Tag Archives: Seafood

Baccala Mantecato, A Venetian Delicacy

img_2237 img_2236I first found out about this delicacy when I was visiting Venice in 2007 with my beautiful family. I was intrigued because I had never savored baccala that way before. Baccala is Italian for dried salted cod fish. It’s a delicious spread (dip) that originated in the region of Venice, Italy. It’s not that difficult to prepare but it can be a bit tricky. If you follow my instructions carefully, your spread will be a success just like mine. You will be using fillet (boned) code fish that’s cured in salt. It’s usually found in a plastic bag near the seafood department of your grocery store. I am certain, you can also find it in the outdoor markets without the plastic, depending what part of the world  you live in.  Fear not, it’s cured with lots of salt and it’s not easily perishable. If  you don’t properly prepare it, you will be left with a dish that is inedible due to the high sodium content. You will need a little less than two hours from start to finish to obtain the final results. Today, I am using a food processor and not my hands, which could be a daunting task. This is the perfect appetizer for an Italian-themed party, and pairs lusciously with Prosecco or any bubbly of your choice. I promise you, if your guests like seafood, they will be impressed with your culinary skills.

Serves: 8-10 as an appetizer –  Level of difficulty:  Medium

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. Salted Cod Fish boned
  • Water to boil the cod fish and potatoes
  • 2 medium gold potatoes, peeled, cut up
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish, optional
  • Garlic bread, crostini,  or polenta

    Preparation:
    1) Rinse the salt off the fish. Next, In a large plastic bowl, place the cod fish and cover it with fresh room temperature (tap)  water. Let it soak for about 45 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat the same process for another 45 minutes. (You will be adding fresh water and let it soak a second time)  for a total of at LEAST 90 minutes. Drain again.
    2)Place in a large saucepan, cover with fresh water and boil for 5-7 minutes until it becomes a little flaky.  There will be large chunks and it will not fall apart at that point.  Drain. Set aside.
    3) In the meanwhile, boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. *
    4) It’s time to put it all together. In a food processor, put the cod, potatoes, garlic, half and half and PULSE for about 40 – 60 seconds or so, until all the ingredients come together nicely. At that point, you should see some little chunks of fish, and the mixture will appear a little dry.
    5) Slowly, add the oil and run the food processor on HIGH until you obtain a mousse-like texture as in mashed potatoes. (about 30-60 seconds). Always, check your food to make sure you do not over process it. You will run the risk of changing the texture by liquefying it too much. The spread will look creamy, with flakes or little shreds of fish. It’s done. Look at my pictures!
    6) Spread it over bread,  drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with black pepper and parsley.  You can also serve it in a bowl, and let your guest dig in. Traditionally in Venice, it’s served over polenta. Either way, you eat it, it will be delectable and very enticing to the taste buds.
    I hope you have enjoyed this delicious and healthy recipe, and plan to make it soon. Let me hear about your experience. From what I gather, people are having a difficult time obtaining the right consistency. It may take some practice.
    Cook’s notes: * You can use the same pan you used for the cod to boil the potatoes to avoid a mess in the kitchen.
    Make sure the sauce pan is large enough, if not, the water will overflow and create a mess when cooking the fish.  I have a few tricks up my sleeves, having been in the kitchen for nearly 30 years. To make the bread, drizzle with olive oil, and a dab of butter. Broil for 1-2 minutes. Voila!

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    Salted Cod fish

     

     

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Baccala Mantecato – Exclusive pictures by Foodiewinelover

All photos are exclusively mine except for the small picture of the bag – I wanted to show you what it looks like. If it says boned, chunks, it will work also. It’s IMPORTANT that you used the fillet (without the bones) Keep in mind, there are probably different companies depending on where you live.
This recipe was created in my kitchen and I take full credit for the measurements and method of preparation.

I hope you will try this delicious spread and share your thoughts with me. I would love to hear your feedback. I may come back to add some personal photos from our trip to Venice. I need to publish this today, as my followers on social media are patiently waiting for the recipe.

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas – Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

 

Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish #2 With a Twist

There’s nothing like having a no-fail recipe in your repertoire, because you know you can always count on the result being the same.  However, having been in the kitchen for so long, I like to challenge myself,  play around, and experiment to change things up a little. This is a spin-off to a dish that I made called Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish. The method is very similar, but I added some roasted red bell peppers. The result was equally as delicious. Follow me in My Kitchen!

Roasted bell peppers

Serves: 4-6
Degree of difficulty: Easy – Medium

You will need a brown paper bag

Ingredients:  

  • 1.5 lb. sea scallops
  • 1/2 jug of clam juice – About 5-6 ounces
  • 1/2 cup of Chardonnay wine
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted/charred (the twist) rough chopped *
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup pasta water, if needed *
  • 2-3 Tbsp. butter
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, (Parmesan cheese)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • Few leaves of basil, chopped in a chiffonade style
  • 1 lb. Linguine

Preparation:

1) Wash peppers, and broil them whole,  on high for about 10-15 minutes depending how close they are to the burner. Turn them occasionally, using a mitten. Once they are charred all around, remove them from the oven. Place them in a brown paper bag and close it. Let it sit in there for about 15 minutes. This step will make it easier to remove the skin. It should peel off easily. If not, use a knife to remove the skin. Set aside.

2) On Medium-high heat, drizzle the olive oil on the bottom of a 6-quart pan.  Sautee the garlic, as soon as it releases its aroma, drop the scallops and deglaze with the wine. This should take a couple of minutes.

3)   Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, clam juice and season with salt, pepper, oregano. Slowly add the heavy cream and stir.  Lower the heat and bring to a quick simmer. This does not take long as you do NOT want to overcook the scallops. They will become chewy. Remove from burner. 

4) Simultaneously,  bring water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions. I like to cook it al dente, (to the bite).  Once pasta is cooked, drain it, and reserve 1/4 cup of the water. Drop pasta  into the scallop sauce, and add pasta water if necessary.  Put the pan back on the burner, swirl in the butter for some added richness, and give it a good stir. This is all done at very low heat to warm it up. Garnish with the basil at the end so they don’t wilt.  Now, it’s time to plate. Sprinkle with cheese and voilà, the result is a lip smacking delicious pasta dish.

I hope you will try this delectable recipe that will have your loved ones begging for seconds.  Have a fantastic new week!

Wine pairing suggestions: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. For a special occasion, pair this dish with a nice Viognier, and you will wow your guests.

Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish #2

Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish #2

Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish

Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish

*Cook’s tips:

1) You can grill, roast or broil the peppers. The broiler was the most convenient for me.

2) You probably won’t need the pasta water in this version. There should be plenty of sauce to coat the linguine. Use your judgment.

3) As you can see, I didn’t use all the seafood that I used in the original dish. You are more than welcome to use them, if you want.

Happy Cooking and Cheers from Gina’s Kitchen! 

logofoodiewinelover1

Linguine alle Vongole, Clams in a Wine Broth

Mise en place for Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth

Mise en place for Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth

Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth

Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth

Clams in a wine broth

It’s been a while since I have made pasta with clams. I have a few versions of them, but I like to change things up from time to time. It was 5:20 PM when I headed to the kitchen, and I challenged myself to have dinner ready on or before 6:00 PM. I felt like I was on a cooking show, but with less pressure of course. I began prepping all the ingredients, and needed everyone out of my way.  I blasted the air, and started cooking like a mad woman. You certainly don’t have to put that kind of pressure on yourselves. To add to the madness, I was shooting pictures, and decided to do a last-minute mini video.  Here is a list of the ingredients you will need, and my method of cooking.

Serves: 4   Level of difficulty Easy-Medium
Time: From start to finish 5:20 PM – 5:59 PM

Ingredients:

  • 2 dozen little neck clams, scrubbed well. *
  • 1/2 head of garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 dried Thai chiles, optional *
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine, Chardonnay
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 4 tbsp. butter, optional, for added richness
  •  Flat-leave parsley for garnish
  •  1 lb. of Linguine
  • Water for boiling pasta, + reserve 1/2 cup for later
  • Salt for the pasta water

    Preparation:
    1) Prep all your ingredients.  Set aside. Bring pasta water to a boil.2) In the meanwhile, in a medium-sized pan (with a lid) heat up olive oil,  add the chiles, sauté for 1-2 minutes, and REMOVE.  Add the shallots, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir until it caramelizes.  Deglaze with the wine. Lower the heat, and reduce for 1-2 minutes.

3) Add the clams,  cover with a lid and simmer on low- heat for about 10 minutes or so, or until the clams open up.

4) You will be doing some juggling. By now, the water probably started to boil, add the salt, drop pasta in the water. Cook according to package directions. (I like it al dente, to the bite).

5) Clams should be done. (If you overcook them, they will get chewy. Either keep them on very low flame,  or remove them from the burner.

6) In the midst of cooking, you will find time to prep the garlic bread and broil it. Keep your eyes, on the stove and burners at all times.

7) Drain the pasta, and add it to the clams. ( Make sure you reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water) Use your judgment about how much broth you want.  Stir in the butter, and the reserved pasta water. Mix well. Put back on low flame if necessary to warm it up.

8) Serve at once, in a pasta bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with flat-leave parsley. Voila! Done!  My dinner was served at 5:59 PM. I rose to the challenge.

Linguine alle Vongole

I served it with some homemade crostini, (garlic bread), and my family had a feast. I hope you will try this hearty and delicious dish in your kitchen for your loved ones.

Gina’s Tips:

  1. Make sure clams are all closed when you buy them. Those that stay open are dead, and not suitable for consumption.   Beware of certain allergies with shellfish.
  2. Warning: The chiles are optional, because they are very spicy. However,  if you want to add some kick to the dish, use them as per my instructions.

Wine suggestion: A nice chilled Chardonnay, or any white wine of your choice.

Bon Appetit from My Kitchen to Yours!

 

 

Seared Balsamic-Glazed Sea Scallops

Sea Scallops

Sea Scallops

 

Scallops marinating in balsamic vinegar

Scallops marinating in balsamic vinegar

 

Searing/pan frying the scallops

Searing/pan frying the scallops

 

Caremelizing scallops

Caramelizing scallops

 

Seared Balsamic-glazed Sea Scallops

Seared Balsamic-glazed Sea Scallops

 

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The bottom of your pan should look like this, when you’re done.

 

This is probably the easiest, and most delicious way to eat sea scallops. I don’t make them often, because they are on the expensive side. However, once in a while I like to splurge on these scrumptious sea mollusks. They are a good source of protein, and healthy for you.  This method requires very little time to prepare them.

WARNING: SOME PEOPLE MAY BE ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH

Serves 3-4  Yields about 18-20 large sea scallops
Degree of difficulty: Very easy Cooking time: 6 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lb.large sea scallops, preferably fresh, not frozen
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil for searing/frying

Preparation:

1) In a medium size bowl, season sea scallops with freshly ground black pepper. Add the balsamic vinegar, mix well. Let it marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes. Turn them at least once. Do not let it sit too much longer in the marinade.

2) On high heat, (almost the highest setting) in a large, stainless-steel frying pan, barely cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Make sure, it is hot, if not, you will not obtain the nice golden brown color.

3) Drain the scallops as much as you can, (do not use a paper towel) and place it on the hot pan, in a single layer. Cook on high heat for about 4 minutes. I use the kitchen timer. BE CAREFUL, OIL WILL SPLATTER A LITTLE, and the stove will get messy.

4) Lower the flame to medium, flip scallops, and cook other side for about 2 minutes. That’s it!!! DO NOT OVERCOOK, AS THEY WILL GET CHEWY.

I served the scallops with brown rice, and broccoli. The entire meal took about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish. I hope you will try it soon.

Happy Cooking From My Kitchen To Yours!

Gina

 

 

Gina’s Succulent Crab Cakes

Gina’s Succulent Crab Cakes 

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Mise en Place

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Sweating the veggies

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Mixing all the ingredients

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Made patties

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Pan-frying

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Voila!

Every once in a while I make crab cakes, and I always strive to come up with the best possible recipe. I think, I finally succeeded tonight.  Generally, Blue Crab are used, and they are indigenous to the state of Maryland. They are famous for their crab cakes.  My family gave my Maryland style crab cakes rave reviews, and I am happy to share my version with all of you.

Servings: 6 – 8 Degree of difficulty: Medium. Yield about 12 crab cakes. This recipe can be divided in half to serve about 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ( 2  -16 oz containers) lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. stoneground mustard
  • 2 tsp. Creole seasoning
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flat leave parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter for frying veggies, plus more olive oil to pan fry crab cakes
  • Freshly ground pepper

 Preparation: 

1) Over med-high heat, in a medium size pan, heat up 1 tbsp. olive oil and butter, add celery, onion and bell pepper, sweat for about 3-4 minutes. Let it cool.

2) In a large bowl, combine crabmeat and all the remaining ingredients. Add the veggies, and mix well. Form crab cake patties, just like you would make a hamburger, place on a tray and chill in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes.

3) Heat up enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large pan, on medium high heat, (make sure the oil is hot) place at the most, 4 patties, AND LOWER HEAT TO MEDIUM, otherwise, crab cakes will come out too dark. Cook on one side for 4 minutes, then flip gently with a spatula and the aid of a fork, cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Remove promptly. Repeat. You can also broil them for a healthier version.

I served them with a rémoulade sauce which consist of 2 tbsp. ketchup, 1 tbsp. mayo, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, creole seasoning to taste. Mix well.

I also made a beautiful beet salad with field greens to go with it. I hope, you will give this recipe a try. Your family will love you for it.

Wine suggestion: Gavi, a beautiful Italian white.

Bon Appetit from Gina’s Kitchen!

 

Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish

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A few years ago, hubby and I took a trip of a lifetime to California. We got to visit many wonderful cities as well as wine country. We were mesmerized by the beautiful sceneries, enjoyed some delicious food, and sipped on luscious wines. Today, I want to share with you this pasta dish, that we savored at Brophy Bros Clam Bar in beautiful Santa Barbara. This restaurant overlooks the lovely pier and the breathtaking mountain views.  This dish was so inspiring, that I decided to recreate it, and the result was smashing.
SantaBarbarahubbyandme

SantaBarbaramountains

FoodieWineloverVealandSeafoodPasta 039

Serves: 4-6
Degree of difficulty: Easy – Medium

Ingredients:  

  • 1 lb.  medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail left on
  • 18 little neck or medium-sized clams
  • 1/2 lb. of sea scallops
  • 1/2 jug of clam juice – About 5-6 ounces
  • 1/2 cup of Chardonnay wine
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 2-3 Tbsp. butter
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, (Parmesan cheese)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • Few leaves of basil, chopped in a chiffonade style
  • 1 lb. Linguine

Preparation:

1) In a 6 quart pan, on med-high heat, drizzle the olive oil on the bottom,  sautee the garlic, as soon as it releases its aroma, drop all the seafood in there and deglaze with the wine. This should take a couple of minutes.

2)   Add the tomatoes, clam juice and season with salt, pepper, oregano. Slowly add the heavy cream and stir.  Lower the heat and bring to a quick simmer. This does not take long as you do NOT want to overcook the seafood. They will become chewy.

3) Simultaneously,  bring water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions. I like to cook it al dente, (to the bite).  Once pasta is cooked, drain it, and reserve 1/4 cup of the water. Drop pasta and water to the seafood sauce.  Swirl in the butter for some added richness, and give it a good stir. This is all done with very low heat, at this point. Garnish with the basil at the end so they don’t wilt.  Now, it’s time to plate. Sprinkle with cheese and voilà, the result is a lip smacking delicious pasta dish.

I hope you will try this delectable recipe that will have your loved ones begging for seconds. Stay tuned for more delicous dishes. Until then, have a fantastic day!

Wine pairing suggestions: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. For a special occasion, pair this dish with a nice Viognier, and you will wow your guests.

Happy Cooking and Cheers from Gina’s Kitchen!
Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Culinary Aficionado – WSET-Level Wine Connoisseur
World Traveler

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