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On snowy winter days and sizzling seafood

By Paul Suplee

I imagine that you are tucked under a cozy blanket in front of a fireplace while you read this. And by that time, the mystery as to whether it was actually going to snow will have been solved. One meteorologist says this, while another says that. Moreover, with defiant assurance, a third guarantees that we will get snow … rain … or a wintry mix. The blasted storm is only one day away (well, at the time of this writing it is) and you still can’t tell us what’s going to happen?

Scientifically proven models tell us that the oceans will run out of seafood by 2027, and climate change will have stark and irreversible repercussions by 2031, but I simply want to know if it’s going to snow tomorrow. That just doesn’t seem like too much to ask. Furthermore, if it is not going to snow, then could we please move on with this whole spring thing? I am itching to get back into the water. Even with my heavy wetsuit, my bones and joints do not like the frigid Atlantic as much as they did in years past.

While I knock out this seemingly aimless diatribe against meteorologists and climatologists, my mind jumps to the noodle maps of each hurricane’s projected path over the years. I chortle. Experts can’t even project an accurate landfall one day out, so I guess it should come as no surprise that there is no assurance that this storm is going to do (or will have done, to be more precise) a thing to us. Yet, truth be told, we (or at least I) glue ourselves to media outlets as though our lives depend on it, if not only in an effort to discern storm trajectory and precipitation. Or, maybe we dream of besting the top guys out there, proving them wrong at their own game.

Now, before you start writing that nasty email to my publisher, I can completely admit and assure you that I do not have enough education on global warming to make an educated statement. I simply know that accurate models are guesses at best, and it makes for good food columns.

I think.

Back to the storm in question, however, I personally foresee a formidable amount of snow, and you will have to let me know how off or on the mark I am with that one. The nor’easter is building up beautifully, seemingly skipping over the Ohio valley and heading towards us. Those are the storms that can really pack a wallop. Yes, I did just write “pack a wallop.” I mean, who even says that anymore?

But what in the hell does this have to do with food? Well, I’m glad that you asked. You see, my mind tends to go from intensely focused to “ooh look, some guy on Dodo just resuscitated a baby prairie dog that was drowning in his pool” at almost a breakneck pace. Call it a gift or a curse (either one would apply, I can assure you, as can my children and girlfriend).

I took the picture of this sizzling seafood that I took recently and my mind raced between the imminent danger of the storm (TBD) and the oceans being depleted of seafood in a disturbingly short period of time. Not one to hold himself personally accountable for the depletion of seafood in the world (tongue in cheek), I immediately started thinking about all of the serious aforementioned issues.

But it wasn’t before I savored in the nuances of this sizzling platter of seafood with its Chinese roots. It is a dish incredibly vibrant with the marriage of garlic, ginger and scallions while being overly simplistic. Simply grill things and poor hot oil on top.

And that is not a bad thing to enjoy on a snowy day … or a rainy one … or one with wintry mix and slush. It is Delmarva.

Sizzling Seafood
serves 6

1 pound Fresh swordfish, portioned
1 pound 16/20 shrimp, peeled & deveined
Salt & pepper, as needed
1-inch Piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup Dry white wine
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp. Hot chili oil
1 quart Heirloom grape tomatoes

To Finish
Sprigs of rosemary and marjoram
1 cup EV Olive oil
Coarse salt & Freshly cracked pepper
Scallions, finely sliced

  1. Heat a grill
  2. Place the seafood with seasoning, ginger, wine, garlic and chili oil in a container
  3. While they are marinating, place a perforated pan on the grill and blister the tomatoes, but not too much. You don’t want all of the juices running out quite yet
  4. Remove and keep warm until ready to serve
  5. After about one hour, remove the seafood from the marinade and grill until cooked through. If you cook a salmon or tuna that can handle going a little less, feel free to cook it to a medium-ish temperature or however you like it
  6. When ready to serve, place the seafood and tomatoes on a platter that is oven-safe
  7. Top with the herbs
  8. Just before plating, heat the olive oil, salt & pepper until very hot and immediately drizzle over the herbs and the seafood. The aroma and sounds are instantly gratifying and the flavors are absolutely perfect
  9. Serve with vegetables and starch that will help to cut that like roasted spaghetti squash or roasted asparagus