Tag Archives: shrimp

Shrimp Crepes with Spinach, Artichokes and Swiss

Melts in Your Mouth

I don’t want to play games. I want some one-on-one time with some oeey-gooey-goodness and I want it to be up close and personal. I want to get my Digable Planets on and relish in some creamy lavishness. And what better way to do so than to get my smooch on with some darling whole wheat crepes filled with melty swiss and artichokes. But you know I like my pop of color, so why not some spinach and red peppers to make things majestic. And tender shrimp to round out this party of sheer sexiness. I feel like I’m wasting time talking when I could be noshing. And I imagine that you’re feeling the same way and want to cut to the fucking chase. Let’s get it on… Continue reading Shrimp Crepes with Spinach, Artichokes and Swiss

Jumbo Shrimp in Cilantro Sauce (Camarones en Salsa Verde)

I Really Meant to Name This “Shrimp in Crack Sauce”

I live for the moments in life where a mere bite of a particular dish makes me giddy.  Stupid giddy.  Giggling to myself like a goddamn lunatic in between bites and watching my plate like a sentry making sure that no one tries to sneak a bite.  The first time that I tasted this deceptively simple dish of shrimp swimming in garlic, cream and herbs, I was actually depressed.  Not because it didn’t elicit the effect that I described above.  It was because my sister fucking ordered it, not me, and she felt as strongly about the shrimp as I did.  With a butter knife poised to stab me in the hand if I tried to steal a bite.  Ugh.  Dining FAIL. Continue reading Jumbo Shrimp in Cilantro Sauce (Camarones en Salsa Verde)

Enchanted Tiki Room Cocktail Party Menu

Although this menu came together as a part of FoodBuzz’s 24×24 for November, it has long been in the works. For as long as I’ve known, I’ve always wanted to throw a tiki party full of old school flair – think the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland or a trip to fabulous culinary relic Trader Vic’s. Or a favorite from back in the day, the local tiki restaurant in my hometown of Alexandria, Virginia – Honolulu Restaurant. One step into the door transported you to an island oasis where the hula girls were always shaking their hips and the flaming volcano drinks left you forgetting that it wasn’t Hawaii waiting for you right outside the heavy wooden doors. It was a magical place, and the memory even more so (it closed almost a decade ago).

As the weather brings gusty cold fronts and the fireplaces flicker on one by one, I couldn’t help but think that it was high time to get a little silly, a little sassy, and throw a kitschy tiki party. Rather than listen to the endless strains of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” I wanted to belt some Mele Kalikimaka reminding me that just because Christmas is right around the corner, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t pretend that there were palm trees swaying outside. Well, actually, there are since I live in Arizona, but I digress. Continue reading Enchanted Tiki Room Cocktail Party Menu

Ginger Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Ketchup Worth Relishing

Anytime anyone says that the secret ingredient in a recipe is ketchup, you have the right to run away screaming. Not this time, though. The shrimp in this recipe are gloriously complex, with the perfect combination of ginger, Chinese Five Spice Powder, scallions and yes, ketchup. Don’t knock it till you try it. They should be called Glorious Ginger Shrimp.

As for the accompanying rice, this recipe is deceptively simple – replace plain water in the rice pot with unsweetened coconut water and cook as usual. Ok, not so deceptive, but the flavor is incredible, making this a nice addition to your next supper.  It works particularly well for soaking up all of the lovely sauce from the aforementioned shrimp. Continue reading Ginger Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Thrifty Shrimp Wontons

In that I am an avid dumpling maker (so that I can afford to be a voracious dumpling eater), I tend to go through quite a bit of filling for the little buggers.  Much like the hot dog/hot dog bun conundrum (12 hot dogs vs. 8 buns), I often find myself with more filling than I have wrappers for.  What to do?!?

Given that the filling does not tend to keep very well (overnight at best, and never defrosted from frozen), I have found a quick and easy solution with wontons.  The wrappers are easy to come by in the produce section of the market (usually with the tofu) and can be transformed into the loveliest of soups.  In Chinese, wonton means “swallowing a cloud” – easily the perfect descriptor for a soup that is both complex and delicate at the same time.

So what’s the game plan, you may ask?  Very simple.  Bolster your leftover filling with some fresh shrimp, sesame oil and cornstarch.  Fill the wonton wrappers and twist into little satchels until you are out of filling.  Freeze the wrappers (as these guys do keep well) and make a pot of wonton soup.  If you have leftover wontons beyond the soup, either pan fry and serve with soy dipping sauce or deep fry and serve with duck sauce.  Last but not least, relish in your delicious frugality and trenchant wit.  Probably the most important step of all.

Recipe for

Thrifty Shrimp Wontons

Ingredients
1 lb. of shrimp, peeled and chopped
about 1 c. of leftover dumpling filling
1 tbs. of corn starch
2 tbs. of sesame oil
1 package of wonton skins
1 quart of chicken stock
1 tbs. of soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 inch of ginger, peeled

In a standing mixer or with a spoon, mix the leftover dumpling filling with the shrimp, corn starch and sesame oil.  Fill the wonton wrappers with a teaspoon each of filling.  Wet the edges with a bit of water and twist the corners together to form a little “money bag”.  Dip the bottom of the money bag into a small amount of flour and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Repeat until you have used up all of your filling.  Set aside

Pour the chicken stock, soy and ginger into a pot and bring to a boil.  Add as many wontons as you’d like to eat (no more than 10 per quart of stock) and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with a handful of scallions.  Dig in.

Variations on the Soup

As a means of extending the majesty, feel free to use any of these add-ins:

  • handful of baby spinach
  • handful of bean sprouts
  • thinly sliced Chinese BBQ pork
  • crispy fried onions or shallots
  • thinly sliced chicken breast
  • lo mein, mai fun or udon noodles
  • peeled shrimp

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

For as long as I’ve known, my family has been whipping up several varieties of comforting rice dishes – I can recall many a time coming into the kitchen to a pan of Arroz con Pollo finishing up in the oven, or a pot of Jambalaya simmering away on the stove.  This version of the simple dish, a combination of rice, chicken, sausage, seafood and veggies, reminds me of home each and every time I whip up a batch.

This version is far from super traditional, but I love it because it is way easy to prepare and incredibly piquant and flavorful.  Some of the harder ingredients to find are substituted with pantry and supermarket staples.  Though cajun purists would call this Creole Rice for its inclusion of tomatoes, culinary great Paul Prudhomme puts tomatoes in his, so I feel that I’m not in the wrong.  Plus, this dish’s roots are born of the freshness and availability of ingredients, so use whatever suits your fancy – tasso ham (or smoked ham), seafood of any kind, smoked andouille sausage, duck, and homemade stock all have a place in this dish.  Case in point, this recipe originates from the Spanish classic, paella, and if it weren’t for a few noble chefs swapping out a few ingredients, we wouldn’t have the jambalaya that we know today.

Recipe for

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

Ingredients
1/2 lb. of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 kielbasa, thinly sliced into rounds
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks

2 tbs. of olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 plum tomatoes

1 can of tomatoes with chilies
seafood stock (can substitute beef or chicken)
1/4 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
1/8 to 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper (to taste)
pinch of oregano
1 tbs. of Worcestershire sauce

2 c. of converted rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)

splash of white wine vinegar
scallions or parsley for garnish

Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven and add the chicken.  Brown very well on both sides and then add the onion, scallions, celery, bell pepper and garlic.  Once vegetables begin to soften, add the kielbasa, thyme and bay leaves.  Allow to cook for a minute and then add the chopped tomatoes, white pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne and oregano.  Stir in the rice.

In a 4 cup pyrex or a measuring cup, drain the juices of the can of tomatoes into the cup.  Dump the tomatoes into the dutch oven.  Add the tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce into the measuring cup, and then add enough stock to make 3 3/4 cups of liquid.  Add the mixture to the pot and stir.  Bring the pot to a boil, cover and turn it down to a simmer.  A trick, if you are careful, is to stick your ear to the bottom of the pot – you should hear a gentle bubbling.  If it sounds like hell boiling over, turn the heat down.  If you hear nothing, turn the heat up.  Cook for 20 minutes, undisturbed.  After 20 minutes, take the top off and add the shrimp.  Recover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove lid.  Stir a splash of white wine vinegar into the jambalaya and taste rice for doneness – it should be tender at this point.  If not, turn heat back to low and cook another few minutes.  If the rice is done but there is too much liquid, let rice sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes so that the liquid will be absorbed into the rice.

Serve with scallions or parsley and tabasco sauce.

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Holidays are about traditions – both making them and breaking them.  Given my wide splay of ethnic background, it tends to be the case that I manage to do both of these things each and every year with a slightly different celebration that meets one of our many traditions.  I feel like this is the way it is with most of us – over time we build up a collection of various customs that are an amalgamation of all of our traditions put together.

This year, we decided to give a shout out to Sicily (both my husband and I are of Sicilian decent) with the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  A custom with origins in Southern Italy, a series of fish dishes (and no meat) are prepared for Christmas Eve.  The number of dishes varies – some say it’s seven for the seven sacraments, or 10 for the commandments.  It’s at the point now where people come up with a number of dishes between 7 and 15 and assign a biblical association for that number.  At the heart of the celebration is a gathering of family and friends for a delicious meal and (hopefully) fine company.

One of the must-haves for the Feast of the Seven Fishes is baccalà or salt cod.  In another cultural twist, our Feast of the Seven Fishes contained two preparations of baccalà in the traditional Brazilian manner (called bacalhau), fried into small balls and baked with garlic, onions, potatoes and hard boiled eggs.  There’s something about the blended traditions that truly makes it a holiday for me.

If you’d like to get on a little fish action yourself and create a new family tradition of your own, here is the road map for our Feast of the Seven Fishes.  Have fun with it, add as many or as few fish as you’d like, and chow down Sicilian style.

Antipasto

Cold Seafood Salad

One of my husbands early memories was of his father making a special seafood salad at Christmastime.  He did a little research and found a close version online, that we adapted to make it like the one he knew as a child. I’m lazy and I don’t like to spend my entire life cleaning seafood, so we purchased the squid pre-cleaned and the octopus pre-cleaned and cooked at Whole Foods (the octopus was in the Seafood Salad area of the store).  The rest of the goodies are poached in a flavorful liquid of herbs and vegetables and then tossed with a light vinaigrette and crisp veggies.  Despite the sheer number of ingredients, this is one of the most beautiful things you can put on your table.

Bolihnos de Bacalhau

These croquettes of salt cod are crispy and light on the outside, and tender and moist on the inside.  Soaking the cod for a goodly while gets rid of the fishiness and elevates the taste of this festive, bite-sized treat.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Growing up so close to the Chesapeake Bay, blue crab is more of a right than a privilege for me, and what seafood feast would be complete without it.  These dainty suckers leverage lump crab for sweetness and claw meat for cost efficiency.  The seasoning is traditional, eastern shore, crab cake style, as yet another shout out to the land of my ancestors.
Recipe for Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Primo

Fettucine al Langostra

Who doesn’t love lobster?  Strangely, my sister doesn’t.  But this incredibly simple and delicious preparation of fettucine with tender lobster meat was gobbled down by her and won her praises.  If that’s not a Christmas miracle, then I don’t know what is. Use good egg fettucine for the pasta and fresh basil to brighten things up.  To save time during the feast (since you are cooking most everything at once), I used a jar of Rao’s Arrabiata sauce, which is delicious, but way too expensive at $9 a jar.  I found a bottle of White Linen Gourmet Marinara at Costco for $4 that actually tasted BETTER than the Rao’s – no joke.  If you go that route, just make sure to add a heavy dose of crushed red pepper for kick.

Linguine alle Vongole

Linguine with white clam sauce, for me, is comfort food at its best – it doesn’t take a hell of a long time to prepare, it’s got a healthy dose of garlic and red pepper for kick, and at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to tuck into a mound of tender pasta. I use my Poorman’s Linguine with Clam Sauce for this one, but add fresh clams to the mix.  Simply heat some olive oil and garlic in a saute pan and when hot, pour in a cup of white wine.  Add a pound of small clams (I use manila clams) and pop a lid on the pan.  Let steam in the wine garlic mix for a short 5 minutes and then scoop out the open clams and put them on top of the pasta.  Discard any clams that haven’t opened after cooking.
Recipe for Linguine alle Vongole

Secondo

Bacalhau Gomes de Sá

Though this dish is Portuguese in origin (Porto to be exact), it’s a favorite among Brazilians as well.  The dish was supposedly created by a wealthy cod distributor’s son, who after being disowned, was forced to work in a restaurant.  His legacy was this dish, a delicious combination of cod, tender potatoes, sautéed garlic and onions, and topped with hard boiled eggs, olives and parsley. This recipe reminds me of whenever my great grandmother would come into town with heaps of bacalhau ready for the cooking.  Upon her arrival, it was a sure thing that Gomes de Sá was going to be prepared shortly thereafter.

Tuna (or Swordfish) with Gremolata

Nothing says majesty like fresh fish with a lovely topping of lemon, garlic and herbs.  Simplicity is the focus, so the freshest of fish is necessary in this one – get sushi grade (or Grade #1) tuna, or the brightest, firmest fillets of whatever you’d like.  While you can spread the fish with the gremolata and then broil them, with the tuna I like to sear them in a pan to control the doneness (I like the steaks rare) and then slather the hot fish with the lemon mixture so that it melts into the fish. Gremolata is traditionally a combination of lemon, parsley and garlic, but here, I add rosemary instead of the parsley as it is hardier and holds up to the many other bold flavors at this feast.
Recipe for Swordfish with Gremolata

Contorno

Sauteed Cavolo Nero

Called black kale or dinosaur kale, this leafy green is a fabulous taste sensation for anyone that loves bitter greens.  Plus, it matches up with the sweetness of the seafood and sauces with outstanding strength.  This recipe comes straight from one of my favorite foodie websites, Chow.com, and utilizes orange juice, garlic and onion to create the most perfectly rounded flavors in this dish.  A major keeper, I didn’t even have to tweak this recipe one bit, which absolutely NEVER happens when I’m in the kitchen. If you have any leftovers, you can fold them into a delicious soup, like a Caldo Verde (Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup) or a Ribollita (Italian Kale and White Bean Soup with Croutons).
Recipe for Cavolo Nero at Chow.com

Har Gow (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings with Bamboo Shoots)

I came across this recipe the other day in finding a cheaper way to nosh on the addictive Crystal Shrimp Dumplings from China Fun here in the city – the darn things are so delicious that when I eat them piping hot, the filling all falls out for lack of letting them sit and chill.  Waiting is overrated.

This recipe can be found on the lovely blog Rasa Malaysia – she has you make the dough in her recipe, but in the version pictured below I used the pre-made Yasoya Wonton Wrappers (available in most grocery stores where they keep the tofu).  Not 100% identical, but a heck of a lot easier, especially if you can’t get your hands on wheat and tapioca starch.  If you have an aversion to triangle-shaped har gow, use a round cookie cutter to make perfect wrappers of your own.  Fry the extra bits that you cut off and use as crispy noodles in some wonton or hot and sour soup.  Done and done.  Truthfully, though, the star of this recipe is the filling, particularly the luscious quality of the shrimp and bamboo shoots, so don’t go crazy with the wrappers.

Check out the recipe now >>

Spicy Stuffed Flounder

I wish that eating fresh seafood didn’t seem like such a luxury – fish is easy to prepare and readily available where I live.  Plus, it’s so good for you, there’s really no excuse for not working it into the menu more.  I treat it like a grilled cheese sandwich at times – I’d rather have someone make it for me than do it myself so that it seems that much better.  It’s stupid, given that we can all prepare fish just as well as most restaurants (if not better), and all for a lot less money.

Spicy Stuffed Flounder © Spice or Die

This recipe was born of the high price tag for stuffed delicacies at upscale seafood restaurants.  On top of that, the dishes were often drowned in butter, making the fish taste gorgeous, but at the expense of my waistline.  Stupid personified.  The flavor in this dish comes from a good dose of savory veggies that are simmered in stock rather than sauteed in butter.  Flaky, moist flounder is topped with spices and lemon and nestled above a lovely stuffing of tender shrimp, herbs, vegetables and bread crumbs.  It tastes like a million bucks and a million calories, but it is just plain good for you eatin’!

Here in NYC, they charge way too much for lump crab, but if you are near the Chesapeake, definitely substitute the shrimp with crabmeat if you’d like.  It’s just such a lovely addition to the dish, and the price down there makes so much sense.  Same thing for you folks on the Pacific Coast that can get your hands on inexpensive king crab.  In addition, you can mix it up and do a seafood medley of shrimp, crab and scallops – all work well in the stuffing.

Spicy Stuffed Flounder

2 c. of vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 of a bell pepper (I use red, but green is ok), finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cl. of garlic, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/4 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of sherry or white wine
1/2 tbs of good dijon mustard
1 tsp of fresh thyme
1 tsp. of fresh rosemary
1/2 c. of parsley leaves (loosely packed), chopped
2 c. of bread crumbs
2 tbs. of butter (I use Smart Balance for this to keep the bad fat down)
1 lb of raw shrimp, cut into small bite-sized pieces (can substitute 8 oz. of lump crab, bay scallops or even 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms)
3 portions of flounder (preferably 7-8 oz. each)
1 lemon
1 tsp of cajun seasoning (or a pinch each of salt, white pepper, black pepper and cayenne)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray a baking sheet with Pam and set aside.

In a sauce pan, bring your stock to a boil.  Add bell pepper, shallot, garlic, celery, white pepper, black pepper, salt, sherry or wine, mustard, thyme and rosemary.  Stir and then turn off the heat.  Stir until the butter has melted and then toss in the parsley and shrimp.  Stir in the bread crumbs until moistened and then set aside.

Take a flounder filet in your hand and mound it with a heaping cupful of the stuffing.  Flip over and place on the baking sheet, stuffing side down.  Repeat with the other filets.  Halve the lemon and squeeze over all of the fish.  Sprinkle a teaspoon of your favorite cajun or blackening seasoning on top of the fish (or use a combo of peppers and salt as listed above).

Place sheet in the oven and bake fish until flaky and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.  Squeeze the other half of the lemon on top of the fish and serve.

Rock Shrimp Risotto

Rock Me Gently, Rock Me Slowly

Risotto is such a walking contradiction – though it is a total dazzler and a showpiece at restaurants, it’s also such homey comfort food meant to be tucked into on a couch in pjs.  It can be as dressy or as casual as you’d like it to be, just as long as it’s yours.  I think that risotto has gotten a reputation for being fussy because of the many rules for it’s construction.  The grains of rice should be tender while still distinct and firm.  The dish should be creamy but not a mushy porridge.  The ingredients all have different cooking times, but the components to be cooked to perfection all at the same time.  It’s a little daunting.

Rock Shrimp Risotto © Spice or Die

I’m here to put you at ease – risotto is not hard.  I repeat, risotto is not hard.  You can make it if you follow the one major rule of risotto – be patient and give it time.  If you rush your risotto, it will suck.  If you don’t prep all your ingredients before you start, it will suck.  If you walk away from it, it will suck.  Don’t let your risotto suck, I beg of you.

There are a million variations on this recipe, and the good news is that you can use the same ingredients below and just swap out the shrimp for whatever your heart desires – blanched asparagus spears, porcini mushrooms, lobster, roasted butternut squash, you name it.  The only thing that you absolutely cannot substitute is arborio rice.  The grains, short and round, release starch slowly as broth is added during the cooking process – if you use a different type of rice, you won’t get that creamy loveliness that is the trademark of risotto.  You top off the deliciousness by rapidly whipping in butter at the end, a process called “mantecare” in Italian.  Do this, and you’ll be a risotto master.

This risotto uses rock shrimp, a variety that is much closer in taste to lobster despite the shrimp price.  They have hard shells and are difficult to peel, which is why they are sold pre-cleaned and shelled – hooray for you :)  If you cannot find rock shrimp, feel free to use plain raw shrimp, or if your budget allows, some lovely lobster meat.

This recipe makes a ton of risotto (about 8 large servings) – I roll the leftovers into balls around cubes of mozzarella, roll in breadcrumbs, and fry as a lovely appetizer called arancini (or supplí in Emilia-Romagna).  Also, because cheese and seafood is an italian no-no, I pick out the shrimp first.  That being said, if you leave the shrimp in, I won’t be mad at you.  Actually, I’ll be happy that you’re cooking not one, but two impressive dishes – and all with a whole lot of love!

Rock Shrimp Risotto

12-14 c. of stock, chicken, vegetable, shrimp or a combo (see recipe for shrimp stock below)

4 tbs. of olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 c. of arborio rice
1 pinch of saffron threads (optional)
2 tsp. of white pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste

1 and 1/2 lb. of rock shrimp, peeled and cleaned well
1 bunch of chives, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
4 tbs. of butter

Prep all of your ingredients before you start to make your life easier.  When you begin, you should have dishes of all of your ingredients, measured out and within an arm’s reach.  In a large pot, bring your stock to a simmer and keep warm throughout the entire process.

In a second large pot, add your oil and heat until shimmering.  Add your shallots and cook on medium until translucent.  Add your rice (and saffron if you are using it) and stir to coat the grains with olive oil.  Continue to cook until the rice becomes translucent.  Pour in the wine and stir until the alcohol cooks off.

Grab a ladle and spoon 2-3 ladlefuls of broth into the rice.  Stir constantly to incorporate the broth and keep the rice from sticking.  When all the broth is absorbed, add another 2 or 3 ladles of stock.  Keep adding broth and stirring until the rice is tender (taste it to make sure) and a lovely, creamy sauce has formed.  Once your risotto is cooked to perfection, add your raw shrimp and stir.  The shrimp will need about 2 minutes to turn pink and cook all the way through in the hot risotto.  Turn the heat from medium to low and add the butter in small chunks, stirring rapidly after each addition to melt the butter into the creamy goodness.  Turn off the heat and toss in your lemon zest and 3/4 of the chives.

Spoon risotto into bowls and top with the rest of the chives.  Serve immediately – risotto needs to be eaten right away, or you are missing out in a big way.

Shrimp Stock

shells from 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
4 sprigs of parsley (with stems)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of white pepper
2 bay leaves
8 c. of water

Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn to medium low and simmer until stock has reduced by one half.  Strain stock and toss solids.  Save broth for some lovely like a gumbo or a risotto.