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Archive for the ‘Shellfish’ Category

Mussels & cockles with garlic breadcrumbs

This is a great starter from Polpo that tastes similar to stuffed mussels but is nowhere near as fiddly to prepare. We used cockles instead of clams as that is what we could get the day we cooked this.

Wine Suggestion: we’d suggest a white from central or sourther Italy for this dish. Tonight it was a Verdicchio from the Marches, the Tralivio by the Sartarelli family which combines citrus, apricots and wild herbs with texture, body and hints of a bitter almond on the finish. Very attractive, refreshing and a perfect food wine.

Mussels & Clams with Garlic Breadcrumbs – serves 4 – 6 as a starter

  • 100g old bread
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a small handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped
  • a large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • flaky sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 kg mussels
  • 1kg clams
  • 100ml white wine
  • bread, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4.

Tear the old bread into pieces, then scatter over a baking tray and pour over plenty of olive oil over them. Put the tray into the oven for 5 minutes or until the bread is crisp and golden, then set aside.

When the bread has cooled blitz it in food processor with the chopped parsley, half the dried chilli, half the garlic and some seasoning. When the bread has turned to fine crumbs, taste some and adjust the seasoning and add some more oil if they are too dry.

Clean the mussels and clams in cold running water and discard any that are damaged or that stay open when tapped.

Heat a large pan and add some olive oil. Throw in the mussels and clams with the rest of the chilli and garlic and stir until the shells start to open. As they do, pour in the white wine and cover the pan with a lid. The shells should all have opened after a couple of minutes, throw away any that haven’t opened.

Add a handful of breadcrumbs to the pan to thicken the sauce. Spoon the mussels and clams into shallow bowls and sprinkle with the rest of the crumbs. Serve immediately with crusty bread if you like.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russel Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Scallop & prawn risotto

We brought in the new decade with this fabulous scallop and prawn risotto. Couldn’t be simpler to make but tastes really special. Scallops aren’t cheap but you only need a few for this and they are totally worth it.

Wine Suggestion: A special occasion with a special person requires a special wine. Made by the brilliant Dermot Sugrue, his Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan is multilayered, multidimensional and complex. To be honest this is the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted and it has a great roundness and weight alongside it’s natural freshness which allowed us to start with seaside, fresh oysters and then segue to a much richer risotto without breaking a sweat.

Scallop & Prawn Risotto – serves 4

  • 100g butter, plus a bit extra
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 450g risotto rice
  • 750ml-1 litre, hot fish or light chicken stock
  • 350-400g raw peeled prawns
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 12 scallops, orange roe and side muscles removed
  • a bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of basil, chopped

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan and gently cook the shallot until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated in butter.

Gradually add the hot stock, stirring all the time, until the rice is just tender – about 20 minutes. Add the prawns when the rice is cooked but al dente, then season and add the lemon zest and juice. Turn the prawns until they have turned pink all over, then add the mascarpone and gently fold in.

Allow the risotto to rest for 5 minutes while you fry the scallops for a minute on each side in a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add these to the risotto and sprinkle with the herbs.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, December 2015.)

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Cockles with Tomato, Pastis & Parsley

A Gill Meller recipe for clams or he also suggests mussels. It was cockles on Friday in our local fish shop and they work just as well too. These are boozy and they taste strongly of pastis which we enjoyed immensely and gave the whole dish a real clarity of flavour.

Wine Suggestion: Quite often we’d suggest white wine with seafood, and you’d be right here too. However, this doesn’t mean red can’t work just as well, you need to make sure it isn’t too heavy and has a natural freshness of acidity … like from a cooler vineyard region. Tonight we opened the Dezat Sancerre Rouge which is made from Pinot Noir and is joyful and deliciously ripe while remaining pure and fresh. A good complement to the tomatoes and sea flavours and a match to the anise of the pastis.

Cockles with tomato, pastis & parsley – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • finely grated zest of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 100ml pastis or Pernod
  • 1kg cockles (or clams or mussels), washed and throw away any with broken or open shells
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until soft but not coloured.

Add the lemon zest, fennel seeds, bay leaves and rosemary and cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, then half fill the empty tin with water and pour this in too. Add the sugar, season again, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring, often, until rich and thick.

Add the pastis and turn the heat up. When the liquid is boiling, add the cockles, stir once, give the pan a good shake, then cover with a tight lid.

Cook for 3-4 minutes (shaking occasionally), or until all the shells have opened. Throw away any that remain closed. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Mussels with red onions, cider and creme fraiche

We associate mussels with cold weather and cook them often in the darker months. Makes no sense really when we’ve no issue eating buckets of them in the sunshine on holidays. We loved the creamy sauce on these – crusty bread essential!

Wine Suggestion: it feels natural to use the cider you cook with as the accompaniment. Our choice was the artisanale and organic Cidrerie le Maitre, a very new, young producer in Brittany we stumbled upon by following little signs off the main roads into a winding, forgotten lane in the middle of the French countryside. Daniel le Maitre uses 12 ancient local varieties of apples and the result is dry, very fruity and appley but with a wonderful texture of apple skins and a great depth of flavour which makes it a great food match. A happy discovery, and their Cider Vinegar is also a good addition to our cupboard too.

Mussels with Red Onion, Cider & Crème Fraîche – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 150ml dry cider
  • 2 tsp finely chopped sage
  • 150ml crème fraîche

Scrub the mussels, and discard if open and they won’t close when you give them a sharp tap.

Melt the butter in a large pan, cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Pour the cider over and add the sage, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.

Add the mussels, then cover and cook over a medium heat (shaking the pan occasionally) for 3-4 mins or until they have opened. Lift the mussels into a bowl and keep warm.

Bubble the cooking liquid in the pan for a couple of minutes, then gradually blend in the crème fraîche. Heat the sauce through and pour over the mussels to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Lobster & Pasta

This is inspired by a Rick Stein recipe in his Mediterranean Escapes book called Lobster & Pasta Chez Jen Jen from Corsica. We cooked this on a weeknight and cheated a bit with the lobster by using frozen lobster tails. We thought you could use raw prawns to good effect too.

Wine Suggestion: We made this on a celebratory evening so pushed the boat out with the wine and had the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted to date: the Dermot Sugrue “The Trouble with Dreams” from Sussex. It had a driving purity and vibrancy that makes it feel alive. For years we often compared English sparkling to Champagne without recognising it to have a unique character and with this wine we fully realised this.

Lobster & Spaghetti – serves 2

  • 2 x frozen lobster tails
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • 20ml Cognac
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 200ml passata
  • 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • salt and cayenne pepper

Defrost the lobster tails by putting them into a deep bowl of cold water and leaving for 30 minutes. You’ll know they are defrosted when they feel a bit flexible.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently lower in the lobster tails. Cook for 3½ minutes, then scoop out with a spoon. Leave to cool slightly, then slice into the soft side to check that the meat is white and therefore cooked through. If it looks grey you need to return to the water again until cooked.

Carefully cut down the soft side of the lobster tails and remove flesh from the shell in one piece, it should come away very easily.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of very salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with the curry powder and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster, flesh-side down. Pour over the Cognac and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add the white wine, passata, and herbes de Provence, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster is heated through.

Drain the spaghetti. Lift the lobster tails out of the pan and onto warm plates. Season the sauce to taste with salt and cayenne pepper, add the spaghetti and toss well with the sauce. Spoon alongside the lobster and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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Prawn Korma with coco cauli rice

This is absolutely a diet dish but for a diet dish it’s particularly tasty.  Low calories and low carbs but we guarantee it will fill you up so if you’re cutting down we highly recommend this. You can buy bags of cauliflower rice but it is literally just cauliflower whizzed until it resembles rice. A large cauliflower will be fresher and cheaper! We like Madras curry paste (Patak’s is our preference) but you could use something less spicy, like a Korma.

Prawn Curry with with Cauliflower Rice – serves 4

FOR THE RICE:

  • a large cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut

FOR THE KORMA:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2cm root ginger, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp curry paste
  • 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 400g frozen tiger prawns, defrosted
  • large handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

To make the rice, whizz the cauliflower in a food processor until it looks a similar texture to rice.

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and add the cauliflower and desiccated coconut.

Fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 12 minutes, or until tender.

For the curry, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions, garlic & ginger for 8-10 minutes or until lightly coloured.

Add the curry paste and cook for a minute, before adding the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Add the prawns and simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the spinach, yoghurt & some seasoning.

Serve the curry with the cauliflower rice and top with the coriander.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley, Short Books, 2019.)

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Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns & Treviso

This baked pasta dish from Jacob Kennedy’s fabulous Bocca cookbook is truly delicious. Quick to cook and an excellent treat for a Friday night when energy levels are low. We find radicchio di Treviso hard to resist with its pretty dark purple leaves. They’re in season and in shops now and we’ve had our eyes on this dish for a while, we weren’t disappointed.

Wine Suggestion: While not our first thought we had a bottle of the Altos de Torona Albariño from northern Spain in the fridge and it proved a delightful match.

Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns and Treviso – serves 2 as a main, 4 to 6 as a starter

  • 120g dried tagliolini
  • 50g butter
  • ½ a small red onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 medium head Radicchio di Treviso, shredded 3-5mm
  • 200g peeled raw prawns
  • 60ml white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for a few minutes, then add the radicchio and sauté gently for 4-5 minutes or until wilted. Add the prawns, then the wine and let it boil for a couple of minutes or until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the cream and at the same time put the tagliolini into a pan of boiling, salted water. Boil both until the tagliolini is undercooked (about half the recommended time) and the sauce just runnier than cream.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss over the heat for a minute to coat the pasta with the cream, then season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish (or divide between a number of smaller dishes). Sprinkle with the Parmesan and brown the top under a hot grill. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Jacob Kennedy’s ‘Bocca Cookbook’, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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