Tag Archives: seafood

Recipe: Salmon & “Black Caviar” Lentils w/ Creamy Dill Sauce

As we head into day 137,137 of our stay at home/quarantine, I decided to do a little something outside of our comfort zone and make salmon…at home. Now, I rarely order salmon out unless its sushi, but I’ve had just a few successes at home with salmon and this dish was no different….plus it’s so pretty.

And don’t let the fancy name scare you off. This was super easy. I ordered my Black Caviar Lentils, aka “Beluga” lentils from Rancho Gordo well before the pandemic so I’m not sure how readily available they are in stores, but they are still available here with some possible shipping delays of course. They get their name because they look so much like Beluga Caviar.  I’m actually looking forward to cooking with these type of lentils again. They have so much flavor and add drama to any dish. When they arrived I wondered,  “what in the world what have I done?” What would I make with them? But a local chef  years ago had made them as a bed under some prawns and I saw another dish somewhere on the interwebs with scallops. Well, I’m fresh out of scallops here, but I did have 2 pieces of salmon in the freezer, so that’s how we got here.  Serve this salmon and lentils with asparagus or spinach and you have a complete, colorful meal.

About the sauce in this recipe, you can make just about any sauce you want, but dill loves and seafood and cream. I’ve seen similar recipes of dill sauce calling for creme fraiche but I wasn’t about to make a special trip for that so I used cream cheese instead and have noted that in the ingredients. There’s also a tip below for a totally alternate method that I’ve made before (with some modifications) and it’s almost as good just not warm.  Both sauces are keto-friendly (but the lentils are not).


Salmon w/Creamy Dill Sauce & Black Caviar Lentils


Wild Caught Salmon filet (try to find one that’s beautifully pink and about 3/4-1 inch thick, about 6-8 oz)
1-2 TBS capers (reserve some juice for later)
Olive oil

Creamy Dill Sauce 
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS butter
3 tsp. dijon mustard
4 TBS cream cheese (or creme fraiche if you can find it)
heavy cream (if using cream cheese to loosen to desired consistency)
3 tsp. lemon juice or the reserved caper juice
3 tsp. fresh dill, coarsely minced, plus a few sprigs for garnish
salt/pepper to taste
**see note

1 cup black caviar/beluga lentils
oil or butter
Chicken stock or water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
dry aromatics like bay leaf or oregano (or you can omit)

First you’ll want to prepare your lentils. Heat oil or fat in a sauce pan. Add lentils and stir to coat. Add the garlic then enough water or chicken stock to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until just tender.
Note: I strongly suggest you take a look at the recommendation on the lentil package as some may require a bit of a different length of cooking time, but this is what I followed per Rancho Gordo. 

While the lentils are cooking…
If using a thicker piece of salmon, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add a oil to a hot pan and sear salmon, skin side up, until golden then flip and sear for a couple minutes more. Scatter in the capers (without the juice). You should hear them sizzle and start to crisp. Place pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes until medium doneness. You can cook a few minutes more if you like it more done.  Note: my salmon was pretty thin and did not need the additional cooking time beyond the sear, but you may need to do bake it here.

For the sauce:
While the salmon finishes, heat the butter in a sauce pan. After it melts, add dijon and stir well, then add cream cheese or creme fraiche and whisk until smooth and creamy.  If it’s a little too thick, add a bit of heavy cream to loosen. I needed about a 4 tablespoons.  Add the lemon juice or caper juice, then the dill and stir.

Plate the salmon and capers, drizzle the sauce liberally over (as little or as much as you want) and finish with a sprig or two of fresh dill. Serve along side or atop the beluga lentils. I topped with some local microgreens.


**Let’s just say you haven’t been to the store in 37 days and you’re fresh out of cream cheese. Well you can still make the dill sauce with 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 TBS lemon juice, 3-4 TBS. fresh dill, pinch of salt. You will not heat this. Just mix and serve. Easy peasy. And save it because if you decide to add capers or relish later, it’s totally a tartar sauce and so is the one above that’s heated first, come to think of it.




Foodies…Check out Butcher & Bull

The Butcher is In. (a previous version of this story can be found here at YES! Weekly.)

I have to say, we were warned.

A few weeks back when Chef Richard Miller hinted at what was to come at the Chef’s Table at Butcher & Bull, he said to be prepared to see creative slants on some of their favorite dishes that were fun and surprising in an effort to get us out of our comfort zones. He said he and Chef Tim Gallione had been planning for weeks to dazzle us with one of the most creative menus we’ve seen.

Before we get into the food at the event, we need to talk about the complete overhaul that Butcher & Bull, located inside the Marriott in downtown Winston-Salem, underwent earlier this year. The eatery, formerly known as Graze, was transformed into a sleek space rich in blues and neutral tones, leather and light. There might be a few animal skulls present…just to be sure you don’t forget where you are.


“We knew we wanted a fresh, vibrant, contemporary restaurant to stand out in what is happening in Downtown Winston-Salem and we decided on the idea of a steakhouse, which we don’t really have down here,” Miller told me during my podcast.

Gone are the booths with television screens and anything suggesting hotel.  Miller says the desire was to create a welcoming environment for gathering and fellowship, “We wanted a 100% brand new product and leave no evidence of the past, so that people will want to come here for dinner, enjoy the company of friends and family, have a good cocktail or a glass of wine and have a really phenomenal steak or anything else on the menu.”

In addition to abundant steak offerings with various cuts, like a Strip and a 48 ounce Tomahawk, there is tuna, salmon, and crab cakes and a cauliflower steak. Now, Butcher & Bull is getting accolades for its inventive small plates and shareable like the Bison Carpaccio with Quail Egg and a showstopper of a Shrimp Cocktail, complete with a presentation under a cold, smoky, glass dome. 

Miller, who grew up in Winston-Salem, has spent the better part of a decade going up the ranks at Butcher & Bull. He helped develop the former iteration, Graze, and made a name for himself locally and regionally as a chef there, winning the local Competition Dining Series. After a brief departure, he returned to Graze as Executive Chef and guided the culinary team through the transformation to Butcher & Bull.


The Butcher’s Room is available for private events

The Chef’s Table that was presented on June 20 was everything Miller promised and more. As we gathered in the “Butcher’s Room,” we were presented with six beautifully-plated courses that were playful and adventurous with bright colors and interesting textures. And each and every dish was as delicious as it was visually appealing. If at first you eat with your eyes, well we got an eyeful for sure of.…

Local ingredients.

And raw meat.

And organs.

And an eight-limbed mollusc.


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Course 1

General Tso’s Harmony Ridge Farms duck heart, greens, citrus, peanuts, togarasu


A kick off to the evening with an unexpected Asian flare. We had some skeptical folks at the table when the menu mentioned “duck heart.” But the heart was perfectly and lightly breaded on the outside and tender enough to cut with a fork. The drizzle of sauce had just enough heat and made the perfect bite when accompanied with the crushed peanuts.

Course 2

Beef Tartare, deviled egg crema, pecorino


As if heart wasn’t enough to surprise you, imagine your next course being raw beef? But Butcher & Bull’s tartare is so well executed, with proper seasoning. The deviled egg crema landed a southern slant to the dish and the pecorino was baked into a crisp, which could be used like a savory little cracker.

Course 3

Charred octopus, Southern cucumber salad, Fair Share Farm Micro Greens, Lemon, EVOO, onions, fennel


Another ambitious dish by Chef Richard and his team. This two-toned dish of lightly charred octopus on bright quick pickled cukes was a wonderful middle course. The pickles (a riff on Miller’s mother’s recipe) allowed for some palate cleansing with an intrepid star of the plate.

Course 4

Joyce Farms bone marrow, bread-and-butter cauliflower, fermented mustard, charred bread, Old Nick Carolina bourbon


And now we get a marrow bone. Beautifully and rustically plated, the bones had a light schmear of marrow topped with house-made mustard. But this dish required Chef Richard to visit the room and instruct us that. after scooping out the marrow and enjoying with the “toast”, we were to then use that hollow bone as a sloo or a “shoot” in which to take back the shot of bourbon. Some of our diners succeeded at this fun challenge. I failed epically. 

Course 5

Certified Angus Beef ® brand , Demi glaze, pommes purée potato chips, sweet potato, mushrooms

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As our 5th course arrived, we knew that the culinary team really wanted to show off what Butcher & Bull wants to be known for—steak and with pizzazz as the service team came around the other side and drizzled the steak with the demi.

Course 6

Carolina Gold Rice Pudding, Johnson Farms Peaches, Fair Share Farm​ marigold flowers


There’s something about the flavor of Carolina Gold rice. Hailing from the southeastern reaches of the Carolinas, it has a beautiful golden hue and a deep, toasty flavor, almost reminiscent of popcorn. And when Richard turned it into rice pudding, the toasty flavor came through along with the sweetness of the cream and then it was topped with wonderfully succulent grilled yellow and white peaches, with edible flowers.

At the end of the evening, the room erupted in applause, with many guests saying it was the best event they’d attended.  As for Miller, he says he and Chef Tim Gallione wanted to give the guests a taste of what inspires them and he promises that this is only the beginning.


I am absolutely sure you’ll find something you are looking for at Butcher & Bull and I highly recommend you give them a try.

Butcher & Bull is located at 425 North Cherry Street, in the downtown Marriott in Winston-Salem. Parking is available around the property but valet is also complimentary with a validated receipt. butcherandbull.com



The wine cellar is available for private events


foodie b’eat: Why We Love (to eat in) Lindley Park

Last week, in YES! Weekly, we took you on a little wee sized food crawl through one of the most iconic and adorable neighborhoods in Greensboro that is oh #sogso!

READ HERE why we love Lindley Park. Especially eating there, because…well because of ALL of it.


This is my idea of eating healthy at Emma Key’s. Stan’s Salad with Organic Greens, Two Cheddar Cheese Angus Steak Burgers, Tomatoes, Pimento Cheese, Grilled Onions, Tabasco Ketchup


Walkertown Seafood Shack


There are few places that foodies can go here in the Triad to get some fried seafood. Sure, you can get a fried fish or entree occasionally at a restaurant or pub but I haven’t run across many actual seafood restaurants that float my boat. About 4 years ago, we were told that we simply had to try the Walkertown Seafood Shack.

At the Shack, I felt like I finally found a place that could get a lot of fried seafood right… great fried flounder, baby shrimp, perch, crispy oysters and even broiled items. Admittedly, The Seafood Shack might get some mixed reviews on some of those online searches, but I’ve never been disappointed once and it must be true for a lot of folks because The Seafood Shack is constantly packed. Even on a Sunday at 5:00, there might be some wait time. But there’s plenty of space to hang out comfortably.  All that being said, I’ve run into plenty of people who’ve never even heard of Walkertown Seafood Shack.

IMG_2553This is a covered, enclosed porch with lots of seating and standing room, in addition to the indoor waiting area.

Now there’s a constant debate about what is FRESH and what is FROZEN in the restaurant biz. Some restaurants get seafood coming through the kitchen every day. Some get a large order one day a week. Some seafood is going to be frozen no matter where it comes from because it goes on ice as soon as it’s on the boat (that’s a blog story for another day….stay tuned). Don’t you freeze your fish if you have a lot of it? The Seafood Shack has always tasted just right to us. The seafood offerings are plentiful. You name it. In addition to the above mentioned products you can get really great crab legs, stuffed crab, clam strips, stuffed flounder, tilapia, scallops. Then there are daily features and you can get a lot of the items broiled. I did the stuffed flounder feature a while back and it was delicious. The crab legs were something we had on our first visit and they did not disappoint. But when I come here, I’m craving the fried, so fried is what the foodie gets.


Fried Baby Flounder/Jumbo Shrimp Combo

Fried Baby Flounder/Fried Oysters Combo

Fried Baby Flounder/Fried Oysters Combo

Child's Fried Popcorn Shrimp

Child’s Fried Popcorn Shrimp



The youngest kidlet loves these hushpuppies. His exact words were “Oh, my goodness, they melt in your mouf!”

There are daily specials and plenty of NON-seafood items to choose from too. And they are open for lunch as well. Almost everything is under $15 and most items are around $10.  You can get out of there plenty satiated at dinner for about $8-9. That’s pretty awesome, foodies!

I love the casualness of Walkertown Seafood Shack. I love that I can be at the park down the street playing on the playground and then just show up in my t-shirt and shorts. It is very easy going and laid back. When you go, be sure to take in some of the great art on display. We love this handmade license plate map.


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You’ve got fried seafood, gingham table coverings, paper towels, sweet tea, fast service and Walkertown pricing. When you’ve got the craving, what can be better?

Walkertown Seafood Shack
Walkertown Seafood Shack on Urbanspoon

King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar

IMG_2427Downtown Winston-Salem’s The Big Eat was a good great excuse to be a foodie at half the price. In the final week, sister foodie and I gave King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar a whirl as each week they’ve offered the incredible half off deal on a pound of snow crab legs. Alas, the special was crawdads, but my sister decided to go ahead and order the snow crab and are we so pleased that she did!



King’s is a very casual, very oyster bar meets pub. We saw guys in ties meeting for after work brews and groups of friends and just dudes hanging catching that disappointing Indiana game (sorry, Hoosier fans). In addition to The Big Eat, King’s was having $2 taco night and $2 specials on select Mexican brews. Specials, specials, specials. I love to eat cheap, ha!

I decided to order a half dozen steamed oysters and a fish taco. I felt that would get me started, especially knowing I’d get a taste of the legs once they arrived. The fish for the taco was lightly breaded and fried and had just little spice. It made for a great appetizer.


Sister foodie got a real appetizer of crab stuffed mushrooms. They are touted as being fabulous and they lived up to the hype. A cheesy mixture with peppers, crab and BACON and the BIG mushrooms themselves remained nice and firm. It is a substantial appetizer and can be shared between 2-4 people. Don’t fill up on them because you need to save room for other stuff, foodies!


Then came those oysters….man, I’ve been craving them! And they don’t have a lot of calories (something that I’m watching and it is NO fun when your idea of an adventure involves food). They were so fresh and a little briney. I dabbed a little horseradish on top with some cocktail sauce and the customary squeeze of lemon. They were gone in a blink.


So ugly they are cute, right?

Sister foodie’s snow crab legs soon followed. They were so amazing and fresh and did not even need the drawn butter. That’s pretty awesome because drawn butter is, well, pretty awesome. They brought us a few extra legs and I had a hard time staying away. If you like crab legs, you know they make you work for that delicious, sweet crab inside. I always end up with some sort of battle wound. But they are so worth it. And these were no different.

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This was not the full pound my sister ordered. These were the “extra” ones. A little appetizer to whet our whistle. Where’s the picture of the pound? I have no idea. Here’s what everything looked like when we’d had our way with all that shellfish.

IMG_2420 IMG_2422    We are just a little gross, I think.

Fortunately there was no judgment from Austin, who took such good care of us.


For a place that calls themselves a crab shack and oyster bar, there sure are a lot of options for the land lubber.  There are salads, burgers, sandwiches with chicken, wraps and quesadillas and entrees. But more importantly there are tons of fresh seafood options…I mean tons. Crab, soft shell crab, KING crab legs, PEI Mussels, scallops, clams by the dozen, fresh or steamed oysters, shrimp. There’s this Dreamy Steamy Bucket that I’d love to get with Mr. foodie that has snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops and maybe a pearl (lol—they said it, not me). They also have a good soups du jour selection with Oyster Stew on Mondays and She Crab Soup on Saturday. Check the menu or website for the specials.


On this particular night, it was busy, but we didn’t have to wait as we sat at the bar. But keep in mind your schedule since King’s doesn’t take reservations. All in all, it was kind of like getting all the great culinary benefits of the beach even if you didn’t get to enjoy sand and surf. And the good news is flip flops are welcome at King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar and you’ll feel like you escaped in this casual and fun place, even if it’s for an hour or so. They are open 11am until Late, 7 days a week. Oh and one day I hope to visit the sister restaurant, also owned by Will Kingery, Willow’s Bistro located on South Liberty Street. That’s a blog for another day 🙂

King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar

239 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC

King's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon