Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sauteed Mussels In Pernod Flavored Broth

Source : Italianfoodforever

The pernod liqueur adds just a hint of anise flavor that is delicious. Just make sure you have lots of good quality bread handy to sop up all the tasty juices.

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

Mussels are quite inexpensive, and in a recipe such as this, they can be a tasty appetizer, or a light dinner entree by simply adding a nice green salad and dessert. I had this dish first at a favorite restaurant of mine, and while they wouldn't share the actual recipe, they did tell me the broth was flavored with pernod. I went home and created this recipe, which although isn't identical to the restarant version, it is just as good.

3 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion, Chopped

2 Stalks of Celery, Chopped

3-4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

Salt & Pepper to Taste

2 Plum Tomatoes, Seeded, Cored And Diced Into 1/2 Inch Pieces

2 Cups White Wine

1/2 Cup Pernod Liqueur

Dash of Saffron

2-3 Pounds Mussels, Scrubbed with Beards Removed

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Add the salt and pepper and cook 5-10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the wine, saffron, tomatoes, and pernod, and cook an additional 10 minutes. Add the cleaned, drained mussels, cover, and cook until the shells open, which should be about 5 additional minutes. Add the parsley in just before serving. You can serve this dish on grilled garlic bread, spooning the juices over the bread in a shallow bowl, or serve with a good crusty bread on the side.

Grilled Seafood Salad

Source : Italianfoodforever

Antipasti di Mare ~ I created this salad after buying some fresh seafood at the market which we grilled, and then tossed in a light lemon dressing. This would be delicious at any summer barbeque!

:Serves 6:

by Deborah Mele

This delicious recipe was created after I had an extremely unpleasant experience with a seafood salad at a local restaurant. It was a beautiful summer evening, and my husband and I were walking downtown, trying to choose a restaurant to dine in that evening. Because of the warm temperatures, all of the outdoor patios of the restaurants lining the street were overflowing with people. As we were walking by one particular restaurant, we saw a waiter bring out this striking looking plate of seafood salad, artfully displayed on a bed of salad greens. We are both big fans of seafood in general, and therefore were lured in to try this restaurant and in fact ordered the seafood salad to share. Well, the salad certainly did not live up to it's appearance. It was swimming in a heavily laced vinegar based dressing which overpowered the delicate flavor of the seafood. The calamari were rubbery, the shrimp so tiny you could hardly see them, and the mussels were dried out. We were both very disapointed, and decided we needed to create our own version of seafood salad to replace the memory of the one we shared that evening. The next morning while we were at the St. Lawrence market on our weekly visit, we bought some very fresh shrimp, baby squid, scallops, and mussels and came home to create our own salad.

We decided to grill the seafood instead of poaching the ingredients as I do my Christmas version, and then assembled it from there. I chopped the seafood into bite sized pieces, and added the juice of 1 lemon, a little garlic, minced parsley, chopped black olives, and some good quality olive oil. The salad was delicious, and tasted great both still warm from the barbecue, as well as room temperature the next day. This salad would be great at a summer barbeque, and can be put together in minutes.

1 Pound Small Calamari, Cleaned

1 Pound Medium Shrimp, Cleaned And Deveined

1 Pound Scallops

24 Fresh Mussels

1/2 Cup Pitted Black Olives (Optional)


3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Clove Garlic, Crushed

Juice and 1 Teaspoon of Zest From 1 & 1/2 Large Lemons

1/4 Cup Chopped, Fresh Parsley

Dash Red Pepper Flakes

Salt & Pepper To Taste

Heat up the grill, and cook the seafood in batches, just until cooked through. Depending on how hot your barbeque is, this should only take a minute or two per side. For the mussels, simply place them on a barbeque grilling tray, place on the hot grill, close, and remove as soon as they open. Once cooked, cut the calamari into pieces, the shrimps and scallops in half, while leaving the mussels in their shells. Place the seafood in a bowl, add the dressing ingredients, olives and mix well. Serve immediately still warm from the barbeque, or cover and let marinade in the dressing in the refrigerator overnight. Just before serving, adjust the seasonings. Serve.

Shrimp Scampi

Source : Italianfoodforever

The only trick to this recipe is to not overcook the shrimp. I like lots of garlic and butter which results in a tasty starter to any meal.

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

1 Pound Of Large Shrimp

4 Cloves Of Garlic, Minced

1/4 Cup Butter

1/4 Cup White Wine

Salt & Pepper

Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped


Diced Tomato (Optional)

Chopped Green Onions

Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and shrimp. Cook just a minute or two, until the shrimp turns pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and add the wine. Turn the heat up to medium high, and cook until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and parsley. Return the shrimp to the pan, and cook for another minute. Serve immediately, using the garnish if desired.

Mussels In Garlic Butter Sauce

Source : Italianfoodforever

This is a very easy way to cook mussels, creating a tasty sauce of butter, garlic and juice from the mussels.

:Serves 4

by Deborah Mele

Make sure you have lots of crusty bread on hand to sop up the juices!

2 Pounds Fresh, Cleaned Mussels

3-4 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped

3/4 Stick Unsalted Butter At Room Temperature

Salt & Pepper

To Serve:

Crusty Italian Bread, Grilled

Combine the butter, garlic, parsley and seasonings in a small bowl. Mix together well. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place the mussels in a large baking dish, and spoon the butter/garlic mixture on top. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the mussels open. Discard any that do not open. Serve in large bowls, dividing the sauce equally between each serving. Offer crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices.

Garlic Orange Shrimp

Source : Italianfoodforever

A combination of shrimp with a fresh orange flavor. Quick and easy to make, it would be a great starter year round.

:Serves 4

by Deborah Mele

This tasty recipe combines shrimp with a fresh orange flavor. Quick and easy to make, it would be a great starter year round.

16 Large Shrimp

2 Large Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped

1 Dried, Red Chili Pepper, Crushed

6 Tablespoons Orange Infused Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Fresh, Chopped Parsley

Marinate the shrimp in the other ingredients for one hour before cooking. Heat a frying on high, and once hot, add the shrimp and marinade mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the shrimp become slightly browned and opaque.

Sauteed Mussels

Source : Italianfoodforever

Cozze ~ Simple, yet delicious. This recipe is so easy it is hard to believe it tastes so good!

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

To ensure the best result, use the freshest mussels you can find. To clean, scrub under running water removing the "beards" or vegetation attached. Keep the mussels in a bowl in the fridge in a little water until you are ready to use them. Don't leave them in a closed plastic bag or they will die before you have a chance to cook them.

3 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion, Chopped

2 Stalks of Celery, Chopped

3-4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

Salt & Pepper to Taste

1/2 Cup Dry White Wine

1 Cup Water

1 (14 oz.) Can Chopped Tomatoes

3 Pounds Mussels, Scrubbed with Beards Removed

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook 5-10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the wine and cook an additional 10 minutes, adding as much water as needed if the sauce bevomes too thick. Add the cleaned, drained mussels, cover, and cook until the shells open, which should be about 5 additional minutes. Add the parsley just before serving. You can serve this dish on grilled garlic bread, spooning the juices over the bread in a shallow bowl, or serve with a good crusty bread on the side.

Fave Bean And Shrimp Salad

Source : Italianfoodforever

A perfect spring or summer starter when fave beans are in season. It's colorful appearance is particularly attractive.

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

This light, tasty recipe is a perfect summer starter. Although fava beans are generally early spring vegetables, I have been seeing them in our stores during the summer months. You could substitute any other fresh, summer vegetable if you cannot find fresh fava beans.

1/2 Pound Medium Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined

1 Pound Fava Beans

1/2 Pound Small Green Beans

2 Heads of Fennel

1/2 Cup White Wine

1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

1/2 Lemon

1 Large Tomato, Finely Diced


1 Tablespoon Of Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Of White Wine Vinegar

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Tablespoon Capers

Salt & Pepper To Taste

Shell the fava beans, discarding the pods. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and place in an ice water bath. Prepare the green beans in the same manner, set aside. Poach the shrimp in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove.

Remove the tops from the fennel, as well as any brown outside pieces. Slice thinly lengthwise. Place in a large pan with the white wine, lemon, chicken broth, and enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Make the sauce adding all the ingredients into a blender and pulse. On each of four plates, arrange first the fennel slices, then the shrimp, and beans in an attractive manner. Scatter the diced tomato around the plates and then drizzle each plate with some of the dressing. Decorate with some fennel fronds, and serve.

Fried Calamari

Source : Italianfoodforever

Crispy rings of tender calamari are great as an appetizer served with a spicy tomato sauce or garlicky mayonaise.

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

Calamari need to be either cooked quickly on high heat, or cooked for a long period on a slow simmer. Anything in between can lead to a chewy result. Fried for just under a minute in hot oil as in this recipe results in tender, crispy rings of calamari. Use your favorite dipping sauce to serve, although I like to use a simple tomato sauce spiced up with a pinch of red pepper flakes. If you have never cleaned squid before, you might find their appearance a bit intimidating, however they are actually quite easy to clean.

2 Pounds Cleaned Squid (Instructions Below)

1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Cornmeal

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Vegetable Oil For Frying

Suggestions For Dipping Sauce:

Quick Tomato Sauce, Or Garlic Mayonnaise

Cleaning Squid: To clean the squid, first pull out the tentacles and head. Set these aside. Remove the cartilage that runs down the back, and anything that is inside the tube. Run under cold water. Pull off the two wing pieces, and remove the skin. Slice the cleaned tube into 1 inch rings. Take the tentacles and cut off the head just below the eyes, and discard this. Remove the hard beak inside.

Place the cleaned calamari in the freezer for 5 minutes before cooking. Put 2 inches of oil into a pot, and heat to 375 degrees F. Mix the flour, cornmeal and spices together in a plastic bag. Drop in the calamari and shake well to cover with the coating. Drop the calamari into the hot oil, and cook for just under a minute, until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Cooks Note: A great way to serve fried calamari, is to put a handful on top of a dish of spaghetti already dressed with a good spicy tomato sauce. If you prefer a crispier crust to your calamari, dip them in beaten egg before dropping them into the coating.

Breaded Clams

Source : Italianfoodforever

Vongole Ripiene ~ This easy clam recipe makes a light, tasty appetizer, that is great year round. Use the freshest clams you can find for the best results.

:Serves 6-8:

by Deborah Mele

36 Fresh Clams

1/2 Cup White Wine

1/2 Cup Water

1 Clove Of Garlic, Finely Minced

1/3 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs

3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

6-7 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

To Serve

Lemon Wedges

Lightly steam the clams for a couple of minutes in a mixture of the water and wine, until they open. Discard any that do not open. Remove the top shell from each and set them unto an ovenproof platter.

Mix together the remaining ingredients, with half of the olive oil, in a small bowl. Preheat the broiler. Spoon the crumb mixture over the clams, being careful not to pack the mixture down. Drizzle on the remaining olive oil. Broil until the crumbs are golden brown. Remove from the oven, and arrange either on individual plates, or a large platter with the lemon wedges and serve.

Note: To clean the clams before using, keep them in the refrigerator in a bowl filled with cool water. Add a few teaspoons of cornmeal or oatmeal to the water, and let them sit an hour or two. As the clams ingest the grains, they will clean themselves out of sand and dirt.

Shrimp Cocktail

Source : Italianfoodforever

Antipasti di Scampi ~ This is a nice, light appetizer, or party food. Buy the freshest shrimp you can find, and use ones medium large to large in size.

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

1 Pound Large Shrimps

1 Hard Boiled Egg

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Jiuce Of 1/2 Lemon

6 Tablespoons Chile Sauce (Or Ketchup If You Don't Have It)

Dash Of Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tablespoons Dry Sherry

2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

Salt & Pepper To Taste

To prepare the shrimp, remove their shells, and devein them by cutting a small slit along their backs. Remove the dark colored vein. Cook the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water. Drain and cool. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve them.

Place the egg yolk and mustard in a blender. Turn on, and drizzle in the oil and lemon juice. Stop the blender and then add in the rest of the ingredients. Blend until combined. Chill the sauce until you are ready to serve.

To serve, either arrange a few shrimp on each plate and spoon over a little of the sauce, or arrange the shrimp nicely on a platerr or bowl with a smaller bowl holding the sauce for dipping. Serve cold.

Cured Salmon

Source : Italianfoodforever

This is a very easy recipe that can be served in many different ways.

:Serves 6:

by Deborah Mele

Once the salmon is cured, or "cooked" in a lemon juice mixture and dressed, it can be served on slices of crusty bread, or garnished with various ingredients and served as a delicious appetizer.

Be careful not to leave the salmon in the lemon mixture too long, or it will be completely cooked. The goal is to cook or cure the salmon just to the point that it still has a little dark pink color in parts. In the photo, I served the salmon on a few arugula leaves, and then topped it with some slices of finely sliced onions, tiny grape tomatoes and capers, but the salmon is really so delicious on it's own you could serve it simply with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked black pepper, salt and a squeeze of lemon.

1 1/2 Pound Salmon Fillet

1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Dry White Wine

Cracked Black Pepper

2 Teaspoons Sugar

1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


To Garnish: (Choose As Desired)

Finely Sliced Red Onions, Or Chopped Green Onions


Chopped Tomato

Lemon Wedges

With a very sharp knife, cut the salmon into thin slices on the diagonal. Place in a large casserole dish, and pour the lemon juice and white wine over top. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring once during this period. Pour the curing liquid off the salmon, and dress with the olive oil, salt and cracked pepper. Serve with garnish of choice.

Cannellini And Tuna Salad

Source : Italianfoodforever

Insalta di Tonno e Fagioli ~ This salad makes a wonderful antipasto for 6, or a light lunch or dinner main course for 4. If you keep canned tuna and beans in your pantry, you can easily put this dish together in just a few minutes at any time.

:Serves 4-6:

by Deborah Mele

Although I didn't often see this dish on too many restaurant menus in Italy, many of my Italian friends made this dish often at home.

4 Cups Cooked Cannellini Beans (See *Cannellini ~ The Pride Of Tuscany For Details) Or 2 (16 oz.) Cans Good Quality Cannellini Beans

2 (6 oz.) Cans Oil Packed Tuna

1 Small Onion, Sliced Very Thin

2 Stalks Celery, Chopped

1/2 Cup Pitted And Sliced Black Olives


Juice Of 2 Medium Lemons

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Salt And Pepper

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Mix together the dressing ingredients. Place the beans, onion, celery and olives in a bowl. Drain the tuna, and lightly crumble it into the bowl with the beans. Pour the dressing over the beans mixture and toss, being careful not to break up the tuna too much. Place on individual plates and serve.

Online Source For Cannellini: If you are having problems finding cannellini beans in your area, sells both dried and canned cannellini beans.

Shrimp Capri

Source : Italianfoodforever

In this zesty recipe, quickly cooked, tender shrimp are coated in a delicious tomato sauce which has been flavored with olives, capers, garlic and hot peppers. Great as an appetizer for 6, or as an entree for 4.

:Serves 4:

by Deborah Mele

I have been asked many times to share recipes for Shrimp Capri, or Chicken Capri, so I have added my version of this tasty dish. You can either use fresh tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, or even halved cherry tomatoes in the sauce. In order to keep the shrimps tender, just be careful not to overcook them. The hot red pepper flakes are optional, but they are what gives this recipe it's unique flavor. Cook the sauce up until it is just thick enough to coat the shrimp. You don't want the shrimp swimming in sauce.

1 Pound Of Large Shrimp

2 Cloves Of Garlic, Minced

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt & Black Pepper

Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)

1/2 Cup White Wine

2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes, Or Fresh Tomato Sauce

12 Black Olives, Pitted And Coarsely Chopped

2 Tablespoons Capers

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped

2 Tablespoons Butter

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and shrimp. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook just 30 seconds on each side until the shrimp turns pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and add the wine. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook until it has almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes, and cook until the sauce thickens. Return the shrimp to the pan, add the olives and capers, and cook for another minute. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Add the fresh parsley and butter, and mix well. Serve immediately, while hot and bubbly.

Cook's Tip: Store fresh or thawed shrimp in a colander that is filled with ice and set it over a bowl. Thawed shrimp should be kept for just one day before using, while fresh shrimp can be kept for 2 to 3 days. Although most stores sell frozen, or thawed (previously frozen) shrimp, if you have the opportunity to buy fresh shrimp, you will be amazed at the difference in texture and flavor. To prevent the shrimp from curling up during cooking, after shelling and deveining the shrimp, insert a wooden skewer through the center of each shrimp, and cook as desired.

Porcini Dusted Sea Scallops With Tomato Relish

Source : Italianfoodforever

I was at the St. Lawrence market this past weekend and couldn’t resist the huge, creamy white sea scallops on display.

: Serves 4

By Deborah Mele

I decided to lightly dust them with dried porcini mushroom powder, sear them, and serve them with just a little fresh tomato relish. They were cooked perfectly, and delicious!

12 Large Sea Scallops

2 Tablespoons Dried Porcini Powder (See Note Below)

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Salt & Pepper To Taste

For The Relish:

6 Ripe, Plum Tomatoes

1 Clove Garlic, Peeled And Minced

1 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

½ Teaspoon Chopped, Fresh Thyme

Cut the tomatoes in half, cutting away the core end. Carefully squeeze the tomatoes to remove most of the seeds trying not to damage the pulp. Cut the tomatoes into a small dice (1/2 inch pieces) and place in a bowl. Add the garlic, olive oil and thyme, and then season with salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Lightly pat the scallops dry, and sprinkle on some of the porcini powder on both sides. Heat the butter in a heavy frying pan until it is sizzling and just beginning to turn light brown. Add the scallops, and cook on medium high heat for about 3 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a light, crisp outer crust, but remain tender inside. Once they have all been cooked, place three scallops on each plate with a little of the tomato relish on top to serve.

Note: If you cannot find dried porcini powder, then simply grind your own by placing dried porcini mushrooms in a blender or food processor and pulsing until finely ground.