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Posts Tagged ‘Shellfish’

Spicy Dalboka Mussels

We cooked these mussels on Friday night form Caroline Eden’s ‘Black Sea’. A book that is as good to read as to look at. The recipe is Bulgarian with the mussels cooked in a spicy tomato soup. You will need lots of crusty white bread to go with.

Wine Suggestion: This pairs superbly with a good new world Pinot Noir, ideally from a producer that values freshness. If you can push the boat out a bit we’d suggest a Felton Road from Central Otago or a Tyler from Santa Barbera but tonight it was Newton Johnson’s Felicite from Hermanus to equally good effect.

Spicy Dalboka Mussels – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 500g mussels, scrubbed and beards and barnacles removed (chuck any that don’t close tightly when tapped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder/pul biber (Turkish pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 10 pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a decent handful of spinach (or lovage when it’s around)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • small bunch of dill, chopped
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-based casserole, then sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, paprika and peppercorns, then the stock, vinegar and tomatoes – simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn the heat up to hight and add the mussels, spinach and salt. Cover and steam for a few minutes or until the mussels have opened (don’t eat any that haven’t opened).

Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice and herbs. Serve in bowls with lots of crusty white bread.

(Original recipe from Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018.)

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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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Spaghetti with crab, cherry tomatoes & fresh chillies

This is really simple and fresh and we love it on a Friday night with a glass of chilled white wine. By all means cook a crab but our local fish shop sells cooked and picked crabmeat which makes this extra quick and easy.

Wine Suggestion: One of our stand-by wines for seafood is Muscadet and for this dish it was a good choice. A long standing favourite, the Domaine de la Chauviniere Muscadet sur lie always has good fruit, great texture and freshness and accentuated the flavours of the crab in a very nice way.

Spaghetti with Crab, Cherry Tomatoes and Chillies – serves 4

  • 500g spaghetti
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 medium hot red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100ml white wine
  • 200g white crabmeat
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped chives

Cook the pasta in a very large pot of boiling salty water until al dente.

Meanwhile, gently heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes before adding the wine and bringing to a simmer. Add the crab and cook for a minute to just warm through.

Drain the pasta well and tip into the pan with the crab sauce. Stir to combine, sprinkle over the chives, and serve.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

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Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

Easy, tasty, prawns, chilli & spaghetti 🙂

Wine Suggestion: A great match was the Biancardi Solo Fiano from Puglia which was aromatic, floral and vibrantly fresh.

Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola – serves 4

  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled (or you could use a tsp of chilli flakes)
  • 400g raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 small wineglass of wine – about 175ml
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

When the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns and sauté for a minute, then add the wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of cooking water.

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, the lemon juice and half the chopped rocket and season to taste (add a bit of the pasta water at this stage if needed).

Divide between plates and scatter with rocket and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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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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