Tag Archives: seafood

seared scallops with shiraz-blood orange glazed beet salad and toasted walnut couscous recipes

Seared Scallops with Shiraz-Glazed Beet Salad

Seared Scallops with Shiraz-Blood Orange Glazed Beet Salad and Toasted Walnut Couscous

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been a month since my last post. Let’s pretend that, as promised, I moved through the lovely queue that had built up in my WordPress account. All the lovely stuff I worked on while I had time off from work was posted as planned, and I’m not writing about stuff that already happened months ago.

Anyway, my cooking group, 37 Cooks? We had an interesting event a couple of months ago. This Florida restaurant called The Wine Dive challenged us to create dishes – incorporating a protein, vegetable, and starch – that could be served as specials in their restaurant. The options were limitless so long as our entries incorporated wine in some way. For me, it was an easy decision to use scallops. The Wine Dive is in Florida, right on the coast, and I could imagine that people would go there hoping for delicious fresh seafood. A beet and arugula salad seemed like a nice light pairing to the dish, especially using a sauce made from citrus – another Florida specialty. Although my dish didn’t win the contest, it still tasted great!

Seared Scallops with Shiraz-Blood Orange Glazed Beet and Arugula Salad and Toasted Walnut Couscous

For the scallops:
1/2 pound large dry sea scallops
Grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)

For the wine-glazed beet and arugula salad:
1 small to medium beet
olive oil
2-4 ounces arugula
1/4 cup medium-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Merlot
juice of one blood orange (or substitute a regular orange if you can’t find it)
2 tablespoons butter

For the couscous:
1/2 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon butter
Walnut oil
1/2 cup whole walnuts

For all three components, you will need salt and pepper to taste.

Make wine-blood orange glazed beet and arugula salad:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Scrub your beet, wrap it in tinfoil, and roast for an hour or two until tender when pierced with a fork. At this point, the skin should slip right off. Allow it to cool, then peel the beet and dice it. In a small saute pan heated over medium, saute the beets in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until heated through. Add the Shiraz and orange juice. Allow the liquid to come to a boil and bubble away until it coats the beets. Add butter and turn the heat down to low, stirring frequently until the beets are coated in glaze.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top with glazed beets.

Make the couscous:
In a small or medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Season it with salt, pepper, butter, and walnut oil. Add the couscous, stir once, and turn the heat off. Cover the saucepan with its lid and allow it to steam for five minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a small saute pan over medium heat. Allow them to cool, then chop them finely.

Lift the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork after the five minutes are up. Stir in most of the chopped walnuts, reserving some for garnish.

Make the scallops:
Heat a large cast-iron saute pan over medium-high. Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and just a little bit of oil. When the pan is good and hot, sear the scallops, allowing them to cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Be sure to leave them alone and not nudge them until they’re good and browned! Then flip and brown on the other side.

Serve:

Plate the couscous and top with reserved chopped walnuts. Plate the beet and arugula salad, and top with scallops. This portion will serve two adults.

Enjoy.

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smoked sausage and shrimp alfredo recipe

Creamy pasta… let’s just call it “carbo-loading”

Do you feel cheated? You’ve been coming to this blog and reading about exercise, salad dressing, training for races. And now, here you are, gazing at a photo of something so obnoxiously indulgent that just looking at it might make you fat. It doesn’t fit, does it?

Well, I have two words for you. Balance, and indulgence. Vegetables are great, but nobody can eat them all the time. Just make sure that when you slip up, it’s worth it. (Have you ever been suckered into eating something that’s simultaneously terrible for you and awful-tasting? I’m talking grocery-store-bought birthday cake for a coworker’s birthday. Awkwardly standing around the conference room, you have to eat a little slice just to be nice. But every bite is a chore, and you’re mad about it because the cake is dry and crumbly and completely canceling out the run you planned to do that afternoon. It doesn’t even taste like it’s worth those calories). (I think that was more than two words).

Through 37 Cooks and Teet’s Food Store, I got hooked up with some great smoked pork sausage. It’s a natural pairing with shrimp: the flavorful sausage lends smokiness to briny, fresh seafood. This is one of those meals that evolved because I’m carbo-loading for my next race. And because a creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce needs to be on the menu at least once per year. How’s that for efficiency?

Don’t think of Alfredo sauce as something that you can only have at restaurants. It’s shockingly easy to throw together at home, and you’ll love the results. Seriously, if you can bring cream to a simmer and then stir in a few more ingredients, you can make this dish in ten minutes. Of course, parmesan cheese is the traditional choice, but with that big sausage flavor coupled with a little Cajun seasoning, you’ll have delicious results using milder Asiago, fontina, or any combination of those.

You’ll want to pay careful attention to the timing on this. I’d set out a pot of water to boil before doing anything else. When it’s hot but not quite boiling yet, begin warming the cream. If you time things right, you’ll begin adding butter to the simmering cream when the pasta has just a couple of minutes to go. After a little bit of whisking, you’ll be able to add perfectly al dente pasta to the mixture, stir in the cheese, and dig in. It’s so easy and delicious, I promise you’ll think twice about ordering that $18 alfredo pasta dish next time you’re eating at an Italian restaurant.

If you still feel guilty about eating this, just call it carbo-loading.

Smoked Sausage and Shrimp Alfredo
serves 3-4
Ingredients

1/2 pound fettucine pasta
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound Teet’s smoked pork sausage, sliced into coins
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama seasoning
4 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Parmesan, Fontina, mozzarella), divided
Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it boils, add fettucine and cook until almost done – about eight minutes. Drain but do not rinse.
In a medium saute pan heated over medium-high, saute sausage coins until just crisp and a little bit of fat has rendered. Remove to a spare plate and reserve. To the still-hot pan, add shrimp and saute until just done. Put it with the sausage for just a little while
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat the cream with Slap Ya Mama seasoning until it comes to a simmer. This works best at medium heat. After little bubbles appear, lower the heat to just about as low as it gets. Add pieces of butter one at a time, whisking after each addition until fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Turn the heat off completely. By this time, the pasta should be just about cooked – add it to the pot and mix it all up. Add most of the shredded cheese, leaving some for garnish. Stir it well to melt everything. Then add the reserved sausage and shrimp. Stir until everything is mixed well and heated through.
Serve topped with reserved cheese and, if desired, fresh-ground black pepper.

shrimp and grits with smoked sausage recipe

This photo makes me hungry…

Now, y’all know that I live in Atlanta. I’m still a Northerner at heart – you’d be hard-pressed to find a Southerner who loves hockey as much as me. But after more than two years here, I’ve adapted quite well to my new home. Let’s just say I recently attended a country concert in cowboy boots, and it felt completely natural.

One thing that the South is known for is a down-home dish called shrimp and grits. You can find it on the brunch menu of many restaurants down here. I’m not the biggest fan of grits, as a rule, but shrimp are one of my favorite things. And for some reason, when I was out to brunch a few weeks ago, shrimp and grits kept calling to me from the menu. Its voice was louder than that of the crabcake benedict, so I acquiesced. Man, was it good. The shrimp were perfectly tender and flavorful, but the grits almost stole the show. Studded with bacon and cheddar cheese, they were so much more than a foundation for seafood.

When I came across some yummy Georgia shrimp at the butcher shop, the idea to make my own shrimp and grits popped into my head. But instead of bacon, I wanted to use sausage. Some of y’all (yeah, I said y’all! This is a Southern post, after all) know about 37 Cooks, a fun group I was lucky enough to join a few months ago. Well, that group was recently sponsored by Teet’s Food Store down in Louisiana. They sent us a whole bunch of delicious sausage. My family has enjoyed it so much that was a no-brainer to incorporate that. And while many recipes call for cheddar cheese in the grits and green onions on the shrimp, I used Emmenthaler and chives. It worked so well that I just have to recommend that combination.

Grits are incredibly fast and easy to prepare, and so are shrimp. Be sure to cook them quickly over high heat; that’ll keep them tender. This brunch comes together so fast that you’ll want to have the mise en place set up before you even turn on the stove.

Shrimp and Grits with Smoked Sausage
serves two
Ingredients
1/2 cup grits
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Emmenthaler cheese, shredded
4 ounces smoked pork sausage, sliced into coins (Teet’s is very good)
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about eight big ones)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Salt to taste
Method
In a small saucepan, prepare 1/2 cup of grits as directed on package.
Meanwhile, in a small saute pan over medium heat, cook sausage slices until crisp and fat has rendered. Remove and reserve, keeping as much fat as possible in the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp. Be careful to cook until just done – a couple of minutes per side until they curl and are opaque. When the shrimp are finished, add all at once the parsley, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Stir a couple of times to coat the shrimp, then take the pan off the heat.
When the grits are finished, stir in the butter, cheese, and sausage.
Serve by plating the grits and arranging shrimp on top.

shrimp tostadas recipe

Shrimp tostadas are what happens when you’ve got a little bit of extra shrimp in the fridge and you are dying for an afternoon snack. They’re what happens when there are a few amazing handmade corn tortillas left over from the market, and when you’ve got an avocado and a tomato that are just dying to be eaten.

They’re an amazing snack, if a little bit naughty. Hey, my excuse? It was a Sunday. If you’re adverse to pan-frying a tortilla, perhaps bake it instead. Just keep it at 250 or so and let it bake until crunchy. But I would recommend the whole shebang.

Shrimp Tostadas for Two

1/8 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp vegetable oil, separated
Large pinch salt
Large pinch chipotle chile powder
Large pinch cumin
Large pinch paprika
2 corn tortillas
1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 shallot, minced
Fresh-squeezed lime juice, to taste
Cilantro to taste
Salt to taste

In a small bowl, mix the shrimp, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, salt, chile powder, cumin, and paprika. Allow to rest.

In another small bowl, toss together the avocado, tomato, shallot, lime juice to taste, and salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

In a heavy saute pan over medium high heat, heat the vegetable oil until very hot and shimmering. Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, until crispy on both sides. Turn as necessary. Drain on paper towels.

In another preheated saute pan – or the same one, wiped clean of excess oil – cook the shrimp on medium-high heat, stirring as needed. They should be done in just a couple of minutes.

Assemble the tostadas: place half of the shrimp on each fried tortilla. Top with a scoop of avocado mixture. (The rest of the avocado salsa, you ask? Eat it with tortilla chips).