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Tag Archives: seafood

Cioppino – Seafood Stew

13 Feb

Happy Valentines Day tomorrow!  I meant to give you this succulent Cioppino earlier in case you were looking for a special dinner inspiration, but better now than never.  You’ll want to save this recipe for your seafood-loving friends and family; they’ll be hard pressed to find a dinner as enjoyable as this intensely mouthwatering seafood stew.  Your peeps will adore you for cooking up this Cioppino for any special dinner.

Cioppino 1

I’ve been a seafood fan all my life.  My parents are adept at dishing up delicious sea fare, and living near the ocean most of my life sure didn’t hurt our fresh seafood consumption.  If you enjoy seafood, you already know there are very few things that parallel the awesomeness of a deeply satisfying bowl of good Cioppino.

Cioppino

We were previously under the assumption that Cioppino originated in Italy, which I gather is a common assumption.  In reality, Cioppino is considered Italian-American, as it was originated in good ol’ San Fransisco.  Cioppino is a concoction that resulted from fishermen combining their catches, creating a hearty stew with whatever good stuff was in their boats.  Catch-of-the-day stew.

Cioppino 4

I personally am supremely thankful for those fishermen who helped propel this wonderfully hearty, satisfying, and healthy stew.  It’s the perfect solution for cold weather dinners, and scrumptiously satisfying with crusty bread.  The bread is a must-have, for soaking up every drop of the light yet full-flavored broth that’s way too delectable to be wasted.

Cioppino 2

I’ve eaten Cioppino in many places, and it’s always made a little differently, depending on where you get it at.  Typically, there is a variety of shelled seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, etc.) combined with chunks of firm fish.  All swimming in an indescribably delicious warm broth.  If you can’t get certain shellfish but can get a hold of others, just sub with what is available to you.  Keep the shells on for cooking, as that is what lends the broth its amazing flavor.

Make it a date for two, or a dinner for eight.  My fave part – this phenomenal broth can be made the day before, and just add seafood the day of.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
2 TB tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 can (28-32 oz) can whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped.  Juices reserved.
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup chicken or fish broth
2 TB white sugar
20 hard shelled clams
20 shelled mussels
1 lb firm fish (ie., halibut, snapper, or salmon)
1 lb very large shrimp (16-20 count-size), deveined, shell-on
1 lb large sea scallops, muscles removed from side if attached
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, freshly chopped
Crusty bread for serving


DIRECTIONS

Place first seven ingredients in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over moderate heat.  Cook until onions are soft, 5 min.  Stir in celery, bell pepper, and tomato paste, cooking 1 min.  Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5-6 min.  Stir in tomatoes, their juices, claim juice, broth, and sugar.  Simmer covered 30 min.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

(At this point, broth may be cooled and placed in fridge overnight.  When ready to serve, just bring broth back to simmer and continue with recipe.)

If ready to serve:  Bring stew to simmer.  Add clams and mussels until shells just open, checking every minute and transferring opened clams/mussels to a separate bowl with tongs immediately when they open.  Remaining unopened shellfish should be tossed out.  Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt/pepper.  Add them to the stew and simmer covered 3 minutes or just until shrimp turns opaque.  If shrimp turns opaque before the fish is done, remove shrimp to prevent overcooking.

Turn off heat and leave uncovered.  Discard bay leaves.  Return all cooked shellfish back into the stew.  Add parsley.  Serve warm stew in bowls, garnishing with fresh basil.  Serve with crusty bread.

By:  Chew Out Loud, adapted by Gourmet

Wine Pairing:  A good quality dry Sauvignon Blanc or crisp Rose will go beautifully here.

Notes:  Feel free to use whatever fresh/good quality seafood is available to you.  Many people like to include crab legs.  The most important thing is not to overcook the seafood.  If I have any leftovers, sometimes I pour it over al dente pasta the next day… amazing.

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Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Mango Salsa

3 Aug Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa 5

I love fish and pretty much any kind of seafood.  On those occasions where Hubby and I are able to get a good sitter for our munchkins, we enjoy hitting the town for a grown-up dinner.  We so look forward to these occasional outings that we often anticipate ahead of time what we might order.  As it turns out, I almost always order something that features seafood.  It can be in the form of a pasta, rice, pizza, stew, or potato dish… but seafood tends to have a role in my choices.  I must have passed that seafood love down to my kids, because they also could live on all sorts of ocean fare.  It still boggles my mind that my 8 year old, who couldn’t eat anything solid for the first 2 years of his life due to complications with GERD, is now the kid who wolfs down platefuls of mussels and clams.  Needless to say, fish is a popular protein around here.  So guess what happened when I saw Mahi Mahi at the local market?

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa 5

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa – Perfect blend of sweet and savory!

Mahi Mahi has a wonderfully flaky, firm texture.  With the warm weather around here, I decided to pair the Mahi Mahi with a sweet pineapple-mango salsa. Awesome call – it was refreshingly delicious!

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa 5

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa – Light yet totally satisfying

Pan searing is a fantastic way to do fish, as it gives the fillet a nice brown “crust” while leaving the middle tender.  As with all methods of cooking fish, it’s important to watch carefully and not overcook it.  When fish is overcooked, it loses its tenderness and becomes dry and tough (not so yum).  My recipe uses Mahi Mahi, but any firm white fish will be great.  Halibut is one of my all time favorites for pan searing, so if you have halibut, go for it.   Your actual cook time will really vary, depending on the cut/thickness of your fillet.  My fillets here were about 1 inch thick.  My cook time would be different for a thicker or thinner fillet.

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa 5

Mahi Mahi Pineapple Mango Salsa – Goes well with sauteed veggies, rice pilaf, or lightly buttered potatoes

You’ll love the sweet salsa with whatever fish fillet you choose to sear up, so be prepared to have extra on hand!

RECIPE (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

Four Mahi Mahi fillets (4-6 oz each, about 1 inch thick)
Oil for pan frying (light olive oil works well)
Coarse Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
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1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 ripe mango, diced
1 vine-ripened tomato, diced
1 can diced pineapple, drained
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp honey
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

For the Pineapple-Mango Salsa:  Mix the last 9 ingredients together well.  Set aside in fridge.

For the fish:  Sprinkle fillets liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat about 5 TB oil in large frying pan at medium-high until very hot.  Carefully set a fillet in hot oil and sear for 2 minutes – lift pan by the handle frequently and shake the pan back and forth briskly, so the fish is being moved around.  You don’t want the fish to sit in the same spot the entire time and get stuck on the pan.  Carefully flip fish over, and turn heat to medium.  Cook 4 minutes, still lifting and shaking pan here and there.  Immediately remove fish from pan, and repeat for other fillets.  Again, your actual cook time will vary depending on fish fillet thickness.  If you prefer, you can use a thermometer to check for just-doneness.  The fish is done at at 125F.

Wine Pairing Note:  This dish pairs beautifully with a dry Reisling or dry Rose.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Summer Shrimp Ceviche

6 Jul

We’re in the midst of summer, and it is hot!  Shrimp Ceviche is, hands down, one of my favorite summer recipes.  It is one of those appetizers that is both refreshingly light and full of flavor.  Bonus:  It’s full of antioxidants and good for you!   Around here, we can eat so much shrimp ceviche that we’re nearly sated by the time we’re supposed to be digging into the main dish.  This ceviche is fabulous either as an appetizer or a salad by itself.

Shrimp Ceviche, cool and refreshing for summer

The best part about Shrimp Ceviche is that there is little to no cooking involved, depending on how you prefer to prepare it.  You can avoid the stove and let the lime juice do all your cooking.  However, I usually get the shrimp to just barely-cooked before throwing the ceviche together.  The reason I don’t let the lime juice do all the “cooking” is that the shrimp tends to become rubbery and tough when done that way.  If you cook the shrimp a little bit before assembling the ceviche, your seafood will reward you and stay tender.

Tender shrimp, lime, tomatoes, and all the fixings: Shrimp Ceviche

The glorious part of this dish is that it’s extremely flexible.  In fact, I can implement my Dad’s scientific cooking technique with this one:  just a dash of this and a pinch of that.  Configure this shrimp ceviche to your taste buds, and it will come out delicious every time.

Because I eyeball it whenever prepping Shrimp Ceviche, the recipe below is one of approximates.  Go ahead – toss in as much or little of the ingredients as you like and enjoy!

RECIPE (serves about 6, give or take)

INGREDIENTS
1 lb raw shrimp
1 red onion, diced
1-2 limes
chopped cilantro (1/3 – 1/2 cup)
2-3 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (or a bunch of cherry tomatoes sliced in halves)
1 ripe avocado
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
2-3 T butter or oil

DIRECTIONS
De-vein and remove shells from shrimp.  If shrimp is large, cut into thirds.  If small, cut into halves.  Heat up butter or oil in large skillet.  Cook translucent shrimp just until barely opaque.  This happens quickly, so watch carefully and do not overcook!  Once shrimp turns orange, immediately remove it from skillet to cool.  Set aside.

Generously squeeze lime juice over onions and coat.  Onions will “cook” slightly in the lime juice, giving it a softer flavor.  Dice avocado and coat with lime juice to prevent browning.

Combine shrimp, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado in a bowl.  Squeeze juice of 2-3 lime wedges over entire thing and gently toss to coat.  Now the fun part – generously sprinkle kosher salt and fresh back pepper to taste.  Add more lime if needed.  When it tastes good to you, it’s ready!  Serve cold, with crispy tortilla chips.

Wine pairing note:  Shrimp ceviche goes super well with a Sauvignon Blanc or Torrontes.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

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