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Archive for the ‘Shellfish’ Category

Mussels cooked in cider

There’s been a bottle of Normandy Cider in our fridge door and we’ve been saving it for a dish like this. Fabulous and fresh for a Friday night with lots of crusty baguette. Serve with a generous glass of cider.

Mussels cooked in Cider – serves 4

  • 2.5kg mussels
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or crushed
  • 6 rashers of rindless streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 400ml dry cider
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives

Scrub the mussels and remove any barnacles and beards. Throw away any open shells that don’t close when you tap them on the edge of the sink.

Put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Melt the butter in the warm pan, then add the onion, garlic & bacon and cook gently for about 6 minutes or until the onion is softened.

Pour in the cider, bring to a simmer and simmer for a minute before adding the mussels and covering with a tight-fitting lids. Turn the heat up hight and cook for 3-4 minutes until the mussels have opened, giving the pan a shake occasionally. Throw away any mussels that haven’t opened.

Drain the mussels in a colander over a bowl to catch the cooking liquid, then return to the pot to keep warm. Pour the cooking juices through a sieve into a pan, add the cream and herbs and bring to the boil, seasoning with salt & pepper.

Divide the mussels between 4 bowls and pour over the hot sauce, then serve with crusty bread.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, Harper Collins, 2013.)

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Spicy Sichuan-style Prawns

This is a delicious Chinese dish but definitely for chilli lovers as its not lacking in fiery heat. Serve with rice to serve 2 or with other dishes to serve 4.

Wine Suggestion: The heat will effect most wines so be careful with your choice here. Our choice was from Alsace, the Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Calcaire 2009 which had a  natural sweetness and a range of spices that really added to the dish.

Spicy Sichuan-style prawns – serves 4

  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 450g raw prawns, shelled and de-veined

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tsp chilli bean paste (buy in an Asian supermarket)
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • handful of coriander leaves and sliced scallion, to serve

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat.

Add the groundnut oil and wait until very hot and slightly smoking, then add the ginger, garlic & scallions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then add the prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce ingredients with the salt and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes over a high heat.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the coriander & scallions.

(Original recipe by Ken Hom IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2015.)

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Orecchiette with clams and broccoli

We just love recipes like these – tastes just like holidays in Italy. So simple but truly delicious.

Wine Suggestion: A favourite: the Sartarelli Verdicchio Classico Superiore “Tralivio”, was a great match for this combining freshness and vitality with a roundness, texture, saltiness and enough body to work with some of the strong components of this dish.

Orecchiette with clams & broccoli – serves 4

  • 1kg clams, washed
  • 300g broccoli
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 fresh hot red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 crumbled dried hot chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 150ml white wine
  • 300g orecchiette

Cut the florets from the broccoli head and discard the stalks. Cut each floret in half lengthwise.

Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until very tender, then drain.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy frying pan. Add half the garlic and fry until soft, then add the anchovies and dried chilli, Stir to melt the anchovies. Add the broccoli and cook for 10 minutes or until it is soft enough to break up into a sauce.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Add the fresh chilli, the rest of the garlic, and the parsley. Fry until just coloured. Add the clams and wine, then cover and cook over a high heat until the clams have opened, about 3 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Remove the clams from their shells and add them to the broccoli sauce with some of their cooking water to thin the sauce a bit.

Cook the orecchiette in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce, adding some more liquid as needed.

Serve with your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

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Crab crostini

Just when you think it’s all over and you’ve eaten enough to persuade you to try just about any diet… comes New Year. More food, more drinks, late night – resistance is futile. If you’re in charge of the first course for a New Year’s party then you can’t go wrong with these delicious crab crostini. You can toast the bread and make up the crab mixture early but don’t combine until you’re ready to serve.

Wine Suggestion: Everyone has their favourite sparkling wine which for NYE is a must; we like vibrant bubbles with a creamy mousse. For this we opened the Bouvet-Ladubay “Saphir” Sparkling Saumur which is brilliant value for money and properly sophisticated. We’ve also tried the Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Blanc which we agree with Jancis Robinson, “is really joyful, happy and upbeat, with real vivaciousness yet quite a bit of serious undertow too.”

Crab Crostini – makes 15

  • 100g white crabmeat
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp small capers
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 15 slices from a skinny baguette, toasted

Mix the crab with the lemon juice, shallot, parsley, chilli, capers & mayonnaise. Pile the crab mix onto the baguette slices and serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe for  BBC Olive Magazine, December 2011.)

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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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