Tag Archives: Seafood

The Perfect Risotto? Easy!

We feel the error that most people make when cooking risotto is that they go overboard on the stirring and end up with a gummy blob not to mention making it FAR more complicated than it actually is. We have no idea why! Even our favorite chefs known for making things simple make this a tough one for no good reason. So – here is our gift to you … go ahead and wow your friends and family! Your secret is safe with us.

We have given you the Seafood version – but what is equally delectable is a mushroom risotto for those of you that like them or have a vegetarian penchant.

Serves 6-8 
7 cups hot chicken (or fish if you can find it!) stock
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (leeks are a nice addition/alternative)
1 pound vialone nano or arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
1/2 pound clean squid (calamari) with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3 to 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined. 
You may want to add scallops, clams etc. or even easier get 2 small bags of frozen mixed seafood!
1 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese 

Note: We get asked about salt. We find that the Parmagiano cheese is salty enough. Try it first without adding salt. If you find it needs it you can add it after and will know to modify the recipe to your personal liking for the next round. We consume too much sodium, so try and add saffron or a spice instead of salt. 

1. In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent (medium heat – you are not browning them!), 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the rice and warm it about 2 minutes. Warming the rice will prepare it to absorb the stock. 

3. When the rice is warm it will start to become translucent – that is time to add the stock. Add the stock. Stir the rice gently and return the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the stock is lightly boiling. Stir the rice from time to time to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan – but as little as possible! If the rice sticks reduce the heat a bit. Risotto should take about 20-25 minutes to become soft and most of the stock should be used. 

4. About 15 minutes into cooking the rice, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and lightly browned about 1 minute. Add the squid and shrimp and cook, stirring, until the squid are opaque, 5 minutes. (Same sequence for mushrooms) 

5. After about 20 minutes begin to taste the rice. Risotto is ready when the rice grains are soft, but still a little firm to the bite, not mush and not chalky. When the rice is ready add the seafood and cook 2 minutes more. 

6. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese until well mixed. 

Transfer to serving plates and serve!!See?? Easy!!! 

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Bouillabaise

yumminthetumTHE DISH  know as bouillabaisse was created by Marseille fishermen. Rather than using the more expensive fish that would bring in a larger profit, they cooked any fish and shellfish that they pulled up with their catch that were too bony to serve in restaurants, cooking them in a cauldron of sea water on a wood fire and seasoning them with garlic and fennel. Tomatoes were added to the recipe in the 17th century, after their introduction from the America.

In the 19th century, as Marseille became more prosperous, restaurants and hotels began to serve bouillabaisse to upper-class patrons. The recipe of bouillabaisse became more refined, with the substitution of fish stock and the addition of saffron. Bouillabaisse spread from Marseille to Paris, and then gradually around the world, adapted to local ingredients and tastes.

Three of the best-known restaurants in Marseille for traditional bouillabaisse are Le Miramar, on the Vieux Port; Chez Fonfon, at 140, Vallon des Auffes, and the Grand Bar des Goudes, Rue Desire-Péléprat.

The name bouillabaisse comes from the method of the preparation – the ingredients are not added all at once. The broth is first boiled (bouillir) then the different kinds of fish are added one by one, and each time the broth comes to a boil, the heat is lowered (abaisser).

But we have found an amazing way to make this wonderful dish in the slow cooker!

Here are the ingredients (serves 8):

1/2 cup of olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 leeks cut small

1 clove of garlic, crushed

3 filets of fish cut in 3 inch pieces (flounder, red mullet, whiting, sole, haddock, perch or whitefish)

2 large tomatoes cut in pieces or 1 cup canned tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 cups fish stock, clam juice or water

½ cup shrimp, crab or lobster meat cooked or canned

1 small bag of frozen sea food (muscles, squid, octopus …)

1 package frozen mussels in the shell (optional)

Few grains of saffron

Juice of 1 lemon

And MOST important!! 1 cup of dry white wine!

1 tablespoon chopped parsley and/or fennel

Season to taste (salt, pepper and if you wish ½ cup pimientos cut small)

Toss the whole kit and caboodle into the slow cooker (except for the frozen muscles in the shell and parsley/fennel).

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.  You can eat it as is – but if you want to make it really “authentic” before its done – add the frozen muscles.  The instructions on the bag will let you know how long they need to “open”.  Some are a little pre cooked others not.  Toss into the finished bouillabaisse in the slow cooker; put the lid back on until the shells open.

And Voila! Place in bowls and sprinkle the parsley/fennel on top and serve. 

This is a dish our guests fight over for the last drop.  We make the entire batch and eat it fresh out of the slow cooker for dinner (eating all the muscles in the shell – they don’t keep or store well) and the rest gets put in Tupperware (with screw lids) and frozen.  This is easily warmed up on the stove or microwave and tastes just as good. 

If you love seafood we know you’ll love this!  Enjoy!

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