Chefs of the West; farmers of the sea come to our rescue.
Witness that the French call shellfish fruits de mer, the Italians frutti di mare--fruits of the sea. But the romance languages gloss over certain complications. Apples and oranges, after all, simply sit there waiting to be picked, whereas crabs, shrimp, oysters, and the like are more elusive.
Once they reach the marketplace, however, shellfish face the laws of supply and demand like any other crop. And judging by the price tags at the fish counter, demand has the upper hand. So, to avoid emptying our pocketbooks, we stretch our seafood with supplementary starches and sauces, as our Chefs of the West have done in the following recipes.
A lover of both seafood and spices, Mike Humason of Thousands Oaks, California, created a Western version of the Creole dish jambalaya, combining shrimp with spicy seasonings, mixed with rice pilaf. He modestly titles his recipe: Humbalaya
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 hot or mild Italian sausages (about 10 oz.), cut into 1-inch slices
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
4 medium-size mushrooms, sliced
1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3/4 pound medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon each paprika and chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies or cayenne
Rice pilaf (recipe follows)
In a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium heat, melt butter; add sausages and cook, stirring occasinally, until browned on all sides. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.
To pan, add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and green pepper; stir occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes, then mix in shrimp, wine, paprika, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the chilies. Cook, stirring often, until shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes. Taste and add as much of remaining chilies as you want.
Combine rice pilaf with shrimp mixture; spoon into a warm serving dish and sprinkle with peanuts. Makes 4 servings.
Rice pilaf. In a 1-1/2- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine. Add 1 small onion, chopped, and stir often until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup long-grain white rice and cook, stirring, until rice is lightly browned.
Stir in 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) regular-strength chicken broth. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is tender to bite and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Use hot; or keep warmp over hot water for as long as an hour.
John R. Fisher, whose recipe for Individual Crab Wellingtons next appears, displays stylish economy with shellfish because he lives far from the sea. The puff pastry envelope for the crab is more than just fancy dress: it ensures that no flavors or juices escape into the oven, and that the crab meat will stay hot on the plate. Individual Crab Wellingtons
Bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
3/4 pound crab meat
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded jack cheese
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 large mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons, each finely chopped carrot and celery
1 package (17-1/4 oz.) puff pastry sheets
1 egg, beaten
2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine or half-and-half (light cream)
In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the bechamel sauce, crab, mayonnaise, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside, or cover and chill as long as overnight.
Meanwhile, in a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallot, mushrooms, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring often, until carrot is soft to bite, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.
To assemble, roll each puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch square, then cut into four 6-inch squares. Spoon an equal portion of the crab mixture into the center of each; top with an equal portion of the mushroom mixture. Brush edges of pastry with beaten egg, then bring corners together and pinch all the edges to seal.
Place Wellingtons, folded side down, on an ungreased, rimmed 10- by 15-inch baking pan. Brush tops with some of the beaten egg.
Bake in 375 [deg.] oven, uncovered, until pastry is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir remaining bechamel sauce over low heat until hot, then thin with wine or half-and-half to make a pourable sauce. Pour into a warm serving bowl and offer along with nutmeg to top individual portions. Serves 8.
Bechamel sauce. In a 1-1/2-to 2-quart pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until light gold. Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 cup each regular-strength chicken broth and half-and-half (light cream). Return to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring. Season to taste with salt and ground nutmeg. Set aside, or cover and chill as long as overnight.
Chef David Thompson first entered our ranks about a decade ago with his interpretation of spaghetti con vongole (with clams). Since that time, his interest in pasta and shellfish has not abated, and he continues to draw culinary inspiration from Italy. When he looked down upon his last creation and saw the tricolors of the Italian flag in the guise of green pasta, red peppers, and white scallops, what could he do but offer a salute? Bandiera Italiana
1/2 pound scallops
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into long thin strips
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 ounces thin dry spinach noodles
Rinse scallops thoroughly under cold running water, then pat dry and thinly slice. Set aside.
In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt 2-tablespoons of the butter. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring often, just until limp, about 7 minutes. Lift from pan and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in the frying pan. Add the scallops and cook, stirring, until opaque, about 1 minute. Lift scallops from pan and set aside. Pour in the wine and boil over high heat, uncovered, until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and boil, stirring often, until reduced by about a third; you should have 2/3 cup sauce.
Meanwhile, in a 4- to 5-quart pan, cook noodles in 3 to 4 quarts boiling water until tender to bite, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well.
Stir hot noodles into sauce, then return the pepper strips and scallops to the pan. Remove pan from heat and mix, lifting with two forks, until blended. Serve on warm plates with lemon wedges; squeeze on lemon juice to taste. Serves 2 or 3 as an entree, 4 to 6 as a first course.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 1984|
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