Alaskan Shrimp Harumaki with Lime-Infused Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Harumaki w shrimp 2_n

Harumaki (spring rolls) are a fun, tasty, easy-to-make appetizer or side dish. Both the wrappers and the filling can be modified to suit just about any taste. Recipes follow.

So named because they were a traditional part of Chinese New Year and a celebration of the coming spring, originally spring rolls were filled with vegetables and shaped like gold bars; thus they were a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. When Chinese immigrants brought this popular food to Japan, the name was directly translated to haru (spring) maki (roll). These days spring rolls are part of menus the world over, in part because they easily lend themselves to fusion cooking.

Our contribution to a recent dinner party was harumaki filled with sweet Alaskan shrimp, shitake mushrooms and fennel, which we’d recently been presented as a gift. These ingredients were arranged on a piece of nori (dried seaweed) and rolled up in thin squares of one of our favorite pasta doughs. Served hot from the deep fryer along with a lime-infused Ponzu dipping sauce, they were a big hit.

The Alaskan shrimp we use in our recipes are usually pink, coon stripe or side stripe shrimp – species often served in sushi restaurants as ama-ebi (sweet shrimp). The pinks and side stripes in particular have a distinctively sweet flavor.

Alaska Shrimp Harumaki (for eight, two-bite rolls)

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 4 shitake mushrooms
  • nori (dried seaweed) rectangles approximately 2 1/2″ x 3 “
  • 8 wrappers 3″ x 3″ (we used pasta dough). (Ready-made egg roll wrappers are available in most grocery stores.)
  • 8 ounces shrimp, shelled and veins removed
  • fresh fennel leaves – enough for each roll
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • water (to help seal the wrappers)

Directions:

  1. Cut the mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. If shrimp are small, use whole. Otherwise cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
  3. In a bowl, toss together the mushrooms, shrimp, lime juice, ground pepper and sea salt.
  4. Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and heat over medium heat till oil sizzles when a drop of water is added. Add the shrimp mixture, stirring frequently for about 90 seconds. Remove from heat and return mixture to bowl to avoid overcooking.
  5. Place one piece of nori in center of each wrapper. (Prevent nori from breaking by first dipping in water.) Place shrimp mixture and fennel in center of nori.
  6. To wrap: Position square so that one corner is toward you. Fold this corner over the filling. Next fold the right and left corners over the filling. Then roll wrapper toward top (remaining) corner as you would a burrito.
  7. Seal by slightly moistening the last corner and gentle pressing closed. Seal well to prevent oil from leaking in during deep frying.
  8. In a deep fryer or sufficiently large pot: Add enough frying oil (we use light olive oil or canola oil) so that rolls will be completely submersed. Bring oil to 350°F. Place rolls into oil and cook until wraps are golden brown. Do not overcrowd. Remove and drain on a plate covered with paper towel.
  9. Serve immediately with ponzu dipping sauce.

Harumaki w shrimp 1_n

Lime-Infused Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • small square (about 3/4 inch) konbu (dried kelp)

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients together in a non-reactive container and let rest for 8 hours.
  2. Remove konbu.
  3. Combine the following dried ingredients to make 1 tbsp: onion, garlic, chili pepper, cilantro. Or use fresh ingredients.

Pasta Wrappers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • water

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork.
  2. Add 1 tbsp water. Continue combining. Consistency of dough should be as dry scrambled eggs. Add more water 1 tbsp at a time as necessary.
  3. Kneed dough by hand till it forms a ball. Wrap ball in plastic (or cover container tightly) and let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Finish processing into squares using a manual pasta machine.

Alaska Salmon Seafood Chowder with Fennel Sheefish Stock (and a Brief History of the Tomato)

Salmon & seafood tomato chowder_n

Pink salmon and sweet shrimp from the cold, clean seas of Alaska along with a terrific fish stock are key ingredients in this hearty, tomato-based seafood chowder. Made from a little of this, a little of that, and a lot of whatever the catch-of-the-day may have been, in many kitchens and galleys no two chowders are exactly the same. This one was especially tasty, and so we’ve provided the recipe, below.

Native to the Americas, tomatoes didn’t find their way to Europe until Spanish explorers took the fruit back in the late 1400’s or early 1500’s. Even after tomatoes found their way to Britain, leading horticulturalists there believed them to be poisonous. And so this versatile, luscious fruit was not generally consumed in Britain or her American colonies until the mid 1800’s.

It was in the 1800’s that Portuguese immigrants introduced tomato-based seafood chowders such as Manhattan clam chowder to New York and other American cities. Among the endless variations of this soup is the national dish of Bermuda: Bermuda fish chowder is built around a sumptuous combination of fish, tomato purée, onions, a healthy dollop of dark rum and sherry pepper sauce. 

See also: Manhattan-style Razor Clam Chowder

New England-style Alaska Clam Chowder

Alaska Salmon Seafood Chowder 

Ingredients: (makes about

  • 4 cups fish stock (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon, cut into 1/2″ or 3/4″ cubes (skin removed or not, chef’s choice)
  • 4 potatoes, diced into cubes smaller than the salmon cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped semi-coarse
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped into discs
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped coarse
  • 3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and veins removed. Leave whole or cut to smaller pieces, depending on size of shrimp.
  • 3/4 lb. shellfish such as razor clams, other types of clams or oysters. Reserve juice to add to fish stock. (We used equal portions of clams and oysters)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano (dry)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • smoked sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 lb. diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, chopped large (or use 1/2 cup frozen)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped into thin slivers
  • 1/4 cup good sherry or white wine (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large kettle: Add fish stock, clam or oyster juice, bay leaf, oregano, ground pepper and tomato paste. Stir till paste is thoroughly mixed in.
  2. Add potatoes and tomatoes, ensuring that there is sufficient liquid to cover them. Add additional water, as necessary.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking just until potatoes are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet: Add enough olive oil to cover skillet bottom. Add onions and cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add carrots and celery and continue stirring for about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and continue cooking and stirring for 1 more minute – about 5 minutes total. Onions should be just turning translucent. Place in a bowl to prevent over-cooking and set aside.
  5. When the potatoes have just become tender, add sautéed onion mixture to soup. Add sherry or wine, if desired. Return soup to a simmer.
  6. Add salmon, shrimp and shellfish. At this point, we remove the pot from heat – the ambient temperature will cook the seafood sufficiently. (Seafood should be fresh or fresh-frozen.)
  7. Serve piping hot. This soup needs nothing, but a little freshly grated parmesan cheese, a few pieces of nori (dried seaweed), crackers or croutons make nice condiments.

Fennel Fish Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. fish bones & head, cleaned, scaled, gills removed (preferably a white-meated fish such as striped bass, sea bass, snapper, porgy, rock fish, halibut, walleye, etc. We used sheefish.) It is important that the fish is fresh.
  • fennel – leaves and stalks from 2 stalks, chopped coarse (or use 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds or powdered fennel)
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 whole pepper corns
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup coarsely celery
  • 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup good sherry or white wine (optional)
  • water

Directions:

  1. Cut up fish bones and split fish head butterfly style so that everything can be lain as flat as possible in the bottom of a large kettle. 
  2. Place all other ingredients on top of the fish bones and head, arranging so that ingredients are fairly compact so that as little water as possible is needed to cover them.
  3. Cover ingredients with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. As soon as pot is boiling, reduce heat to simmer. You may need to use a flame shield if stock is boiling too vigorously.
  5. Gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to stand an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Strain through a wire mesh colander and set stock aside.
  8. Stock can be placed into containers and frozen for later used, or used immediately.

Quiche de Poireaux: Leek Quiche with Oysters and Smoked Salmon

Just a hint of spice is enough in this quiche that combines sautéed leeks, small oysters and smoked salmon.

When a friend recently bestowed upon us three large leeks, our thoughts converged on a family favorite: leek quiche. Craig Claiborne includes a recipe for this classic dish in his New York Times Cookbook. His Quiche de Poireaux includes ham, which, in our kitchen, had become bacon and more recently smoked salmon. One of the things we like best about quiche is its versatility, working equally well as a breakfast, lunch or dinner item.

When choosing oysters for this quiche, choose the smallest you can find. If fresh oysters aren’t available, canned oysters such as Pacific Pearl are an excellent substitute. Add spices sparingly so that the flavor of the sautéed leeks shines through. Accompanied by a lightly chilled glass of viognier, a morning with not much to do, and a crossword puzzle, this quiche makes an excellent breakfast or brunch entrée.

Ingredients:

  • 1 unbaked, standard-sized pie crust (or use one a bit deeper than usual)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large leeks, diced into thin circles
  • 6 oz extra small oysters (fresh or canned)
  • 3 oz smoked salmon, broken into chunks
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss, Gruyére or similar cheese
  • 2 healthy pinches ground smoked chipotle pepper
  • healthy pinch arbol or cayenne pepper
  • couple dashes paprika
  • 1/2 tsp teaspoon oregano
  • several grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter

Directions:

  1. Shape pie dough to pan. Cover and refrigerate to keep cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil, butter and diced leeks. Stir occasionally, until leeks separate and are tender – about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs together till well-blended. Add seasonings, salt, pepper, milk and cream and stir together with a spoon. Stir in cheese and leeks. Last, gently stir in smoked salmon and oysters, taking care not to break them up.
  5. Remove pie shell from refrigerator and pour mixture into chilled shell. Place pie pan on baking sheet and put into preheated oven.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Cover exposed pie crust with foil or pie ring (to prevent crust from burning) and continue baking for 30 minutes, or until quiche is set. (The filling will no longer jiggle when gently shaken.)
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with fresh fruit such as grapes, melon, sliced pears or other fresh fruit. Given the mildly spicy nature of this quiche, it would pair well with a viognier.

Halibut with Smoked Chipotle Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts

Smothered in a mixture of tangy blue cheese, crunchy pine nuts and fiery, smokey peppers, a fillet of halibut, rockfish, snapper or walleye has no chance when placed in front of hungry diners. Here a fillet of black rockfish is served on a bed of black rice.

This year we brought up several wedges of Rogue Caveman Bleu Cheese to Point Hope. This is good stuff, thick and creamy with complex flavors ranging from smoked bacon and butter to sweet fruit. I’ve been eager to use it in cooking, and last night it made its debut on a thick fillet of perfectly flaky black rockfish – one of our favorite fish. Substitute the more traditional halibut for this bleu cheese recipe, or try it with walleye, snapper, porgy or red drum (redfish). Luck into some nice-sized crappie? This twist on the standard bleu cheese topping is just the ticket.

While cayenne pepper powder alone works fine, the wood-smoked chipotles (available from Penzeys Spices) in the following recipe gave this dish a delectable aroma and flavor. Leaving the seeds in the arbol chili kicked up the heat.

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 4):

  • 1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 2 to 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped pine nuts (or pecans, almonds or walnuts)
  • 1 whole, dried arbol chili pepper, crushed (or 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
  • 2 smoked, dried chipotle chili peppers, seeds removed, crushed (or use unsmoked chili peppers)
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
  • a few grind of black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • additional olive oil for sautéing the mixture

Directions:

  1. Rinse fillets, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
  2. Set oven on broil and preheat a broiling pan.
  3. In a non-reactive bowl (glass works well) mix together the bleu cheese, pine nuts, spices, herbs and sugar.
  4. Add some olive oil to a small frying pan and heat over medium-low to low heat. Add bleu cheese & pine nut mixture, stirring and turning until cheese is melted.
  5. Add minced garlic and lemon juice to the mixture, cooking for about 1 minute while combining thoroughly. Remove pan from heat and cover with a lid.
  6. Place fillets on broiling pan. Fillets should sizzle when they touch the pan. Broil for about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Fish should just be turning opaque when cooked through.
  7. Cover fillets with bleu cheese mixture and continue to broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Serve piping hot.

We served the fillets on black rice. It was a coin flip between that or saffron rice. This would pair well with a chilled, slightly sweet Gewürztraminer.

Zaru Soba with Alaskan Scallops and Shrimp

Zaru soba (chilled buckwheat noodles) dressed up with fresh seafood makes for a quick but elegant meal. 


A challenge inherent to preparing meals onboard a boat or in a camper is that the stovetops tend to be small, and while this doesn’t necessitate limiting preparation to one or two pans, it steers a cook in that direction. Meals featuring something on a bed of noodles really shine, and one of our favorite types of noodles are soba – which is the Japanese word for buckwheat. Being thin, soba cooks quickly, and since zaru soba is served chilled, it’s no problem to rinse the noodles and set them aside while other food is prepared.

In the past, I’ve made this dish with salmon, halibut and rockfish. On this more recent occasion, I had large Alaskan scallops and fresh Alaskan shrimp on hand. Instead of serving the dish on traditional bamboo (the origin of the word zaru), I opted for pasta bowls.

Zaru Soba with Alaskan Scallops and Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • soba for two people
  • 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled
  • 1/4 pound sea scallops
  • 1/2 cup tsuyu (a dipping sauce available in the Asian section of most grocery stores). Divide into equal parts.
  • 1 sheet of nori (dried seaweed), cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or sake
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Thai seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon chopped course or 1 tsp dried tarragon (optional)
  • 1 green onions, sliced thin

Directions:

  1. Place scallops and shrimp in a mixing bowl. Add Thai seasoning and tarragon and toss together. Set aside.
  2. Boil soba according to the directions on the package. I use much less water than most directions call for and the noodles come out fine, but do salt the water.
  3. When the noodles are finished, pour them into a colander to drain and then rinse with cold water.
  4. Place noodles in pasta bowls. Add tsuyu to each bowl, tossing the noodles in the sauce.
  5. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the seasoned scallops and shrimp. Add sherry or sake. Cook for about 1 minute, using a spatula to briskly stir and turn seafood.
  6. Place seafood on noodles. Top with sliced green onions and nori strips and serve. Alternatively, the cooked seafood can be chilled prior to adding to the noodles.

This dish and its variations has become a family favorite. It pairs beautifully with a Willamette Valley Pinot Gris or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.