Rosé Summer Mussels

Every Mediterranean country has its version of shellfish in a tomato-based broth, and the wine of choice for each is an earthy, full-bodied pink wine. Here, seek out a nice sweet rosé, I sever these with a bottle of Martha Clara Vineyards sweet rosé.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 5 oz can v-8 juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, v-8 Juice, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now, when it comes to the canned tomatoes and the v-8 juice, I use the low sodium option here. Too much sodium is not good for you and around here I’m all about cooking things that are good for you… most of the time. So lets get back to the mussels.

Discard any mussels that have broken shells or that don’t clamp shut when tapped. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover; bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the open mussels. Continue to boil, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard any that do not open.

Stir the black pepper into the broth. Taste the broth and, if needed, add salt. Ladle the broth over the mussels and serve with the garlic toast.

mussles with tomato broth

mussels with tomato broth

Simple Shrimp Sauce and Pasta

Shrimp and pasta… did I mention that Stop and Shop has a sale on shrimp. Well, here’s a nice quick shrimp and pasta dish that works best when the shrimp are of a medium size rather than those super-jumbo ‘revenge of the shrimp’ size crustaceans they are farming these days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
• 4 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled and forced through a garlic press
• 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
• 1/2 cup Duck Walk white wine
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3/4 lb linguini
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Romano and / or Parmesan cheese for garnish

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of water to a boil with a shake or two of sea salt.

Now, heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté shrimp, about 2 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper to oil remaining in skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, about a minute or so. Then, add the butter to skillet, stirring until melted; this is the sauce to which we will add the shrimp. So, stir in shrimp, combine thoroughly and remove skillet from heat.

While making the shrimp sauce, cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in large bowl, adding some of reserved cooking water if necessary to keep moist. Plate it up and garnish with shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Serve this with the rest of that Duck Walk wine, and enjoy a sunny dinner out on the porch.

Vegitable Stuffed Sustainable Sardines

Time to get back to basics and back on message, today we will be stuffing sustainable sardines. Sardines are a plentiful fish with good stockpiles here on Long Island. Although there are people who hear ‘sardines’ and start thinking ‘canned’, these are probably the same people who hear ‘Taco Bell’ and start thinking ‘fine Mexican dining’. Sardines are a ‘real fish’ they come whole in the fish market with no can in sight. So head down to your fishmonger and pick up a half dozen 8 inch or so sardines and invite some friends over for an uncanned experience.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 fresh sardines
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ heaping cup grated zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350º. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ¾ cup breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Add zucchini, oregano and parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Clean and dress the sardines. Lay them on prepared pan, flesh-side up; spoon breadcrumb mixture into the cavity. Bake until sardines are cooked through and hot, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

While they are cooking, you could whip up a little couscous and a side salad and, to flagrantly steal some other cook’s catch-phrase … ‘BAM”… dinner for friends is done!

Sustainable Squid – Stuffed

Squid… I know, everyone’s tried fried calamari, and a lot of people don’t like unhealthy fried foods. But today is not a calamari day. Its stuffed squid day! Squid is healthy and nutritious seafood that rates favorable on our sustainability scale. There are several ways to work with this often overlooked delicacy, but today is stuffed squid day.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 8 to 10 whole squid (about 3 to 5 inches each)
  • 2 ounces raw shrimp
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups pasta sauce

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and salt and sweat until the onions turn translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not brown them, then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Transfer this mixture to a medium mixing bowl and let cool.

Clean the squid thoroughly and remove the heads from the tentacles and discard the heads. Turn the tubes inside out as the outside skin tends to curl outward, it’ll curl better inside out, put them into a bowl with some ice and set in the refrigerator until ready to use. Place the tentacles and the shrimp into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 6 to 8 times or until there are no large pieces visible. Do not process until smooth. Now, if you don’t have shrimp, a reasonable alternative here would be crab meat, or even left over lobster, but who would have any lobster left-over.

Now, transfer this to the mixing bowl along with the onions and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, tomato, lemon zest, ginger, parsley and pepper. Stir to combine well. This is the stuffing mixture.

Now, here’s a handy trick that I saw on “Good Eats”, place the mixture into a re-sealable freezer bag and snip a corner.  Pipe the stuffing into the tubes. Do not over-stuff.

Place the tubes into an 8 by 11-inch glass baking dish and cover with the pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately. I like to serve it over pasta.

for more on sustainable squid: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/longfin_squid.htm

Anchovy Pasta Sauce with Olives

Well, getting back on track here with the recipes! Today we’ll be whipping up a little pasta and sauce. The sauce features on of best, healthiest, most under-appreciated, sustainable seafood choices…. Anchovies! With a healthy dose of olives, this sauce is perfect for meatless Friday meals.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tin of anchovies packed in oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion minced
  • 1 can black olives chopped
  • Two dozen green olives sliced
  • 2 tsps capers drained
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tsps oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 16 ozs can of crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ozs tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup marsala
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan combine olive oil and anchovies. Cook them over medium heat, stirring to mash them, about three to five minutes. Add garlic and onion and cook until tender, five minutes or so. Then stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, half an hour or so. It will take a while for the flavors to coalesce into a unified sauce.

As the sauce is cooking, start your pasta. I like to use the mezze penne, and take a moment or two to call up some friends and invite them to lunch.

Pop the top of a bottle of local Long Island red wine and serve up some home entertaining.