so impressed with the quality of the seafood at the Chelsea Market. The zuppa di pesce was at the center of our Christmas dinner.
It is made in a few easy steps (see pics below). Prepare a fish stock (any fish bones and heads would do. I was given the remains of a striped bass by the fishmonger). Lightly steam the clams. Sautee garlic, onions and tomato paste. Add squid and octopus. Add Clams. Add tomato sauce (I used canned cherry tomatoes and San Marzano tomato puree). At the very end, add the red mullets or any other fish and cook for just a few minutes. Season (very little salt, as fish is quite salty, pepper, and I like hot paprika and saffron stems)....add fresh parsley. That's it...pretty simple, eh? The best thing is that you can use almost any kind of fish and seafood.
And to add to the seafood feast, last night we went to an amazing restaurant called Sik Gaek in Flushing, NY. The 1-hour long commute was well worth it. The place specialize in Korean seafood and has become very popular since it was featured on the Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation show about the outer boroughs. It has a really laid back and cool atmosphere, lots of drinks and most importantly amazing seafood. One of their specialty is a live octopus appetizer. It's cut while still live and it keeps moving and trying to run off the plate for about ten more minutes. It doesn't get much fresher than this... The suction action that the tentacles have while you chew is an experience. You can see the video of the live octopus here.
The main dish was a seafood stew (this time a spicy Korean one, of course) that was just a feast for the eyes. Giant clams, mussels, octopus, squid, crabs, live lobster (yes, live, but not for long) and even abalone! Simply amazing! It was quite a shock to come out the restaurant and be in Flushing! We had felt as if we were in Korea during the whole meal.