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Wild Shrimp Salad – Italian Style

In Fish & Shellfish, Salads On January 3, 2020 0 Comments

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Wondering why you see the word “wild”? Since Italians have enjoyed wild shrimp for millennia, we realize that wild shrimp are sweeter than the farm-raised variety. In order to taste the ocean, salt and sweetness of these little crustaceans, I literally bite a chunk off (shell and all) while standing at the fish market. It’s okay – the fishmongers know me well and laugh it off. When shrimp are farm-raised, they are literally flavorless.

This Italian style salad has limited ingredients so that the sweet, wild shrimp flavor stands out at every bite.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 to 1-1/2 pounds wild shrimp, peeled and deveined (top and bottom veins)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 of a yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley, finely minced

Directions:
1. Rinse the shrimp under cold water, drain and transfer to a 6-quart saucepot.

2. Cover shrimp with cold water and place saucepot on burner set on high – uncovered.

3. Stand by to make sure water does not foam up and spill out of saucepot.

4. When shrimp come to a boil, cook until flesh is opaque and pink – about 1 to 2 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

5. Taste a shrimp to make sure it is cooked through.

6. When shrimp are cooked, immediately drain them into a colander set over a sink.

7. Transfer shrimp to a large glass or porcelain bowl.

8. Add remaining ingredients; toss and taste.

9. If needed, adjust seasoning levels.

10. Cover salad with aluminum foil and let cool. Serve at room temperature.

11. Alternatively, prepare salad 2 to 3 hours ahead and refrigerate, covered. Wild Shrimp Salad – Italian Style can also be served cold.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Valentine’s Day Tuna Tartare Rolls

In Appetizers / Starters, Fish & Shellfish, Fun Foods, Holidays On February 2, 2018 0 Comments

If you want to stay in on Valentine’s Day, make this tuna tartare appetizer. It’ll pair well with the bubbly. And – you’ll have fun in the kitchen!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes: 12 to 14 bite-size starters

Ingredients:
One 5 to 6-ounce sushi-grade tuna filet, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely-chopped chives or stems from green onions
1/2 teaspoon grated, fresh ginger
juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
dried, crushed red chili pepper, to taste
salt, to taste (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt)
4 Persian cucumbers, peeled and tips cut & discarded

Directions:
1. In a 4-cup mixing bowl, combine the chopped tuna filet, chives or green onions, ginger, lime juice, olive oil, chili pepper and salt.

2. Taste the tuna tartare and, if needed, adjust seasoning and olive oil levels.

3. Cover the tuna tartare and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife or mandolin, take one cucumber and make paper-thin slices lengthwise.

5. Repeat slicing remaining cucumber.

6. Working with one cucumber slice at a time, place scant 3/4 teaspoon tuna tartare at one end.

7. Gently and tightly roll up the cucumber slice; secure the tuna tartare roll with a toothpick.

8. Set each tuna tartare roll on a serving plate.

9. When all rolls have been assembled, serve them immediately.
Wine Pairing: Champagne, Prosecco or Sauvignon Blanc wine
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Grilled Octopus with Red Bell Pepper Pesto

In Fish & Shellfish On June 16, 2017 0 Comments

I finally figured out how to transform the rubbery “look” of octopus into a tender delicacy. Here it is:

Prep time: 10 minutes (pesto) and 45 minutes (for boiling octopus)
Serves: 4 (as an appetizer)

First, make the Red Bell Pepper Pesto-
Ingredients for Red Bell Pepper Pesto:
2 red bell peppers
2 garlic cloves, hearts removed
3/4 cup raw, slivered almonds
3 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
1/3 cup cold water
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Lay the bell peppers and garlic on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

2. Transfer the baking sheet to an oven rack positioned 6 inches away from oven top broiler element.

3. Broil the peppers and garlic until charred – about 7 minutes; turn them over and grill the other side.

4. When peppers and garlic are charred, transfer them to a cold plate; set aside to cool.

5. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them and discard skins. Remove and discard stems and seeds.

6. Transfer peppers and remaining ingredients to a food processor; process until a paste (pesto) forms.

7. Using a spoon, taste the pesto. If it is too thin, cover the food processor and add 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a thin stream. Taste again and, if needed, adjust salt & pepper levels.

8. Transfer the pesto to a glass or porcelain jar, cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, prepare the octopus:

Ingredients for the Octopus:
1 whole octopus (fresh or frozen and thawed)
2 tablespoons olive oil, to oil baking sheet
Mint leaf sprigs, as garnish

Directions:
1. In a 6-quart saucepot, bring water to a boil.

2. Add the octopus to the boiling water and boil for 45 minutes. It will look like this:
Image.OctopusinPot

3. After 45 minutes, prepare a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes.

4. Using tongs, carefully lift octopus from boiling water and immediately transfer it to the ice bath:
Image.OctopusIce

5. Wait 5 minutes for the octopus to cool. After it has cooled, drain the water from the octopus. Face down, the octopus will look like this:
Image.OctopusFaceDown

6. Turn the octopus face-up. It will look like this (I know it looks kinda gross, but bear with me):
Image.OctopustoBehead

7. Cut off the head and discard it.

8. Cut all the tentacles in a vertical manner (do not discard any flesh) and place them on an oiled baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

9. Remove the fatty, purple skin (on the underside only- do not remove the suction cups) to expose the white flesh. The octopus legs will look like this:
Image.OctopustoGrill

10. Brush the octopus tentacles with olive oil; sprinkle them with salt and ground black pepper.

11. Place the baking sheet with octopus on an oven rack positioned 6 inches below top broiler element.

12. Broil/grill the octopus for 12 to 15 minutes.

13. After 12 to 15 minutes, transfer the octopus to a plate & garnish with mint leaves.

14. Serve immediately with Red Bell Pepper Pesto.

Did you bear with me? Here’s our final delicacy:
Image.GrilledOctopusFinal
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
Text and Photographs ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Poached Fish with Saffron Sauce

In Fish & Shellfish On May 16, 2017 0 Comments

Make this easy recipe: poach the fish filets and make the sauce in minutes. The sauce’s rich, yellow hue is derived from saffron. It’s flavor and aroma are perfectly balanced when combined with poached fish filets.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients for Saffron Sauce:
1 slice country bread (Italian or French), crust removed
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons meat or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ to 1 teaspoon saffron threads or ground saffron
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare the Sauce:
1. In a skillet or a toaster, grill or toast the bread.

2. In a small saucepan or skillet, soak bread with broth.

3. When bread is very soft, mash it thoroughly, add the ginger, ½ teaspoon saffron threads and ½ teaspoon salt and dash black pepper; bring sauce to a boil.

4. When sauce comes to a boil, add the vinegar and simmer until thickened.

5. Add salt, to taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

6. For smoother consistency, force the sauce through a strainer.

7. Set sauce aside in a bowl, covered, until ready to serve the fish.

Ingredients for the Fish:
1-3/4 pounds fresh tuna (cod, haddock, halibut or other filets can be substituted)
salt, to taste

Prepare the Fish Filets:
1. Wash the fish and pat it dry with paper towels.

2. Transfer fish to a 12-inch skillet or pan; add cold water to cover and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt.

3. Bring fish to a boil, lower heat and simmer fish until done – begin checking fish after about 10 minutes.

4. If using tuna, it should be cooked but still moist.

5. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, gently lift fish filets out of water, drain and transfer them onto a serving platter. Cover with aluminum foil.

6. Meanwhile, warm sauce and pour it over fish; serve immediately.

7. Accompany this dish with boiled asparagus or string beans.
Text and Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Nancy’s Tuna Tartare

In Appetizers / Starters, Fish & Shellfish On March 24, 2017 0 Comments

Prep time: 10 to 12 minutes
Serves: 4 (as an appetizer) or 2 (as a main dish)

Tuna tartare is one of my favorite appetizers to order at a restaurant. However, by preparing this delicacy at home, I can avoid paying $16.00+ for a mere 1-cup serving at each outing.

My recipe for tuna tartare is a perfect dish for Lent – bon appetit!

Ingredients:
One 8-ounce sushi grade tuna filet, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Persian cucumber, peeled & cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons finely-chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons organic Tamari sauce
salt, to taste (add this after Tamari sauce, as it may be too salty)
4 to 8 corn tostada shells (flat)

Directions:
1. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together except for the tostada shells.

2. Using a large spoon, gently toss so that all ingredients are combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Divide tuna tartare among 2 to 4 plates. Ask guests to spoon some tuna tartare onto a tostada. Bon appetit!

White Wine Pairing: Chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio are suggested.

Text and Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real