The garlic butter is what brings this dish together, and you get to make it yourself. It may seem like a lot of butter for one dish, but at Nightshade they use this full quantity on a pasta dish for four. If you find yourself not wanting to use it all at once, the butter will keep for a month in your refrigerator and would be a great addition to other pasta and vegetable dishes or melted over a piece of fish. Soft shell crabs get quartered and pan-fried to elevate your noodles and provide a crunchy bite. Finish the dish with fresh dill and optional toppings like fennel pollen and chili crisp to your taste.
“I grew up in a kosher household, but I would sneak out for a seafood boil,” says Chef Rachel. This famous Louisiana staple is something to celebrate, and something worth breaking the rules for.
Rachel’s house-made Viet-Cajun butter amplifies the flavors of the seafood boil, combining lemongrass, ginger, white pepper, fish sauce, and Old Bay seasoning into luxurious full-fat French butter. Crawfish and head-on shrimp tossed in spiced butter make for a hands-on, finger-licking affair.
Corn on the cob and potatoes are great optional additions to a boil, offering a little more starch to spread out the richness of the seafood and butter. If you want to go this way, add them to the pot when it reaches a boil and cook them to your desired tenderness. If you have room in the pot, you can add your shellfish right on top and finish it all together. If not, remove the vegetables from the seasoned water before adding your shellfish to that same pot.
Swordfish is just as popular in Italy as it is along the New England coast. The meaty swordfish steaks take on the bright and savory flavors of this puttanesca sauce beautifully. Just breading one side of the fish is a brilliant hack for giving you a wonderfully crisp coating that won’t get soggy in the sauce. Brining the fish before cooking (see the video here) will help you avoid the main pitfall of cooking swordfish — drying out the steaks.
Collars are a part of the fish that chefs know and love, but diners seldom see. That’s because they rarely make it out of the kitchen! When SRV buys whole striped bass for the restaurant, the collars may appear as a menu special — or they may end up as the cooks’ treat. Striped bass collars have a texture that’s distinct from the rest of the fish. When cooked, the flesh pulls apart like roast chicken or pork shoulder. Pepperonata is a personal favorite that Chef Michael makes all summer long on his grill at home.
Tuna Bottarga, dried and cured tuna roe, is a classic Italian ingredient that gives an umami pop to whatever it touches, especially pasta. Strozzapreti (which literally translates to priest stranglers!) has a shape that catches the bottarga, breadcrumbs, and sauce for complexity in every bite. If you have bottarga left over, try it as a condiment for cooked vegetables— fennel in particular.