Posts Tagged ‘Shellfish’

Spring Veggie Risotto with Spot Prawns and Scallops

May 25th, 2010

Fresh seafood

I love markets.  I especially love springtime farmers’ markets – something that has been lacking in my life since I moved back to Southern Alberta.  While there are plenty of bakers, canners and meat producers who have things to sell in the winter, the Lethbridge market closes between October and May due to a perceived lack of shoppers.  No fresh produce seems to equal no market in these parts.

Appetizer board

When I got out to Vancouver, I spent an afternoon at the Granville Public Market, shopping for ingredients for a “thank you” supper for my sister and her boy.  After a preliminary cruise around the stalls, I settled on a nice springtime risotto with seafood to reflect my stay in the city.  Dinner was preceded by an appetizer board featuring olives, cheese, beer sausage, bread, fiddleheads and smoked mackerel from various stalls around the market.

Spring green risotto with scallops and spot prawns

(the following is the risotto recipe for 3 people)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cloves garlic, crushed and thinly sliced
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable stock
1 handful broccolini, tops separated from stems
1 handful asparagus, tops separated from stems
3 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil
9 scallops, patted dry
6 spot prawns, rinsed and patted dry

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter in the olive oil until it melts.
Add the rice and stir until it toasts and turns a light brown.
Add the garlic and cook until soft but not browned.
Pour in the white wine, stirring until absorbed.
Add the first cup of vegetable stock, stirring slowly while it absorbs.
Stir the vegetable stems into the rice with with the second cup of stock.
At this point, heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan, and arrange the seafood in a single layer.
Add the veggie tops and basil to the risotto with the last cup of stock, stirring while keeping an eye on the seafood.
Turn the seafood once after 2-3 minutes – that’s all it should take per side to get a nice sear on the scallops and to make sure the prawns are cooked through but not rubbery.
Plate everything up and serve with the rest of the bottle of white wine.  (I think we went with a bottle of Naked Grape Pinot Grigio.)

Pasta with Scallops and Leeks

March 31st, 2010

Last week, with my outdoor gardening thwarted by winds gusting to 75 km/h, I decided to plant a little kitchen herb garden.  I made a run out to one of the local greenhouses, where their veggie plants were a scant 2 inches high, but their herbs were tall, leafy and ready to plant.

Basil and parsley

I picked out some cilantro, mint, basil and parsley, potted them up and stuck them on my windowsill.  They’re loving the southern sunlight, and I’m loving their bright herby smell.  Since the basil was the most alluring, it was the first to go into one of my dinners.

Scallops with leeks and fresh basil

1 serving of spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
1 handul cherry or grape tomatoes
1 leek, cleaned, halved and roasted
1 tbsp capers
8-10 small scallops
salt & pepper
fresh basil, chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick together.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the tomatoes, leek and capers in the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Once the tomatoes have softened and are giving off a bit of juice, push them off to the sides and toss in the scallops.
Sprinkle the scallops with the salt and pepper and cook until they are opaque in their centres.
Stir everything together and add the fresh basil just before serving on top of the now-cooked pasta.

I had a leftover roasted leek from a previous night’s supper.  If you don’t want to roast the leek ahead of time, I’d swap it out for some fresh green onions.  Or just plan on frying the leek for a bit longer, adding the tomatoes once it’s almost completely cooked.

Seared Scallops over Pasta

January 24th, 2010

I wanted to do something non-traditional for Christmas Eve this year.  It was the first Christmas in my new house and it was just going to be me, my parents and my little sister.  I used my years in Halifax as inspiration, and while these scallops weren’t fresh from the morning’s market, they were still incredibly tasty.

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 roma tomatoes, diced
handful fresh parsley, finely shredded
juice of half a lemon

24 big scallops
salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 servings spaghettini or other long pasta
grated parmesan cheese

In a wide pan, cook the first 5 ingredients for about 20 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened and juices have reduced.
Pat the scallops dry with a paper tower and lightly salt and pepper them.  Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan until it’s just shy of smoking.  Working in batches, cook the scallops for 1-2 minutes a side, or until they are opaque on the inside and seared on the outside.
Top the pasta with the tomato sauce and scallops, and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and lemon wedges.

Chopsticks work really well for turning over the scallops as they’re cooking, especially if you have mad chopsticking skills like my little sister.

Moules Bibliothécaire

March 18th, 2008

Last weekend, I cooked mussels for the first time ever. It’s something I’ve wanted to try ever since moving to the east coast, but just never got around to until now. I wanted the broth to be tomatoey, but spicy, and decided to use “The Works” kind of Clamato juice. It was fantastic – one of the best things I’ve ever made. Definitely going to become a regular dish, at least until I leave Halifax at the end of May.

If you’ve never cooked mussels, the government of PEI has a good information page on cleaning/discarding/cooking.

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup spicy Clamato juice
1 pound mussels, cleaned and ready to go
juice of half a lemon
2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
handful of parsley, chopped
salt & pepper

In a large pot, sauté the garlic and celery in the oil until just softened.
Pour in the white wine and Clamato, and let reduce for about five minutes on a low simmer.
Add the mussels to the pot and cover, letting cook for 5-7 minutes.
Once the mussels are cooked, add the remaining ingredients, stirring gently until the parsley wilts and the tomatoes are warm.
Serve with lots of bread for sopping up the tasty juices.

If you can’t get Clamato juice, regular tomato juice will work fine. To make it spicy, just add some Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco and a pinch of celery salt. A spoonful of horseradish wouldn’t hurt, either.

The amount of mussels I used here is enough for one very hungry person, or two people looking for a smaller meal. Talk to your fish guy about how many mussels you’ll need if you’re cooking for more people.

WCC #17 – Venetian Seafood Stew

June 10th, 2007


This month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge was centred on cornmeal – something I’ve been devouring in large quantities recently, thanks to a particularly inspiring episode of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita. He’s my new TV chef crush… That grin… That scruffy little jawline… The whole Italian thing… Right. Back to the cornmeal – hot little David was cooking polenta, and I remembered having some of that creamy corn goodness during last year’s trip to Italy. Since that episode aired, I’ve eaten it with a nice spring ratatouille, had it sweetened with honey for a hearty breakfast, and now, I’ve made it into croutons.

My WCC recipe comes from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special (which I just realized I’ve used before for a WCC challenge…) and is for a Venetian seafood stew, topped with crispy, crunchy polenta croutons. These things are dynamite. They’re slightly soft on the inside, golden brown on the outside, and nicely flavoured with crushed fennel seeds. I think I’ll be using the remainders later in the week for a chicken caesar salad.

Polenta Croutons

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring the 3 cups of water to a boil.
Turn the heat down to low, and pour in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring continuously.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Oil an 8×8 inch baking pan, pour in the polenta, and smooth into an even layer with a silicon spatula.
Let the polenta cool for at least 20 minutes, then cut into small cubes.
Flip the cubes out onto a baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 450ºF, or until crispy and golden.

Seafood Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups diced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2 cups diced green pepper
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
4 cups hot water
2 cups roughly chopped white fish
1 cup small scallops
1 cup shrimp
juice of one lemon
chopped fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
Toss in the fennel seeds and green peppers, cooking for another 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and water and bring the stew to a light simmer before adding the white fish.
Cook the fish in the broth for at least 20 minutes, then add the scallops and shrimp.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked.
Stir in the lemon juice and a handful of fresh parsley immediately before serving.
Top the stew with the polenta croutons and a grating of fresh parmesan cheese.

The real recipe called for mussels and clams instead of white fish and scallops. I made the substitution because I’m living on the prairies at the moment. I’ll try it with shellfish when I’m back in Halifax.
The white fish I used was fresh cod, but you could use any firm fish that would stand up to a chowder-like cooking method.

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