Seafood Alfredo 2.0

Long ago, I loved this seafood alfredo pasta dish: it was my favorite entrée at this French-Thai  restaurant on Linden Street in Allentown. I have replicated it once or twice before but, since then, sadly my paper version has disappeared. So I reviewed many recipes and used parts of several to come up with this version.  It is a budget and somewhat healthyish version (no heavy cream and minimal butter) and made quicker; no homemade pasta or crab meat. But, I think it does my memory justice and we sure enjoyed it for New Year’s Eve’s festive supper.

You could change up the seafood if you like. I sautéed my shrimp unpeeled and peeled them before putting them back in the sauce; more flavor that way. I cut the cooked big scallops in half to be the right size. I used gf pasta which doesn’t really have a true fettucine; it is about the width of linguini. Use whatever pasta you like. Use regular all purpose flour for creating the sauce if you aren’t gluten free. The secret to thickening this sauce is cream cheese. It melts into the cream sauce and vola! Thickened lush sauce but no heavy cream. My Italian friend Dan is probably shuddering at the seafood added and the lack of cream but I believe he would totally enjoy the flavors and textures of this seafood treat.

This fast snapshot does not do justice to this creamy delightful sauce and all the seafood in it.

Angie’s Seafood Alfredo for two

Ingredients

4 large sea scallops

8 large shrimps

1 Tbsp. mild olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 large shallot, diced fine

1 large garlic clove minced

1 small bay leaf

1 Tbsp rice flour

¾ cup whole milk or mixture of ½ cup whole milk and ¼ cup half and half [I did that]

2 ounces cream cheese cut into 4 cubes, room temp

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 small can minced clams, drained, save juice in case your sauce is too thick

½ of a 4 ounce can mushroom stems/pieces (drained)

3 Tbsp fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat a pot of water for pasta, salt it. Make the pasta (for two people) so it is timed to be ready say 12 minutes later. Melt 1 tsp of the butter with the Tbsp. of olive oil in medium sauté pan, let get hot but not smoking. Add scallops that you dried with a paper towel, add shrimps spaced out carefully so they each have room. After a minute flip the shrimp, 1- 2 minutes later carefully flip the scallops and cook them 1-3 minutes until just done. You should have taken out the shrimps as soon as their tails curl up after their flip. Put them all in a bowl. If your scallops are large cut them in half; I did. They matched the size of the shrimp better once I did that. Add rest of butter to pan and as it melts add the shallots and after a minute the garlic and bay leaf. Heat the milk in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Cook the shallots and garlic on medium heat while stirring; for a couple minutes, then add the flour; stir to incorporate it with the butter. Slowly add the hot milk to sauté pan stirring constantly. Next add the cream cheese cubes, hot pepper flakes, salt. Cook 2 minutes, add the mushrooms, clams and any clam juice you feel is needed to maintain the creamy texture. I used a tablespoon or so of it. Stir; add back seafood and then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and let it melt in as you stir it over low heat. When cheese is melted; serve over al dente pasta. I made skinny green beans and stirred a few into my sauce on my plate. Delish! Enjoy!

Cupboard Supper: Seafood Spaghetti

Spring is the season for asparagus, spring onions and peas. I love them all served together with spaghetti and garlic and lots of butter. This recipe can be made from stuff in your pantry other than the scallions. You could use red onion or shallots in place of the green onion but it wouldn’t be the same.

This is the only seafood and pasta dish where I grate cheese on top; normally taboo – considered not a good combination but it works fantastically in this fast to throw together entrée.  This meal is visually appealing with the greens and the white.  I have been making variations of it for many years.  This is one of my favorite versions.  Great flavor and so speedy to make; how fast can you get the water boiling and cook the pasta?  That is how long it takes to create a great meal in one fantastic dish.

Yes, I make it with gf pasta.  Use the brand you love, don’t overcook it; barely done is best.  I made it for years and years with regular pasta before I had to go gluten free.  The original recipe didn’t have the asparagus and peas; my addition.  Good no matter what veggies you add; just don’t take away any of the basic ingredients.

Try to use tuna packed in olive oil; makes all the difference, especially for Italian dishes, much better flavor than any other kind of tuna. Giant carries it as does Wegmans. If you totally hate tuna you could use half a pound of small cooked shrimp. Ditto on using real butter, margarine will ruin the flavor for sure.  And I really love the greens; especially the onions; buy scallions if you can’t find spring onions.  I always cook the white parts a few minutes but the green tops can be close to raw. Better that way than overcooked. Last but not least by any means, use the real deal for your parmesan cheese, that shreddy stuff in the jar is not gf a lot of the time and the flavor is sad when compared to a chunk you just grated on your pasta. You can thank me after you taste this masterpiece!

Seafood Spaghetti with Greens

Ingredients

1 package of gf spaghetti

½ stick of butter

6-10 spears of asparagus

½ cup fresh snap peas, cut in half (frozen oetite peas are fine)

1 can light tuna packed in olive oil

1 can diced clams

1 bundle scallions or spring onions

1 big garlic clove

Directions: Boil a big pot of salted water, add the entire box of spaghetti; usually 12 oz size in gf.  Cook stirring often until barely done.  Drain.  While it cooks make the rest of the dish.

Veggie Prep: I like to snap the asparagus into manageable lengths; like 1 ½ inches long.  Ditch the tough ends. Cut the peas in half, cut the spring onions into ¼ inch rounds. If using frozen peas add in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter in a big saucepan.  I use my mini wok. Add the veggies, cook a minute, and add the garlic pressed or minced.  Stir and cook another minute.  Throw in the white part of the onions; add the tuna and clams with ALL the juices and olive oil in the tuna can.  Stir gently and cook a minute.  Toss in the green parts of the scallions and the cooked hot pasta.  Stir a bit.  Add 1 tbsp. more butter if you dare and up to a quarter cup of pasta water to moisten the pasta.  It is really not a wet sauce; the stuff should cling to the strands of spaghetti.

Serve and top each portion with a healthy amount of finely grated real parmesan cheese.   Should serve four but if you are piggy only serves 3! seafood spagetti on plate

+++++++++++++ Variation for those with a garden +++++++++++++

Yes, you can eat kale flower buds, a lot like broccolini.  I sometimes blanch them in hot water before sauteing with olive oil and garlic.

pasta 012pasta 010pasta 013pasta 017pasta 018

These pictures above show my latest and quite yummy variation: I quick sizzled unopened kale flower buds from my last year’s plants and topped the finished pasta dish with it; really nice and I am guessing this kale option is quite good for your health

Originally posted May 2015.

Italian Seafood Stew 2.0

I am a true lover of seafood and enjoy a good soup. So, combining these two loves is a natural. Years ago I used to make French Bouillabaisse, a light seafood chowder served over garlic bread.  The other day I was craving something warm and cozy like a bowl of soup. I had a can of artichoke bottoms someone gave to me.  I had some seafood… I used to make a Portuguese seafood stew but I am kinda tired of that; so upon more thought I decided it would be far more interesting to make an Italian version of Bouillabaisse that could use the ingredients I had on hand including that can of artichoke bottoms. I had everything but the cod.

It turned out pretty tasty. You can be flexible with the veggie amounts: I tend to use a lot of veggies in my recipes.  I am positive you could use artichoke hearts, either canned or frozen in stead of the pricier bottoms. If you hate artichokes; leave them out. Their flavor is not a strong component but if you don’t want it….  A cup of thinly chopped fennel would make a good substitution.  I got my saffron at Valley Farm Market in Bethlehem, cheapest around. Seems of good quality.

Use what ever seafood you have or enjoy. I think it is more interesting if you use at least two sorts besides one white firm fleshed fish. Leave the clam or mussel shells in and ditto for the shrimp shells: they add real flavor and look very authentic, just let folks pick them out. Do not use large clams or big hunks of fish; no bigger than one inch square.  Only cook it until shells open, shrimp curl and fish gets opaque.

Angie’s Italian Fish Stew

2 Tbsp. EVOL (good olive oil)

1 stalk of celery diced

1 medium onion diced

1 large carrot diced

4 garlic cloves minced

¼ tsp. saffron, crushed

1 15 ounce can of finely diced tomatoes

1 large red potato cut in small (1/3 inch dice)

2-3 Tbsp white wine or vermouth

1 ½ cups water or whey leftover from straining yogurt

2 cups chicken broth

1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (your discretion)

1 bay leaf

½-3/4 cup cooked chickpeas.

½ lb mixed seafood like mussels, clams, squid, shrimp

½ lb cod fillet

1Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley

1 can artichoke bottoms or hearts, drained and diced; I used all but one bottom

Garlic bread rounds, gluten free french bread

Directions:

Heat EVOL in large heavy bottomed 2-3 qt sauce pan.  Add celery, onion and carrots, cook about 5 minutes until softened, add garlic, cook another minute, add saffron, cook a minute.  Add wine, water/whey and broth. Let heat a minute and add the potato cubes, bay leaf and red pepper flakes.  Cook 15 minutes until potatoes are nearly done. Add cod which you have diced in large cubes and sprinkled with the lemon juice and mixed seafood. Cook about 5-8 minutes until seafood is just barely cooked.

Serve over thick slices of French bread heated, smeared with butter and sprinkled with garlic powder. I used two per bowl. You can heat them in the oven or in a toaster; do not butter and put in toaster; If you use the toaster method you will have to butter and garlic after it is done. I tried it both ways and it is superior baked in oven but fine done quick in the toaster. I used leftover French bread I had made the other day, gluten free of course and it made great garlic bread. The garlic granules work well but if you feel compelled to use fresh garlic…. You pour the stew over the bread and let it get soft from the broth. Alternately you can just eat it as bread with your stew. Enjoy!

seafood stew 3

Notes: I used chick peas I had cooked myself but canned are fine. If you don’t like chick peas use cannelloni beans or navy beans. I bet fava beans would be great in this! I used the whey remaining after I made Greek yogurt the day before. I never tasted it before; it is a touch salty and slightly tangy and very pleasant. I believe it is full of nutrients and a great addition to a soup.

Seafood Cakes

Once at the Springtown Inn I had the most delicious seafood cakes, this was 8-9 years ago.  Well, to be honest, maybe twice I had them. Anyway, they were made with two or three different seafood proteins I think they had shrimp and crab but it was such a length of time that I can’t remember for sure.  Anyway, I had long wanted to create a similar dish.  Searched for a recipe and not finding one that was really close I took one from Food Network and modified it.  The recipe featured small sized cakes with a fresh salsa on top, made by Robert Irvine. I didn’t do the salsa and I made a few changes to the cakes.

I made them two different versions; lobster, shrimp and crab and one with flounder instead of the crab.  Both were easy to construct and delightful. The flavor is delicate and light. I didn’t make a sauce in the interest of that delicacy plus it was easier and included less calories. We agreed they were fine all alone but go right ahead and made a sauce of your choice. Mr. Irvine suggests a sauce of equal parts crème fresh and sour cream.  I might try that next time!

seafood cakes frying

Angie’s Seafood Cakes

¼ lb medium raw shrimp; peeled and no tails

a 4oz. lobster tail, removed from shell and still raw

1/3 lb raw flounder or crabmeat

2 tbsp. finely chopped shallots

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup gf bread crumbs, preferably panko plus more if desired for coating cakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

Half a lemon, zested

1/3 cup Mayonnaise, might need a tad more….

2 tbsp. finely grated parmesan cheese (I made one version without)

1-2 tbsp. mild olive oil

Directions:

Chop the raw lobster tail into chunks. Put the seafood in a food processor, process briefly until fairly small particles but not even close to a paste.  Dump in a big bowl, add the shallots, parsley, bread crumbs, garlic powder, zest, mayo and cheese, stir to blend well. Don’t overblend; stop as soon as it seems fairly even. If you like; before stirring add salt and pepper to taste; maybe ½ tsp. sea salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Form into 4 cakes. If you want them crunchy on the outside gently press into some more bread crumbs to crumb both sides.  Put on a large plate and chill an hour so they hold their shape.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet to hot and fry them about 3 minutes to a side; do not let burn!  I turned down the heat after a minute so they kept cooking but at a temperature less likely to turn them dark brown. But don’t use low temps or you will get a greasy cake!

seafood cake with risotto

Serve with some rice pilaf and your favorite vegetable; asparagus comes to mind! I made pea risotto which was divine.