Posts Tagged MUSSELS

Paella Mixta

Paella MixtaI just perfected my recipe over the weekend. We had a celebration dinner for my sister, who just finished up a grueling schedule of straight chemo and chemo/radiation, so I wanted to make something very special for her and those who have helped her get through this. Paella is the perfect dish because it combines both meat and fish. It originated in the fields of a region of Spain called Valencia, which is on the east coast.

When I went tooling around the web way back when I first started to think about putting this together, I found one person who complained about a recipe being nothing more than “rice with stuff in it.” I started thinking about this and determined that it’s a perfect description for Paella. So, frankly, I don’t know what his problem was. It’s also a great description for Jambalaya (which I promise to add very soon, since I have a great recipe in my head for that).

I would recommend you purchase a Paella pan. You could, of course, use a large all-purpose skillet, but a Paella pan is just perfect and can be used for other things…like Jambalaya!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs. cut in 1-inch pieces

1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz chorizo cut into 1/4-inch slices and peeled

8 oz Serrano ham, diced

1/2 lb squid rings

1/2 lb langostinos (Chilean lobster tails)

20 mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 cup red. yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1.5 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

2.5 cups short-grained rice (Valencia preferred)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp smoked paprika

30 strands of saffron threads

2 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

Place the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of hot water in a bowl and all it it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to steep. Heat oil in a 15-18″ Paella pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, shrimp, ham, squid rings, and chorizo to he pan and cook until brown, remembering to turn occasionally. You don’t want it to burn. Remove the shrimp and squid rings to a plate, leaving the meats in the pan.

Add the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, chopped peppers and onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften. This should take about 6 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, saffron broth and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil over high heat.

Now, add the rice and distribute it evenly with a spoon. Add peas and return the squid rings to the concoction. Cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed a good portion of the liquid. This should take about 12 minutes. Your Paella pan will definitely be bigger than the burner, so it’s important that you turn the pan every couple of minutes to ensure that the rice cooks evenly. Do not worry if the rice “burns” a bit on the bottom. This is perfect. It’s one of the important things that happens with Paella. Adds to the incredible flavor.

Turn the heat down to “low” and add the reserved shrimp. Give the concoction one stir. Nestle the mussels into the liquid (hinge side down). Allow it to cook without stirring until the mussels have opened, the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is al dente. This should take about 5-10 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the burner and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. This is crazy good stuff.

 

 

 

 

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Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino

cioppinoI’m naming this Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino because the first time I ever had this dish I was on vacation in one of my all-time favorite cities: San Francisco. This seafood feast is one of the eight wonders of the food world. It’s origins lie in — as you may guess — Italy. For a “stew” of this complexity, it’s remarkably uncomplicated to make.

Like its cousin, Mediterranean Fish Stew, you can serve it with crusty bread. However, I also highly recommend serving it over pasta, preferably homemade pasta.

You’re going to need a very large kettle or pot for this. I use the pot I cook lobsters in.

Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups fish stock

1 cup all-natural clam juice (Snows is what I use)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried whole oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp fennel seed

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1.5 lbs catfish, salmon, halibut or cod, cut in pieces

1.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.5 lbs sea scallops, cut in half

1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed

1 lb lump crabmeat

1/2 lb calamari, bodies only cut in 1-in rings

Directions

Heat the oil in a lobster pot or large kettle over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, pepper and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, and coarse-ground black pepper. Cook for another several minutes.

Add the tomatoes (and their juices), clam juice, chicken stock, fish stock, white wine, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.

Remove the cover and add the littleneck clams and mussels.  Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the shells open. Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon and reserve. Be sure to throw away any clams or mussels that have not opened.

Next, add the scallops, shrimp, fish, crab meat and calamari rings. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until everything is just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the shellfish to the pot and stir in the parsley. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread. Or serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese on the side.

 

 

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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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