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Posts Tagged ‘Shellfish’

Mussels in a creamy sauce

We can’t get enough of mussels and love them in any kind of sauce. This is a nice easy one to serve 2 with some crusty bread (or hot chips!).

Wine Suggestion: try to find a good Alvarinho from Vinho Verde in Portugal. We’re big fans of Soalheiro whose wines have a delicious vibrancy and freshness that really work with mussels.

Mussels in a Creamy Sauce – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 250ml white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Scrub the mussels under cold water, scraping off any beards or barnacles. Discard any that are damaged or those that don’t close completely when tapped against the sink.

Put the mussels in a large pan with the wine, butter, bay leaf, parsley stalks, thyme and shallot. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Drain, keeping the cooking liquor, and discard any mussels that have not opened. Discard the parsley stalks and bay leaf.

Put the cooked mussels into two serving bowls and keep warm. Return the cooking liquor to the pot and boil rapidly until slightly thickened. Now pour in the cream and add the chopped parsley and cook gently until thickened further. Season, then pour over the mussels and serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Greg Wallace for BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2008.)

 

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Prawn & clam linguine

 

We recently got a new cookbook by Lorraine Pascale and have been impressed by the recipes so far. This one we made for Valentines Day, just the two of us with a bottle of vintage Champagne from the cellar. A very nice evening.

Linguine with prawns, clams, garlic & chilli – serves 4

  • 350g dried linguine
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large banana shallots, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 400g raw peeled tiger prawns, de-veined
  • 400g clams, washed (soak in cold water for an hour to get rid of any sand then discard any that stay open when sharply tapped)
  • 150-200ml white wine
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 70g rocket
  • 1 small lemon, cut into wedges

Cook the pasta according to the packet until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan, with a tight-fitting lid, over a medium heat. Add the shallots and sweat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the prawns and cook for 1 minutes, stirring. Then add the clams and white wine, bring to the boil and cover with the lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until all the clam shells have opened (discard any that don’t) and the prawns have turned pink.

Drain the pasta well and tip onto the cooked shellfish and toss together. Add the chopped parsley and season.

Pile into bowls, drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil, scatter with rocket and serve with a lemon wedge.

(Original recipe from How to be a Better Cook by Lorraine Pascale, HarperCollins, 2014.)

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Moules Marinière

We love this Normandy classic and have been known to make Moules Marinières as an impromptu supper served with some skinny fries or crusty bread. No other dish is as reminiscent of holidays in France and mussels are also very cheap. What could be better? 

Wine Suggestion: You can’t go wrong with a good old Muscadet here. Just the thing to complement the dish and shouldn’t blow the budget. Unfortunately Muscadet has had a few good quality but low quantity vintages so it may be a bit more scarce than usual. 

Moules Marinière – to serve 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  •  50g butter, chilled
  • 150ml water
  • 150ml dry white wine

Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and shallots and sweat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the water, wine and half the parsley and simmer for 5-10 minute. 

Add the mussels, cover the pan quickly with a tight lid and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, giving the pan a good shake occasionally. Check if the mussels are open, if most of them are still closed, cover and cook for another minute or two, or until opened. 

Drain the mussels in a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid and discard any that haven’t opened. Cover the mussels with a pan lid to keep them warm. Pour the mussel liquid back into the pan and boil until it has a strong concentrated flavour. Reduce the heat. 

Cut up the remaining butter into small pieces and whisk into the sauce, piece by piece. Taste and season. 

Transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. 

(Original recipe from Leiths: How to Cook, Quadrille, 2013.)

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These are the prawns we served as a canapé at Jules’ birthday dinner yesterday. Really simple to throw together and tasty too – the mint makes a big impact.

Prawns with mint & chilli yogurt 

Mix 4 tbsp of natural yogurt with 1 small deseeded red chilli and 8 leaves fresh mint, both finely chopped, and some seasoning. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a frying pan, add 12 large raw peeled prawns (leave the tails on if you’re peeling yourself), and fry for a minute each side until they have turned pink and cooked through. Put teaspoonfuls of the yogurt on 12 baby gem lettuce leaves, top each with a hot prawn and a couple of tiny mint leaves. Serve hot.

Wine Suggestion: Something pink and bubbly! We had a Coates & Seely sparkling Rosé from Hampshire in Southern England. This producer used traditional French winemaking techniques and traditional Champagne grapes of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Very classy looking bottle too. Available from Mitchell & Son for €42.95.

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A much needed healthy dinner – we’ve been eating lots of meat and rich sauces recently and have more of the same planned for the weekend. Try this with a hunk of bread to mop your plate. Really easy and tasty but don’t forget to season!

  • 1/2 a bulb of fennel, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1  tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1  tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  •  a handful of cavelo nero or kale
  • 150g raw prawns
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan and add the fennel. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and paprika and fry for another minute before adding the tomatoes. Turn up the heat and cook for 5 minutes, until thickened.

Stir in the chickpeas, chopped greens, seasoning and a splash of water and cook for 2 minutes. Add the prawns and cook until just pink.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We got a surprise call from our great friend Ben who had some live lobsters which he was terrified of. He’s now got over this and is an expert lobster stabber and we got the benefit of two live lobsters too. I made this years ago before I met Jules and have always promised to cook it if two live lobsters arrive on our doorstep, so happy Friday night Jules! This recipe feeds 4 people – we had no problem finding 2 volunteers to help us eat it.

Il miglior brodo siciliano di aragosta – the best Sicilian  lobster broth – to serve 4

  • 150g dried lasagne sheets, smashed up
  • 2 x 1kg live lobsters
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes or 1 or 2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, smashed
  • 1/2 a bottle of Sicilian white wine – you can substitute any white wine
  • 850ml passata or 3 x 400g tins plum tomatoes, liquidized
  • a large handful of whole almonds, skins on
  • a small handful of fresh basil leaves
First you’re going to have to kill the lobsters. The best way to do this – and the fairest way for the lobster – is to get a large sharp knife, place the tip on the little crown on the head and chop straight down between its eyes. Be brave! Once you’ve killed your lobsters you need to twist and pull the head away from the tail. Put the tails and claws aside for now. Open the heads and discard the little grey stomach sack which will be near the eyes. Then just cut the head up into little pieces, keeping all the brown meat and other stuff.

Put a large pot on a very gentle heat. When hot, pour a good glug of olive oil in along with all the head pieces and lobster legs. You can turn the heat up a bit now. Add your onions, garlic, carrots, cinnamon stick, chillies and fennel seeds. Continue frying this for about 15 minutes – keep moving it around in the pot – so the onions take on a bit of colour but careful they don’t burn. If the pan gets too hot just splash in a bit of water.

Add your white wine and boil hard for 5 minutes before adding the passata and the same quantity of water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes. Now put a colander on top of another large pot and pass the soup through it. Press down on the shells with the back of a ladle and let them drip for 5 minutes to make sure you get all the flavour out of them. You can now throw the shells away. Put the soup back on the heat to simmer. It should look like tomato soup – if you think it looks to thick you can add a little water.

Slice the lobster tails across, through the shell and the meat, into 2.5cm slices and put these into the broth. Crack open the claws and pick out all the meat and add this to the broth too. Continue to simmer for 8 more minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water, then drain and toss into the soup for 4-5 minutes.

Chop the almonds very finely and stir into the soup. Taste and season if needed. Divide between 4 bowls, tear over some basil leaves and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.

Wine Suggestions: as this is such a rich dish you need to pair it with a wine that is a little more robust and full-bodied. For whites there are a couple of options: stay local and choose Sicilian wines like Inzolia or Grillo which have weight and a herbal minerality. The other option is to look at a classic Chardonnay with a bit of oak for structure. Try to pick one that has a little bit of acidity for freshness too. This was the option we went for and it worked a treat. For red, do the opposite and look for a fruity, but lighter style of wine like an easy and inexpensive Pinot Noir or Grenache – you want to avoid too much tannin and weight which would overwhelm the sweet, delicate lobster.

(Original recipe by Jamie Oliver in Jamie’s Italy)

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Easy-peasy and used up some prawns that had been in the freezer for nearly too long.

Lemony prawn pasta with broccoli – to serve 4

  • 300g farfalle pasta
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 200g large cooked prawns
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack and scoop out and keep a bit of the cooking water near the end. Add the broccoli to the pasta pan 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain and tip back into the pan.

Turn the heat down very low and add the prawns, cream, lemon juice and some seasoning. Add a bit of your pasta water if you need to thin the sauce a bit.

Healthy and low-fat dinner is served (the 3 tbsp of cream is divided between 4 people!!)

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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