Salmon and Shrimp Phad Thai – กุ้งและปลาแซลมอนแผ่นไทย

905679_779815561696_389662409841940469_oSalmon and Shrimp Phad Thai

Ingredients
1 dozen Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
1 8oz Salmon filet, skinned, de-boned, cubed
1 Leek, sliced in 1/8″ rounds
1 cup Red Cabbage, sliced
1/2 cup Carrot, diced or julienne
1 quarter’s width worth of Rice Pasta or Linguini
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp Ginger, minced
2 Tbsp Tamarind Paste
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 cup Bok Choy, chopped or Bean Sprouts
1/2 cup Peanuts, crushed
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Cilantro for Garnish
Lime Wedges for Garnish
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

  • If using Linguini: In a large pot bring water to a boil. Add salt for seasoning. Add the Pasta and cook till al dente, drain. Toss in olive oil and set to the side.
  • If using Rice Noodles, soak in lukewarm water for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • In a wok or wide skillet, heat the Olive Oil and add the Leek, Cabbage, and Carrots. Toss until tender.
  • Stir in the Egg.
  • Add the Garlic, Tamarind Paste, Hoisin Sauce, Fish Sauce, and Lime Juice.
  • Add the Salmon, Shrimp, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, and Crushed Red Pepper. Toss over heat until cooked.
  • Toss in the Pasta, Peanuts, and Bok Choy/Bean Sprouts until all is well coated.
  • Add salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Plate and garnish with Cilantro and a Lime Wedge.

Makes about 4 servings

NOTES: Pad Thai ผัดไทย is a common Thai dish that means “fried Thai style”. It usually consists of rice noodles, a sweet sauce, scallions, a protein, peanuts, and bean sprouts, but can also have scallions, cabbage, and other ingredients. This version is my variation, with a little heat added in the form of Ginger and Cayenne Pepper. I also varied by using Leeks instead of Scallion and offering Bok Choy and Linguini as substitutes for ingredients.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with QuinoaShrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Quinoa
2 cups Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Green Bell Peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Bay Leaf
2 tsp Thyme, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp Oregano, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Ground
Tabasco Sauce to taste

Directions:

  • In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and brown the Andouille Sausage.
  • Add the Bell Pepper, Yellow Onion, and Celery, and saute until it is soft.
  • Add the Garlic and stir for another minute or so.
  • Add all Herbs, Shrimp, and Chicken Stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the Quinoa and cook, covered for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Tabasco Sauce to taste–some like it hotter than others.

Makes 4-6 servings

NOTES: Jambalaya is a traditional dish from Louisiana made from rice and akin to Paella. I thought it would be fun to try this dish with Quinoa instead since I’m not a big fan of Rice. I must say I was quite pleased with the result.

You can add Chicken to this recipe, as most Jambalaya recipes do include chicken. It would be cooked at the same time as the Andouille. Some Jambalaya, especially that near New Orleans is known as “Creole” vs. “Cajun”. The only big difference I’ve been able to note, other than mild spice variations, is the use of Tomatoes in the Creole version. I chose to go with the Cajun style, lacking the tomatoes since it is the Cajuns that are my familial cousins.

Baked Mahi Mahi with a Bruschetta Topping

Baked Mahi Mahi with a Bruschetta Topping

Ingredients:
4 10-12 oz Fillets Mahi Mahi, skin-on
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
Olive Oil just a drizzle

Bruschetta Topping
6-8 Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 yellow Onion, minced
1 Tbsp Capers, minced
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2-3 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on your stove. There should be enough room for the Tomatoes, but they should not yet be put in the pot.
  • Remove from the heat, and place the tomatoes in the hot water for 1 minute.
  • Using tongs, remove the Tomatoes.
  • Carefully remove the skin with a knife; and then cut in half and remove the seeds and juice.
  • Dice the Tomatoes and set to the side in a large bowl.
  • Add the minced Garlic, Onion, Capers, Balsamic Vinegar, Herbs, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper to taste; Stir well, and leave to marinate. Chill.
  • Preheat the Oven to 425°F.
  • Drizzle a little Olive Oil on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  • Place the Mahi Mahi skin-side down, and sprinkle with Salt (liberally) and Pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is flaky.
  • Dab each Fish with 1/2 Tbsp of Butter,  and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Use a spatula and to remove the fish and plate.
  • Taking a large spoon, divide the Bruschetta among the four fillets. I recommend draining as much liquid as you can from each spoonful.

Makes: 4 servings.

NOTES: Mahi Mahi is the Hawaiian name for the Dolphinfish, meaning “very strong”. It is a mild fish, similar to a tuna in texture, though the filet is white and usually sold skin-on. Though I’m using a Hawaiian/Caribbean fish, this dish is more of a fusion dish that I came up with when I read somewhere that tomatoes bring out the flavor of the fish.

You may also choose to try this Grilled.  I recommend if you do that, to keep the high heat, but to wrap the fish in aluminum foil or cook it on a closed grill.  Grilling would also provide some smoky flavors to the fish which are amazing!

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with a Balsamic Dijon Sauce

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with Balsamic Dijon Sauce
And Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 8-10oz Tuna Steaks
1/4 cup Herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

  • Pat the Tuna Steaks with a paper towel and remove excess moisture on the outside. Salt and Pepper both sides.
  • Sprinkle the Herbes de Provence on both sides of the Tuna, and press lightly.
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet until hot.
  • Carefully place the Tuna steaks in the skillet.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on how done you want your Tuna. Do not move them while they are cooking.
  • Using tongs or a spatula, carefully flip the Tuna and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove and let rest.
  • Add the Dijon, Butter, and Vinegars to the skillet, and mix well.
  • Lastly add the Honey, and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the Tuna, or serve on the side.

Makes 2 Tuna Steaks

NOTES: This is a very quick and flavorful way of making Tuna–and not the overused Miso-Wasabi variations people seem to be leaning on as of late. The herbs crust onto the tuna infusing the flavors into the meat. The sauce has a rich sweet and savory silkiness that complements the herbs and tuna.

Chipotle Mesquite Salmon

Ingredients
1 lb Salmon filet, boneless, skinn-on, cut into 2 to 4 pieces
1/4 tsp ground Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp ground dried Chipotle Pepper
1/4 cup BBQ flavored Potato Chips
1/4 cup Honey
Olive Oil for drizzling
Avocado for Garnish

  • Preheat Oven to 400°F.
  • Pat the Salmon dry, and remove any bones.
  • In a bowl, combine the Spices and Potato Chips.
  • Sprinkle liberally over the Salmon fillets, and press. Do not worry as much about the sides, and disregard the skin-side altogether.
  • Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and lightly drizzle the olive oil.
  • Place the Salmon fillets skin down onto the baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the Honey over the fillets.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on how done you want the Salmon.
  • While cooking, slice the Avocado in half, remove the pit, and then carefully peal the skin. Set aside until Salmon is done.
  • Plate the Salmon. Slice the Avocado length-wise and thinly. Place a half of Avocado on each Salmon piece.

Makes 2-4 Servings.

NOTES: So this may be a flashback recipe from my poorer youth–but seriously the barbecue chips really add to the recipe. You can choose to use panco breadcrumbs instead, but you’ll want to add some mesquite seasonings, and really unless you have a pre-made mix, it is a pain in the butt.

Pumpkin Seed and Sage Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

Pumpkin Seed and Sage Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

Ingredients:
2 heads of Garlic
2 tsp Olive Oil (for roasting)
1 tsp Salt (for roasting)
4 Tilapia fillets
Salt and Pepper to Taste)
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tbsp dried Sage
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Take a 12″ x 12″ square of Aluminum foil and crinkle into a nest or bowl, big enough to support the heard of Garlic.
  • Using a chopping knife, cut off the top of the Garlic head, exposing the tops of the cloves.
  • Place the Head in the nest, and drizzle the Olive Oil over the exposed Garlic cloves.
  • Sprinkle with Salt.
  • Place nest on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until the Garlic is tender to the touch. Remove when done and set aside.
  • While the Garlic is roasting, place the Pumpkin Seeds and Sage in a food processor and pulse until mealy, like bread crumbs.
  • Salt and Pepper both sides of the Fillets.
  • Place the Pumpkin Seed crumbs in a bag, and dip the Tilapia filets one at a time, pressing the crumbs onto the fillets.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Fry the Fillets for 3-5 minute on each side, until golden brown.
  • Remove the fish and rest on a cooling rack or paper bag to remove excess Oil.
  • Plate the Fillets.
  • Using the Aluminum foil to hold the Garlic, squeeze the cloves out into a bowl, like a paste.
  • Top the Filets with the Roasted Garlic paste.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on the size of the fillets.

NOTES: Pumpkin Seeds are an almost forgotten ingredient, but used as a breading they add a healthy nutty crust. I love this dish also because it smells so good while its being prepared–tips hat to roasted Garlic. Though there are a lot of “steps” to the roasting of the Garlic, this is actually a rather simple yet flavorful meal–the best kind.

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Ingredients:
6 Rock Lobster Tails, shelled, meat cut in large chunks
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
1/2 cup Butter
2-3 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced thin
2/3 cup Vermouth
Juice of 2 Lemons
2 cups Broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Salt
2 cups Water (for steaming)

Directions

  • Bring the water to boil and place the Broccoli in a Steamer.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt, and drizzle the Olive Oil over them.
  • Close and steam for 3-5 minutes or until the Broccoli begins to turn bright Green. Set to the Side.
  • Pat the Shrimp and Lobster meat dry, and sprinkle the rest of the Salt, as well as the Cayenne Pepper on all sides of the meat.
  • Melt the Butter in a large skillet, and when the bubbles die down, carefully add the Shrimp and Lobster.
  • Cook thoroughly in the Butter on all sides, about 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring often.
  • Carefully remove the Lobster and Shrimp to a bowl, leaving the Butter in the skillet. If there are small remnants of Lobster, that is ok.
  • Add the Garlic, Vermouth, and Lemon to the Butter. Be careful in case the flame rises.
  • Cook stirring for about 6 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Toss in the Lobster, Shrimp, and Broccoli.
  • Heat for another 3 minutes, tossing well.
  • Serve as is, or over Pasta or Rice.

Makes 4 Servings, 6 if you use over Pasta or Rice.

NOTES: I love this type of buttery, velvety, lemony, goodness of a dish. I would love to know from where in the world it really came from. In America, we tend to say it is an Italian dish, but so much of our Italian dishes are really in the “spirit of Italy”. In England, Scampi is a bar food made from a Prawn that is battered and fried–nothing like the dish we think of. The name Scampi is Italian in origin, though it refers not to the method of cooking, but rather to a lobster-like curved (ref. scampo) crustacean. The American version of Scampi uses Shrimp, though one often can find “Chicken Scampi”, suggesting that in America, we’ve lost the meaning of the word and use it to refer to the method of cooking it in a garlicky, lemony, butter and wine sauce. Nothing new there.

Baja Shrimp and Jicama Salad

Baja Shrimp and Jicama Salad

Ingredients
1 lb Shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 Jicama root, skinned, diced
2 Mangoes, diced
2 Avocados, diced
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
6 cloves Garlic
3 Jalapeño Peppers
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Juice of 2 Limes
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped coarsely

Directions

  • In a skillet, on medium heat, toast the whole cloves of Garlic and whole Jalapeño Peppers. As each side begins to brown, turn them. Do not let them over cook–you are just toasting them. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the Shrimp to the skillet with the remaining Olive Oil. Toss in the Spices and let each side cook until the Shrimp are pink and cooked through. Toss them as you cook them to help coat them in the oil and Spices. Remove and set to the side to cool.
  • When the Garlic and Jalapeño Peppers are cool to touch, mince them (de-seed the Jalapeño to lower the heat). Set to the side.
  • When the Shrimp are cool to touch, chop them into bite-size pieces. Set to the side.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss well. Adjust the spice level with more Cayenne Pepper if need be.

Makes about 6-8 cups.

NOTES: Jicama is one of my favorite root vegetables. It is sometimes referred to as a Mexican Turnip–but it tastes NOTHING like a Turnip. Jicama originated in Mexico and derives its name from the Nahuatl name xicamatl. If I were to describe the flavor, I’d say it is a cross between a Pear, a Potato, and a Carrot–think of it as a mildly-sweet watery root vegetable. This salad showcases it with sweet Mango, creamy Avocado, and spicy Shrimp.  I also used employed toasting Garlic and Peppers–a common Mexican cooking style that awakens the flavors.  You can use this salad as  a side dish, or as a salsa over grilled fish or chicken.

Jicama is also a great addition to any Crudités platters.

Paella de Quinua – Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Shrimp

Paella de Quinua

Ingredients:
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
6 Chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
2 Jalapeños, minced
5 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
2 Chorizo links, diced
1 Tbsp Paprika
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Saffron
2 tsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 cups Albariño or other white wine
2 cups Quinoa
1 Tbsp Capers
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

Directions

  • In a large skillet or (if you have one) paellera, heat up the Olive Oil on medium heat.
  • Liberally coat the chicken in Salt and Pepper and place into the hot oil. Cook both sides until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the Onion, Peppers, Garlic, Shrimp, Chorizo, Herbs, Spices, and Tomato Paste to the pan. Stir well and cook till the Shrimp turn bright pink.
  • Add the Wine, Chicken Broth, Quinoa, and Capers. Reduce heat to low. Add the Chicken pieces back to the pan.
  • Cook for 10 minutes or until the Quinoa is finished cooking, adding water if needed. Quinoa forms a translucent outer casing when it is cooked well. Covering will help increase the cooking speed.
  • When the liquid has dissolved and the Quinoa has finished cooking, remove from the heat and toss in the Cilantro and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish often with various types of seafood and or meat. Paprika, Saffron, and Chorizo are common ingredients added to the rice for flavor. Quinoa, is a grain from the Andes in South America. It has a similar consistency to Couscous, and can be used in many dishes in place of rice–though it is not a long grain. I thought it would be fun to try Paella with Quinoa–something I am sure is not a new idea, but not one I have seen that often. I chose Chicken and Shrimp, however you can add Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and/or Pork tenderloin to make it your own.

Ginger Citrus Glazed Salmon

Ginger Citrus Glazed Salmon and Roast Broccoli

Ingredients:
2 Salmon Filets (6-8 oz each)
Juice of 2 Oranges (medium size)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 400°F.
  • Combine the Juice, Butter, Ginger, Garlic, Crushed Red Pepper, and Honey in a Sauce Pot on medium heat. Reduce in half.
  • Place the Salmon filets on a greased baking sheet, and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste. Bake for 7 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cover with Glaze.
  • Return to the Oven and cook for an additional 7 minutes, or until desired done-ness.

Makes: 2 Servings.

Notes: This is a simple and flavorful way to do Salmon. You can even toss it up by adding some mango or Pineapple juice to the mix.

Moules Marinière – Mussels Steamed in White Wine

Moules Marinière

Ingredients
2 lbs live Mussels, chilled
3 Shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, sliced in slivers
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup Pinot Grigio
3-6 sprigs fresh Thyme
dash Saffron
Pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for Garnish

Directions:

  • Clean the Mussels: Scrub the shells, remove any “beard” fibers, discard any broken or real heavy mussels, remove any that do not close when you handle them (probably dead).
  • In a dutch oven, melt the Butter on medium heat.
  • Add the Scallion and Garlic, and sweat it until the Scallion is almost translucent. Do not brown–about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the Wine, Thyme, Saffron, and Bay Leaf. Stir well.
  • Add the Mussels and cover. Cook until they open up, about 5 minutes. You can shake the pot and mix them around, but should keep the lid on to retain heat and steam.
  • Remove from heat, discard any unopened ones (they were probably dead).
  • Serve in bowls with the broth poured over top (discarding the bay leaf). Add Pepper to taste, and garnish with Lemon.

Makes 2 lbs or 2 entree size servings.

NOTES: Moules Marinière is a traditional French dish–though I’ve also heard it argued Belgian. This is my first crack at this dish–as I usually buy it out (at my favorite little haunt, Cafe Triskell). The dish is very simple, and should remain so–think of it as a quick dish for a family by the sea. The dish is often served with crusty bread or pommes frites. Also, for those who like it, a glass of beer pairs great.  Now don’t knock it, but a lot of places (like Belgium) even serve this for breakfast!

Salade Niçoise à l’Américaine – Niçoise Salad (American Style)

Ingredients:
4 Tuna Fillets (about 6 oz each)
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or coarse Kosher
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
12 baby Red Pontiac Potatoes
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
4-6 oz Green Beans, trimmed
4 Eggs
Water for boiling
1/3-1/2 lb Butterhead Lettuce
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 cup Fresh Mint
4 Plum Tomatoes, Quartered
2 Tbsp Capers
12 Niçoise Olives
4-8 Anchovies (optional)
1 cup Niçoise Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare the Tuna:
    • Heat a skillet on medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil.
    • Cut the Tuna into 2″ x 1″ strips.
    • Rub with the Salt and Pepper.
    • Place the Tuna in the pan, and sear each of the four long sides, watching the small sides to make an even searing to desired done-ness.
    • Set in the Refrigerator.
  • Place the Eggs in a pot and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove and run under cold water, and peel the eggs; in the Refrigerator.
  • Return the Water to a boil.
  • Add the Potatoes and the Green Beans
  • Cook for 4 minutes, until the Green Beans turn bright Green.
  • Remove the Beans first, using tongs, and then the Potatoes.
  • Run both under cold water and set in the Refrigerator.
  • Give all the ingredients at least 20 minutes to cool.
  • Prepare wide bowls or salad plates for plating by dividing the Lettuce evenly.
  • Tear the Basil and Mint, and divide with the Thyme among the salad plates.
  • Quarter the Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Eggs.
  • Decoratively divide the Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggs, and Green Beans among the salad plates. Usually this salad is deconstructed with the different items in piles next to each other on the Lettuce.
  • Slice the Tuna pieces perpendicular to the seared sides, in 1/4″ slices, and add to the Salad.
  • Add the Capers and Anchovies, and drizzle the Vinaigrette over it.

Serves 4

NOTES: Despite being what one would commonly find in most restaurants and diners in America and what Julia Child’s recipe calls Salade Niçoise, it is strikingly different from a true Salade Niçoise from Nice, France or the Côte d’Azur. Most noteworthy is the use of Blanched Potatoes and Green Beans–something not commonly used in the French namesake. Additionally, Mescaline salad would be used, and other items like Artichokes would be present. Still this is the version most Americans will know and recognize, and I find it tasty (without the Anchovies, which I have not yet come to like).  OH I should also mention that many of the French recipes  use Canned Tuna–I can only assume theirs is not “Chicken of the Sea”, though I’ve seen some marinated vacuum-sealed Tuna that may serve the purpose–and Lord know’s most diners use canned.

This salad, is often served as an Entrée, in a similar manner to the Cobb Salad.

I do have to share what Julia Child says about this sald in her book Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom:

Of all main-course salads, the Niçoise is my all-time favorite, with its fresh butter-lettuce foundation; its carefully cooked, beautifully green green beans; its colorful contrast of halved hard-boiled eggs, ripe red tomatoes, and black olives; all fortified by chunks of tunafish and freshly opened anchovies. It’s a perfect luncheon dish, to my mind, winter, summer, spring, and fall — an inspired combination that pleases everyone.

Camarones Pimentón y Judías Verdes – Paprika Shrimp and Green Beans

Camarones Pimentón y Judías Verdes

Ingredients:
1-2 Shallots, chopped
5 cloves Garlic, minced crudely
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 lb Shrimp, cleaned (shells, veins removed)
3 cups Green Beans, cut in 1-1 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup Sherry
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil on medium heat in a large skillet until hot.
  • Add the Shallots, Garlic, Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, and Cayenne Pepper to the oil. Stirring constantly, heat for 1 minute to release the oils from the spices.
  • Add the Shrimp and Green Beans and toss in the Oil.
  • Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring constantly. Make sure to flip the Shrimp to ensure both sides are cooked.
  • Stir in the Sherry, Lemon Juice, and Parsley, and cover for 2-4 minutes.
  • Add Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Serves 4.

NOTES: This is a flavorful dish from Spanish cuisine. You can kick it up a notch by adding more Cayenne Pepper. I prefer this as a festive side dish, however you can serve this as a main dish with a side of Yellow Rice or Quinoa.

Smoked Salmon Canapés

Ingredients:
4 oz Smoked Salmon, pre-sliced, cold
1 English Cucumber
Fresh Dill
1 cup Crème Fraîche
Fresh Chives

Directions:

  • Slice the Cucumber into thin rounds, about 1/4-1/2 cm thick, and arrange on tray.
  • Review the slices of Salmon. You will want to see how consistent the slices are. Cut the slices into 2″ x 1″ pieces, approximately.
  • Clip small pieces of Dill and place on the Cucumber Rounds.
  • Top with the Salmon pieces. Fold the piece in half forming a 1″ x 1″ size piece.
  • Using a teaspoon or Pastry Bag, top the Salmon with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.
  • Clip pieces of Chives over the Crème Fraîche.

Makes 20-30 pieces, depending on the size of the cucumber.

NOTES: These are probably one of the simplest Canapés you can make, yet they are also elegant and tasty. If you do not have Crème Fraîche, you can use Sour Cream or Greek-Style Yogurt. Do not make this too far ahead of time or the cucumbers will sweat.

Variations:
Smoked Salmon Croutes
Preheat an oven to 300ºF. Take 10 slices White Bread, and using a 2″ Pastry Cutter, cut out the desired amount of rounds. Toast on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes. Arrange on a tray. Top with the Cucumber, Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Herbs in the same manner as above.

Salade Andalouse aux Crevettes – Andalusian Salad with Shrimp

Ingredients:
1 cup Rice, cooked
8 large Shrimp, veined, steamed, cold, chopped
6-8 Pimento-Stuffed Olives, sliced
2 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Chives, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Butterhead Lettuce for Plating
Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley for Garnish

Directions:

  • In a bowl, combine the Mayonnaise, Paprika, Garlic, and Chives.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Rice, Shrimp, and Olives.
  • Mix in the Mayonnaise.
  • Line the Salad Plates with Bib Lettuce.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 portions (this dish makes 4 portions, so if you have made more or less, divide the mixture into the appropriate portions.
  • Spoon the Portions on top of the Bib Lettuce. You can use pastry rings or a plastic lined ramekin stuffed with the portion of the salad inverted over the plate to make a fancier salad as well.
  • Top the Salad with pieces of Tomato, a Salt and Pepper to taste, and Fresh Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Andalusian Salad is a French Salad that captures the romantic flavors of of Al-Andalus (الأندلس‎) region of Spain and Portugal. You can always kick up the spice by adding some Cayenne Pepper. If you prefer to serve this from a large bowl, rather than individual portions, then chop the lettuce and garnish the salad with an outer ring of lettuce, and an inner area of tomatoes, topped with Parsley in the middle.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 pieces of Bacon, diced
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Clam meat, diced
1 cup Clam Juice
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepot, cook the Bacon until crisp on medium heat.
  • Add the Onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the Potatoes and Garlic, coating with the Oily Onion/Bacon mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter and the Flour to form a paste called a beurre manié.
  • Add the beurre manié, Clams, and Clam Juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Milk, Heavy Cream, and Herbs.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

NOTES: I prefer to use bigger chunks in my Clam Chowder, so my dices are a little bigger than others…especially the Clams. However you should avoid having whole clams as they can be chewy–quartering is the best. I have no problem using high-quality canned clams for this, so long as preserved in water and not oil. Oh, and you’ll notice that I omitted the use of Salt in this recipe. This is because of the salty bacon and salty clam juice, and the lower amount of potatoes, however you can always add salt to taste.

There are other types of Clam Chowder — Manhattan, Rhode Island, and Outer Banks (from the Carolinas), but none of them have the appeal of New England Clam Chowder to me. This is a true comfort food, and reminds me of the days when my family would go to buffet restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse and Golden Corral. I would always start with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, and pick out the potatoes which seemed to take away from the clams!

Variations:
Cassava Clam Chowder – Substitute Cassava for the Potatoes.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder –  When adding the Clams, also add 1 cup diced Tomatoes.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare all’Arrabbiata – Seafood Fra Diavolo

Dedicated to Alex Merati, Epicurean

Ingredients:
6-8 cups Arrabbiata Sauce
1/2 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
12 Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
6 Sea Scallops, quartered
12 Little Neck Clams, cleaned
12 Mussels, cleaned
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 lb Linguine
1 tsp Salt
Water for Linguine

Directions:

  • Prepare the Arrabbiata Sauce in a large sauce pan.
  • In a separate pot bring the Water and Salt to boil and cook the Linguine till al dente.
  • Drain the Pasta and set aside.
  • Using the same pot, add the Olive Oil, White Wine, and the Seafood and cook until the Clams and Mussels have begun to open, about 5-7 minutes. Stir so that all sides cook.
  • When the Clams and Mussels have stopped opening, discard the unopened ones.
  • Add the Arrabbiata Sauce to the Seafood and mix well.
  • Remove from heat and plate on the Pasta, using the Parsley as garnish.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: The variation of the amount of Sauce is dependent upon how much you want with your pasta. Americans tend to like more than Europeans, in my experience.

Seafood Fra Diavolo

Arrabbiata Sauce – Fra Diavolo Sauce

Ingredients:
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
2 tsp Oregano, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cups Tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a Saucepan with the Garlic, Parsley and Oregano on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Onion and sauté until near translucent, stirring continually.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Discard the Bay Leaf before serving.

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

NOTES: The best pasta to use for this is Penne Rigate because it absorbs the sauce well. Arrabbiata is a red sauce that is spiced with Crushed Red Pepper flakes meaning roughly “Angry Sauce” though I’ve been told it has the connotation of “Pissed-Off Sauce”. It is often called Fra Diavolo meaning “Brother of the Devil” in America, though when so called, a protein like Seafood or Chicken is added.

I grew up with Arrabbiata Sauce as my main pasta sauce but it was called Marinara and it was spicy. In reality we were eating Arrabbiata Sauce instead and just didn’t know the name difference. My Italian side of the family is from the Molise region of Italy, in the town of Campobasso.

Cancun Ceviche

Cancun Ceviche on a Bed of Mescaline Greens

Ingredients:
1/2 lb Shrimp
1/2 lb Sea Scallops. diced
1/2 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 cup Mango, diced
1 cup Avocado, diced
1 medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Jalapeños, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Mint, chopped
1 cup Lime Juice
1/2 cup Lemon Juice

Directions:

  • Steam the Shrimp in shell.
  • Peel and de-vein the Shrimp, and dice.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover with Cellophane and refrigerated for 3-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

NOTES: Ceviche is thought to originate in Peru, however almost every Latin-American country has their own variation on the dish. You can even vary what seafood or fish you wish to use. I suggest when using shell fish, to steam it first. The citric acid from the Lime and Lemon Juices react with the protein “cooking” the fish, but with shellfish I always use extra precaution–think you don’t usually see raw lobster or shrimp in sushi.

Salmon Poached in Sauvignon Blanc on a Bed of Baby Spinach

Poached SalmonSalmon Poached in Sauvignon Blanc on a Bed of Baby Spinach

Ingredients:
2 6oz Fillets of Salmon
2 Shallots, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, diced rough
4 springs Dill
1/2 Lemon, sliced in rings across grain
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other White Wine
1 cup Water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 cup Kalamata Olives
4 cups Baby Spinach
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  • In a skillet with a lid heat the Shallots, Garlic and Salt in the Olive Oil on low heat, careful not to burn.
  • When the Shallots begin to break down, pour in the Sauvignon Blanc and Water and add the Dill.
  • Carefully place the Salmon Filets, skin side down, into the liquid.
  • Cover and cook for about 6 minutes.
  • On serving plate, place Spinach and Olives, and sprinkle with the Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Place the Salmon on the Bed of Spinach.
  • Ladle out some Shallots and wine and pour over the Salmon.
  • Sprinkle with Paprika and garnish with left over fresh Dill

Makes 2 Salmon Filet Servings.

Pasta al Pesto con Gamberi e Asparagi – Shrimp & Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Shrimp and Asaparagus Pesto Fettuccini
Shrimp & Asparagus Pesto Fettuccine

Ingredients:Shellfish Alergy Warning:
1 lb jumbo Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
1-2 cups Asparagus, cut in 1″ pieces
1/2 cup Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Pasta (Linguine or Penne are best)
1 cup Pesto
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
Water for boiling
Salt for Pasta water

Directions:

  • In a large pot, add Water and Salt.
  • When boiling, add Pasta, and cook till it is al dente; strain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat Olive Oil on low heat and add Shrimp, Asparagus, and Garlic.
  • Heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The Shrimp is done when completely pink, and the Asparagus is a bright green.
  • In a serving bowl, toss the Pasta with the Pesto sauce.
  • Add the Shrimp and Asparagus with oil, continuing to toss.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese.

NOTES: Shrimp and Asparagus are an exceptional paring of flavors, probably one of my favorites. If you do not have Pesto available, use fresh Basil and Parsley.

Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients:Shellfish Alergy Warning:
2 lbs Shrimp, shelled and deveined.
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
6 Tbsp unsalted Butter
1-2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Vermouth or Dry White Wine
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet and cook the Shrimp and Garlic on low heat.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter, Cayenne Pepper, and Cornstarch.
  • Add the prepared Butter, Vermouth, Lemon Juice and Salt to the pan.
  • Simmer for 2-5 minutes.

NOTES: This is an Italian-American recipe and should be differentiated from English Scampi which consists of breaded Lobster tail meat.

Serving Suggestions:

  • As an Appetizer
  • On top of Pasta or Rice
  • On a Salad

Tuna Casserole – Tuna Mornay

Ingredients:
1 pkg Egg Noodles, cooked al dente, drained
4 cans Tuna, flaked
4 cups Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 1/2 cups Sweet Peas, (best to use thawed frozen variety)
3 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
2-3 cups Potato Chips, crushed

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large casserole dish, combine Tuna, Peas, Egg Noodles, Parsley, Cayenne Pepper, and 2 cups of the Cheese, mixing well.
  • Pour the Cream of Mushroom Soup over the mixture.
  • Top the dish with the last cup of Cheese, and sprinkle with the Potato Chip crumbs, liberally.
  • Bake in the Oven for 30 minutes.

NOTES: If on the go, and using canned soup, use 2 cans of it, and add 2 cups Milk, as the canned soup is generally condensed.

Tuna Mornay, is the Aussie version of this same dish, where a Béchamel Sauce is utilized in the same manner as the Cream of Mushroom Soup.

This was one of my favorite meals when I was a child.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients:
6-8 oz Smoked Salmon, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
20 slices Bread
1/2 cup Capers
2 Tbsp Dill

Directions:

  • In even stacks, using a serrated knife, carefully remove the crusts from the bread. Think saw not chop.
  • Spread a layer of Cream Cheese on one side of all the bread. Try not to crush the bread.
  • Spread some Red Onion on the Cream Cheese. Use as little or as much as you prefer.
  • Sprinkle the Capers on next, and using a spoon, lightly top into the Cream Cheese.
  • Place thinly sliced pieces of Salmon on the Cream Cheese.
  • Sprinkle with the Dill.
  • Place two slices together and form Sandwiches.
  • Using the serrated knife, cut each sandwich diagonally.
  • Cut the Triangular sandwiches diagonally.
Makes 40 mini sandwiches or 20 half-size sandwiches.

NOTES: It is traditional to use white bread. Be careful to use the serrated knife like a saw, letting the serrations cut the bread rather than using pressure.