Welcome back, this month I have decided to look at cooking some simple seafood dishes that will impress but are in fact extremely easy. I love seafood of all descriptions but I think many people are frightened of cooking fish, well not anymore. These simple recipes will give you confidence and hopefully some real enjoyment.
I have chosen three starter dishes using Mussels, Monkfish and finally Scallops, which I think are one of the finest foods you can get.
Whenever you buy fish be sure that it is fresh and doesn’t smell fishy, if you are ever unsure about fish it is probably best to avoid it. Always feel the fish, it should be firm and when pressed it should spring back and not leave an indent. If buying whole fish then the eyes should be bright and not dulled and the skin should not be slimy.
Classic Mussels with White Wine
1kg Washed Mussels – Discard any that wont close when gently tapped
2 Shallots – Finely Chopped
1 Clove Garlic – Very Finely Chopped
1 Handful Parsley – Coarsely Chopped
200 ml Dry White Wine (I prefer Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc)
1 tbsp Oil
Salt & Pepper
Place a large pan with a lid on a medium heat and soften the shallot and garlic, turn up the heat and add the white wine, when boiling furiously throw in the Mussels and place the lid on for 2-3 minutes or until all the Mussels are open, throw any that remain closed. Strain the Mussels and put the liquid back in the pan add the parsley and bring to a boil, season and taste. Pour over the Mussels in large bowls.
Steamed Monkfish with Red Pepper and Balsamic Dressing
2 x 150g portions Monkfish
100 ml Balsamic Vinegar
2 Red Bell Peppers
1 Shallot – Finely Chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Bake the peppers in an oven for 12-15 minutes at 180C place them in a container and cover with cling film until cool, they will then peel easily. Throw away the seeds and stalk of the peppers and dice into 5mm chunks. Place the Balsamic Vinegar in a saucepan and reduce over a medium heat to a syrup consistency. Season the Monkfish well with salt and pepper and place the monkfish in a steamer and steam for about 10 minutes, you may need a little longer but check it earlier rather than later. The Monkfish should be fairly firm but not rigid, there should be a little give and will be slightly underdone. While the fish is steaming sauté the shallot in a pan and add the diced red pepper, cook until quite mushy and season to taste. Place a good spoonful on the centre of a plate and slice the monkfish and top the pepper, drizzle the balsamic glaze around the plate.
Seared Scallops with Soy, Ginger & Sesame Dressing
3 Large Scallops per Person
3 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds – Lightly Toasted in the oven or a dry pan on a medium heat
1tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
2 Spring Onions
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt Flakes
Place the Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil and Ginger in a small pan and warm to infuse the flavours. Heat a non-stick fry pan or griddle until smoking hot, whilst heating chop the spring onions at an angle. Coat the scallops in the oil and place in the pan; they need no more than 30 - 60 seconds each side depending on their size. Place the scallops on a plate and spoon over some of the warm soy/ginger dressing and sprinkle with the spring onions and Toasted Sesame Seeds. You can serve any green vegetable with this dish, particularly steamed broccoli or Pak Choi, lightly seasoned.
I do hope that you enjoy these recipes; they are very simple and yet so tasty. Everyone should enjoy mussels cooked at home, they really do taste so wonderful and the cooking liquor has so much flavour you will want to drink a pint of it!
Next month I will be trying to give you all some alternative ideas for a healthy Christmas Dinner, but it is Christmas so I don’t have the heart to make it too healthy – just don’t tell Graeme or Greg!
If you have any questions or suggestions then please do not hesitate to contact Graeme or Greg, they can pass any comments directly to me and I will respond as quickly as possible.