Simple, Amazingly Fresh Coastal Food You Miss…

Growing up on the California coast, my favorite meals were amazingly simple. The top three that come to mind are steamed clams, king crab legs, and lobster, with nothing more than broth and melted butter… followed by abalone, sole, or trout almandine.

This stuff was always fresh, and I think that was the main reason I enjoyed such a simple prep so much.

Now-a-days, most “great” meals seem way more complicated… and I can’t help but wonder if it is due to poorer quality ingredients, or a modern assumption that their flavors are insufficient on their own.

Thoughts?

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Eating fresh mussels harvested directly off the beach at Morro Bay.

Nothing quite says “fresh” or “farm-to-mouth” like gathering fresh crustaceans right off the beach.

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Lucky you! Just broth/butter… or something else?

There was a great place in Santa Monica that did them in butter/wine/garlic/shallots.

I don’t see it as necessary to decide between both approaches - I like both in general I always like to explore constantly new recipes (and we hardly ever repeat any) and so it is more likely that we try out new flavor combinations - life is too short to cook always the same way

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Growing up in California, I miss Cayucos abalone and Pismo clams. I now live on the So. Oregon coast so I have access to fresh seafood, simply prepared, like Dungeness crabs and salmon. I don’t know why you think it has become complicated, there is nothing better than a plateau de fruits de mer.

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It’s been so long – pounded, floured, egg-washed. crumbed, pan-fried abalone steak from the West. From the East, fried full belly clams, of course.

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Oysters on the half shell with a twist of pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Pan fried abalone.

Steamed crabs… Dungeness or blues are my favorite.

Halibut cheeks and potato wedges cooked over an alder wood fire.

A silver salmon cooked over an alder wood fire, but my usual preparation is poached with beurre blanc. Poached is pretty simple.

A pan fry of oysters.

A lobster roll.

Mussels in broth with white wine and harissa (and a baguette).

Clams most any way.

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I miss the North Bay shoreline very much so much so I bought a house on a Minnesota lake but it was no substitute.

The coast between Drake’s Bay and the Russian is so cold but just gorgeous. I ate some abalone but tons of dungeness… even nasty rock crab claws in jambalaya.

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Sabella & La Torre in San Francisco used to make a thing called scallone. It was scallops pounded into an abalone steak, floured and pan fried. It was just transformatively good. I do not think they still offer it. That was another San Francisco.

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No, straight from the shell.

As in, see mussell, pick it up, open, eat. Repeat as much as possible.

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All of the above adding steelhead, channel cats, petrale, pacific langostinos…I grew up spoiled on fresh pacific catch. Living in NW Rocky Mountains, I miss it terribly.

There used to be a place nearby in White Hall called Dante’s on the River that did a Calamari… abalone style steaks in a white wine, lemon butter sauce with garlic and shallots. It was amazing (the best non-abalone abalone I’ve ever had) and I hit it up almost weekly. Unfortunately they were run out of town by tourists visiting Tahoe.

I have tried to locate Kevin (the chef) to find out where he sourced the steaks from and to get the recipe… but no luck. Really miss his restaurant.

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Saw calamari steaks in a SF bay area Costco this week, for the first time. About a quarter inch thick. 2" x 5".

A restaurant I worked in offered a “Calamalone”, calamari steak dusted with flour and sauteed in butter and wine in the abalone prep style. That was many moons ago.

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I’m not in the camp that there’s equivalence here with calamari steaks and abalone, but i like em both. Damn, those bigger abalone harder and harder to find, you need a friend that catches them and we all know that’s not the safest kind of fishing when you put weights and chains on yourself and play in the surf zone…

A few spots here do some pretty memorable (large) squid dishes tho…Palms Thai on Hollywood Blvd does grilled squid (big hunks) and nice thai sauce…

A bunch of spots in Ktown also do grilled squid. Versailles on La Cienega and also on Venice (sorta Cuban food) has a nice garlic butter drenched calamari steak too that along with their oxtails is one of their better offerings…

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I like going out for seafood at Morro Bay. Baked clams, crab. Or fish tacos.

I live within an hour of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. A few times a year, I have fried lake perch or pickerel, or smoked whitefish, in a lakeside beach town. Usually Port Stanley or Port Burwell on Lake Erie, or Grand Bend, Bayfield or Goderich on Lake Huron.

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When I lived in So.Cal. I caught my own diving off the coast of Palos Verdes and Catalina Island. Mostly greens, but the occasional much larger red.

I had a Japanese neighbor a few doors down the street who taught me how to clean them. Man I miss that stuff!

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If you ever venture to Ventura, hit up El Jarocho Seafood for incredible (and affordable) seafood coctels that have combos of octopus, shrimp, fish, abalone, etc, etc…comes with avocado, lime juice, that kind of dish…

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I like the red sauce one, but there’s a green aguachile version too

819 N Ventura Ave Ventura

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