Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ready In Minutes - Summery Seafood Feast For 2

Summer is not the time the slaving over a hot stove, but that's no reason to miss out on a delightfully doable (and a little fancy) dinner at home. When I think about fast and light stovetop meals, seafood often pops to mind as my main ingredient. Today we give you two easy and incredibly flavorful dishes fit for a laid back Sunday meal or completely adaptable to an effortless company dinner. A chilled appetizer of Poached Shrimp with Coconut Water and Lime is bursting with bold spicy flavor, and because it's served cold, it can easily be made ahead. Our entree of Lemony Calamari Pasta is elegant, economical, and also, ready in a flash. After prep, you'll need just under a half hour for BOTH today's dishes - each of which have wow factor and look beautiful. So pat yourself on the back, crack a nice bottle of well chilled white, and enjoy those sultry summer evenings while they last. 

Lemony Calamari Over Spaghetti Rigati, Photo: NK

Note: If you are making both dishes, we recommend you put together the Poached Shrimp with Coconut Water and Lime first as it should sit and chill for 30 minutes - the perfect amount of time to prep and cook the pasta. 

Spaghetti Rigati With Lemony Calamari
Serves 2

1/2 Pound Spaghetti Rigati 
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided 
2 Large Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Pound Fresh Calamari, tubes and tentacles, cleaned, tubes sliced into 1/4-inch rings
(For an easy way to slice tubes, dry Calamari well and fold it over once the long way before slicing. You may want to brace your non cutting hand with some paper towel inside it to minimize slipping). 

3 heaping Tablespoons Parsley, finely chopped  
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons White Wine or Rose, optional but recommended 

1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil for the Pasta. Set all ingredients above out in in preparation to cook, measured out if possible. Once Pasta Water is boiling, Add the Spaghetti Rigati (or other long, thin pasta) and cook according to package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the Calamari. In a large, high-sided sauté pan, warm 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil over medium-low heat for a minute. Add the Garlic and stir until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden, being careful not to burn it. About 2 minutes.

3. Add the Calamari and turn up the flame to medium. Cook, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until opaque. Calamari cooks quickly and becomes rubbery very fast. Keep an eye on it. As long as it's opaque and the texture's to your liking, it's cooked. Remove cooked Calamari to a bowl and drain off the liquids. Season the Calamari with a good sprinkle of Salt and a few turns of Black Pepper. 

4. By this time your Pasta should be cooked. Drain the pasta and reserve a few Tablespoons of Pasta Water. 

5. Add the Lemon Juice, Lemon Zest, Wine and a Tablespoon of Pasta Water into the deep sauté pan. Turn the flame up to medium again and warm through for about a minute. Add the Pasta and toss well. Add Crusher Red Pepper, Parsley, and season with a bit more Salt and Pepper. Stir in the Calamari.

6. To serve, plate the Pasta and drizzle each plate with the extra Olive Oil. Enjoy! 

Zesty Chilled Poached Shrimp With Coconut Water and Lime, Photo: NK 

Poached Shrimp With Coconut Water & Lime
Lightly Adapted from Food & Wine, Edward Lee
Serves 2 - 3 

12 Medium Shrimp, shelled, cleaned, tails on or off depending on your preference
1/4 Cup Coconut Water
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar or Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into a small dice
1/2 Sweet White Onion or Red Onion, sliced
1/2 a small Jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
Kosher Salt
Pinch of Sugar
Black Pepper

1. In a medium saucepan of boiling water, poach the Shrimp unto cooked through - roughly 2-3 minutes. They will be opaque and springy but not at all tough. Drain shrimp and place in an ice bath or rinse through a colander with ice cold water. 

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the Coconut Water, Vinegar, Lime Juice, Cilantro, Garlic, Ginger and Sugar. Season the liquids with Salt and Pepper. Toss together with the Poached Shrimp and all the leftover ingredients. 

3. Cover the mixture and chill for 30 minutes before serving. Make ahead: you can prepare the Shrimp and the Marinade can be refrigerated separately overnight. 

Buon Appetito! 

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