Archive for the ‘Seafood’ category

Shrimp and feta stew

November 3, 2011

This sounded like an improbable combination to me but it turned out to be excellent. Serve on rice or pasta.

1 lb medium shrimp, shelled.
1/2 c diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB minced jalapeno or other hot green pepper (or to taste)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1-16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until wilted. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté for another minute or so. Add the wine, tomatoes, oregano, and some black pepper. Simmer slowly until reduced and thickened, 10-20 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until just done. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Add salt if needed and serve at once.

Baked fish with fennel

May 14, 2011

Fennel, with its faintly licorice flavor, makes a wonderful accompaniment for fish. This recipe works well with any kind of white fish. My favorite is halibut, but snapper, striped bass, flounder, etc. work very well, too.

Four fish fillets 6 to 8 oz each
1 c julienned fennel bulb
1 c julienned onion
1/2 c julienned carrot
4 thin slices of lemon
Salt and pepper
2 TB olive oil

Sauté the vegetables in the olive oil until they are partially cooked, adding some S&P to taste, then set aside to cool. Rub a baking pan with a bit more oil and arrange the fillets on it. Season the fish with S&P, then cover each fillet with 1/4 of the vegetable mix and top with a lemon slice. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of your fillets.

Freezing shrimp and shrimp stock

May 1, 2011

We are fortunate to be able to go to the North Carolina coast, a few hours drive away, and get fresh-off-the-boat large shrimp for less than $3 a pound—but we have to buy 50 pounds! Now and then we bring back a load of 50 pounds, so we needed to find the best way to freeze them. Here’s what we have found to be the best way to preserve that fresh taste and texture.

1. Keep the shrimp ice-cold at all times, but do not allow them to soak in water.
2. Remove the heads, but leave the shells on. If desired, use the heads to make shrimp stock (see below).
3. Pack the shrimp into Tupperware-type containers.
4. Cover with cold water that has 1 tsp salt dissolved per quart.
5. Put the lid on the container and freeze as quickly as possible.

Recognizing fresh shrimp: First of all, ask to smell the shrimp. If you get even the slightest whiff of ammonia, fuggedaboudit. But, even shrimp without the ammonia smell can be more or less fresh, and here’s how to tell. This only works with head-on shrimp, obviously. Each shrimp has two long feelers, or antennae, on its head. They can be 6 or more inches in length. When the shrimp are really fresh, the feelers are flexible and relatively tough. Most or all of the shrimp should have the full feelers and you should be able to pick a shrimp up by a feeler. As freshness wanes, the feelers get brittle and break easily, so this test won’t work.

Making shrimp stock: When you have a bunch of shrimp heads, you can use them to make stock, useful in soups and other recipes. For about 2 lbs of heads, rinse under cold water and put in a stock pot with 2-1/2 quarts of water and 1/2 c each coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Add a halved garlic clove, a bay leaf, and a grinding of black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 to 60 minutes, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. Strain and discard the solids. For a really clear stock, strain again through several layers of cheesecloth. Freeze in desired size portions.

Scallops in vermouth cream sauce

April 30, 2011

Rich and luxurious, terrific served on spinach linguini. Serves 2-4.

1 lb sea scallops, trimmed*
1/4 c all-purpose flour (appx)
4 TB butter
1 TB oil
2 shallots, finely minced
1 c dry vermouth
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp dried fine herbs (I use Penzey’s)
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
salt to taste

Rinse and drain the scallops. Pat dry with paper towels and dust with the flour. Heat the oil and 1 TB butter in a non-stick skillet over high heat until the butter foam subsides and it is on the verge of starting to brown. Add the scallops and sauté until nicely browned – they should be almost but not quite cooked thru. Remove to a plate. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan and sauté the shallots over medium heat until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the vermouth, herbs, and pepper and boil down to about 1/4 c. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Taste for salt and add if needed. Return the scallops to the pan for a moment to heat through and complete cooking.

* Scallops have a thin band of tough tissue running along one side. It’s pretty easy to see if you look closely. If it hasn’t been trimmed off by your fishmonger, you should do it yourself.

Note about scallops: Some scallops are soaked in a phosphate solution before sale. This acts as a preservative, causes them to absorb some water, and makes the scallops pure white. These so-called wet scallops are to be avoided. The absorbed water means you get less actual scallop meat per pound (and I don’t have to tell you what scallops cost!). Also, they are harder to brown because this water comes out in the pan and you end up with simmer scallops – yech. Untreated or dry scallops are much to be preferred. They may look white at a quick glance but are actually a delicate pearl color with subtle variations between individual scallops.

Pasta with white clam sauce

April 30, 2011

You can make a surprisingly good sauce with canned clams. This is a version I developed over many years. There are many variations possible. You can replace the parsley with fresh basil, replace the wine with bottled clam juice and a squeeze of lemon, etc.

Two 7 ounce cans of minced clams
1/2 c olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1″ piece of dried hot red pepper or a pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1/2 c dry white wine or 1/3 c dry white vermouth
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 c minced fresh parsley

Put garlic and oil in heavy bottomed sauce pan and put over low heat. Let cook slowly for 15-20 minutes – the garlic should sizzle slowly but not brown at all, or maybe just slightly. Drain the clams and add the juice, the wine, red and white pepper, and parsley and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until reduced by about half. Remove from heat and stir in the clams.

While the sauce is simmering cook 3/4 lb of imported Italian pasta (I like the De Cecco brand). As for shape, I think that regular spaghetti or thin spaghetti goes well with this sauce. Cook the pasta until it is about 15-20 seconds shy of being done to your liking. Drain and return to the pan. Add the sauce and stir to mix. Let sit covered over very low heat for a few minutes to let the flavors blend. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Crusty bread, a mixed green salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, and a dry Italian white (such as a soave or pinot grigio) are great accompaniments.

Mexican style shrimp

April 30, 2011

One of my own inventions – I like it served over white rice.

1 lb medium size shrimp, shelled and, if you like, deveined
1/2 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 TB olive oil
1-16 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
1 TB lime juice
Salt, pepper

In a skillet, sauté onion in oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and optional cayenne and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and stir until about half cooked. Add drained tomatoes and enough of the juice to get the desired consistency. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and S&P to taste.

Pasta with swordfish

April 30, 2011

This is delightful recipe that has its origins in Sicily. I have modified this from a recipe in Giuliano Bugialli’s Bugialli On Pasta (a terrific cookbook).

1/2 c Italian parsley leaves
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery, with leaves
6 large fresh basil leaves
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
4 TB capers packed in wine vinegar
15 pitted green olive in brine
3/4 lb swordfish steak
1 lb penne or rigatoni pasta

Chop first 5 ingredients together (1/8-1/4 inch pieces). Sauté together in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 c water. Simmer for 20 minutes, adding more water if needed to maintain a thick sauce. Drain and rinse briefly the capers and olives, and add to the pan, Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove any skin from the fish, cut into 3/4 inch pieces, and add to the sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Correct seasoning. Cook the pasta al dente and stir into the sauce.

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