Surf's Up

Last Friday after work, Christina and I went to Surf for appetizers and wine to celebrate our mutual birthdays and Christina's annual trip to Greece.  One of Portsmouth's newest restaurant, it is situated near the top of Bow Street in new construction that has closed the row of buildings and eliminated what was a perfect slice of open space to view tanker ships arriving and leaving.

That unfortunate detail aside, the new retail spaces have brought foot traffic farther up the hill and Surf is a perfect spot for people-watching.  We happily perched ourselves at the end of the U-shaped bar and, with great views of the river and street, ordered wine (a Stone Fruit Riesling for me, a cabernet sauvignon for C.) and a series of outstanding apps:

Clams on the Half Shell 
Parmesan-Fried Calamari
Hong Kong Salmon Rolls
Chorizo-Braised Mussels 
Clams on the Half Shell (again!)
Fried Tomato and Crispy Bacon Salad

Well worth a visit, especially in the evening when it's hopping.

In the spirit of seafood and the fact that I have dozens of yet-untried recipes that need action, here is a quickie from an old Food and Wine magazine.  Total time is given as 25 minutes but if you cheat and buy shrimp that are already cleaned and deveined, it's even faster.

And to the readers on the East Coast - I hope you were safe and sound throughout Hurricane Irene.

Speedy Shrimp with Watercress and Cannellini Beans

1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
5-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons warm water
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 bunch watercress (5 ounces), tough stems discarded (I used mixed greens)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat.  Toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil until well coated and season generously with salt and pepper.  Broil the shrimp for 3 minutes, turning once, or until they are opaque throughout.

In a mini food processor, pulse the mint with the warm water until chopped.  Add 4 tablespoons olive oil and puree until smooth.

In a medium bowl, toss the cannellini beans with the mint oil and shrimp, and season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the watercress, season with salt and pepper and toss gently.

Mound the watercress on large plates and spoon the shrimp salad on top.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4. 


  1. This is so healthy and Fresh, I picked up some beans from Italy, and in all honesty I've been looking for a creative way to eat them, rather than out of the can "giggles" The dish looks scrumptious.

  2. Thanks Elle - these days I'm all about fast and nutritious. When something is that good, out of the can is the only way to go!


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