Category Archives: seafood

Bourbon Shrimp

The groundhog was wrong about his prediction for an early spring around here.  Snow, the last week in March… really?

With another day of yucky weather keeping me inside, I decided to do a little spring cleaning, beginning with my spice cabinet. I discovered an open jar of bourbon smoked sugar that I brought back with me from my visit to GE in Louisville last spring.

As I sorted through jars of salts and spices,  my thoughts kept returning to the smoked sugar, and how it would probably be a good idea to use it up pretty soon; it was opened after all, and would expire soon.

By the time the old spices were tossed and the cabinet was back in presentable order, I had a plan in place for the bourbon smoked sugar. I would make some Bourbon Shrimp. What better way to take away the winter like chill on a cold springtime night than with a little bourbon and a little more bourbon,  right?

bourbon shrimp

Bourbon Shrimp

2 tablespoons bourbon smoked sugar (or dark brown sugar)

1 tablespoon Smoked Spanish Paprika

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pound (u-15 count) shrimp, tails left on, shelled, deveined

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Combine bourbon smoked sugar and spices in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to combine thoroughly.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes on first side, flip shrimp, and cook an additional minute on second side. Reduce heat to medium low and add bourbon; cook 1 minute, scraping bottom of pan as you stir to break up browned bits on bottom of pan. Add butter and stir to combine. Transfer shrimp to a platter and garnish with chopped parsley.

4 appetizer servings

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Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli

 

 

It usually takes me a week or so after Thanksgiving passes (an intermission), before I am ready to start hearing Christmas music on the radio, and get into the spirit of the season. I need the time to transition from pumpkins to holly.

I can’t just jump right in. What I can do though, is start thinking about what I want to cook during the holiday season. Menu planning is something that comes naturally for me, and it’s the getting together with family and friends over food and wine part of the season that really gets me excited about celebrating, so today I will share a recipe that I recently served as part of one of my cooking class menus. The ingredients have some Spanish influence, making them a nice addition to a tapas menu, but they also have that special holiday feel to them so sharing some of these with friends would be a very good idea.

The mussels are steamed in a wine broth,  then pulled from their shells, chopped and added to the rest of the filling ingredients: sauteed serrano ham, spinach, and béchamel sauce. Some prep work on the front end, yes. But you are able to assemble the stuffed mussels and refrigerate up to one day ahead before they are topped with garlic aioli and popped under the broiler until golden brown and bubbly.

Even the people in cooking class who thought they didn’t like mussels fell in love with these.

So as you think about inviting friends over to share a glass of wine during the weeks ahead,  I hope you will consider making these go along with your holiday cheer.

Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Aioli:
  • 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Mussels:
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 36 mussels (3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced ham (serrano, prosciutto, or black forest)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. For Aioli: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a very small baking dish. Cover garlic with oil (add enough to completely cover garlic), cover dish with foil, and bake until garlic is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish to cool. Place cooled garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in the base of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Reserve.
  2. For mussels: Bring the white wine, half of the onion, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and mussels to a boil in a large covered saucepan over high heat. Once mussels have been cooking 3 minutes, check to see if they have begun to open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon as they open and transfer to a platter. Cool the mussels. Reduce the cooking liquid down to 2 tablespoons. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove the mussels from their shells and save ⅔ of their shells. Separate each of the reserved shells into 2 halves. Chop the mussels coarsely and place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook the remaining onion until soft, 7 minutes. Add the spinach and ham to pan with onions, stirring until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and add to bowl with chopped mussels.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook; stirring 2 minutes. Add the milk and reserved cooking liquid and cook until smooth and very thick. Add to the mussels and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the shells with the mussel mixture. Spread the aioli on top of the mussels and place on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 10-20 seconds. Serve immediately.
  6. servings

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Lobster and Potato Chip Salad: A 5 Star Junk Food Makeover

 


When I found out that this month’s 5 Star Makeover theme was junk food, there was only one thing that came to my mind…
Yep; there they are:  Kettle cooked potato chips.
They are my weakness, and by far my favorite junk food.  It must be  a texture thing too, because regular potato chips don’t really do it for me. Those I can pass up without any trouble. But kettle cooked chips are another story.
 Thickly sliced and fried to perfection, they are the ultimate when it comes to crunch factor.
I really love them the best when they are super salty and right out of the bag. If they are flavored with something like salt & vinegar,  dill pickle, or Maui onion,– well, that”s okay too. I find them all hard to resist,  and will happily eat them all. That is why I don’t have them around very often. They are dangerous!
Because my favorite way to enjoy these tempting  chips is in their true form, I didn’t want to deviate to far in this makeover challenge.  Instead, I decided to keep the crunchy little chips whole, and work them into my dish.
Salad lover that I am, using the chips as croutons in my 5 star salad was the way to go for me.
Potato chips and lobster together in one place may seem an unlikely combinatiom, but when they get together with some field greens, roasted red peppers and yellow tomatoes, their comradery makes perfect sense.  When you  add a citrusy ginger dressing and some fresh basil?  It gets even better.
Ahh, kettle cooked chips….definitely my favorite junk food. What’s yours?
Be sure to check in with Lazaro Cooks! and 5 Star Foodie on Friday for the roundup of recipes. Can’t wait to see what my fellow group members have come up with!
Lobster and Potato Chip Salad 
Dressing:

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons white miso
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Salad:
1 pound cooked lobster meat
6 cups mixed field greens
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1 medium yellow tomato, diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups kettle cooked potato chips
Dressing: Combine all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Salad: Place lobster and next 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well. Divide salad among plates.
Layer chips throughout salad and finish with additional chips in the center of each dish.
4 servings
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