Feeling Fishy

In Eat, June 2021 by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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Get hooked on these four summer recipes—utilizing four different types of seafood—from some top local seafood spots.

Summer and seafood are synonymous in North Carolina—especially here in Raleigh, where the coast is only a short two-hour drive away (#blessed). Some may find it daunting to make seafood at home, but we see it as a great oppor-tuna-ty to flex our cooking muscles (er, mussels?) and take advantage of all the fresh fish, clams, shrimp, crab and more that are so easily accessible to us. So, we tapped four local seafood spots for their best summer seafood recipes you can easily recreate at home. We know you’re gonna krill it. 


St. Roch Smoked Pimento Cheese

St. Roch chef-owner Sunny Gerhart adds a bomb of flavor to his famous smoked oysters with a housemade smoked pimento cheese—which also goes great on crackers (or, um, straight up with a spoon…).


• 8 oz. cream cheese

• 6 cups smoked cheddar cheese or regular white cheddar, grated*

• 1/4 cup charred scallion, minced

• 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar

• 3/4 cup gochujang (Korean chile paste)

• 3/4 cup Sriracha hot sauce

• 3/4 cup Duke’s Mayo

• 1 Tbsp. roasted poblano peppers (or raw poblanos diced or pureed in food processor)

• 1 Tbsp. kosher salt

• 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients until you reach desired consistency. Serve atop smoked oysters.


Core Sound Clams With Gold Tomato and Corn Broth

Chef-owner Ricky Moore got the inspiration for this dish while clamming on Shell Island with friend Steve Goodwin, a fourth-generation fisherman of Beaufort’s Salty Catch Seafood Company. After digging up the clams, they cooked this dish right there on the beach. Recipe from Saltbox Seafood Joint Cookbook by Ricky Moore

Ingredients (for 6-serving yield)

• 4 1/2 pounds fresh NC clams

• 1 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, plus more for serving

• 1 small onion or 2 medium shallots, finely chopped

• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/4–1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

• 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears)

• 1 1/2 lbs. chopped gold tomatoes (be sure to collect the juice)

• 1 strip of orange zest

• 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

• Pinch of saffron (optional)

• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

• 4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

• Lemon wedges, for serving


1. Rinse the clams and scrub them with a small brush.

2. Bring the wine to a boil in a large saucepan; then lower the heat to a simmer and reduce the wine by half. Return the pan to high heat; add the clams; cover and cook until the clams open, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat; discard any clams that have not opened.

3. Drain the clams in a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl and set the liquid and clams aside in separate bowls.

4. Place the saucepan back over medium heat, and add the olive oil. When the oil simmers, add the onions or shallots and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. 

5. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the corn, tomatoes, orange zest, thyme, saffron and reserved clam liquid. Bring to a simmer; reduce the heat to low; and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Add the clams to the sauce and stir to combine; add the parsley. To serve, top with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.


Blue Crab and Cucumber Salad

During the spring and summer months, Locals executive chef Eric Montagne likes a lighter crab salad that subs olive oil and citrus for mayo—with the addition of marinated cucumbers.

Marinated Cucumbers


• 3 cucumbers

• 3 cups rice wine vinegar 

• 2 cups katsuobushi

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup kosher salt


1. Peel the cucumbers and slice them roughly 1/6- to 1/8-inch thick using a mandolin or knife. 

2. Coat the sliced cucumbers evenly with 1/4 cup salt.

3. Place salted cucumbers in a colander and allow them to drain for at least 6 hours. 

4. Bring the vinegar, sugar and remaining salt to a low boil; then remove from heat. Add katsuobushi, and allow it to steep while the vinegar marinade cools down.

5. Once your vinegar has cooled off, pass it through a strainer to remove the katsuobushi. 

6. After cucumbers have drained, add them to a container and cover with the vinegar marinade.

7. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Crab Salad


• 8 oz. jumbo lump or lump blue crab

• 2 lemons, zest and juice

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 Tbsp. chives, sliced

• 1.5 oz. Castelvetrano olives, sliced (can substitute green olives)

• 2 oz. shallots, pickled or raw

• 3 Tbsp. olive oil


1. Place all ingredients except olive oil and salt into a bowl and gently mix together; then add olive oil and salt and mix gently.

2. Serve with marinated cucumbers; garnish with fresh dill or tarragon and a little extra olive oil.


Cured and Smoked Salmon

This recipe belongs to a longtime Earp’s customer who’s been shopping at the market for years. It’s a family recipe that Earp’s GM Nikki Bloch tried out herself and vouches is very delicious.  


• 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. salmon filet, skinned and bones removed

• 1 shot (jigger) tequila 

• 1/4 cup kosher salt

• 1/4 cup brown sugar

• 2 Tbsp. cracked black pepper

• 1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped

• 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

• Pecan or alder wood chips (or your favorite)



1. Place the salmon filet in a shallow baking dish; pour the tequila over.

2. Mix salt, pepper and sugar together, and pat all over the salmon. Top with the lemon slices, then dill; gently pat down.

3. Cover the top of the salmon tightly with plastic wrap. Place another layer of wrap over the dish to seal it.

4. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.


1. Remove the dish from the refrigerator. Discard the liquid. Rinse the filet under cold water to remove the seasonings, lemon and herbs. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Soak the wood chips in water (optional). 

3. Brush smoker grill/grates with olive oil. Place the fish on the grate.

4. Preheat the smoker to approximately 160˚F. Watch for smoke. If there isn’t smoke, add more chips.

5. Place the fish inside the smoker and cook for 3 to 6 hours. For soft texture, check at 2.5 hours. For firmer texture, check at 3 to 6 hours. You want the internal temperature of the fish to be at least 130˚F.

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