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Archive for the ‘Shellfish’ Category


Baccala alla Vicentina - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is probably going to be reduced by a couple courses to maybe 5 or even just 3. The important part of the Feast is that it’s an odd number of courses. The most traditional of my courses is the baccala alla vicentina, which is one of my favorites. After a long soak in water, the rock-hard dried cod is magically transformed back into fish and then gets cooked with potatoes and blended into an amazing spread. It’s not pretty while it’s cooking and the whole process is pretty smelly, but it turns into an amazing dish.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Next up, bay scallop crudo with tangerine and sea salt and a bowl of shrimp bisque. The sweet bay scallops are slurped down with a tangerine juice reduction and some fruity extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt over the top. The bisque gets it’s flavor from sherry or marsala and if possible, homemade shrimp or seafood stock.

Spicy Crab Pasta - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I will most likely round out my Feast of the Seven (or Five) Fishes with some baked clams and a spicy crab pasta that has become a favorite. I’m hoping to get some really delicious dungeness or some other special crab to really take this one over the top for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even experiment with some lobster. Happy holidays!

For more Feast of the Seven Fishes ideas, check out last year’s menu.

And just to let you know, I’ve started a new Facebook page for Meatballs&Milkshakes, so you can follow the blog there! “Like” Meatballs&Milkshakes to keep up to date with recipes in your feed!

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Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These tiny, sweet bay scallops are perfect as a quick bite to start a special meal. I paired them with a small glass of my shrimp bisque in this duo of seafood appetizers, and they were both among my favorites. The scallops have a tangerine juice reduction drizzled over the top, along with some wonderful extra virgin olive oil and some flakes of sea salt to create a rich, sweet and citrusy bite that still tastes of the sea (in a good way).

When you eat raw shellfish, I recommend only getting it from the most reputable source and checking to make sure they don’t smell overly fishy. They should have a firm texture to the touch, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine

1/2 pound bay scallops, rinsed (this is roughly enough for 4 people, depending on how many you will serve)

1 cup tangerine juice

3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Reduce the tangerine juice to about half by simmering in a saucepan. It should become slightly thick and viscous. Once it has cooled, pour over the scallops along with the olive oil. Toss gently to coat and serve with a sprinkle of the flaked sea salt (and chili flakes, if using) over the top. I recommend tasting one to make sure you like the balance, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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In the summer, we all switch over to cold soups, which I don’t really enjoy all that much. I’m not a big fan of raw onion or raw garlic, so gazpacho has never been a favorite…until now. A little bit of heat with the juicy tomatoes and the refreshing watermelon makes a delicious summer soup that I like with a skewer of marinated shrimp. All it needs is a squeeze of lime, and it’s perfect for these hot days.

Watermelon Gazpacho

2 cups cubed watermelon

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 scallions

Juice of 1-2 limes

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (to taste)

salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it reaches a think consistency but still has some texture. Chill until ready to serve.

Marinated Grilled Shrimp

1/2 pound large shrimp cleaned with shells removed (I like to remove tails so they can just be eaten)

1 teaspoon aleppo pepper

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper

Juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl to marinate for 30-45 minutes. Much longer, and the lime will start to cook the shrimp. Skewer them onto soaked skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on the first side, until they start to turn pink. Flip and continue to cook for 1 minute more on the other side. Remove and serve with a lime wedge.

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This recipe was based on one I found by Jean-George Vongerichten from Food and Wine magazine. I’ve had a container of kaffir lime leaves in the fridge, and there’s only so much Thai curry I can make. Then I found this recipe where he slits the leaf and slides a scallop in the slit. I’m not sure if he had really large leaves or really small scallops, but I couldn’t even come close to making it work. No worries, a couple toothpicks through the leaves and all is well.

These are possibly the most tasty scallops I’ve made to date, but part of the accolades should go to the fish guy at the greenmarket because he has the sweetest scallops. The kaffir lime leaves give it a beautiful light citrus flavor, but you could probably substitute other leaves if you can’t find the kaffir. Just make sure not to overcook them! You can even eat them a little undercooked and they should be soft and succulent.

Kaffir Lime Scallops with Browned Butter

1/2 pound scallops

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 kaffir lime leaves per scallop

1 teaspoon aleppo pepper or cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chives, minced

salt

Skewer the kaffir lime leaves around the sides of the scallops, making sure the flat sides are still exposed so you can get a nice brown on them. Sprinkle with the aleppo or cayenne and some salt to taste. Warm the butter and oil in a frying pan until the butter starts to brown (but be careful not to let it burn). Gently place the scallops in the pan and allow to brown fully on one side before turning (about 2 minutes). Flip them gently once browned and add the chives to the butter. Cook for another minute and then they’re done! Remove leaves at the table before eating, they’re not really edible.

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After the crab cakes and spicy crab pasta, I wanted to make a version of crab imperial I saw on Saveur. I changed it quite a bit, and it really became more dip than main course. I will definitely be trying something like this again because it’s one of the few dips that doesn’t use sour cream or cream cheese, two things I hate. (I know, I’m weird) Surprisingly, this dip doesn’t have any cheese, but the bechamel sauce gives it a richness that might make you think it does.

Crab imperial Dip

1/2 pound crabmeat

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup heavy cream

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1/4 cup Sherry

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Juice of half a lemon

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped eggplant

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced thyme

In a little olive oil, saute the shallot, garlic, and eggplant until it becomes soft, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in thyme and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, combine the flour and butter and let cook until it browns a little and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Whisk in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Allow to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the crab, Sherry, Worchestershire, half the panko, paprika, cayenne, and sauteed vegetables. Stir to combine. Add the lemon at the last second and pour into baking dish. Top with the panko and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until browned on top. Let cool a little before eating.

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After the crab cakes a couple days ago, I moved on to a pasta recipe with the crab meat in the fridge. I saw Mario Batali make a version of this on The Chew and everyone was raving about it, so naturally I had to try it. His version included a habanero chili as well, but I’m a little afraid of them (or at least my stomach is…) so I stuck to jalapenos. Feel free to use one if you’re into that sort of thing. He also uses cilantro, but I didn’t have any around and I’m not that big a fan of it unless we’re talking Mexican food. Either way, it’s a great, quick dish and I’ll be making it again.

Spicy Pasta with Crab

1/2 pound crab meat, preferably Dungeness

1/2 pound tagliatelle, tajarin, or other long pasta

1 clove garlic, sliced

2 shallots or cippolini onions

1 jalapeno, minced

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (optional)

basil leaves and chili flakes for garnish

Roast the shallots or onions in foil in a 425 degree oven for half an hour until they are soft and you can easily remove the skin. Let them cool and chop them up.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 1 minute less than the package instructions. Meanwhile, saute the garlic, jalapeno, and onions in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the crab meat and stir through. Add a cup of the pasta cooking water and let it cook down for a minute. Add the drained pasta and reserve some more water in case you need it. Add the cilantro if using it, and toss. Remove from the heat and add a splash of olive oil along with basil leaves and chili flakes for garnish.

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I’m a huge fan of crab in any form, but crab cakes are always classic. I came across this method for making mini ones and I wanted to try it out. I have to say, it’s cute for a party and a much easier way to do bite-size crab cakes but I think next time I’ll be making them the usual way– in a pan. The texture on the top and bottom comes out a little differently, and part of what I like most about crab cakes is the crunchy outer layer. Either way though, these were still pretty delicious. Stay tuned for some more crab recipes, we still have some in the fridge!

Baked Mini Crab Cakes

1/2 pound picked crab meat

1 cup panko

1 cup parmesan

2 tablespoons mayo or yogurt

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon thyme

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until it gets translucent and softened. Add the thyme and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and remove to a bowl.

Add the egg, crab, Worchestershire, Sriracha, parsley, paprika, mayo, heavy cream, and half the parmesan and panko. Stir together lightly and don’t over mix. In a small bowl, combine the remaining parmesan and panko and drizzle it with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Spray a mini muffin tin with oil and spoon a little of the panko mixture into each cup. Spoon in some of the crab mixture and top with a little more of the panko. Press down a bit with your hand. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they start to brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then gently remove with a fork.

I like to serve with some mango relish. I chop up some mango and mix with my own homemade salsa (shallot, chipotle in adobo, roasted garlic, olive oil, lime juice blended up).

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