I felt like I won the lottery when my friend Kate asked me to join her on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a cooking class taught by Gloria Smiley.
Gloria is an independent food stylist for print and film. She has taken classes at Cordon Bleu and LaVarenne in Paris and with Lydie Marshall in Nyons, France. Some of her most memorable clients include Julia Child, Jean George Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud. She is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, IACP and AIWF.
We were very excited to take a fish and shellfish cooking class taught by Gloria at the Cook’s Warehouse in Atlanta. Gloria was warmhearted and welcoming as she shared tips about how to make sure we purchase fish and shellfish that is fresh and delicious. Then we rolled up our sleeves and joined her into the kitchen to prepare some of her prize recipes including:
Scallops Baumaniere with Vegetables
Red Snapper with Creme Fraiche, Capers and Lemon
Fried Butterfly Shrimp with Roasted Salt and Pepper and Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
Seared Swordfish with Lemon Garlic Cream
Red Snapper with Creme Fraiche, Capers and Lemon
Red Snapper! Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!
This preparation is good with any mild white fish. The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten.
Yield: 4 servings
4 six-ounce red snapper fillets without skin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces creme fraiche
3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard without grains
2 tablespoons shallots
2 teaspoons capers, packed in salt, rinsed and dried
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Optional: 1/2 cup panko crumbs, toasted
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a USA pan (coated with silicone) or on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Combine the creme fraiche, two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spread the sauce evenly over the fish fillets making sure the fish is entirely covered. (This can be done an hour or so in advance of cooking and placed in refrigerator.) Put lemon slices on op of the fish in decorative pattern.
- Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets or until they are barely done. A thermometer should read 135 degrees – no higher. It is important not to overcook the fish.
- Sprinkle with toasted Panko crumbs, if you like – adds a nice bit of crunch – Serve fillets hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned on top.
Gloria’s tips for cooking fish:
- Get everything in the recipe ready before cooking the fish so that the process moves quickly once the cooking begins.
- Heat a dry pan then put a little oil in it, then put the fish in the pan. It will stick but the fish surface will caramelize and then you can easily turn it over in the pan.
- After filleting fish, make your own fish stock ~ it freezes very well.
- After marinating fish or meat, pat it dry with paper towels. The dry surface will encourage browning. Browning gives the food another layer of flavor. If food is touching in the pan (such as scallops), they won’t brown where they are touching, so keep them apart in the pan.
That’s me on the left, Gloria Smiley in the center and Kate on the right.
Gloria explained to the class that cooking classes at the Cook’s Warehouse are a very good way to discover the type of knife you like best since we used several types of knives that evening. She also shared a superstition about knives with us: “Don’t give knives as gifts because it severs the relationship.”
Scallops Baumaniere With Vegetables
The scallops were so pretty as they simmered in Noilly Prat Vermouth under the watchful eye of my friend Kate. Gloria loves this recipe. The first time she had Scallops Baumaniere With Vegetables was in Provence, France, such a delectable memory.
A hint: purchase “dry” sea scallops. Wet scallops are shucked and placed directly into a container filled with cold water to help preserve them for a longer period of time. These scallops absorb water and plump up, giving them a less pure flavor and a tougher texture. After Dry scallops are shucked they go into a dry container with no water or preservatives. Their flavor is concentrated and fresh.
…and may I suggest a little bubbly to enjoy with the seafood…
Champagne Pierre De Bry Brut Reserve
Primarily pinot noir grapes with a splash of chardonnay. Elegant and sophisticated. Notes of golden apple, apricot, lightly toasted bread and lemon curd. Does not skimp on the bubbles! Perfect pairing for the Fried Butterfly Shrimp with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce that we learned how to make in Gloria Smiley’s class.
After class we shopped in the Cook’s Warehouse. I bought some of these fish spatulas, just the right size to turn fish fillets.
I continued my seafood extravaganza when I returned home…this appetizer shrimp recipe has just the right amount of spicy kick. So easy to prepare…ready in minutes!
Giada’s Spicy Shrimp
Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Spicy Shrimp was in the Sunday, April 8, 2018 issue of Parade Magazine. I knew as soon as I opened the oven door that it was going to be delicious because the aroma wafting from my oven was fantastic!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons Calabrian chile paste or red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Add one pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails intact), toss to coat. Marinate 10 minutes at room temperature. Spread shrimp evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque all the way through. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4 – 6.
And to serve with the spicy shrimp…Paul Goerg Blanc de Blancs Champagne. 100% chardonnay grapes. Brilliant pale yellow with a fine, persistent mousse. Delightfully fresh, citrus, orchard fruit and brioche fill the glass. $40 range. The perfect aperitif, wonderful choice to serve with seafood.
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