A Whole Lotta Seafood and a Food Gal Giveaway

The seafood bounty you can win. (Photo courtesy of Anderson Seafoods)

When I think of fresh seafood, I can’t help but think of my late-Mom’s simple but sublime steamed fish.

My Uncle Homer loves to fish. He’s good at it, too, as evidenced by the huge bass he used to gift to my parents from his day-long boating excursions.

I remember the white fillets, so impossibly plump looking, covered in silvery-gray skin, which my Mom always left on to keep the fish moist while it cooked.

She would place the fillets in a Pyrex pie plate atop a steamer. She’d sprinkle on liberal shards of fresh ginger before placing the cover over the pan. Curls of steam would shoot out, as the fish turned from translucent to opaque inside.

When it was done, she’d top the fish with inch-long segments of spring onion. Next, she’d heat up a small saucepan of peanut oil with a splash of soy sauce until it was smoking. Then, ever so slowly, she’d dribble the hot oil all over the fish, giving it a lovely gloss and crisping up the skin ever so slightly.

We’d dig in with our chopsticks, tearing off chunks of the silky fish and spooning the sauce over steamed rice.

That would be dinner. With the fish rightly the star of the meal. And my family thoroughly enjoying each morsel of my uncle’s gift from the sea.

Contest: Southern California-based Anderson Seafoods, which sells premium seafood with a nod toward sustainability, wants you to remember your mom this Mother’s Day with impeccable fresh seafood. Thanks to them, one lucky Food Gal reader will win a “Regatta Gift Package,” a value of $300. Yes, you read that right. The package includes four pounds of wild Mexican shrimp, two cold-water South African rock lobster tails, four pounds of dry-packed scallops, 32 ounces of Norwegian salmon and 32 ounces of Alaskan halibut.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST April 28. Winner will be announced April 30.

How to win?

You’ve already read one of my fondest memories involving my Mom and seafood. Just tell me your own favorite story about your Mom and seafood. Best answer wins.

Bonus: Since there can only be one winner, Anderson Seafoods is offering a special 10 percent discount in honor of Earth Day for those who want to get the jump on enjoying some fine seafood. Just use promo code, “EARTH22,” which is good through April 29.

Winner of Last Week’s Contest

In the previous Food Gal contest, I asked you whom you most would want to share a cup of tea with — and why. The winner will receive six varieties of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s new, limited edition Tea Master’s tea blends.

The winner gets six varieties of special tea blends.

Congrats to:

Derrick, who wrote, “Grandma. She’s frail at 91, stares at me with joy as she sees my youth. Yet she can never tell me how she feels, and I can never respond. Though we are sometimes face to face, we are a world apart in language and cultural. If only one day over tea, in the same tongue we can share with one another.”

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  • My mom practicing with me the week before my first “big” date. When she found out he was taking me to Anthony’s Fish House, she not only practiced my table manners with me, she went out and got crab legs and loster and said “How we eat it at home or in a casual restaurant is not how you eat it wearing your best dress, favorite shoes and sitting across from the guy of your dreams.”

  • Carolyn, I loved this post. What a great recipe/family story – beautifully woven together. And it made me really hungry!

  • Growing up, the whole family would drive up to Chinatown in San Francisco every Sunday for dim sum and grocery shopping. I remember cringing a little every time we went to the seafood store and watch my mom mercilessly ask the guy to produce fish after fish from the tank, until she found the perfect one. I now know that she simply wanted the best possible fish for her family.

  • I really enjoyed reading your story and memories of your late-Mom’s steamed fish recipe. Steam fish is one of our “staples” at home because my Dad loves to fish too. We often have fresh steam fish prepared in similar ways as your late-Mom did.

    What a wonderful giveaway to celebrate mother nature and Mother’s Day. Here’s my story:

    I love spending time in my Mom’s kitchen as I always learn new recipes and cooking techniques from her. One of my favorites recipes that I learned from my Mom was the Mixed Seafood over Steam Egg Custard that she often prepared for my late-Grandmother. The Chinese name of this dish means (suitable for youngster and elderly). My Mom explained that because of the tender texture of the mixed seafood (usually contains fish, shrimps, and scallops, with a clear gravy) resting on top of silken and smooth egg custard are perfect for kids and elderly. Back then, my late-Grandma was getting weak due to an illness and couldn’t chew on tough meat but she always enjoyed this dish because it’s so tender. My Mom taught me the trick of keeping the steam egg silky and smooth by whisking warm chicken broth with the eggs before steaming. One time, my Mom told me to learn this dish well so I can prepare this for her when she gets old and can’t chew well. That put tears on my eyes cos I can’t imagine my Mom getting old….but it’s also inevitable.

    Now, I make this Mixed Seafood over Steam Egg Custard quite often for my kids because they simply love it. I hope my kids will learn this recipe from me when they’re older so maybe they can prepare it for me when I get old!

  • Fun post. And thanks for introducing me to Anderson Seafoods – I’m always looking for new sources. Alas, when it comes to seafood + my mother, most of my memories revolve around canned tuna and fish sticks! Not one of her favorite foods, so alas I won’t be entering the contest. But that’s a great giveaway.

  • Seafood is definitely my mom’s favorite type of food but yet she never had a whole lobster tail until just last Christmas! See, my mom, like many Chinese women, lives with a very frugal mind, not believing in treating herself with finer things in life. She could never imagine paying “Market Price” for a whole lobster tail when she could get a whole plate of seafood pasta for much less. Well, that’s where daughter-duty comes in! Last Christmas, I treated my mom to the biggest lobster tail I could find and didn’t allow her to see the price! I simply made sure that she took a picture and ate it all (with a bite from me of course!). She was a happy woman!

  • My mom loved the Dungeness crab we have here in No. CA. I used to ship it to her in Ohio when she couldn’t come out for a visit. Here’s the funny part….she used to refer to it, quite seriuosly, as “DUNG ASS” crab. I gave up after awhile trying to teach her the correct pronounciation and would just giggle.

  • We were on a family vacation in Santander, Spain enjoying Paella when my normally very refined mother picked up one of the langostino heads, stuck her finger in it, and made it “dance”. I was horrified at the time, but now I can’t order paella without chuckling to myself.

  • My mother is a Cantonese-Chinese cook extraordinaire and steamed fish is her best dish. Money was tight when we were little, and Ma would buy the cheapest fish at the market so we could have fish: king fish for $0.99/lb. It was special and tasty when king fish was on the table, especially since our last name means “king” in Chinese. It was our fish! A little bit of salt, soy sauce, cilantro for garnish, the fish would be cooked perfectly flaky. My sister and I would fight to eat the cheeks (supposedly the softest part of the fish), even though there was enough for us each to have one. My husband and I will be cooking for Ma on Mother’s Day (perhaps a Regatta seafood dinner?), and I will share with her this family memory. Thanks for the reminder!

  • As an occasional treat, my mom would bring home a pair of live lobsters from the grocery store. My brother and I would watch in delight as my mom opened the bag and throw the live lobsters in our large sink. It was the only time we were allowed to “play” with our food. We felt like warriors in a dangerous battle as we would try to cut the rubber bands off the lobsters without having it pinch us back. Both of us would watch each other take on the lobster with trepidation thinking, “what if we lose, that is going to hurt!” After allowing us to wear out the lobster my mother would carefully place them into the pot. A sweet aroma of seafood would soon fill our house, causing us to salivate at the thought of luscious lobster meat dipped in warmed butter. The lobsters came out right in time for my father to come home from work and together as a family we would yet again get to “play” with our food, and crack the shell off the hot lobster almost burning our finger tips not able to wait for it to cool. Writing this brings back such sweet memories of good food and family fun.

  • I think my favorite mom+seafood memory is when my mom tried sushi for the first time at my birthday this year. She is SO against eating raw fish, but she tried it anyway. LOVE.

  • My favorite memory involving my mom and seafood is ridiculously funny. We wanted to steam clams on the grill. We used a big black roasting pan, a little water and lots of clams. The weather looked iffy, but we thought we’d have plenty of time to finish up. We placed the clams on the grill with no problems….then the wind started to kick up……then driving rain started. The clams were stranded on the grill while we stared on from the house! We devised a plan: I would hold a golf umbrella and my mom would grab the black roasting pan with oven mits. I struggled to maintain control of the umbrella in the wind, and my mom struggled to not burn either of us with the smoking hot roasting pan. We go into the house only to find that none of the clams had opened! We repeated this process twice more until the clams were steamed and ready to eat. I’d like to say they were the best clams we had ever eaten, but the process far out shined the end result!

  • My mom makes this amazing Salmon(definitely w/ the head) and shrimp, tamarind based soup that has taro, string beans, okra, tomatoes and radishes. It’s called Sinigang, which is a Filipino dish. She always fixes it when someone’s under the weather cause it has this nice sour component of the tamarind and is very soothing broth to have when you’re not feeling well. It’s definitely a go to comfort food that knocks chicken noodle soup’s socks off! It works too cause you end up feeling so much better afterwards! As it turns out tamarind is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, as well as anti-bacterial properties. Anyways, Mom’s awesome like that! She’s the best!<3 🙂

  • Ok, my mom wasn’t much of a cook. But she was very, very funny. Yes, she would make us the occasional lobster tail (yum!). However, my funniest “seafood” memory of my Sicilian(features) – Irish (skin)- American (humor) mother, was the summer she referred to herself as the “largest lobster ever” after getting too much sun in our backyard pool. Oh my, I miss laughing to the point of crying with my mom! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  • My mother loves seafood! Her mother sold seafood so she’d always been around it and got the best. One of the things she particularly loves is fish head (I know that’s odd for most persons). She loved it so much that she’d tell my brother and I that it wasn’t edible just so she could eat it for herself. Ha. I know that eating fish with bones is dangerous for little children but she knows she was simply tricking us so that she could have it for herself.
    Just last week I was out with some older cousins who told me that my grandmother used to send fish to their house and sometimes my mother would switch the pieces so she could get her favourite. She LOVES seafood.

  • My most fondest memory of my mom and seafood is her cooking show every Sunday. She brought together all of her closest friends, family, and the Vietnamese community with her love of cooking and eating. She made this one seafood dish that no one would EVER forget …. It’s steam red snapper without a stove or fire. How could that be?! Well with the special pot she has called the icook she boil the water then remove the pot and place it on the table, place the fish inside, and close the pot. Depending on the fish size she put on the timer and the pressure would cook the fish. Meanwhile, she would heat up some oil with sliced onion, ginger,and red bell pepper to garnish the fish when it is done. Yummy!!!! This recipe is great for a college student like me with a few components and easy cooking skills= perfect seafood dinner!

  • About two years ago, my mom was diagnosed with shingles. At that point in time, she was working extremely long hours and rarely, if ever, took a break to enjoy herself. Towards the end of her recovery period, the two of us took a mother daughter trip to Maine, something we had discussed at length over the past couple of years but somehow had never seemed to find the time to go.

    In Maine, we had our first taste of lobster sashimi! Additionally, we met some of the local fishermen and went on a regular basis to get the freshest selection of seafood straight from the source. It was some of the best we’ve ever had! My mom was so happy to have some time to cook and she would teach me all her tricks for preparing it while telling me stories about how she learned herself.

    Now, whenever I have fresh seafood, I remember how important it is to take a breather from work and to enjoy myself. Additionally, I think about the skills and the stories I’ve learned–both of which I plan on passing down for future generations!

  • Seafood was always a treat in my family. One Friday a month, my family of four would head to the Holiday Inn’s All You Cann Eat Seafood buffet. (I grew up in central Oklahoma, so the Holiday Inn was the only place for seafood, at the time) I can remember the cool, crisp, chilled salad plates, the shrimp (love shrimp), and the stuffed crab. I loved (and my mom and dad allowed me) to play with the crab shell after eating. Those were happy memories, wonderful memories.

    My mom later told me that she had a book of coupons for the restaurant, so we were able to afford to go :). She would always joke that when she was a child her mom (my lovely grandma) wouldn’t allow the children to eat seafood. Mom always says how she would envy Grandma when she would get shrimp (once every few months). It might sound cruel but knowing my grandma, I realize the sacrfices she made to keep food on the table. And knowing that bit of my mom’s history, I realize how lucky I was to play with the stuffed crab shells as a kid.

    Great giveaway.

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