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Fried Calamari

July 19, 2014 Print this page

There is something so incredibly delicious about fried calamari. It was my choice appetizer at an Italian restaurant when I was younger–I loved the crispiness and the slightly acidic, sometimes spicy punch of tomato sauce on the side. I also have fond memories of snacking on some in a fancy dress atop a high building in Boston and in a dive on a lake in the summertime…it’s just an all-around amazing food. 

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 2 min per batch
Total Time 25 min
Yield 4 servings

2 cups of cooking oil (I recommend avocado oil, coconut oil, or some kind of animal fat)

1 lb of calamari (bodies, tentacles, or a combination of both)

3/4 cup of arrowroot powder

1/4 cup of coconut flour

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

A crack of black pepper

Basic Tomato Sauce, for dipping

Directions

First, pour two cups of your fat of choice into a medium saucepan–one with high sides and a fairly narrow bottom. I used leftover drippings from when I sear duck breasts because it has a high smoke point and doesn’t sputter like mad–you can also use avocado oil, coconut oil, or even lard, if you’d like. Whatever you do, don’t use olive oil–it has a low smoke point, which means lots of sputtering and possible smoke in your kitchen. Better to be safe than sorry. 

While the oil heats up, chop up the calamari. Make sure you pat them dry with a paper towel and give the bodies a rinse with some water to get out any grime.

In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot powder with the coconut flour, paprika, salt, thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir together with a fork and drop in 1/4 of the squid pieces. Toss to coat, taking care to remove any excess flour mixture. Transfer to a plate.

When the oil reaches 350 degrees, drop in the coated squid. Let it fry for 2 minutes, using a slotted spoon to move the pieces around every 30 seconds or so. Make sure the pot isn’t overcrowded, or the squid won’t brown!

Once light brown and crispy, transfer the fried squid pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Eat immediately, or keep warm in the oven.

Repeat the same process with the remaining squid until all of it has been cooked. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too cold between batches–you can always pause for a minute and let it heat it up again.

Serve hot and fresh with some Basic Tomato Sauce for dipping.


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Orange Pistachio Scallops

December 21, 2013 Print this page

This is one of my favorite summer meals, especially with freshly-caught seafood and the crunchy, toasty nuts. Serve with simply roasted asparagus!

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield 4 servings

FOR THE SCALLOPS:

3/4 cup of raw, shelled pistachios

1 tablespoon of ghee (can be substituted with coconut oil in a pinch)

The zest of 1 orange

A good pinch of salt, plus more for seasoning the scallops

12 scallops

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Pepper

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE: 

The juice of 1 large orange

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh chervil

A good pinch of salt

A crack of black pepper

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the pistachios in the food processor with the ghee, orange zest, and a good pinch of salt. Process until the ingredients are fully combined and the nuts are coarsely ground, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Heat the coconut oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Before placing the scallops in the pan, dab them gently with a paper towel and season with some salt and pepper. When the oil is hot and completely melted, add the scallops to the pan.

Let the scallops sear for another 2 or 3 minutes on the other side, then top each one with about 1/2 tablespoon of the pistachio mixture. It’s OK if a little bit falls into the pan—it’ll get caramelized with the remaining oil oven and make a wonderful accompaniment.

Put pan with the scallops on the top rack of an oven and bake until the pistachios begin to turn golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you like the tops extra crispy, broil on low for an extra 1 to 2 minutes.

While the scallops bake, make the vinaigrette to go on top of them. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil,  fresh chervil, salt, and pepper. Pour a little on top of each scallop while still warm from the oven.

Serve immediately with the simply roasted asparagus!


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Garlicky Soft-Shell Crabs

November 5, 2013 Print this page

When softies come into season, you’ve got to make these! Flavorful and fun to eat, these adorable crustaceans are a perfect spring or summer dinner.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 20 min
Yield 3 large or 4 small servings

6 soft shell crabs, CLEANED

1/2 cup of arrowroot powder

2 heaping tablespoons of Creole seasoning (I used Essence of Emeril)

2 tablespoons of butter (can be substituted with ghee or coconut oil)

2 tablespoons of olive oil (can be substituted with coconut oil)

4 large or 5 small cloves of chopped garlic (about 2 tablespoons)

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup of chicken stock (can be substituted with vegetable broth or water)

Lemon juice, to taste

Directions

Give your crabs a quick rinse and pat-down before you use them.

Lightly toss the crabs in the arrowroot flour and Essence of Emeril.

Transfer your coated crabs to a plate. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.  Once hot, add the crabs to the pan belly-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Flip the crabs over and add more olive oil if the pan is getting dry. Continue cooking for another five minutes, then place on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you make the sauce.

To the pan, add the chopped garlic and saute for about a minute. Carefully pour in the white wine and chicken stock, stand back, and let simmer down for 3 to 4 minutes over low heat.

Remove the crabs from the oven, and drizzle each with a little sauce and a good squeeze of lemon juice.


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Crab Cakes

October 26, 2013 Print this page

A healthier but just as tasty makeover of the American classic. Don’t forget to make the citrus-infused mayo to go with it: they’re dynamite together!

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield 6 to 8 crab cakes

1 lb of lump crab meat

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1 egg, whisked

6 tablespoons of citrus-infused mayo (can substitute with store-bought, but I do not recommend)

2 tablespoons of creole seasoning

A generous pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of coconut flour

1/3 cup of palm shortening (can be substituted with coconut oil, ghee, or avocado oil)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. You’ll be cooking the cakes in batches, so you’ll need to keep the first batch warm while the second batch is going.

In a medium-sized bowl, break up the crab meat into small chunks and remove any shells if you find ‘em.

Pour the crab into a large bowl and add the yellow bell pepper, scallion, egg, citrus-infused mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning (for the recipe I used, click here), salt, and coconut flour. With your hands, squish and squeeze all of the ingredients together, really making sure to get everything well-incorporated.

Form the crab mixture into 6-8 cakes, depending on how large you want them.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1/3 cup of organic palm shortening. When the fat is completely melted and shimmering, add half of the crab cakes to the pan. Cook undisturbed until dark brown on that side, about 6 to 8 minutes, then flip to cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer.

Once crisp and darkened on both sides, transfer the finished crab cakes to the prepared baking sheet and pop in the oven. Add more fat to the pan if necessary, and repeat the same steps with the remaining crab cakes.

Serve with some of the citrus-infused mayo or a generous slice of ripe avocado.


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