North Carolina Sea Grant
Mariner's Menu

Mariner's Menu

October 29, 2010 | David Green

tips from the kitchen

Spices are the bark, root, fruit, berry or seeds of plants. Like herbs, spices such as pepper and ginger are very compatible with seafood.

Both black and white peppercorns are quite compatible with fish and shellfish. They need to be ground just before using. You’re going to love these two fresh spices. Don’t forget to use your pepper mill to prepare these spices.

Some root vegetables, such as garlic and onions, make great seasonings for seafood. Both belong to the lily family, along with leeks, shallots and chives, which are also compatible with seafood.

Garlic is inexpensive and available year-round. Before you peel garlic, first cut the stem off the end of the cloves. Some cooks use a small paring knife and their fingers to peel it. Others tap the cloves with the side of a chef’s knife or the weight of one hand.

You can also buy a garlic peeler at kitchen supply stores. It is an inexpensive tubular piece of plastic about five inches long and a little more than an inch in diameter. You simply place the garlic clove in it and roll it with your hand on the counter top until you hear the paper skin crackle. It takes just a few seconds and the clove is perfectly peeled. To us, this is the easiest way to peel garlic.

If a recipe calls for minced garlic or chopped garlic, you can almost always press it instead. The exception is if you need large chopped pieces or slices. Buy yourself a good garlic press. You’ll soon find it indespensable.

Contributed by David Green

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