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Posts tagged ‘seafood’

Crab Cakes

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I make crab cakes once a year, not sure why only once but it’s sort of a tradition with me although it’s at no particular time but whenever I think of it or feel like having them. This recipe is from one of the older Martha Stewart cookbooks and is the only recipe for crab cakes I have ever used. It calls for jumbo lump  or lump crabmeat, has very little filler and is really delicious. As an aside I recommend lump not jumbo lump it makes it easier to form into patties and stays together better.  You can make your own bread crumbs by first grinding bread in a food processor then drying in the oven or use dried breadcrumbs from your supermarket. This is a super simple recipe that comes together very quickly.  They are not coated with bread crumbs although you could if you wish,  they have a nice amount of vegetables in them and are delicious served with cole slaw.

The recipe made exactly 12 nice sized cakes so my friends got a crab cake sandwich on fresh ciabatta rolls slathered with a dressing made from mayo, sriracha, pickle relish and ketchup then piled high with a homemade traditional cole slaw. I made a few changes in the recipe to suit me, Martha calls for 2 lbs crabmeat, I found 1 lb was sufficient and if I did use 2 lbs I would add an additional egg, more mayo and breadcrumbs.

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Crab Cakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookbook- Collected Recipes for Every Day

Makes 12 crab cakes or 22-24 appetizer size

1 cup dried breadcrumbs

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1 lb jumbo lump or lump crabmeat (picked over for cartilage)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (I use parsley)

3 scallions  finely chopped

1 small red bell pepper- seeded and diced

1 small yellow bell pepper – seeded and diced (I didn’t have yellow so used green)

1 jalapeno pepper – seeded and diced (I used pickled jalapeño)

2/3 cup mayonaise

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil to fry

Gently mix all the ingredients together, you don’t want to break up the crab meat to much.

Form into patties, you can choose the size but make them quite thick. Heat some vegetable oil in  a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the crab cakes until browned on each side. Place them on paper towel or paper bag to drain. Serve hot. NOTE: Because there is very little filler you have to work a little to form into patties. If they absolutely won’t hold together add a little more mayo and breadcrumbs.

I happened upon a photo that the media outlet Pop Sugar took of Percy and put on their site. I was tickled to see this and thought he looked so cute smiling. This was taken at Pugs Take NYC event which by the way was a huge success raising $4150 for Pug Nation Rescue of LA and the little pug Bella has had the surgery and is being fitted for a wheelchair.

Photo from popsugar.com

Photo from popsugar.com

Featured Recipes: Olive Oil Poached Fish/Shellfish and Lobster Diavolo

This week I am featuring two recipes, both seafood dishes and I am honored to have permission to bring them to you. The recipes are from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs the founders of Food52. I discovered food52 a little over a year ago and it has been life changing for me. Amanda and Merrill brought their brilliant plan to start a website celebrating home cooks (like myself) to life a little over two years ago,  and it’s now one of the most popular food related websites available on the internet. They have already published one cookbook,  with a second coming out in October of this year as well as an IPad holiday App. Check out Amanda’s recipes and Merrill’s recipes on Food52.

Poaching fish or shellfish in olive oil is simple, and delicious. Add your favorite herbs and aromatics to the oil. The fish or shellfish are tender and and flavorful. I poached some shrimp and lobster tails. I didn’t use whole live lobsters (phobia) instead,  I decided to poach lobster tails in olive oil a la Amanda for Merrills Lobster Diavolo. This is a variation of the famous Lobster Fra Diavolo.  The dish is finished with fresh mint (my mint went bad and I was only able to salvage a few leaves so I mixed it with parsley to garnish the dish),  which in  my opinion makes this such a stand out recipe, adding a fresh twist to a classic. I used canned tomatoes instead of the fresh since seasonal fresh tomatoes are not available yet. I poached half of the shrimp in the oven and the other half on the stovetop with the lobster. I set the oven to 200 degrees and it took about 20 minutes. Both methods turned out fantastic. I invited a friend over for dinner and he gave both dishes two thumbs up!

Stovetop poaching

Olive Oil Poached Fish – By Amanda Hesser

To Poach Any Kind of Fish

Lay the fillets in a shallow, oven-proof casserole dish or skillet, just large enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Cover the fish with a 1/8-inch thick layer of olive oil (a good brand, but not your best), season with a flakey sea salt and any other herb or spice you like, then send it into a 275-degree oven, basting it often, until it’s cooked through. For a 1-inch thick fish fillet, it takes about 30 minutes.

To Poach Shellfish

I like to cook them on the stovetop. Place them in a single layer in a saucepan and pour in enough oil to just cover them. My default aromatics are thyme and lightly smashed garlic cloves (see photo above). Then set the pan over low heat, letting it warm enough so that tiny bubbles begin emerging on the sides of the pan, but none of the shellfish are bouncing around. Baste often and you’ll see the shellfish slowly turn opaque and constrict. When they’re cooked properly, they’ll be bouncy and light and not at all tough.

Lobster Diavolo

Lobster Diavolo- by Merrill Stubbs

Serves 2

2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or 28 ounces canned tomatoes with their juices)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for finishing

2 fat cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt

2 1 1/2-pound live lobsters

1/2 pound spaghetti

1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and cut a shallow “x” through the skin of the non-core end of each tomato with a sharp knife. Working in batches, gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, until the skin begins to peel away from the cuts you made. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside until they are cool enough to touch.

Peel and then roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside. Pour the olive oil in a shallow, heavy saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and softened, but not browned. Add the chili flakes (start with half if you’re not sure about the heat – you can add more later) and cook for another minute or two.

Add the tomatoes and any juices, along with a few generous pinches of salt and stir through. Raise the heat to medium and let the tomatoes come to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours, until the tomatoes have completely broken down, adding water as needed to keep the sauce from drying out. When the sauce is ready, taste for salt and add more necessary. Cover and set aside.

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the lobsters to the pot and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lobster’s antennae can be easily pulled off. Remove the lobsters from the pot and set aside for a few minutes to cool a little

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until still quite al dente. Reserving about half a cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta in a large colander and set it aside while you finish up with the lobster.

To remove the lobster meat, twist both claws off the body at the shoulder joint. Use a lobster cracker or the back of a chef’s knife to crack the shell and remove the claw meat. Use a pick or a small fork to pry the meat from the knuckles, twisting at the joints to separate one knuckle from the next. Twist the lobster body from the tail and discard. Twist off the fans at the tail, and then gently insert your finger into the opening, pushing the tail meat out the other end (it should come out in one beautiful piece). Clean off any roe, fat and green goo, and remove the vein if you like by peeling back the strip of meat on the top of the tail.

Keep the lobster meat in a warm place while you finish up the pasta: Turn the heat to medium underneath the pan with the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and some of the pasta water, using tongs to toss the pasta in the sauce. Add a splash or two of olive oil if you like. When the pasta is well-coated in the sauce and warm, arrange it among two shallow, warm bowls. Slice the lobster tails into ½-inch medallions and arrange these, along with the claw and knuckle meat, on top of the spaghetti. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle generously with mint. Serve immediately.

Olive oil poached shrimp and Lobster Diavolo

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi

I was on the phone with my daughter last night and we were discussing food, what else, right?? She made Shrimp Scampi and it sounded so delicious that I had to have some too! I had 18 colossal shrimp just waiting to be eaten. These shrimp are the size of small lobsters, you don’t have to use shrimp that big but I do recommend a larger size shrimp. This took me about 25 minutes to put together and I plan on enjoying it with some bread and a glass of Rose’. You can of course eat this with Pasta which is fairly traditional, I would do a simple garlic and olive oil sauce for the pasta.

Makes: Two large or 4 smaller servings

12-18 fresh large shrimp peeled and deveined

1 large garlic clove peeled

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of sea salt

Clean and devein your shrimp. Lay them on paper towels to dry (Its important that they be as dry as possible) I pat them dry then lay them on fresh dry paper towels for 15-30 minutes.

Peel your garlic clove and slice, place in mortar with a pinch of sea salt and smash it, add some of the olive oil and mix it up. Place shrimp either in bowl or ziplock bag, pour the garlic and oil from the mortar onto the shrimp, add the rest of the oil and the lemon zest. Refrigerate for 30 minutes Smoosh the bag around to make sure the shrimp are coated with the marinade.

Preparing the dish:

4 tbs butter

juice of 1 lemon

handful of parsley chopped

splash of olive oil

Turn broiler on and position rack in second rung closest to the flame. Heat skillet so that its very hot. Place some shrimp (I do 6 at a time) in the very hot pan and sear them just about a minute or less on each side (this will depend on the size of the shrimp). Immediately remove to a plate and add more shrimp. Continue until all the shrimp are seared. They will not be cooked through. You may have a little olive oil and garlic left from the marinade. I just dumped it in the skillet after the shrimp were cooked and quickly browned the garlic and poured it over the shrimp.

You will either need an oval gratin pan or a baking dish. Add the butter, splash of olive oil and lemon juice and place in the oven for a few minutes so that the butter melts. Remove from the oven place the shrimp in the baking pan or pans, spoon some of the butter/olive oil/lemon juice on top of shrimp and place them in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove, check for doneness. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, a pinch of sea salt and some pepper.