Showing posts with label seafood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seafood. Show all posts

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poached "Crazy Water" Sea Bass

Pesce all'Acqua Pazza or "Crazy Water Fish" originated in Capri and was a very popular recipe in the 1960's. Why is it called "crazy water" fish? The term originates from peasants who had the job of making wine for their landlords and the small amount of wine they had leftover they used for themselves and as resourceful as they were, was kept to ferment with grape stems and seeds mixed with large quantities of water and the result was basically water colored with wine thus the term crazy water.  

So how does this apply to the recipe? The original "acqua pazza" recipe was made by taking the fresh catch of the day and poaching it in seawater, olive oil and cherry tomatoes, turning the color of the water similar to the watered down wine mentioned above.  

It's a very simple and light recipe and it really only takes about 20 minutes to make. 

I took two medium sized European Sea Bass but you can use any type of white fish you have for this recipe. Gut the fish...I know gross...but someone's gotta do it! Put a large clove of garlic cut in half in the belly of fish along with some parsley and a pinch of salt. 

Add water to the pan covering only half of the dish as well as 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a cup of white wine.  Cut about 5 cherry tomatoes in half and add to the pan along with a handful of green olives. 

Bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 220°C.

At this point the fish has absorbed the water and is super moist, You will find that the skin detaches from the meat very easily and cleaning it is not at all difficult.  

Clean the fish placing the meat in a separate plate and add the tomatoes and olives along with some of the extra water that was left in the pan for more flavor. 

Serve with a salad on the side and you have yourself a healthy omega-3 packed meal :-)

Hope you enjoy this easy and very Mediterranean recipe! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fisherman's Risotto

Good morning and Happy Monday to you!!!

Today I am excited to share my favorite recipe of all time with you! This is what I usually order whenever I go out to an Italian seafood restaurant and is a big favorite of mine.

I really enjoy making risotto's and I've shared some recipes with you before. Here is my pumpkin risotto recipe and here you can find my asparagus risotto.

Using just one main ingredient for a risotto (like porcini mushrooms, asparagus or even spinach) makes things a lot easier because the cooking time doesn't vary; but when you're using more than one ingredient and especially when using seafood, you have to be extra careful with the different cooking times.

Ingredients for 4 people:

 - 300 grams of uncooked white rice
 - 500 grams of mussels
 - 500 grams of clams
 - 1 fresh calamari
 - 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
 - 1 shallot
 - 1 tablespoon of butter
 - 1 litre of vegetable stock
 - one  spoonful of fresh chopped parsley
 - pepper to taste

Start by preparing the calamari. Rinse it well and cut into small pieces. You don't have to be precise here but keep in mind that they shrink a bit while cooking.

Next prepare the mussels and clams by cooking them on medium heat as done in my Seafood Cavatelli recipe.   Remove the shells and filter the juice with a sifter and napkin to catch any sand that is inside the fresh clams. Set aside.

Now that you have prepared your ingredients, you can heat the chopped up shallot in olive oil until translucent. 

Next add the calamari and let that cook for a couple minutes making sure to stir continuously. Then add the rice.

Let the rice heat up a bit in the skillet then proceed by adding a couple ladles of stock. When you see the rice start to dry up add another ladle and so forth.

Again, the secret to a great risotto is to give it time and let the broth absorb into the ingredients. Check the cooking time indicated for the rice you are cooking with and at the half way point add the mussel and clam juice. 

Taste the rice as you add the broth so you make sure not to overcook it. When the rice is almost done and you can feel it is still a bit firm (usually after 12-14 minutes) add the mussels and clams. Turn off the heat and add the butter and parsley. Keep stirring and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Add some pepper if you wish...but no salt is necessary.

If you like seafood, I hope you'll give this a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

I wish you all a great week ahead :-)

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Baked Salmon Fillet with Veggies

Good morning my friends! How's the first week of the new year going for you? Mine is turning out to be pretty good. I'm sticking to my healthy eating plan and have been pretty productive. I've been quite the busy bee (as my grandmother used to call me when I was little hehe).

I wanted to share with you the dinner I made last night that was a real hit. I don't consider myself an expert cook and I don't think I'm any better than the next person that likes to cook but I do like to eat with good quality ingredients and I like to make sure I don't put (too much) crappy food in my body. So as I said in my last post I'm trying to eat better and eliminate most carbs. 

Usually when I come home from work I would break out the cheese and crackers and snack on them while preparing dinner. It was just becoming a really bad habit for me and once I started tracking my calories on my Fitness Pal app I realized just how many extra calories I was adding to my daily intake. I don't want to become a slave when it comes to counting calories either but I realized that I didn't NEED those extra calories so now what I do is either have a glass of cranberry juice that really curbs my cravings or a hot tea when I get home from work. 

Last night I had a salmon fillet in my fridge along with some fresh veggies that I had stocked up on. So I decided to oven bake everything just because I love the crispiness of oven baked veggies. 

The first thing I did was marinate the salmon for about 30 minutes in olive oil, apple cider vinegar and some Ariosto spices for fish. 

I let this marinate covered in the fridge. Then I washed and cut 3 medium sized zucchini, about a cup and a half of squash, and a cup of champignon mushrooms. I coated everything in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and let bake at 200° C for about 15 minutes.

I baked the veggies first because they take longer than the fish then I made room for the salmon fillet and continued baking for another 20 minutes. 

After the 20 minutes baking time, I broiled for about another 10 minutes making everything nice and crispy which is how I love it!

This meal (for two) left us feeling full and satisfied. It was a low calorie dinner that didn't leave me feeling hungry. I was quite pleased!

Do you like salmon? How do you prepare it? 

I hope you all have a fantabulous weekend :-)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Fresh Start

Well, break is officially over for me as of today and this is my first post of 2016. I am back at work and back in the rhythm of things. This holiday season wasn't the greatest for me. Usually I go to the States for the holidays because I want to be with my sister who I don't get to see very often and I know that when she sees me she is happy and the world is right again. This year however we were apart. We were all apart actually. My father was in the south, my brother was east and my mom was in the west and I was in Italy...  

Strangely I'm very happy to be back to normal life.  Knowing that your family is far away can be quite sad and the holidays are great but if you don't get to spend them with those you love they can suck pretty bad. 

Apart from that...I decided I wanted to start the year off right and hopefully it will be a positive auspice for the rest of the year. I decided not to drink a lot on New Years Eve as I usually go out and celebrate but this year I wanted to feel good on New Years Day and not hung over so that's what I did and it felt great. 

I stocked up on fresh veggies and am making an effort to eliminate dairy from my diet and cut down on the carbs that I have been eating too much of. I also have been on the tread mill almost every day for about 45 minutes. Even if I don't run for the whole 45 minutes I'll power walk with light weights. I'm making sure to take my daily multivitamin and I'm just getting back on track with my overall health. I'm feeling much better than I have in a long time and I have found that a healthier lifestyle is good for the mind as well. 

This is what I had last night for dinner. I made a stir fry with zucchini, onions and mushrooms. I felt so full afterwards, but a healthy full, you know what I mean?

When I eat better, I'm in a better mood.  I'm calmer and less irritable. It might be all in my head but I just feel better all around. Don't ask me how long this will last because I have no idea.  I'm hopeful that it will last through the year and that I can make it a lifestyle change rather than a temporary "new years resolution". I really don't like that seems like when I call something a new years resolution it's bound to fail sooner or later so I don't want to call it that. I want to call it a fresh start. I like that better :-)

So what's new in my home....let's see. I bought some new art work for my living room that I LOVE! I kept eyeing this piece but it cost too much so when I saw it on sale I snatched it up and hung it in my living room. I just love it! What do you think? I know I know, there's a hole in the wall that needs patching up...I'll get around to it eventually. 

Then I bought some new lamps for the night stands in the bedroom which were on sale as well.  I really like these and I was able to get them at 80% off!! 

We had a little New Years Eve party at my house with just a small group of people. It was a nice New Years Eve with lots of good food and good people. What more can you ask for right?

This was our table setting. 

It was a seafood dinner and I made lobster linguine, European sea bass and stuffed mussels. The lobster was alive when my Mr. brought it home....I almost passed out when I saw it because I knew I would have had to kill it. Oh was not easy at all. I was watching YouTube videos for about an hour watching all of the "how to humanly kill a lobster" tutorials.... Basically you have to jam a knife in the head to kill it humanely....yeah....I'll let you imagine. It was not fun. But I did it and this is the lobster after it was done cooking. 

Cute little guy, huh? 

This is the lobster linguine that we had as a first course meal. It was fantastic! It was my fist time cooking a lobster. This linguine was soooo good!

Then we made oven baked stuffed mussels with bread crumbs, herbs and spices.  These were our appetizers and they were so yummy!!

As our second course I prepared three big European Sea Basses cooked in the oven with cherry tomatoes, olives and white wine. A very light second course that didn't leave us feeling too full. 

That was pretty much our meal. I didn't take other pictures because I didn't want to be the antisocial one that was always on the phone but we had lentil soup as a starter as well as pig's trotter (which I really don't like) but these are the "Italian good luck foods" that you must at least taste on new years eve or else it's bad luck for the whole year. Sooo I had a little taste. 

What did you guys do on New Years? Whatever you did I want to wish you all a year of Peace and Serenity. Because I truly think that if there is peace and tranquillity in one's heart, that means that all the other stuff is where it should be... The other stuff being Love, Health, Prosperity and so forth.... so on that note...

I wish you a Happy 2016 dear friends. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cavatelli Pasta with Mussels and Clams

Cavatelli is a type of small pasta that is usually made by hand. Wikipedia says they are shaped like tiny hot dog buns lol (I thought that was amusing). I don't usually make my own pasta because it takes time and patience. I learned how to make handmade orecchiette pasta from my Italian aunts but with working full time and all making my own pasta becomes rather time consuming....
Soooo I simply buy mine.
In Italian this dish is called Cavatelli ai frutti di mare or fruit of the sea cavatelli pasta. The fruit of the sea being the mussels and clams. As I said in my post on the Mediterranean Diet, When using fresh seafood, Italians don't like to cover up the taste because they say (and rightfully so) that if the fish is fresh there is no need to cover up the taste. If it's not fresh, it won't taste like anything therefore more condiments are necessary to add more flavor.
So for this dish I bought:
  - one kilogram of fresh mussels and clams and washed them well.
 - one package of cavatelli pasta
 - fresh parsley
 - extra virgin olive oil
 - one clove of garlic
 - one jalapeno pepper
The hardest part here is to prepare the mussels and clams. After washing them well you want to open them up in a pan. So turn the heat on medium and in a large pan add the mussels and clams together so they open up, cook and release the water that is in the shells.  The water they release is fundamental to the dish and is what gives the cavatelli pasta the typical "taste of the sea" so once the shells open you can turn off the heat. Do not over cook them or they will get too chewy. They should cook for no longer than 10 minutes.
Now remove each mussel and clam from their shells and set aside in a separate bowl, leaving only a handful with shells for decorating the final plate. Make sure to save the juice from the shells!! In another bowl or container filter the juice with a napkin to remove any sand that might have been in the shells.
Filter juice with a napkin and sifter

Remove the mussels and clams from their shells and set aside

Now you can start to bring the pasta to a boil adding only about a teaspoon of salt to the water because the  juice from the clams contains the majority of the salt. The past must not cook too much.
My cavatelli had a total cooking time of 4/5 minutes therefore I left them to boil for just one minute and then transferred them to the pan where I heated the clove of garlic and jalapeno pepper in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Finish off the cooking time of the pasta in the pan by adding the juice that you previously filtered and set aside.
Stir well and at this point you can add the mussels and clams.

Mix everything well adding the chopped parsley and heat until the pasta absorbs the water from the clams.

Now you are ready to serve!
 Buon appetito!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Healthy 15 Minute Seafood Recipe

I learn so much from watching my Aunt cook. She’s staying with me for a few days and she makes the most delicious dishes. When my mom is in the States, she’s like a second mother to me. She lives about 3 hours away so when she comes to visit she stays with me for a couple days. I love having her with me because she takes over the kitchen and I sit sipping my glass of Chardonnay :-) and watch her cook and listen to her while she explains her recipes.  She’s excited about my blog and she gets enthusiastic about the recipes I should share with everyone. She gives me lots of great ideas. For example she loves making homemade Limoncello and other kinds of after dinner drinks using bay leaves, mint and basil and it’s so much fun to watch her. So one of the next recipes I’m excited to share is homemade Limoncello using fresh organic lemons.  It’s one of my favorite recipes and you can use the same recipe and vary the ingredients, for example using oranges, or cherries instead of lemons.
Yesterday we got home rather late because we stopped to get our hair done and do some shopping (a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, am I right?). Anyways, she had bought fresh red prawns and squid earlier that day and I insisted we just order a pizza because it was too late to start cooking but she refused saying that this fresh seafood would go to waste so we had to cook it. Well, my friends, we were at the dinner table eating 15 minutes later and it was out of this world. This is all she did:

Preheated the oven to 200°C and placed the prawns in a baking pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt. In the oven they went for 15 minutes….

In the mean time she heated the cast iron grill pan on the stove and grilled the squid for about 5 minutes on each side. Removed them from grill, drizzled some olive oil and fresh cut parsley and did the same for the prawns. I had made a side salad and that was our dinner. It was soooo good and didn’t take us more than 15 minutes! Oh, and for the healthy eaters…this is a very low calorie/low carb dish by the way ;-) !  You can also use shrimp in place of the prawns and calamari in place of the squid if you prefer. This is a much healthier alternative to fried calamari or buttered shrimp.  Buon appetito!