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Posts Tagged ‘seafood recipes’

Mussels cooking

 

Fortunately, our Union Square Green Market isn’t just vegetables and fruits – we have cheeses, meats, poultry, fish, plants, and cut flowers to complete the outdoor shopping experience.  I was looking for some inspiration on Saturday and found some merguez sausage at the Flying Pigs Farm (www.flyingpigsfarm.com) stall.  That purchase led to a couple of pounds of mussels at Seatuck Fish Company (www.seatuckfish.com) and the two of them led to dinner pulled together in my beautiful Scanpan covered chef’s pan.
Here’s how it came about:  I sautéed some onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until just softened.  I sliced up the sausage and added it to the pan and cooked it until it had lost its color.  Then I added about 1 cup of dry white wine, brought the mix to a boil and then lowered the heat and simmered for about 4 or 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.  That was followed with ¾ cup of pureed fresh tomatoes, 1 cup of clam broth, and some basil and chile flakes.  I cooked the liquid for a bit to allow the flavors to blend.  Then I added the scrubbed mussels and covered the pan.  Since the lid is glass I could watch the mussels open so just as they began to open I added a big handful of yellow cherry tomatoes and another handful of sliced baby red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.  Again, I covered and watched the mussels finish popping open.  Voila! A one pot dinner came to the table, 1,2,3!

 

Mussels plated

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tiger-prawn

 

Shopping at the Chelsea Market I stopped to check out the selection at The Lobster Place, my favorite fish market. I saw these huge shrimp called tiger prawns and just had to buy them for Steve, my lovely husband, who could dine on shrimp every night. I googled them when I got home and found that they are native to Southeast Asia, but are farmed all over the world. Apparently during one of our recent hurricanes, some of these big guys escaped from the farm and ended up procreating in the Gulf of Mexico where they are thriving – much to the dismay of local shrimpers who fear that they will over-take the native species because they are so big and aggressive.  Now the quandary, do we buy them wild or only buy those that are farmed. Being environmentally correct sure does take work. Got any ideas?

Since I had bought them, I had to cook them and this is what I did.

2 pounds tiger prawns

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

½ cup olive oil

1 hot red or green chile, stemmed and cut, crosswise, into thin slices

1 shallot, peeled and minced

1 small bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

 

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

Combine the prawns with the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, chile, and shallot in a roasting pan.   Cover with plastic film and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Uncover, toss in the broccolini, and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the preheated oven and roast, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the prawns are bright pink and the broccolini is barely cooked.

Remove from the oven and stir in the butter and parsley.  Serve immediately with some warm crusty bread to sop up the juices.

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Fall_Dinner_DSC_2381

 

We have been so busy with the promotion of An American Family Cooks that our meals have been a little haphazard – a pizza here, rice and beans (from our favorite Flor de Mayo on Amsterdam Avenue) there, a throw-together sandwich at the end of a long day have been too frequently on the table.  I promised Steve a quiet, indulgent, sit-down dinner and since fall had officially arrived with a bit of a chill in the air, it seemed time to get back to work in the kitchen.
Here’s what I put together.  Mashed sweet potatoes (mashed with a bit of butter and a touch of honey), sautéed spinach and mushrooms, and deliciously sweet Nantucket Bay scallops.  For the scallops, I placed about ½ cup of diced pancetta in a nonstick frying pan and cooked it until all of the fat had rendered out and I had a pan full of little crispy nuggets.  I scooped the nuggets from the pan and left a bit of the fat in.  I added the scallops which I had tossed in Wondra flour and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Gave them a quick flip around the pan to color slightly and set.  Removed them from the pan and added a little white wine and lemon juice.  Brought it to a boil and then whisked in a little pat of butter.  When slightly thick, I returned the pancetta to the pan and instantly had a lovely sauce for the plate.  We sat down to a quiet, indulgent dinner with a chilled bottle of Sancerre to quaff.  A lovely fall dinner, indeed.

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Fish_1679

Summer – or a bit of warmth in the air as spring has been in New York – means that every chance to cook outdoors I do.  One of my favorite grills is a whole fish – red snapper, sea bass, arctic char, branzino – you name it, I’ll grill.  It’s so simple to do and so delicious and good for you.  Here’s what I do:  Clean the fish leaving the head on.  Then, I stuff the cavity with some lemon slices, perhaps a slice or two of onion (not necessary, but adds a little zip), and whatever soft herbs I have on hand – sometimes dill, or parsley, or cilantro, lemon thyme – rarely rosemary, but if you like it try it.  Season with salt and pepper, put in a (what I call) fish cage and place on a hot grill.  Grill, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the flesh is opaque.  Put a couple of lemon halves on the grill, cut side down, for a couple of minutes.  The hot lemon juice is just the right accent to the succulent fish which, by the way, can be lifted right off the bone in fairly neat portions.  A simple and elegant main dish for a hot summer’s eve – or even a slightly warm spring one!

 

Fish_1681

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Shrimp_8867_1

When I went to pick up some mussels and clams for a dish to be made in a Portuguese cataplana – which I’ll tell you about in another post – I saw these amazing little bug-eyed creatures that I remembered from a couple of winter’s ago, Maine shrimp.  They are the most wonderful corally-red color and so deliciously sweet and delicate that I had to buy a few.  Since they were pretty pricy I got just enough to use as garnish on the shellfish stew we were making.  Although once everyone tasted them, I felt a little guilty that I couldn’t offer more.
Maine shrimp are only caught for a brief period during the late winter – I think the season begins at the end of December and ends in February and since they have been over-fished limits are defined.  Not many make their way down the coast to New York and I would guess they are unheard of in other parts of the country.  I’m not a shrimp lover (even though I once wrote a book called The Ubiquitous Shrimp) only because shrimp doesn’t have the same taste I remember from my California childhood (where little guys are shrimp and big guys are prawns), BUT Maine shrimp bring that flavor memory right back to me.
Should you find them, either eat them raw or barely cook them – perhaps with a tiny bit of olive oil and lemon for just a few seconds in a very hot pan.

 

©stephen Kolyer_MaineShrimp

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©stephen kolyer_scallop

It’s not very often that we see fresh scallops with their roe attached in the market.  Recently not only did I find them, but they were gigantic.  I cleaned them up and placed them, one at a time, into a hot pan.  I added a bit of white wine and butter into the shell, seasoned with salt and pepper, covered the pan, and cooked for just a few minutes to warm the shellfish and make a little sauce.  They made an exceptionally exotic appetizer with the barely cooked scallop devoured on its own and the bright orange roe slathered on some rye toast.  Along with some lovely New Zealand sauvignon blanc, of course!

 

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scallop_2462

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