Archive for category Shellfish

Grilled Tequila-Citrus Shrimp

SONY DSCMarinating shrimp before cooking it on the grill results in a wonderfully tasty experience. It makes the time-consuming and tedious job of cleaning and de-veining them, one of my least favorite cooking tasks, so much more worthwhile.

This recipe calls for large (or jumbo) shrimp, and you should marinate for at least four hours before firing up the grill. After that, it doesn’t take long before you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor. You just have to grill the shrimp until they turn pink!

 

Ingredients

1 lb large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 tbsp gold tequila

4 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp lemon pepper

2 tbsp fresh minced garlic

2 tsp Sambal Oelek or red pepper flakes (optional)

Pinch of Kosher salt

Directions

Whisk all ingredients together and place in a resealable plastic bag with the cleaned shrimp. Marinate for at least four hours. Soak about 6 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Thread about 6 shrimp onto each skewer. Grill on both sides until shrimp are pink and slightly charred.

 

 

 

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Louisiana Crawfish Boil

crawfish boilIt’s a feast like no other. Mudbugs and all the fixins. You can buy crawfish fresh (they can be mail ordered) or frozen. If you buy them fresh, however, they require a lot of cleaning. (That’s why they’re called mudbugs.) This is essentially the Cajun version of a New England Clam Boil (a recipe I promise to include on this blog at a later date; right now we’re celebrating Mardi Gras).

For this crustacean feast, you’ll need about a 40-quart pot. Amazon sells a really nice 44-qt version with a strainer insert. Ironically, it’s called the Bayou Classic! That’s what I call built-in convenience!

Be sure to have plenty of Tabasco on hand, as well as a nice Cajun Aioli for dipping (recipe follows).

Ingredients

10 lbs crawfish

1-1/2 lbs small Red Bliss potatoes (cut in half if they are larger than 2″)

1-1/2 lbs small Yukon Gold potatoes (cut in half if they are larger than 2″)

8-10 ears of corn, halved

1-1/2 lb andouille sausage, cut into 1″ pieces

3 onions, quartered

3 lemons, halved

2 heads of garlic, unpeeled but separated

5 gallons of water

5 tbsp Kosher salt

4 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

2 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tbsp dried mustard

1 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp dill weed

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper

5 bay leaves

Directions

Put 5 gallons of water in your 40-quart pot. Then add all the spices. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. This should take about 35-40 minutes.

If you’re using fresh crawfish, this is the time to clean them. Dump them into a large container and fill with water. Stir them around, then drain. Refill the container and stir them again. Put them into a colander in small batches and rinse them in cold water. Then return them to the large container and fill with water. Continue to repeat the process until the water is clear. This could take several repeat processes.

Once the water is boiling, add the garlic, lemon, onions, potatoes, corn and Andouille sausage. Cover and boil for 10-15 minutes.

Add the crawfish, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and allow the pan to sit for 10 minutes before draining.

Serve with Tabasco and Cajun Aioli for dipping.

Cajun Aioli

This is an easy aioli, not the kind you have to use a food processor for. You can buy the creole seasoning pre-mixed.

Ingredients

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup Thousand Island dressing

1 tbsp garlic paste

1/4 cup fresh, chopped cilantro

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 tsp fresh lime juice

3 tbsp Sriracha

2 tsp creole seasoning

Directions

Mix everything together in a bowl and chill until serving. Simple.

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Rib-Stickin’ Louisiana Gumbo

gumbo (1)Yes, it’s Mardi Gras time again. And this is Fat Tuesday, February 12. What could be better than a recipe for Gumbo? This is no time for “designer” New Orleans food. What we need here is the real deal, and Gumbo is about as authentic as it gets.

There are a lot of potential ingredients for Gumbo, like duck, chicken, crab, shrimp, oysters, crawfish and sausage to go along with the fresh vegetables included. Mine is made with chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp. This is great on winter nights.

You need a decent size pot for this recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb medium or large shrimp, peeled and de-veined

1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 lb Andouille sausage, cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp canola oil

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped pepper (green, red, yellow or a mix)

1 cup chopped celery

3 cups sliced okra (if frozen, thaw first)

6 cups chicken stock

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional; not everyone can take the heat)

1 tbsp Creole seasoning

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 bay leaves

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Tabasco sauce (for serving)

Parsley, chives or scallions (for garnish)

Directions

Coat the bottom of a heavy pot with 1 tbsp canola oil. Add the chicken and Andouille sausage and brown over medium-high heat. Don’t worry about the pieces that may get stuck on the bottom of the pan. They will release themselves. These bits are critical to the deep flavor of the Gumbo. Remove the chicken and sausage from the pan and set aside.

Cut the onions, celery and peppers and set aside.

Now, add the 1/2 cup of canola oil and flour to the pan. Stir well and cook to make a roux. This is a critical step in the process. You should cook the roux until it is the color of a copper penny. Next, add the onion, celery and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock slowly and whisk well so that the roux and stock are well blended.

Add the chicken, sausage and the balance of the ingredients except the shrimp and okra, which is added towards the end. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes, then uncover and simmer on low heat for an additional 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp and okra, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Serve in bowls with plain white rice. Serve 1-1/4 cups of Gumbo with 1/3 cup rice. That’s about the right ratio for an authentic New Orleans feast! Feel free to garnish with scallions, parsley or chives! And it goes great with my recipe for Ass Kickin’ Greens, by the way.

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Spicy Thai Marinated Grilled Shrimp

Sriracha Grilled ShrimpThis is an incredible dish, and make no mistake about it…it’s all about the Sriracha.

I never understand recipes that call for you to marinate for two hours or overnight. Forget the whole two hours thing. It’s always overnight unless you’re up against the wall for time.

I suggest you plan properly because overnight marinating makes a huge difference in every single dish I’ve made. There is no comparison.

I don’t know how you feel about it, but when I buy shrimp that has been “cleaned,” they never seem to completely de-vein the shrimp. I always remove the vein even in the front of the shrimp, not just in the back. But hey, it’s up to you.

Ingredients

2 cups coconut milk

1/2 cup fresh Kaffir lime juice (Key limes are fine also)

1 tbsp lime zest

1/4 cup Thai fish sauce

5 tbsp Sriracha sauce (no substitute; it’s easy enough to get)

1 tbsp Tamarind paste

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp minced fresh ginger

1 tbsp pink Himalayan salt

2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp fresh chopped basil

24 jumbo shrimp (peeled and de-veined)

Olive oil for grilling

Bamboo skewers

Directions

In a non-reactive bowl (like glass), mix the first eleven (11) ingredients. Place the shrimp and marinade in a zip-lock bag and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Prior to grilling, soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for at least one hour to prevent them from burning on the grill.

Brush the grill with olive oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking, then heat that baby up. Thread 4 shrimp onto each skewer and put the skewers on the grill. Baste liberally while grilling for 3 minutes on each side.

Serve hot with fresh lime halves.

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Mediterranean Mussels

This is an incredible feast for very little money. Mussels are among the most economical shellfish, and they are delicious. If you pick them up at a supermarket, they are cleaned and debearded. All you need to do is rinse them in cold water prior to cooking (and be sure to discard any that are broken open). If you purchase them from a fish market, cleaning may be a bit more complicated, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

You need Fines Herbs for this recipe. You can buy them in a jar all prepared, or you can make some yourself. The recipe for them follows the main recipe.

Ingredients

2 lbs. Mussels (cleaned and/or rinsed)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 yellow onion (chopped)

1 fresh lemon (seeds removed; cut in quarters)

2 Roma tomatoes (seeds removed and chopped)

8 cups water

1 cup white wine

1 cup clam juice

3 tbsp. fines herbs

3 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped; for garnish)

Loaf of Ciabatta bread (I like rosemary and olive oil), Italian bread, or garlic bread (you choose)

Directions

Use a nice, big pasta pan for this dish. Add olive oil, garlic and onions to pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. No more. The idea here is to add a bit of flavor, but not to overwhelm the flavor of the delicate mussels.

Add the water, salt, fines herbs, clam juice, tomatoes, lemons, and white wine. Heat for a bit, but do not bring to a boil. Add the cleaned mussels. I can’t give you a definitive time here. All you do is cook them until the mussels are opened. Serve in bowls with plenty of broth. That’s what the bread is for.

Great with white wine. If you’re not a white wine drinker, have some red. I’m not a believer in red for meats and red-sauce pastas; white for fish and chicken. You should be drinking what you like. The food police are not welcome on this blog, thank you very much.

I like this dish with an arugula salad. A simple arugula salad, which means just arugula and a simple Italian dressing. I’m going to give you the recipe for the Italian dressing below also.

Spoon the mussels into individual pasta dishes, throwing some chopped parsley on top for garnish. Don’t be shy with the broth. It’s delicious. That’s why there’s bread in the recipe.

Here is the recipe for Fines Herbs.

Fines Herbs

1 tbsp. chopped tarragon

1 tbsp. chopped chervil

1 tbsp. chopped chives

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tbsp. chopped marjoram

That’s it. A lot of recipes out there tell you the marjoram is optional. It isn’t in my book.

Simple Italian Dressing

This is a great dressing. I’m not a fan of heavy olive oil in my dressings. I like the light olive oils that are used for dressings and marinades. If I don’t have that on hand, I use canola oil.

McCormick  makes an awesome Tuscan Seasoning. It’s a mix of black pepper, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, basil, red pepper, onion, garlic, sun-dried tomato, red bell pepper and salt. Trust me. You don’t need to create this yourself. I keep a bottle on hand all the time. It’s one of those must-have things.

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for dressings and marinades; not the one for cooking)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp. Tuscan Seasoning

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Shake it up. It’s ready. If you’re a cheese-o-holic like me, you can put some shaved Parmesan or Asiago on your salad. If not, it’s fine without.

By the way, I love those Good Seasons cruets for dressings. I don’t use the packets, but it’s worth buying the package just to get the cruet. Keeps well in the fridge for the next time.

 

 

 

 

 

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