Linguini with Mussels and Walnut Parsley Pesto

A Delia Smith recipe taken from the Radio Times many years ago.

Serves : 4

For me, Mussels are still a luxury food that cost very little money. I don’t think anything can match their exquisite, fresh-from-the-sea flavour. In this recipe every precious drop of mussel juice is used which gives a lovely concentrated flavour. Now that mussels come ready cleaned and prepared, it make the whole thing very simple and easy: all you have to do is put them in cold water, then pull off any beardy strands with a sharp knife, using them as soon as possible and discard any that don’t close tightly when given a sharp tap.

Ingredients:
900g (2 lb) mussels, cleaned and prepared
175g (6oz) linguini or other pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
175ml (6 fl oz) dry white wine
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

For the pesto:
10g ( ½ oz) walnuts, chopped
25g (1oz) curly parsley, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tblsp olive oil
Salt and freshly milled black pepper.

To serve: 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Step One : First prepare the pesto: select a large pan that will hold the mussels comfortably, then in it heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the walnuts in the hot oil to get them nicely toasted on all sides – this will take 1-2 mins. Place the walnuts and any oil left in the pan into a liquidiser or food processor, add the parsley and garlic, the remaining tablespoon of oil and seasoning, then blend everything to make a puree.

Step Two : Next you need to deal with the mussels: heat the olive oil in the same pan that you sautéed the walnuts in, add the shallot and chopped garlic and cook these over a medium heat for about 5 mins or until they’re just soft. Now turn the heat up high, tip in the prepared mussels and add the wine and some salt and pepper. Put on a closely-fitting lid, turn the heat down to medium and cook the mussels for about 5 mins, shaking the pan once or twice or until they have all opened.

Step Three : During those 5 mins bring another large pan of salted water up to the boil. Then when the mussels are cooked, remove them from the heat and transfer them to a warm bowl using a slotted spoon and shaking each well so that no juice is left inside. Keep 8 mussels aside still in their shells, for a garnish. Then remove the rest from their shells and keep them warm, covered with foil in a low oven.

Step Four : Then place a sieve lined with muslin or gauze over a bowl and strain the mussel liquor through it. This is very important as it removes any bits of sand or grit that get lodged in the shells.

Step Five : Now it’s time to pop the pasta into the boiling water and put a timer on for 8 mins (some pasta might need 10 mins so follow the instructions on the packet). Then pour the strained mussel liquor back into the original saucepan and fast-boil to reduce it by about one third. After than turn the heat to low and stir in the pesto.

Step Six : Now add the shelled mussels to the pesto sauce and remove from the heat. As soon as the pasta is cooked, quickly strain it into a colander and divide it between two hot pasta bowls. Spoon the mussels and pesto over each portion, add the mussels in their shells and scatter over the parsley. Serve absolutely immediately with some well-chilled white wine.

Smoked Haddock Fishcakes

Home-made fish cakes really are worth every minute spent making them.  For a change, try adding a few chopped cooked prawns to the basic mixture.

smoked haddock fish cakes

Makes :   10
Prep time :  30 minutes plus chilling
Cook time :  30 minutes

Ingredients:
450g (1 lb) floury potatoes
25g (1oz) butter
Salt and pepper
700g (1 1/2lb) smoked haddock fillet, skinned
100ml (4 fl oz) milk
125g (4oz) sweetcorn
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tblsp (30ml) each chopped fresh chives and parsley
Salt and pepper
50g (2oz) plain flour
2 eggs
125g (4oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tblsp (15ml) sunflower oil

Step One : Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, drain well.  Mash with the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Step Two : Meanwhile, poach the haddock fillet in the milk for about 10 minutes or until it begins to flake.  Drain and break up fillet into large pieces.

Step Three : Add the cooked fish, sweetcorn, grated lemon rind, chives, parsley, salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes.  Leave to cool.

Step Four : Shape the mixture into tend equal sized rounds.  Season the flour.  Dip each round into the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg, followed by the fresh white breadcrumbs to coat.  Chill until ready to cook.

Step Five : Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the fishcakes for about 3-4 minutes each side or until they are golden brown.  Keep warm in a low oven if cooking in batches.

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Thai-Steamed Snapper

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Dec 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami: Home-cooked recipes unlocking the magic of super-savory deliciousness by Laura Santtini.

Umami translates from the Japanese to mean ‘savoury deliciousness.’  Santtini says umami is, ‘the ultimate expression of flavour; the extra mouthful-ness that makes us say “mmmmm”, the taste that keeps on giving long after its fellow basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour and bitter – are spent.’

Brilliant for a dinner party, you can also use this versatile marinade for fish fillets.  This fish is ideal served with sticky Thai-style rice and a crisp green salad.

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

red snapper11 whole red snapper or other whole sustainable white fish (about 2kg), descaled, gutted and cleaned
4 limes (1 sliced)
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch of spring onions, topped and sliced (reserve tops for stuffing fish)
1 sweet potato, diced into thumbnail-sized pieces
2.5cm (1 in) piece of fresh ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
3 lemongrass stalks, outer skin removed and roughly chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded (keep the seeds of half a chilli only)
3 tblsp toasted sesame oil
4 tblsp fish sauce
3 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp brown sugar or palm sugar

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC (400oF) Gas 6.  Cut a piece of wide baking parchment twice the length of your fish.  Fold the parchment in half and then open it, placing one half on a baking tray.  Put the fish on the diagonal on the piece of parchment on the baking tray.

Step Two : Make slashes in the fish on the diagonal through the skin down to the bone on both sides.  Stuff the cavity with a few slices of lime, half the coriander and the tops of the spring onions.  Scatter sweet potato cubes and spring onion chunks around the fish.

Step Three : In a food processor, combine the rest of the coriander, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli and blitz into a paste.  Add the sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and the juice of the remaining 3 limes and blitz again.

Step Four : Rub this marinade all over the fish and fold the other half of the parchment over the fish, wrapping the edges over to close tightly.

Step Five : Cook in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  To test if the fish is cooked, remove from the oven and take a peek inside a corner of the parcel, but be careful because the steam will escape.  If the eye of the fish has turned white, this means your fish is cooked.

Step Six : Open the parcel and serve large chunks of fish on sticky Thai rice topped with a large spoonful of the cooking juices – that is where move of the umami is.

Light Seafood Tartlets

Recipe courtesy of Prima Magazine.

Quick to make and deliciously light to eat, these airy little tartlets are a perfect overture to a rich main course. Crisp layers of filo pastry hold a fluffy prawn and salmon filling, delicately flavoured with dill, chives and lime.

Serves : 8

Prep time : 20 mins    Cook time : 12 mins

seafood tartlets

Ingredients:
8 sheets filo pastry
2oz (50g) butter, melted
9 fl oz (275ml) hollandaise sauce
2 eggs, separated
4oz (125g) cooked peeled prawns
4oz (125g) smoked salmon trimmings, chopped
1 lime
1 tblsp (15ml) chopped fresh dill
1 tblsp (15ml) chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Step One : Preheat the oven to Mark 4 (350oF / 180oC) and place a baking sheet in the oven. Cut the pastry into 4in (10cm) squares and use it to line eight 4 in (10cm) flan tins. Overlap the pastry and butter between each layer.

Step Two : Place the hollandaise sauce in a bowl, add the egg yolks, prawns, salmon, grated rind of the lime, herbs and plenty of seasoning. Whisk the egg whites until they just stand in soft peaks and fold into the fish mixture using a large metal spoon. Divide between the tins.

Step Three : Place the tins on the hot baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes or until just set and golden brown.

Tip: For a vegetarian alternative, saute 8oz (225g) mushrooms in garlic butter and use them instead of the seafood. When using the mushrooms replace the fresh dill with tarragon.

Other seafood recipes can be found here …

Oaty Fish Crumble

It’s hearty, satisfying and good for you!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 25 mins; Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients:
12oz (350g) cod fillet, skinned
8oz (225g) smoked haddock fillet, skinned
1 tblsp (15ml) cornflour
1oz (25g) butter
1oz (25g) plain flour
½ pt (300ml) milk
5 fl oz (142ml) soured cream
2 tblsp (30ml) chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
3oz (75g) frozen peas
3oz (75g) frozen or canned sweetcorn
4oz (125g) cooked peeled prawns.

Topping:
4oz (125g) butter
3oz (75g) wholemeal plain flour
2oz (50g) porridge oats
2oz (50g) red Leicester cheese, grated

Step One : Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and toss in cornflour.

Step Two : Melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Off the heat, gradually add milk, then cream, parsley, seasoning, peas and sweetcorn. Return to the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring. Cook for 2 minutes.

Step Three : Stir in the fish and prawns then spoon into a 2 pt (1.1 litre) ovenproof dish.

Step Four : Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 375oF / 190oC. Rub butter into the flour and oats. Stir in cheese and sprinkle over fish mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Some other firm family favourites can be found here …

Prawn Creole

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 mins;  Cook time: 16 mins;

Low Fat

Ingredients:
1 tblsp onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp green pepper, deseeded and chopped
775g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp chicken gravy granules
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
A few drops of hot pepper sauce
2 tblsp cornflour
1 lb (450g) peeled cooked prawns
11oz (325g) freshly cooked rice
5oz (150g) chopped parsley

Step One : Place onion and green pepper in a large frying pan with 4 tblsp water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 3-4 mins, or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chicken granules, sugar, thyme and pepper sauce. Simmer, uncovered for 8 mins.

Step Two : Blend the cornflour with 4 tblsp cold water and stir into pan. Cook stirring, over a medium heat until thickened. Cook for a further 2 mins.

Step Three : Add prawns to pan and heat through.

Step Four : Mix together rice and parsley and serve with prawn creole.

Other Seafood recipes can be found here …

Spiced Cod with Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Every Day: Nutritious, healthy recipes for life on the go by Alice Living.

A diet high in cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, has been linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer.  Cauliflower is also full of antioxidants and dietary fibre and is therefore a superfood that you should be including in your diet.  Paired with some heavenly baked fish and spices, this is a great weeknight supper staple.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 100g Greek yogurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 sprigs each of fresh mint and coriander, leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric, plus an extra pinch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 large cod fillets
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step One – In a bowl, mix the yogurt and garlic with the chopped mint and coriander, a pinch of turmeric and the cumin, until completely combined.

Step Two – Add the cod, turn to coat and set aside to marinate.

Step Three – Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6.

Step Four – Put the coconut oil into a roasting tray and place in the hot oven until melted.  Add the cauliflower, sprinkle over a teaspoon of turmeric and season with a little salt and pepper then toss in the oil to cover.

Step Five – Roast in the hot oven for 40 minutes, adding the fish for the final 12 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Fresh Tuna Nicoise

 

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2018 edition).  Recipe taken from the Feasting book.  See link below.

This more sophisticated version of your average tuna salad is a great dish for entertaining.  The rest of the salad can be assembled a few hours ahead, but leave the tuna and poached eggs until last to make it restaurant quality.

Serves:  8-10

Ingredients:

250g green beans, trimmed
300g kipfler (finger) potatoes
60ml olive oil, plus extra for the tuna
80ml vinegar
4 eggs
600g yellowfin tuna fillets
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
12 baby cos lettuce leaves
200g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
Squeeze of lemon
Dill sprigs, to garnish
Edible flowers, to garnish (optional)

Black Olive Tapenade Dressing

80g black Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 tbsp capers in brine, drained and diced
20g flat-leaf parsley, finely shredded
1/4 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Tuna Mayonnaise

500g mayonnaise
200g tinned tuna, drained
1 tbsp capers in brine, drained
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 anchovy fillets

Tuna Spice Mix

1 tsp fennel seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground

Step One: Fill a saucepan with 2 litres of water and bring to the boil.  Blanch the beans for 90 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water.  Drain again, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.  Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Add a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until cooked.  Drain the potatoes, then peel and cut into slices while warm.

Step Two: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat.  Fry the potatoes in batches, adding more oil as needed, until brown and crispy on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.

Step Three: Cut the tuna fillet into three pieces and rub with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat and sear the tuna for about 20 seconds on each side.  Set aside to cool.

Step Four: Make the tapenade dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.  For the tuna mayo, blend the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Step Five: Brush the tuna pieces with the mustard and roll in a bowl with the combined spice mix.  Slice into 1.5cm pieces.  Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then add the vinegar.  Reduce the heat to simmer, give the water a swirl and crack in the eggs one at a time.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Rest on paper towels.

Step Six:  To assemble, arrange some cos leaves on a plate and top with one third of the sliced tuna, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and tapenade.  Repeat with two more layers, finishing with spoonfuls of tapenade, lemon juice and the dill sprigs.  Top with eggs and edible flowers if using.  Serve with the tuna mayonnaise.

 

 

 

Thai-steamed Snapper

Brilliant for a dinner party, you can also use this versatile marinade for fish fillets.  This fish is ideal served with sticky Thai-style rice and a crisp green salad.

Thai Red SnapperIngredients:

11 whole red snapper or other whole sustainable white fish (about 2 kg), descaled, gutted and cleaned
4 limes (1 sliced)
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 bunch of spring onions, topped and sliced (reserve tops for stuffing fish)
1 sweet potato, diced into thumbnail-sized pieces
2.5cm  / 1 in piece of ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
3 lemongrass stalks, outer skin removed and roughly chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded (keep the seeds of half a chilli only)
3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar or palm sugar

Serves:  4

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 200oC (400oF, gas mark 6).  Cut a piece of wide baking parchment twice the length of your fish.  Fold the parchment in half and then open it, placing one half on a baking tray.  Put the fish on the diagonal on the piece of parchment on the baking tray.

Step Two:  Make slashes in the fish on the diagonal through the skin down to the bone on both sides.  Stuff the cavity with a few slices of lime, half the coriander and the tops of the spring onions.  Scatter sweet potato cubes and spring onion chunks around the fish.

Step Three:  In a food processor, combine the rest of the coriander, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli and blitz into a paste.  Add the sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and the juice of the remaining 3 limes and blitz again.

Step Four:  Rub this marinade all over the fish and fold the other half of parchment over the fish, wrapping the edges over to close tightly.

Step Five:  Cook in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  To test if the fish is cooked, remove from the oven and take a peek inside a corner of the parcel, but be careful because the steam will escape.  If the eye of the fish has turned white, this means your fish is cooked.

Step Six:  Open the parcel and serve large chunks of fish on sticky Thai rice topped with a large spoonful of the cooking juices – that is where most of the umami is.

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (December 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami by Laura Santtini.

Restaurateur and inventor of Taste #5 Umami paste Laura Santtini, is credited with making the ‘chef’s best-kept secret’ accessible to home cooks at all levels.  Umami is the savoury fifth basic taste; literally translating from the Japanese to mean ‘savoury deliciousness’, it is universal and can be used in food from every country and culture to make it extra tasty.

In Santtini’s words, umami is, ‘the ultimate expression of flavour; the extra mouthful-ness that makes us say “mmmmm”, the taste that keeps on giving long after its fellow basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour and bitter – are spent.’

In her book, At Home with Umami, Santtini talks about how she has always been fascinated by flavours and the feelings they evoke.  Chapters include ‘Fresh & Uplifting’, ‘Heady & Daring’ and ‘Mellow & Comforting’, so you can check into how you’re feeling and cook full-flavoured food to match your mood.

Whole Barbecued Fish

images6440BJNUCook time: 30 mins

Ingredients: 4 small or 2 larger whole fish, such as red or grey mullet, or red snapper, gutted; juice of 2 limes or lemons; 6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil; 6 fresh bay leaves or sprigs of marjoram, plus extra to garnish. A pinch of dried thyme.

  • Score the fish diagonally with a sharp knife. Rub inside and out with half the lime juice, salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Place the bay leaves inside the fish and sprinkle with a pinch of thyme.
  • Place the fish over the hot barbecue coals (or under a hot grill), preferably in a wire basket or wrapped in foil, and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, or longer for larger fish.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, garnish with bay leaves or marjoram and serve immediately with a Greek salad.

Wire basket for cooking the fish: