Saturday, February 13, 2010
When I mentioned my birthday bash to a co-worker, she was surprised I was cooking for my own party. Hey, that's just what I do. The focus each year is on the seafood. I tried to duplicate last February's "clambake in a bowl," kind of like South Carolina Frogmore Stew - no frogs included. This year's rendition included clams, mussels, shrimp, tilapia, Andouille, potatoes, corn, leeks, onions, and tomatoes. Running short on time during a busy week at work, I didn't make my own fish stock this year. Instead, I used three quarts of lobster stock from one of my favorite fishmongers, Kevin Smith of Lobsta Bakes of Maine. I also like to add rouille, commonly served with bouillabaise, which is equally good to swirl into the steaming bowl of seafood stew or to slather on bread and broil with cheese. My simple version skips the saffron and incorporates mayo, garlic, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, and a little thyme and smoked paprika. The best part of the meal? Sharing it with friends patient enough to wait until 10:30 to eat, and kind enough to clean up my cooking mess after.