Showing posts with label shrimps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shrimps. Show all posts

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic-Parsley Toasts

Cioppino is said to have originated among fishermen who made their dinners out of the fish and shellfish they couldn't sell in the morning. Although it has evolved into a pricey item on upscale menus, at heart cioppino is comfort food.

Traditionally cioppino features fresh crab, reflecting the origin of the dish in San Francisco where Dungeness crabs are plentiful. When crab isn't available or affordable, shrimp works just as well. Clams and mussels are essential to the dish, as are cubes of fish fillets. Flounder sole, tilapia, salmon, or halibut all work well.

Find a reliable supplier of seafood. To ensure we're getting the freshest ingredients, we buy our clams and mussels from Carlsbad Aqua Farm at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market (Wednesday and Sunday) and our flounder sole from Tropical Seafood at the Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market (Sunday).

Tomatoes
are as important to making cioppino as is good quality seafood. If the tomatoes are roasted, the soup has a beautiful sweetness edged with the tomato's natural acidity.

One of the helpful aspects of this dish is that many of the elements can be prepared ahead and frozen for later use. I pick up overly ripe tomatoes at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market when they're discounted. I'll buy several pounds, roast them, freezing some whole in an air tight container and turning the rest into tomato sauce, which I also freeze.

The clams and mussels can be cooked, taken out of their shells, and frozen. If the meat is submerged in the broth, there's no danger of freezer burn. The fish fillets can be cut into 1/2" squares, tossed in olive oil, and frozen in a Ziploc bag. That way all the essential parts of the cioppino are waiting in the freezer whenever you want a taste treat.

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes

While serving cioppino with shellfish in the shell is more picturesque, my vote is to take the clams, mussels, and crab out of their shells so eating the dish is easier.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes plus 45-60 minutes for the tomatoes

Ingredients

6 large ripe tomatoes, washed
8 cloves garlic, skins removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped, leaves and stems
1/2 pound mushrooms--shiitake or brown--washed, thinly sliced
1 pound Dungeness crab legs, cooked, washed, cut into 1" pieces or 1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, cut into 1" pieces
2 pounds butter or little neck clams, washed
2 pounds mussels, washed, beards removed
1 pound fish fillet--sole, salmon, tilapia, or halibut--washed, cut into 1/2" cubes
Olive oil
Black pepper

Method

Roasting the Tomatoes

Remove the remnants of the stem at the top of the tomato and discard. Put the tomatoes on a Silpat or aluminum foil sheet on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.

Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl, reserving all the liquid on the bottom of the baking tray. When cooled to the touch, remove the skins and discard. With your fingers, tear the tomatoes into small pieces. Set aside.

Parsley-Garlic Toasts

To make the parsley-garlic toasts, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, seasoned with half the garlic and parsley. Make two slices for each person. Saute the bread on each side until lightly browned.

Cioppino

In a large stock pot, drizzle olive oil on the bottom, heat on a low flame, saute the remaining garlic and parsley until softened. Add 1/4 cup water, the clams and mussels, turn the flame to high, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove all the clams and mussels that have opened. If any are still closed, put the cover back on and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Any clams and mussels that still haven't opened at that point should be discarded.

Slowly pour the broth into a large bowl. Discard any grit remaining in the stock pot. Return the pot to the stove, drizzle more olive oil, and saute the mushrooms over a low flame until lightly browned. Add the broth and roasted tomato pulp and sauce. Simmer 15 minutes.

Add the fish fillets, stir well, and cook 5 minutes. Add the crab or shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Finally, add the mussels and clams, stirring them into the broth, being careful not to break apart the fish fillets. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Place 1 slice of garlic-parsley toast on the bottom of each bowl, add the cioppino, then place the 2nd slice on top.

Variations

Instead of garlic cloves in the cioppino saute, use 1 whole green garlic, outer skin of the bulb and root end removed, white and green parts thinly sliced

Add 1 cup cubes of cooked, peeled potato, preferably Yukon Gold or fingerlings, unpeeled and quartered

Add kernels from 1 grilled corn on the cob

Substitute cilantro for the parsley

Saute thin rounds of Italian sausage or chorizo, add to the broth

Use 1/4 cup white instead of water

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's Surf n' Turf Shout Out to All Guys: Caesar Salad, Sauteed Shrimp, Grilled Steak, Baked Tomato, and a Dirty Martini

My good friend Hank who lives in a converted church in Lincoln, R.I. reacted to a piece I wrote about Skinny Bitch's vegetarian advocacy with a strongly worded email:
hmm, let's see-give me a pack of Camels....a 5th of bourbon and for lunch I'll have tuna and steak tartar....with bacon.
Clearly what's good for the goose is not good for my friend Hank. And I have to agree with him--except for the "pack of Camels"--all the rest sounds good.

So for Hank and all other guys, here's my version of a dream meal: Caesar Salad, Sauteed Shrimp with Shiitake Mushrooms, Grilled Steak with a Baked Tomato, and a Dirty Martini.

Baked Tomato

Get the tomatoes started while you prepare the rest of the meal, so they'll be ready to serve when you've finished the other dishes.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

4 tomatoes, farmers' market fresh, washed
2 tablespoons bread crumbs, preferably homemade
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs, and drizzle with olive oil (again).

Put on a Silpat sheet or piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the tomato has started to collapse.

Caesar Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, skin off
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 anchovies
1 egg, farmers' market fresh
1/4 teaspoon Worcester sauce
2-3 drops of Tabasco, optional
2 hearts of romaine
3-4 tablespoons olive oil depending on taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup croutons
Black pepper

Method

Use a wooden bowl if you have one. Sprinkle the sea salt on a wooden cutting board. Mash the garlic back and forth on the salt with the flat side of a chef's knife, then sweep the garlic-salt mash into the salad bowl.

Boil water in a small saucepan. Add the egg and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the egg, let cool, then open, scoop out the yolk and white with a small spoon, and add to the salad bowl along with the Worcester sauce, Tabasco (optional), olive oil, and lemon juice.

With a fork, mash the anchovies into pieces against the side of the salad bowl and dissolve them in the dressing. Mix well.

Tear the romaine leaves into pieces, add to the salad bowl, top with the grated cheese, croutons, and season with the pepper. Toss to coat the leaves. Taste and adjust the flavors by adding more lemon juice or sea salt.

Sauteed Shrimp with Shiitake Mushrooms

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimp, washed, shelled, deveined
1/2 pound shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, ends trimmed, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
2 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sweet butter
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

Heat a frying pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, add the shrimp and 1 teaspoon of the butter. Cook until pink and lightly browned on both sides, 5-6 minutes total. Remove from the pan.

Drizzle olive oil into the same pan, add the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots. Saute until lightly browned, add the other teaspoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Move the mushrooms to one side and return the shrimp to the pan to reheat.

Serve either mixed together or separated on the plate.

Grilled Steak

Yield: 1 serving
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 10 oz. steak, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Rib Eye with the Bone-in, washed, pat dry
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the grill or broiler. Drizzle olive oil on a large plate, season with sea salt and black pepper. Dredge the steak through the olive oil. Put on the hot grill or on a tray in the broiler. Turn every 5 minutes until done to your taste.

Put on a plate, cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil for 5 minutes, then transfer to a dinner plate, top with the juices, and serve immediately.

Dirty Martini

Yield
: 1 serving
Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

3 jiggers of vodka, freezer cold
Vermouth to taste
1 cocktail olive
1/4 teaspoon olive juice

Method

I avoid the shake vs. stirred debate by keeping the vodka in the freezer. Stick a toothpick in the olive and put into the bottom of the martini glass. Add the vodka, vermouth, and olive juice.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Roasted Walnuts

And for the ideal dessert: a piece of flourless chocolate cake with roasted walnuts, topped with whipped cream. Recipe will be forthcoming. Until then, here's the photograph.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How Do I Love Thee, Egg Salad, Let Me Count the Ways

If you like eggs, you probably love egg salad not only because it tastes so good but because it evokes Proust-like memories of childhood, family picnics, and happy times. On Bitten I have a post about the egg salad my mother used to make and how I made it my own: Fancy Egg Salad A Mother Would Love.

Please take a look at the posting. The Comments are worth reading because they make the point that the creaminess of egg salad provides an opportunity to add a great variety of spices and herbs from every corner of the planet: capers, parsley, cilantro, olives, cumin, chutney, dill, lemon zest, pimento, tarragon, anchovies, smoked salmon, white truffle oil, sun dried tomatoes....

For dinner parties I like to serve an upscale egg salad- appetizer made with grilled shrimp.

Egg Salad With Chopped Grilled Shrimp

If you don't have a grill, the shrimp can be roasted in the oven.

4 eggs, farmers' market fresh
2 shrimp, medium sized, washed, shelled, deveined
1 tablespoon Italian parsley finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
1 large shallot, peeled, finely chopped
1 slice of bacon, crisp, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Sea salt and pepper
Olive oil

Season the shrimp with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Either grill or roast the shrimp in a 400 degree oven. In either case the shrimp will cook in 2-3 minutes. Remove, let cool, roughly chop, and set aside.

Cover the eggs with water in a saucepan and gently boil for 30 minutes. That may be longer than you're used to but cooking the eggs at a lower temperature makes the yolks moist and flaky. Let the eggs cool, then peel and chop them using a food processor or by hand with a knife. Mix together the shrimp, eggs, parsley, capers, shallot, bacon, and mayonnaise. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the egg salad with bread, crackers (especially Saltines), or hearts of romaine.

Serves 4. Preparation Time: 10 minutes. Cooking Time: 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Passing the Baton from Father to Sons

For my birthday my sons, Frank and Michael, paid me the best compliment: they wrote a remembrance of my cooking. As a dad I can honestly say that being appreciated is a great gift, worth all the blood, sweat and tears of parenting. For Michelle's birthday, they took their remembrance one step further: they cooked her a beautiful, multi-coursed dinner (I was happily included).

The quality of the food was impressive. So too were their organizational skills. Intuitively they knew that they had to divide up the work. In short order, they brought out starters: a selection of Italian cheeses, roasted red peppers, olives, grilled chicken wings, and bacon wrapped asparagus, mushrooms, and shrimp. Finished in the kitchen, they came out carrying platters of rosemary chicken, steak, carne asada, salsa, and a fresh fruit salad. "A Mexi-Italian feast," Michael called it.

As parents it's natural to worry about your kids. Will they achieve their goals, will they be happy, will they be safe? We also wonder if values we cherish will be as important to them. As Michael asked me, reacting to our oohs and aahs, "Aren't you glad you taught us how to cook?" Yes. Without a doubt.

Bacon Wrapped Appetizers

Simple and easy to make, the appetizers can be baked or grilled on the bbq.

12 asparagus, washed, white part trimmed off
12 pieces of bacon, cut into thirds
6 brown or shiitake mushrooms, washed, dried, cut in half
12 shrimp, washed, shelled, deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Toothpicks

Toss the asparagus, mushrooms, and shrimp in a mixing bowl with the olive oil seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Wrap a piece of bacon around each, secured with a toothpick. Grill or bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes on each side. When the bacon crisps, the appetizers are ready to serve.

Serves 4. Preparation Time: 20 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes.

Ready, Set, Infuse - It's Time to Make Homemade Umeshu, Japanese Plum Wine

If you love umeshu , Japanese plum wine, and you want to make your own, the race is on. Ume are only available for three-four weeks in the ...