Monday, January 9, 2012

Pour Maman & How to Make a Seafood Platter

I have not yet finished my posts on France, but let me tell you that upon rentree in the States, my Mother made it clear that she wanted a p a r t y.  Her birthday was New Year’s Eve, and R and I dutifully called her from Beaune on Skype with best wishes, but what she really wanted was a seafood feast when I got home.  Of course….I spoil my Mom if you know me, and so tonight we had a few of her favorite foods with many of our extended family.

I prepared the entire meal in less than two hours’ time; and that involved a few stores but mostly a visit to our Chinese market, 99 Ranch Market.  Here in Southern California, they have the best prices for fresh Maine lobster ($6.99/lb  I have to ask Yvonne Petite Gallery how this compares), shrimp, and also live Dungeness crabs; unfortunately the steamer (free service) was en panne so I brought it all home.  Thank goodness I had brought two fait-touts home from France and pressed them into service with my NYC thrift-store one; as well as a pair of skimmers also from Guy~


Is it just me, or do I feel like a chef when I cook with 19thC French copper? The lobster and crabs were prepared here quickly.


The trio of pots are going off to Peter at East Coast Tinning this week for a redo on the lining; the largest one here, far right, is 19thC and with wolfs’ teeth joinery; it is $700 NEW at Williams Sonoma, but I prefer this old one sourced from Guy in Brittany and Normandie and full of character and about $130 to retin; more on retinning old coppers later;


The ooohs and ahhs and oohs by my family, on the copper…will you soon be addicted to these pieces, as I am?


In summer these skimmers scoop tomatoes from the pot; here, the shrimp, ready to go into an ice bath~


And now to assemble a plateau; I know in NYC and Paris they use ice and the like, this is is simpler.  Start with a large tray.  This one I bought for my parents for their 50th; it is enorme, yes, so good for this~


I cut up the boiled lobster tail in one dish, and use prepared Dungeness Crab in another dish, set aside~


Halve several lemons and set on the platter~


Prop up several seafoods, the mostly in-edible portion of the lobster as well as the crabs on the lemons (sent home w my bro in law each year, Merry Christmas!)


I like volume…prop the lobster up a little…..


Add in the claws or cut them up with the tail; add in the cups of meat behind~


This was the quickest platter I have ever made but it was still so good~ toss boiled shrimp on top as well as a bunch of boiled whelks~


my table was a mess and we had blue willow plates and pistol handled knives set out; it was fine….


to cut the seafood, pommes frites, matchstick style; who can resist?


Baked brie and homemade graavlax for starters, I will show you later…..


Everyone was happy, it was a whipped up meal. We had dessert the next day which I will show you later.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


  1. What a feast for your lovely mother. A belated "Happy Birthday" from Downunder.

    Andrea - you keep taunting me with wonderful images of your copper pots and utensils!!!! Perhaps one day..........

    Hope to get an update from you soon (via email ) re our other conversation.
    Take care. xxx (3 up north!)

    Bisousxxx -

  2. You had me at the copper pots! :)
    What a wonderful birthday celebration!
    I think we may need to have a seafood feast this weekend now you've got my taste buds attention.


  3. You know that I am smitten with your copper! = )
    Such a beautiful birthday feast!
    Happy Birthday to your mother from The Pacific Northwest, home of the wonderful Dungeness!

  4. The feast looks delicious; no matter what the copper pots cost! I am sure you mum was very happy with the results. The seafood was arranged beautifully.

  5. Andrea,

    I can see your parents were excited to have you home from France!! A wonderful Birthday Dinner for your Mother!

    Call later if you can!


    Art by Karena

  6. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Love love the platter of seafood. How wonderful. I love your pots also! Must remember to think of retinning when I see older pots. Duh.. welcome back! xo marlis

  8. Superb, perfect and awesome...ALL of it!! beautifull images and truly special, thank you for sharing.
    hugs and xx Colette

  9. something is happing when I go to your blog, it has huge spaces.. Anyway I posted the REAL Earl of Downton Abbey. He is just right for you. Comes witha castle..