Fritter - A Pantry Blog

Things are Happening.

Photo by Aran Goyoaga

Welcome back to fritter!

So much happened in August! Firstly, we raised $68,000(!) in our gift certificate fundraiser, which really just made our month. It feels amazing to know that so many of you are in this with us, during what is possibly the most exciting summer since we opened our doors. And it was good timing too, because we started construction on our new kitchen! Walls have been torn down, linoleum has been scraped off of concrete, and at this moment they are installing plumbing for our very own scullery. And for those of you who’ve sweated it out with us this summer: we’re getting air conditioning! Yes — cold, cool air conditioning. The pizza classes, with their 500 degree ovens, will never be the same. This expansion has been a long time coming. I think I drafted the floor layout two years ago, so that I could be ready to jump the moment the space became available. Everything seems to be moving at a good clip, so expect our event schedule to get a bit larger sometime in November!

In other August-related news, we gathered around the table for another round of family-style dinners! I’ve got pretty itchy feet, and had been planning a trip to the Mediterranean this summer. I’ve been dreaming about making my way to Morocco, Italy, Greece, and Turkey for years, and finally decided to head that way in June. I blocked out dates on the calendar, started recruiting girlfriends, researching AirBnBs, and dreaming about the kind of holiday where you wear big sunglasses, eat yourself silly, sleep in, and read stacks of books.

Then I snapped back to reality. 2015 has been a year of many great moments. So many in fact, that there was most definitely no way to make time for a several-week-long Mediterranean beach crawl. No worries. I might not be able to convince myself that Lake Washington is a beach in Italy (though Matthews Beach gave it a good try!), but I can certainly stuff my face with all the food that would go with it. So in August we served up a five-course Mediterranean Seafood Feast, and, well, it was mighty tasty:

A trio of crostini:
Roasted eggplant and tomato with grilled squid
Taleggio with smoked castelvetrano olives and lemon
Marinated anchovy with homemade Calabrian chile butter

Homemade linguini with corn cream
Dungeness crab, goathorn peppers, and charred scallions

Chermoula-marinated grilled halibut
Chickpeas, chorizo, preserved lemon, and cilantro puree

Grilled zucchini with green beans, purple basil, feta, and charred lemon
Aleppo-pistachio vinaigrette

Toasted almond semi-freddo
Roasted stone fruits and salted peach-caramel sauce

This menu hit some high notes for me, with pasta, chiles, feta, and stone fruit (basically all of my favorite things) all representing. But it was the chermoula-marinated halibut that I couldn’t stop talking about. Michelle dreamed up this recipe, and while it has quite a few components, it comes together pretty easily. Halibut is a mildly flavored fish, which makes it fairly versatile in the kitchen. It does well with frying and poaching, but it’s summer (and hey, we’re pretending to be at the beach), so we fired up the grill. Michelle coated the halibut in red chermoula, a North African marinade with a little heat and lots of flavor, and then served it on cilantro-sauced chickpeas with chorizo and preserved lemon. And there’s beet greens, so you know it’s healthy.

Photo by Aran Goyoaga

​Chermoula-Marinated Grilled Halibut with Chickpeas, Chorizo, Preserved Lemon, and Cilantro

8 servings
  • Chermoula-Marinated Halibut:
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon preserved lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 3 pounds halibut
  • Chickpeas:
  • 2 cups dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 head garlic, sliced in half horizontally
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch beets greens
  • 1 dried chorizo, diced
  • 1 preserved lemon rind, sliced into thin strips
  • Cilantro Puree:
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
  • Kosher salt, to taste

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