Buffalo Fried Calamari with Ranch Dip

Fried Buffalo Calamari with Ranch Dip | ImPECKableeats.com

Fried Buffalo Calamari with Homemade Ranch Dip

Beer and fried food – it may be an American cliché but as the superbowl approaches, it’s hard to resist this game-time tradition. Fried calamari has become a favorite restaurant appetizer. It’s often sandwiched between wings and mozzarella sticks on restaurant and pub menus. This buffalo fried calamari with ranch dip recipe combines the best of classic buffalo wings and traditional fried calamari to make one spicy indulgent party appetizer.

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Grilled Swordfish Skewers

Grilled Swordfish Skewers

Grilled Swordfish Skewers

After what seemed like a never-ending cold snowy winter in the Northeast, grilling season is finally here. Lucky for us, “The Art of Good Cooking” by my grandmother, Paula Peck, has many barbecue recipes I have yet to share. Similar to this Grilled Swordfish recipe, most are in the form of skewers – one of my favorite ways to grill. There is nothing revolutionary about this grilled skewer recipe but it’s simple and delicious. The marinade, which consists of garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon, salt, and pepper, is just light enough to bring out the fresh clean taste of not only swordfish, but any seafood (check out the shrimp shown in this photo). With its meaty firm texture, swordfish is one of the few fish that can actually hold up to being cut into chunks, skewered, and grilled. Like all fish, it’s important not to overcook it – no one enjoys chunks of rubber.

Grilling can be challenge here in NYC. For the authentic grilling experience, the only options are the park or the roof deck or backyard of a wealthy friend. I usually end up doing most of my grilling out of town on vacation. However, the limited grilling options in NYC never stopped my grandmother. Although all of her grilling recipes can be converted to the oven or broiler, she grilled right in her Harlem kitchen. She would set up the grill plate on the stove and fan the smoke out the window, as best she could. The neighbors definitely didn’t appreciate this and I doubt she could get away it now. An actual grill (particularly charcoal) will produce a more flavorful result. But by marinating the fish for 2-3 hours and following the proper cooking times, juicy garlicky swordfish will become a favorite whether broiled, baked, or grilled. Don’t forget the grilled vegetables and fruit– my favorites are bell peppers, grape tomatoes, eggplant, and pineapple!


2 lbs swordfish steak
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper

Lemon Parsley Sauce (for serving)
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Dry fish well on paper towels. Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks.
Combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Place swordfish in a bowl and pour mixture over the chunks. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, turning occasionally.

Thread chunks on skewers. Broil, preferably over charcoal, turning occasionally, until swordfish is lightly brown all over. Season with salt in pepper.

Mix together sauce ingredients and spoon over skewered swordfish.

Serves 4-5.

Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking,” by Paula Peck.


Jim Beard’s Deviled Crab

James Beard's Deviled Crab

Jim Beard's Deviled Crab

I’m not sure if this recipe exists in one of the many James Beard cookbooks. If I did, I would definitely list the source here. I actually came across this delightfully simple casserole/dip in the Paula Peck stack of unpublished recipes. Since I will usually make any crab recipe I happen to come across, Jim Beard’s Deviled Crab was an obvious must try.

At first glance, I wasn’t really sure what this recipe was. Is it a casserole? A dip? A side dish? I’m still not quite sure. So I’ve decided it can be any one of those things and more, because it’s just that good. One simple description says it all –  deconstructed crab cake. Think your favorite part about a crab cake but amplified. Easier to make and the emphasis is on the crab, the real star of the show (and not the often overused mushy breadcrumbs).

Though I’m sure Paula Peck and James Beard exchanged numerous recipes over the years that they cooked and shopped for ingredients together, I wish I knew more about where this recipe came from. I can definitely see similarities in their cooking and it makes me wonder if this was served at one of their many fabulous dinner parties…
Wherever it came from, I’m glad I discovered it and I think you will be too.


1 lb crab meat
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pick over crab meat and remove any cartilage. Roll or crush crackers and measure correct amount. Preheat oven 350 degrees and butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole or 6-8 individual crab or seashells.

Mix crab meat, crumbs, chopped vegetables, all seasonings, melted butter, and heavy cream together thoroughly. Spoon into casserole or shells and dot the top with a little additional butter. Bake 30-40 minutes or bake individual shells 20 minutes. Serve hot with crudités or crackers.

Serves 6.