I was watching a programme about seafood which reminded me of when we were in The Canary Islands one Christmas and instead of the usual Christmas dinner we had Lobster in Champagne sauce.It was at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Fuerteventura.We have been to Fuerteventura for the last few years at Christmas and usually have our Christmas meal at this restaurant.So it started me thinking about my favourite seafood recipes.
Crab & prawn soup
A nice warming soup with a slightly spicy flavour of chilli ,great with crusty bread.
1 onion finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb finely chopped.feathery bits reserved
2 garlic bulbs chopped
2 thyme sprigs
pinch chilli flakes
1litre /2 pints fish stock
350ml /12fl oz passata
65g/3oz small pasta shapes
175g/6oz crab meat
115g/4oz peeled cooked prawns
1large bottle grilled red pepper in oil,drained and chopped
salt and black pepper
pinch of sugar (optional)
Fry the onion and fennel in a little oil until soft and translucent,adding the garlic,thyme and chilli flakes towards the end of cooking.
Pour in the stock and passata,bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes.
Return the soup to the boil ,stir in the pasta and cook according to the packet instruction.
Lower the heat and add the crab,prawns and red pepper and heat through gently.Do not boil.
Season adding a pinch of sugar if necessary.Sprinkle over the reserved fennel tops.
If you like your food hot,chop some of the chilli seeds with the flesh.If not cut the chillies in half ,scrape out the seeds and discard them before cutting the flesh.
2 whole prepared squid,with tentacles
75ml/5 tbs olive oil
30ml/2tbs balsamic vinegar
2 fresh red chillies ,finely chopped
60ml/4tbs dry white wine
salt and black pepper
hot cooked risotto rice
Make a length way cut down the body of each squid,then open the body out flat.Score the flesh on both sides of the bodies in a criss cross pattern with the tip of a sharp knife..Chop the tentacles.Place all the squid in a china or glass bowl.
Whisk the oil and vinegar together in a small bowl.Add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the squid.Cover and leave to marinate for about 1 hour.
Heat a ridged cast iron pan until hot.Add the body of one of the squid.Cook over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes,pressing the squid with a spatula or fish slice to keep the squid flat.
Repeat on the other side.Cook the other squid body in the same way.Discard the marinade.
Cut the squid bodies into diagonal strips.Pile the hot rissoto rice in the centre of heated soup plates and top with the strips of squid,arranging them criss cross fashion..Keep hot.
Place the chopped tentacles and chillies in a pan and toss over a medium heat for 2 minutes,Stir in the wine until hot,then drizzle over the squid and rice.
Serve at once.
This is a simple way of making frozen prawns more flavoursome.It is a really good served as a first course in small dishes. A few drops of sesame oil could be sprinkled over before serving to enhance the flavour.
450g/1 lb peeled prawns fresh or defrosted if frozen
6 tbs lemon juice
6 spring onions sliced
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 stem lemon grass finely chopped or a tsp lemon balm.
2 tbs chopped fresh mint.
Lettuce leaves to serve.
Put the prawns in a bowl and pour over the lemon juice.Stir in the spring onions,ginger,lemon grass and mint.Stir well to mix,cover and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours,stirring once or twice.
To serve ,lay a lettuce leaf in each of the scallop shells or small bowl and pile the prawn mixture on top.Garnish each portion with a sprig of lemon balm and serve with thin slices of brown bread and butter.
Smoked haddock in parsley sauce
This is a warming supper dish which always goes down well especially served with brown bread and butter.You coul mix some cooked prawns with this.
450g/1lb smoked haddock fillets
1 small leek or onion sliced thickly
300ml/haf pint skimmed milk
a bouquet garni (bay leaf ,thyme and parsley stalks)
25g/1oz low fat margarine
25g/1oz plain flour
30ml 2tbs chopped parsley
225g/8oz pasta shells
salt and pepper
Remove all the skin and bones from the fish.Put into a pan with the leek or onion,milk and bouquet garni.
Bring to the boil and then simmer gently fo about 8 – 10 minutes until the fish flakes easily.
Strain reserving the milk for making the sauce,and discard the bouquet garni.
Put the margarine,flour and reserved milk into a pan.Bring to the boil and whisk until smooth.
Season and add the fish and leek or onion.
Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water until al dente.Drain thoroughly and stir into the sauce with the chopped parsley.