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Tag Archive: seafood

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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Fried Calamari (gluten-free, grain-free, paleo)

July 19, 2014 2 Comments Print this page

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It’s aliveeeeeeeeee!

Actually, not really. It’s just calamari, which always looks a little wild when you’re serving the tentacles.

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A lot of people don’t like seafood or rarely cook it at home, and personally, I think it’s very unfortunate. Fish and shellfish are chock full of protein, healthy fats, and minerals, and cultures who regularly eat it are shown to be healthier and live longer overall.

Like meat, it’s very important to source good-quality seafood from a reputable source. Remember: you are what you eat eats! Like factory-raised livestock, farm-raised fish are forced to swim in tight enclosures and are fed cheap feed usually made from genetically modified wheat, soy, and corn–none of which are good for the fish or for you. Besides, are salmon and tuna really supposed to eat these things? Have you ever seen a fish roaming around a field munching on a grain stalk? I think not.

While wild-caught seafood can be very expensive (sometimes over $25 a pound, twice as much as a less-expensive cut of grass-fed steak at our local butcher), squid tends to be very cost-friendly. Maybe people are afraid of cooking this tentacle-y critter? Whatever the reason, buying squid is an excellent opportunity to incorporate sustainable seafood into your diet at a relatively low cost.

Besides, in the summertime, what could be better than some tasty fried seafood?

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While I don’t fry things often (mostly because I hate smelling like MacDonald’s after I drop things into a pot of hot oil), 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.

I wouldn’t likely order fried calamari in a restaurant again, but it’s really fun to make at home…and actually very easy! So easy, in fact, that I feel a bit silly about posting it on the blog, but I will anyway, because I need some more seafood recipes in my recipe index. But no, seriously, this fried calamari is tasty squared.

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Are you ready to chow on some tentacles? I hope so! Let’s get cooking.

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.

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While the oil heats up, chop up 1 lb of calamari–I used a combination of bodies and tentacles, but you can use whichever you prefer. 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 3/4 cup of arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and a crack of 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!

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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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Long live summer! (Although I am looking forward to starting my junior year…)

What is your favorite kind of fried seafood? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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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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Savory Steamers with Sweet Potato Chips (gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo)

May 1, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I am very fortunate to have many food lovers in my life. One of those people is my awesome band director, whose specialty is…you guessed it, seafood.

Using his tips, I created a lick-your-bowl-clean dinner that was both satisfying and really easy to make. You don’t have to be a five-star chef to turn out this delicious meal!

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Before you start cooking, chop up 1 large onion, 2 stalks of celery, plus a handful of their leaves, 1 large carrot, and 4 cloves of garlic. Don’t leave out the celery leaves—they really help the dish shine.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter in a big pot over medium heat. Meanwhile, scrub off some Littleneck clams in the sink. I made 24 for 3 people, so figure about 8 per person. 

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Once the ghee or butter is hot and melted, add the onion and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Then, add in the celery, celery leaves, carrot, and garlic and continue cooking until beginning to brown, about 6 to 7 minutes longer. Do not season with salt, or if you do, only add a little bit.

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Turn the heat down to medium-low and pour in 1 cup of stock (I used my homemade duck stock) and about 3/4 cup of white wine. Bring to a boil before adding the clams, covering the pot with a lid, and steaming until the clams have just opened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t overcook them!

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Scoop up the clams and a bunch of the broth into a bowl, and dig in. It’s as easy as that!

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In French-style bistros, French fries are usually served with steamed shellfish. My sweet potato fries haven’t been turning out too well lately, so I decided to make sweet potato chips instead. They were fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease two large baking sheets with olive or coconut oil. Allow yourself plenty of time for baking to ensure maximum crispiness. 

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Peel and thinly slice two large sweet potatoes into 1/8-inch rounds. You can use a mandolin, but I personally prefer my trusty kitchen knife. 

Toss the rounds in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, place on the baking sheets, and sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper. If you want to add some extra flavorings, like chipotle chili pepper, garlic/onion powder, or dried herbs, feel free to do so!

Bake until beginning to discolor on one side, about 10 to 12 minutes, then flip over and bake until crispy, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes longer depending on oven rack position and evenness of temperature.

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving so the chips have time to harden a bit.

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What’s your favorite bistro or pub dish? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!


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