There are many transportation options, but this time I decided to travel by water taxi to South Boston, which allowed me to see Boston from a completely different point of view.
It’s hard to imagine that South Boston was once a remote peninsula with only iron foundries, machine shops shipyards, and refineries…connected to nearby Dorchester by just a narrow stretch of land. Today this area is one of Boston's fastest growing neighborhoods…home to a $850 million 516,000 square foot Convention Center, award-winning Institute for Contemporary Art building, the World Trade Center, Bank of America Pavilion, several major hotels, parks and over 50 restaurants.
I met Executive Chef Rich García at the Renaissance Hotel, where he oversees all culinary operations. Chef García is known locally and nationally for being an advocate for ocean-friendly species. He travels the country talking and learning about overfishing, the importance of giving a break to some species as cod and haddock, and introducing what he calls “trash fish” or underutilized species of fish to menus.
I was excited to meet Chef García and learn about South Boston’s evolving history and how and why he sources locally harvest products. He took me across the street from the hotel to Boston’s historic Fish Pier, which opened in 1914 and is the oldest continuously operating fish pier in the country. He introduced me to Jared Auerbach, owner of Red’s Best, a local seafood distributor whose innovative logistics technology streamlines, tracks and accelerates seafood transactions, reducing costs and transport time between fishermen and consumers.
Inside Red’s Best warehouse I experienced all kind of fish and shellfish and learned about pollock and dogfish, two species of fish that are less utilized, but equally delicious. I also tasted ocean fresh raw scallops, and for the first time sea urchin. Sushi delicious!
Back at Chef García’s kitchen we prepared three fabulously tasty recipes: Taylor Bay scallops with ceviche sauce, local pollock with bacon & seaweed consommé, turnip puree and pickled mushrooms, and Chef García’s famous “trash fish” minestrone…all made with ocean-friendly seafood choices.
Working on this episode intrigued and excited me to cook at home using locally caught sustainable seafood species. Hope you find inspiration on Chef García’s recipes too!
Scallion pancakes are a simple, yet popular, Chinese snack. A side of soy dipping sauce adds the perfect finish to these crispy and flaky treats.
For Scallion Pancakes
1 bunch (8 to 9) scallions, washed and minced
1/4 cup sesame oil
1-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 lb. store-bought pizza dough
All-purpose flour, as needed
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Prepare Scallion Pancakes
In a small bowl, mix the minced scallions with sesame oil and the salt.
Cut the dough in thirds.
On a well-floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough to a thin 10-by-5-inch rectangle.
Spread the scallion mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around the edge. Starting at a long side, roll up each piece of dough jelly-roll style (long side to long side) and pinch to seal. Coil each roll of dough into a circle and tuck the end under the coil.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for about 2 hours to allow the dough to proof and relax cover. (At this point pancakes may be stored in an airtight container overnight in the fridge. Alternatively, you may store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a week. Remove from freezer and let defrost in fridge overnight before using.)
Generously flour a work surface. Press dough round into a flat circle, deflating any pockets and squishing the scallions gently into the dough. With a rolling pin, slowly and carefully roll out each dough coil into a 10-inch round. It is easier if you start in the center and roll outward. Flour the dough and work surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. (It's okay if some of the scallion mixture comes out.)
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto the oil and when it sizzles it is ready to go. Fry one pancake at a time over medium-high heat, turning once, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Poke holes to deflate any air pockets that form while cooking.
Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt onto each pancake.
Prepare Soy Dipping Sauce
Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until sugar is dissolved. May be made up to a week in advance and stored in fridge in an airtight container.
Cut the scallion pancakes into sixths and serve with the soy dipping sauce.
Chef Rich Garcia first showed us this recipe for a delicious and hearty meal made of local pollock, a versatile white fish that is popular around the world. To complement the fish and the smoky flavor of the bacon and seaweed consommé, he adds sweet pickled mushrooms and a warm turnip purée. Read More
This is a complicated recipe, so we suggested you read the whole thing before you begin.
For Lemon Curd
1 cup lemon juice (about 6 to 7 lemons)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
For Ginger Mousse
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
3-inch knob of fresh unpeeled ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. dried ground ginger
2-1/2 cups lemon curd (recipe above)
1/2 cup candied crystallized ginger, chopped for garnish
Prepare Lemon Curd
In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, combine the lemon juice and butter, place over medium-high heat, and heat to just under a boil. It should take 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the sugar until combined.
Gradually whisk a little of lemon-juice mixture into the sugar-egg mixture. Continue whisking the hot liquid into the sugar-egg mixture, a little at a time, until all of it has been incorporated. When all of the hot liquid has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan, and return the saucepan to medium heat.
Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the eggs from scrambling, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon thickly. To test, draw your finger along the back of the spoon; the curd should hold the trail for a second or two before it fills.
Remove the curd from the heat, and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. You should have about 2 1/2 cups. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until cold. (The curd can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
Prepare Ginger Mousse
Place heavy cream, chopped fresh ginger, and ground ginger in a large saucepan and bring to just under a boil. Turn off heat, and let cream sit for about an hour to infuse with the ginger.
Remove from heat and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 4 days).
When you are ready to serve the mousse, use a sieve or strainer to strain the cold heavy cream into a large mixing bowl. Whip cream in a medium bowl or in a stand mixer using medium speed until it holds a stiff peak.
Fold in the lemon curd, using a spatula to cut down the middle of mixture and turning the mixing bowl one-quarter rotation. Repeat until evenly folded. Do not over mix. Divide into serving bowls and top with candied ginger.
Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.
Saturdays at 4pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44
About the Author
On the Go
In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!