Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mussels in Tomato and Garlic

Prepared Jan 12, 2011. The mussels were "buy one, get two". Had to try it.
2 1-pound packages frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce, defrosted
4 strips thick bacon, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 t crushed red pepper

3/4 c white wine
28 oz container prepared marinara sauce, or 1 c fresh tomato, chopped + 12 oz seafood stock
reserved pasta water, as needed
1 lb linguine, cooked al dente

olive oil to taste
In a 6-qt saucepan, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 T of the bacon fat, reheat the pan, and add the garlic. Heat until fragrant; add the wine, and reduce by half. Next, add defrosted mussels, the bacon, the pepper, and the sauce. Stir well, and cover. Steam about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the drained pasta to the sauce, mix, and add pasta water as necessary to adjust thickness. Heat through a few minutes. Dress with additional olive oil. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Serves four to six.

Quick Pilaf

The key here is to lightly toast the rice. It develops a very pleasant aroma and subtle flavor. This is an adaptation of Daisy Martinez' method demonstrated on her PBS television show.
1 T vegetable oil
1-1/2 c long-grain rice
2-1/4 c 1:1 mixture of water and chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
3/4 t salt
Heat the stock mixture in microwave. Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, until hot and add the rice and salt. Stir frequently, coating each grain with oil. Cook with stirring until lightly colored and mildly fragrant with a toasty aroma, about 5 minutes. Stir in the seasonings and add the hot stock with stirring, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. After 15 minutes, take off heat and let rest 5 minutes. Fluff gently before serving.

Mojarra Frita (Rainbow Trout)

Rainbow Trout with Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Rissotto
Prepared January 10, 2011. The coating is super crunchy, the flesh moist and sweet, and yet can easily be freed from the delicate skeleton.
2 to 3 farm-raised rainbow trout, about 12 ozs each
General Purpose Breader 
vegetable oil
Rinse fish well in cold water, scrape away any scales. Cut off head, fins, and most of tail. With a sharp knife, make 1/4 inch-deep cuts at 2 inch intervals into the thick part of the meat. Place in a one-gallon plastic bag containing the breader, and coat each fish thoroughly, including the cavity and cuts. Place bag of breaded fish in refrigerator for 1/2 hour to build up a thick layer of breader. Heat a 1/4 inch of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Test the sizzle with a pinch of breader. Knock off excess breader and carefully lower each fish into the hot fat. Fry undisturbed for about 5 minutes while ladling hot fat over the upper side. Turn over, and cook another 4 minutes, ladling the fat as before. With a large spatula and tongs, transfer the fish to a plate. Garnish with lime wedges. Suggested sides: a mixed-grain pilaf or a risotto and cauliflower in cheese sauce.

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

This yields a 1 to 8 mixture (about 11% by volume). Good for topping toast — French or otherwise, fruits — both raw and cooked, pancakes, et cetera.
1 T ground cinnamon
1/2 c granulated sugar
Mix well. Store in a covered shaker jar.