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!

Coconut Shrimp Stew

I was not been feeling so great last week. So, I was searching for a healthy soup or stew for supper one night. I took a cauliflower turmeric soup recipe from realfarmacy.com and changed it quite a bit to fit the ingredients I have. I love and it feels so healthy. It even has some seaweed in it, yeap I went there and it worked; just one sheet of nori seaweed chopped up with a scissors. Adds complexity and it is good for skin care which is what I need right now.  You can alter it as you like. I used shrimp as I had them. If you prefer chicken go right ahead and swap out for that. Or use cauliflower and make it more veggie driven. I think this is a flexible stew; thick and very flavorful. Great on a cold day especially if you feel ill or sluggish. It will perk you up!

Shrimp and Coconut Stew

Ingredients:

1 medium onion chopped

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 lg garlic cloves

1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup finely sliced Chinese cabbage

1/2 cup shredded snow peas

1 tsp. sea salt

1 sheet nori seaweed

Big handful of dry rice noodles; maybe a cup of them; I used large width.

3/4 lb large raw shrimp; peeled or not!

Directions: heat oil in large soup pot, add cumin seeds and stir for a few moments; add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes; add garlic; cook a minute and then add all the dried spices and chopped ginger. Stir and cook a minute; add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until they soften. Add the Chinese cabbage, coconut milk and broth. 

Meanwhile; heat 2 or 3 cups water to a boil in a separate dish and add the noodles; turn off heat and let stand 8 or 9 minutes. I heat the water in my microwave but you can do it on the stove of course.

Add the shrimp and snow peas to the soup once the mixture had come nearly to a boil. While it is heating you can add the seaweed. I folded my sheet up and cut it into narrow strips with a scissors and dumped it all in. Turn down heat so it doesn’t boil, and simmer 5-6 minutes. Don’t over cook those shrimp! Add the cooked rice noodles and salt at the end of this time, stir and add  water or more broth if it has gotten too thick. Make sure it is hot, and that you have tasted to see if there is enough salt to your tastes. Serve in a wide shallow bowl. Enjoy!

 

Notes: I generally break up the rice noodles into 2-4 inch lengths; they come in a packet of long strips; hard to measure. I just grab out a big chunk and break them up somewhat before dumping in the very hot water. You can use any width you prefer.  You can use any type noodle you prefer but rice noodles are most authentic.

If you don’t like shrimp use another seafood like scallops or a white fish like cod. If you don’t like seafood/fish you could add cooked chicken in slivers or go with no protein at all. To make it vegetarian use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. To “beef up” your vegetarian version try adding some small flowerets of cauliflower; maybe a cup or two when you add the tomatoes.

If you shiver at the very thought of the nori; just leave it out. It adds flavor and protein and does increase the authenticity of the flavors. Enjoy!

Shrimp Risotto Made Easy

I love this recipe: fast, easy and delish. We all want easy recipes that taste great, don’t use too many pots/pans and are budget friendly.  I needed something quick that would use my instant pot electric pressure cooker (IP) as my  sisters were down for Easter and we were hoping to make supper in our mom’s assisted living room.

I had some shrimp in the freezer and all the usual ingredients for risotto.  I had read lots of comments on how good IP risotto was but had resisted until I tried this recipe…. being a lover of the traditional endless stirring method.  It still took as long as hand stirred risotto to make but was much easier for a meal made outside my kitchen and it was fresh and ready to enjoy.

Note: I made this again recently using Asiago cheese and was not a real big fan of that flavor; a good quality chunk of Parmesan is what you need for the best result. Other than that it came out with a perfect texture; for that version I put the peas right in the risotto after releasing it; stirred for a minute and it was ready to serve!

shrimp-risotto

IP Shrimp Risotto, serves 4

1 lb large to extra large shrimp; thawed and shelled

4 tbsp. butter divided

1 small yellow or red onion finely chopped

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

2 tbsp. vermouth or dry white wine

4 ½ cups low sodium great quality chicken broth

1 tsp. sea salt

¼-1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 minced garlic cloves

Finely grated rind of one small lemon

¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme or

2 tsp dried herbs (same ones)

1/3 cup freshly grated good quality parmesan cheese

Directions: Heat IP and add 2 tbsp. butter, melt and add onion, cook 4 minutes, add rice and cook 1 minute, add vermouth and cook 30 seconds, add 3 cups room temp chicken broth, salt and pepper and put lid on. Seal it and set for 9 minutes on manual pressure, do a quick release, add the minced garlic and then the shrimp the rest of the broth. Stir well and cook 5 minutes on Sauté.  Stir frequently. Turn it off and then add the zested lemon and the herbs, stir.  Add the cheese, stir and serve.

Notes: I think you might be able to cut ¼ cup broth; mine seemed just a tad too loose/wet. It was not quite as creamy as hand stirred but the process was a lot easier and a quick clean up.  We had a side serving of a salad.  The result was a gourmet meal that could be made anywhere; perfect for our situation. Enjoy!

 

Revised from original post from Spring 2017. No recipe changes.

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.

Shrimp Risotto, IP Style: Winner!

We all want easy recipes that taste great, don’t use too many pots/pans and are budget friendly.  I needed something quick that would use my instant pot electric pressure cooker (IP) as I am recovering from a total knee replacement and Joe is cooking right now. He found making a roast chicken far too time consuming and frankly difficult.  I had to talk him through every tiny step.  That was rather exhausting for me!

We had some big fat shrimp in the freezer and all the usual ingredients for risotto.  I had read lots of comments on how good IP risotto was but had resisted until now being a lover of the traditional endless stirring method, LOL.  It still took as long as hand stirred risotto to make but was much easier for him to understand and to complete the tasks plus it was an IP training class for him. Now I think using the IP will be what he wants to do for meals; the quick cleanup sold him.

shrimp risotto

IP Shrimp Risotto, serves 4

1 lb large to extra large shrimp; thawed and shelled

4 tbsp. butter divided

1 small yellow or red onion finely chopped

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

2 tbsp. vermouth or dry white wine

4 ½ cups low sodium great quality chicken broth

1 tsp. sea salt

¼-1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 minced garlic cloves

Finely grated rind of one small lemon

¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme or

2 tsp dried herbs (same ones)

1/3 cup freshly grated good quality parmesan cheese

Directions: Heat IP and add 2 tbsp. butter, melt and add onion, cook 4 minutes, add rice and cook 1 minute, add vermouth and cook 30 seconds, add 3 cups room temp chicken broth, salt and pepper and put lid on. Seal it and set for 9 minutes on manual pressure, do a quick release, add the minced garlic and then the shrimp the rest of the broth. Stir well and cook 5 minutes on Sauté.  Stir frequently. Turn it off and then add the zested lemon and the herbs, stir.  Add the cheese, stir and serve.

Notes: I think you might be able to cut ¼ cup broth; mine seemed just a tad too loose/wet. It was not quite as creamy as hand stirred but the process was a lot easier for a beginner cook like Joe and he loved the quick clean up.  We had a side serving of peas cooked on stove top with some butter added as it cooked for about 3 minutes.  The result was a gourmet meal that a novice could pull off; perfect for our situation.