Cali Cooking: Seafood Tricks and Tips from the Golden State
California covers a LOT of coastline. Touching the crisp cool waters of the Pacific North West and nesting in the warm waters all the way down to the Baja Coast. It is a beautiful place, rich in seafood and diverse in cuisine.
Here we’ll navigate the Golden State’s notoriously delicious seafood. Give some tips on cooking like the Californians, plus a couple of helpful pantry stocking insights.
The Pacific Ocean is a great source of seafood. The California coast’s fishermen are always busy catching the very best: squid (calamari), cod, tuna and Dungeness crabs. The most popular seafood options and most found menu additions throughout the state. Delicious, fresh and cuisine captivating.
Cameron’s Seafood…the choicest seafood for Cali Cooking
There are some key ingredients to keep on hand in your kitchen for cooking your California seafood. All are found in grocery stores throughout the US, so no problem being able to source these must haves…
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Brined Olives
- Fresh Garlic
- Wine (California Cabernet and California Chardonnay)
- Cheeses (Feta and Goat Cheese Crumbles)
- Fresh Herbs (chives, tarragon, dill, basil, parsley and mint)
- Baby lettuces (arugula, spinach and mesclun)
Now for cooking like a Californian…
California style seafood is cooked simply and seasoned simply using just touches of salt and pepper. Letting the natural flavors shine. Grilling, poaching and pan searing are the best cooking methods for California cuisine. A little citrus or a light deglazing with wine is often used to elevate the dish.
There are a lot of international cuisine crossover when it comes to Cali cooking. Latino and Asian flavors are dominant, and Californians crave authentic and fusion flavors from these iconic cuisines.
Fresh is best, especially when it comes to fruit, vegetables and herbs. California is known for it’s expansive farms as well as it’s coastal seafood. Partnering both of these together is the name of the Golden State game.
The Cioppino is a Cali-created recipe. The seafood is lightly poached and served in a wine tomato broth topped with fresh herbs and crusty San Fransisco sourdough bread. Adding to the California flavor is the addition of a light salad of arugula topped with goat cheese and avocado.
California Seafood Recipe: California Cioppino with Avocado, Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad
For the Cioppino:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh fennel sliced thin
- 1/2 cup shallots peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups California Chardonnay
- 5 cups fish stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 lb. Cameron’s Seafood Calamari
- 1 lb. Cameron’s Seafood Tuna Steaks cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 lb. Cameron’s Seafood Cod Fillers cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 lb. Cameron’s Seafood Dungeness Crab Legs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
- 1 loaf sourdough bread thick sliced
For the salad:
- 4 cup baby arugula
- 2 avocados peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt to taste
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté fennel, shallots, garlic and pepper flakes for 5 minutes or until translucent.
- Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, wine, stock and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the seafood and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until all is thoroughly cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
- Before serving cioppino, top with fresh dill and tarragon. Serve with salad (see below) and bread slices.
- Make the salad by combining ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss.
- Before serving drizzle with oil, vinegar and salt.
Buy Fresh Seafood Online
All of the seafood listed in these cooking tips are available at our online store. As we say, ‘from shore to door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store’-all of our seafood is delivered right to your door when you schedule it, guaranteed! That’s convenience you need when meal planning and prepping.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron's Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.