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Archive for the ‘Shellfish’ Category

Mussel & fennel risottoWe really liked this tasty risotto made with delicious stock from the mussels. Jules bought half the quantity of mussels (in error!) but it was no worse for it. The sort of thing we like to eat on a Friday night with a glass of something bubbly.

Wine Suggestion: As we have a few bottles of Sparkling Saumur lying around after our summer holiday to the Loire this year, we automatically gravitated to this and found it a good match. This time we opened the Bouvet-Ladubay Trésor blanc, a blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with some Chardonnay. Fresh and vibrant but with the quality of fruit to stand up to the food. Cost aside, we don’t know why more sparkling wines aren’t matched with food.

Mussel & fennel risotto – serves 4

  • 1.75kg mussels, cleaned thoroughly (discard any that don’t close when you hit them off the side of the sink)
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, trimmed & diced
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Put the mussels into a large saucepan over a medium heat with the white wine, parsley stalks and peppercorns. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until opened. Shake the pan a couple of times as they cook.

Strain over a bowl to catch the cooking liquor and remove the mussels from their shells. Throw away any that haven’t opened.

Strain the liquor through a sieve lined with muslin to catch any grit, then heat until simmering gently.

Heat 5 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onion, garlic and fennel over a medium heat until the onion is soft but not coloured. Stir in the risotto rice. Pour on the vermouth, then add the mussel liquor a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. The rice should be cooked after about 20 minutes. Add some water if you run out of mussel liquor.

Stir in the mussels, parsley, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Spaghettini w. prawns basil parsley and pistachios

We know it’s Sunday and it’s getting colder and the clocks have changed, so we should really be posting a nice roast. However, we figure you probably have dinner sorted for today and you might like something to inspire you later in the week.

Wine Suggestion: the fresh, zesty Staforte Soave from Gaziano Prà would be a great match for this. Made from 100% Garganega it has apricot, peach and apple fruit flavours with touches of camomile and white flowers; followed by a textural finish. We would also try southern Italian Greco di Tufo and Falanghina’s with this dish; try to look for something with crispness, mid-weight and mineral texture and it should work.

Spaghettini with prawns, basil, parsley & pistachios – serves 4

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • a large handful of basil leaves
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves
  • 75g roasted unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g dried spaghettini
  • 500g raw peeled king prawns

Pound the garlic and half the sea salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Add the basil, parsley and mint and keep pounding together to make a thick paste. Add half the pistachios and grind them into the paste to get a creamy texture. Roughly chop the rest of the pistachios and stir into the paste with the Parmesan, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with some more salt if needed and black pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

Put a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and add the rest of the olive oil. Fry the prawns for a minutes on each side, then season with the remaining ¼ tsp of sea salt. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and keep a little of the cooking water. Immediately tip the pasta back into the pot, then toss together with the herb paste and cooked prawns. Add a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary to loosen. Serve immediately on warm plates.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

 

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Thai mussels with coconut, chilli & lime

Mussels are a frequent Friday night feature in our house. This Thai inspired method tastes great and it looks very pretty too.

Wine Suggestion: this works with light, fruity and gently aromatic whites and our choice this evening was the Colterenzio Gewürztraminer from the Alto Adige in north-eastern Italy. A dry style but with lovely delicate fruit and subtle aromatics showing its cooler climate roots.

Thai mussels with coconut, chilli & lime – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced finely into long strips
  • 2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (or grated zest of a lime)

TO SERVE:

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips (or grated zest of a lime)
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
  • ½ a red chilli, deseeded and shredded

Wash the mussels in a few changes of cold water and remove any beards and barnacles. Discard any that don’t close when you tap them on the side of the sink.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger & chillies. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, sugar & lime leaves. Bring almost to the boil, then add the mussels.

Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened, give the pan a good shake now and then. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened and serve in a large bowl with the lime leaves, coriander and chilli scattered over the top.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011)

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Romesco de peix

We’re still trying to get in the last of the summery dishes before we succumb to roasts and pies! Season this well and add plenty of parsley at the end; a lift that can’t be understated.

Wine suggestion: cross the border for this and go to Portugal for an oaked and aged Alvarinho (there may be some similar oaked/aged Albariño from Rias Baixias in Spain but I haven’t found the right ones yet). Quinta de Soalheiro make a Reserva Alvarinho that with 12 months extra ageing from release makes a perfect match.

Fish Stew with Peppers, Almonds & Saffron – serves 4

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 dessertspoons of finely chopped rosemary
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes, drain of the juice and roughly chop
  • 150ml white wine
  • 100ml hot fish stock
  • 50 saffron strands infused in 4 tbsp boiling water
  • 150g whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted and roughly ground
  • 650g monkfish fillets, cut into chunks
  • 500g clams, rinsed well

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, then cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic, rosemary, bay leaves and red pepper. Soften for 10 minutes, then add the white wine and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes before adding the fish stock and saffron water. Add the crushed almonds and season to taste.

When almost ready to eat, add the monkfish and clams, put a lid over the pan and simmer until the fish is cooked through and the clams are open – about 5 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes.

(Original recipe from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Mussels with chorizo & spiced fries 1

One of our least favourite kitchen jobs is scrubbing mussels but they’re always worth it in the end. This chorizo sauce and spicy fries make a great casual dinner.

Wine Suggestion: Chill a Spanish red for 30-40 minutes. A good choice could be the Jesus Romero Rubus, and unoaked blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha & Syrah which has a brilliant purity and drive. Alternately, and contradicting our initial thoughts, a big robust Ribera del Duero, the Condado de Haza also worked a treat chilled down with this dish.

  • 250g skinny oven fries
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • olive oil
  • 125g chorizo, diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 200ml white wine
  • 125g tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1kg mussels, cleaned

Heat the oven to whatever heat suggested on the pack of fries. Toss the fries with 1 tsp of the paprika and some seasoning, spread out on an oven tray and cook until crispy.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan that you have tight-fitting lid for. Add the chorizo and fry until crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, 1 tsp of paprika, chilli and thyme springs to the pan. Cook over a low heat until softened, then turn the heat up, return the chorizo to the pan and add the wine, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, lots of black pepper and a little salt. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir the mussels into the chorizo sauce, cover with a lid and steam for 3-4 minutes, shaking now and then, until the mussels have opened. Serve in bowls with the spicy fries on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, July 2014.)

Mussels with chorizo & spiced fries 2

 

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Mussels with chorizo and cider

We had a hankering for mussels, as we often do, and thought this sounded a bit different. There’s no finishing of the sauce required once the mussels are cooked unlike other classic mussel dishes. Last minute finishing can be fiddly, especially with guests, so this worked well for us. Easily scalable, provided you have a big pot, and a good party dish.

Wine Suggestion: we used Stonewell Dry Cider from Kinsale in County Cork for this dish which has a really good depth of flavour and it would equally work well as the accompaniment. Some ciders are lighter but the robust nature of the chorizo and mussels needed a more robust flavour like the Stonewell.

Alternately if you would prefer to drink some wine we’d suggest a good South African Chenin Blanc, like Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs. The ripe yellow apple flavours are a good compliment and the freshness, texture and zing provide a good balance. The Secateurs is a great go-to wine in our house and we highly recommend it!

Spanish mussels with cider & chorizo – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chorizo, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Wash the mussels really well and scrape off any barnacles and beardy bits. Tap any opened mussels on the sink and throw them away if they don’t close.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chorizo with the onions until slightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the mussels, cider and some black pepper, then cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and steam until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Buttery chilli prawns

Prawns in their shells are more often a holiday treat for us but they’re so easy to do and it’s nice to eat dinner with your hands. Finger bowls of warm water and lemon slices are useful – or you could lick them 😉

Wine Suggestion: If you are serving this as a special treat for two then go for a good pink sparkling. We had this as on a Friday night and luckily had a half-bottle of Billecart Salmon Rosé champagne which turned it into an extra special evening. On nights when this isn’t an option you should find a good Fiano, Verdicchio or Alvarinho.

Buttery Chilli Prawns – serves 2

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (leave the seeds in)
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 12-20 large raw ing prawns with shells (12 should be enough for a starter for 2, for a main course about 20 is better)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (plus a few extra slices for finger bowls if using)
  • ½ a small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • crusty bread – warm it in the oven before serving

Melt the butter & oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli and paprika and cook for a coupled of minutes or until golden. Turn up the heat and throw in the prawns. Fry for a few minutes until they turn pink, don’t be tempted to cook them for any longer. Take the pan off the heat, season and stir in the lemon juice & parsley.

Serve with warm crusty bread for wiping the bowl.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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