Tag Archives: Seafood

Grilled Octopus

Easier than I ever imagined.
8 legs but the servings vary according to appetites and the size of the octopus
Shopping List

1 octopus, 1.5 to 2 pounds (see note)

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried oregano (or alternate herbs)

1 large or 2 small lemons

1/4 cup olive oil


  • 1  octopus (11/2 to 2 pounds), cleaned

Note: A larger octopus will work, just make sure it fits in your pressure cooker and adjust the cooking time. I’ve also cooked 2 11/2 pound octopuses at once in my 6-quart pressure cooker.

When you (or the fishmonger) clean the octopus, be sure to remove the beak, eyes and open the head and clean it out. Rinse the octopus, especially inside the head as there might be a little sand in there if it isn’t cleaned out thoroughly.

Place the octopus in a pressure cooker. Add water to cover and

  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, split or smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt

ATTN Be absolutely certain you don’t overfill your pressure cooker!

Bring the pressure cooker to high (15 lbs) pressure. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the time is done, bring the pressure down quickly and check that a paring knife easily slips into the thickest part of the leg.  If not, close the pressure cooker, bring it back to pressure and cook for 3 minutes; then re-test it. Generally I have found that 15 minutes is enough time.

In a 2-3 quart mixing bowl, combine

  • juice of 2 small or 1 large lemon
  • 3 to 4 TBL olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, marjoram or thyme. (You can also use fresh herbs if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add the cooked octopus and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, turning the octopus at least once in the marinade but more often if time allows.

Light coals or light gas grill. Grill the octopus whole, making sure you don’t char the tips of the legs too much. When it’s gotten some color, it’s done. Remember, it was fully cooked when it came out of the pressure cooker.

Serve, either cut into legs or bite-size bits, drizzled with more olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice or your favorite condiments.


Italian Clam Soup

So delicious and clammy!
Makes four servings
Shopping List

3 dozen littleneck clams

1/4 cup olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic

canned anchovies

1 cup dry white wine

28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

2 tsp dried oregano

dried basil

fresh parsley

Red pepper flakes

bread, for croutons


  • 3 dozen littleneck clams

At some point, make the croutons, at bottom of this recipe. Heat in 2-3 quart soup pot

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Add, keeping heat low enough it does not brown:

  • 2 TBL finely minced garlic

Cook briefly and  add

  • 6 anchovy fillets

Cook until the anchovies break down into a paste.  Add

  • 1 cup white wine

and simmer for a minute. Open

  • 28-ounce can of San Marzano or other plum tomatoes

Chop up tomatoes a bit (you can remove the seeds if you care  to), discard a gross-looking piece of basil that seems to be hidden in every can and add all the tomatoes and liquid to the pot, along with

2 tsp dried oregano

11/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 to 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes

freshly ground pepper, to taste


ATTN Do not add salt: the anchovies have enough. Bring the pot to a boil and stir briefly. You may work up until this point and pause the recipe until 5 minutes before you with to eat. If you do so, turn off the heat.

Resume the recipe by bringing the soup to a boil. Add the cleaned clams and cover the pot for 5 minutes (or until all the clams open). Serve the soup, leaving the clams in the shells. Garnish with Garlic Croutons (see next paragraph).

To make the croutons, toast 8 slices of a baguette. When toasted, rub one side with the cut surface of a garlic clove you have cut in half.

Adapted from  More 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey.


Pasta with Squid Ink Sauce

Inky black and tasting very fishy this isn’t for everyone, but we love it!
Serves 3, perhaps 4.

Boil some water to cook the pasta. A big pot full of salted water is best. Wait until the water is almost at a boil before starting because it will take a lot longer than preparing the sauce.

In a large frying pan, saute over medium heat

  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 TBL olive oil

Cook until the onion is translucent and tender, but don’t let it brown. Add

  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 generous teaspoon squid ink
  • 3 TBL chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Let bubble gently for a few minutes. Meanwhile clean

  • 1 pound squid

Cut squid into rings. Start cooking

  • 1/2 pound perciatelli (bucatini)

When the pasta is about ATTNa minute or two from being fully cooked, add the squid to the sauce and stir it from time to time. The squid will get tough if it overcooks, so don’t start this prematurely.

Drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan. ATTNWhile wearing an apron or black clothes, stir until the sauce has thoroughly coated the pasta and the squid is cooked. The total cooking time for the squid is under 3 minutes or you will chewing an awful lot of rubber bands.

Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding a sprinkle of cayenne if it’s not as spicy as you’d like. Serve immediately. Even though there is only 1/2 pound of pasta, this will serve 3 or 4 people because there’s so much squid.

Adapted from FXCuisine.com.


Lobster à l’américaine

This dish used to strike me as a lot of work. Now it seems relatively straight-forward: familiarity, I imagine, explains this. As a bonus, the leftover shells can be used to make a delicious lobster stock. This stock is the basis of the next recipe, Lobster Risotto.

Makes 6 servings

One 2- to 21/2-pound lobster or three 1-pound lobsters

51/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium carrot

1 medium onion

1/3 cup Cognac

11/2 cup lobster stock, fish stock or chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

11/2 cups peeled, halved and juiced tomatoes

2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 clove garlic

Hot pepper sauce

11/2 tablespoons flour

Boil or steam

One 2- to 21/2-pound lobster or three 1-pound lobsters

Remove the meat, cut into bite-size pieces and refrigerate. Discard the sand sack and intestinal vein; scoop tomalley (green stuff) and coral (coral-colored eggs) into a sieve and set over a bowl. Rub through the strainer with

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

scrape all the residue off the bottom of the strainer, cover and refrigerate for later. Chop the shells into pieces no bigger than a couple inches in their longest dimension; scissors may be the simplest way to do this unless the shells are particularly thick. Film a large saucepan with

3 tablespoons olive oil

Set over high heat and when very hot add the chopped shells. Stir and toss for 2 to 3 minutes, then add

1 medium carrot, diced

1 medium onion , diced

tossing for 2 minutes more. Pour in

1/3 cup Cognac

With a long match or a long lighter, carefully flame the cognac for several seconds, shaking the pan. Extinguish with

11/2 cups lobster stock, fish stock or chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

Stir in

11/2 cups peeled, halved and juiced tomatoes, chopped

2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pepper, to taste

Few drops of hot pepper sauce

Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn into a large sieve set over another saucepan or bowl, stir and shake sieve to loosen vegetables from shells. Remove shells (reserve them for a later step) and press the juices out of the vegetables in the sieve. Reserve the vegetable solids along with the shells.

You should have about 11/2 cups of rosy-colored wine-flavored lobster juices, which will need a light thickening. Blend together

11/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

11/2 tablespoons flour

to form a paste. Whip into the hot juices and simmer, stirring with a whisk for 2 minutes. Correct the seasoning. When you are about ready to serve, add the tomalley-butter and lobster meat just long enough to heat through. Serve over pasta or rice.

ATTNAnd about those reserved lobster shells and vegetable solids: cover them with lightly salted water, simmer for 25 to 30 minutes and strain. Use this stock to make Lobster Risotto, bisque or other dishes.

Adapted from Julia Child & More Company

Brandade de Morue

This combines two of Evan’s favorite flavors, garlic and butterfat, with the delightful texture and flavor of salt cod.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless salt cod

2 to 3 boiling potatoes

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup olive oil

6 to 7 large garlic cloves

1 baguette

One to two days before preparing the brandade, place

1 pound boneless, skinless salt cod

in plenty of cold water and soak covered in the refrigerator. Change the water three or four times during the soaking period. Drain and rinse the fish.

Place the cod in a large saucepan. Add cold water to cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain well. When cool enough to handle, scrape off any fatty skin and remove any bones. Tear the fish into bite-size pieces.


2 to 3 boiling potatoes, peeled

in boiling salted water until soft. Drain, let cool and mash gently with a fork.


3/4 cup heavy cream

over medium-high heat. At the same time, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat

1/2 cup olive oil

until it smokes. Place the salt cod and

5 to 6 large garlic cloves, finely minced

in a food processor and pulse to just mix. Add the potatoes. Add the hot oil in a thin stream, pulsing the machine on and off, so the cod is not overworked. When the oil is fully incorporated and the mixture is fairly smooth, slowly add the heavy cream, pulsing on and off to avoid overmixing. Mix until fluffy and smooth. Season with black pepper to taste.


1 baguette

into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toast and rub each slice with

garlic clove, cut in half

Serve the brandade with the toasts.

Adapted from Bistro Cooking, by Patricia Wells

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Evan threw this dish together, revising it over the years. Eventually we discovered it’s a real Greek dish, but it was many years after he started fixing it that we ever found it on a menu. If you’re in a hurry you can skip peeling the tomatoes and trim a few minutes off the preparation time.

Makes 4 servings

11/2 pounds large shrimp

Approximately 11/2 cups dry white wine

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onions

2 tablespoons dried oregano

15 plum tomatoes

1/2 pound feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


11/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

in bowl and cover with

White wine

Let sit. In an oven-proof pan, saute

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onions

over medium heat until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not let the onions brown or burn. Add

15 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced

2 tablespoons dried oregano

and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the broiler. Continue cooking tomatoes until most of the liquid has been released, about 5 minutes. Don’t let the mixture dry out completely. Pour in the wine the shrimp have been soaking in and deglaze the pan. After the liquid has been reduced, add shrimps and cook, stirring, just until the shrimp are turning pink, about a minute or two. Remove from heat and sprinkle with

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled

Place under broiler until the cheese just starts to melt, about a minute or two.

Sprinkle with

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

and serve immediately, over rice.

Crabby Crab Cakes

Makes 4 servings

1 pound fresh lump crab meat

1 egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Gently combine

1 pound fresh lump crab meat

1 egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flour

Cover mixture and put in freezer for 5 minutes. Shape mixture into four hamburger-shaped patties. Line plate with plastic wrap and put crab cakes on it. Cover crab cakes with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or up to one day), or freeze for 15 minutes.

Combine in a 12-inch skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Turn heat to medium. When butter melts and foam subsides, gently dredge crab cakes, one at a time, in

3 to 4 tablespoons flour

Tap off extra flour and add crab cake to pan; repeat with others. Raise heat to medium high. Cook, rotating cakes as needed to brown the first side, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn and brown other side (which cooks slightly faster).

Adapted from The New York Times

Seppie In Zimino

Served with salad and bread, this makes a rustic dinner.
Makes 4 servings as a main course, 6 to 8 as a first course

Shopping List

11/2 to 2 pounds fresh or thawed cuttlefish

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onion

2 tablespoons minced parsley

A few leaves of minced basil

11/2 to 2 pounds fresh Swiss chard, beet greens, or spinach (or 20 ounces frozen spinach)

1 cup canned plum tomatoes

red pepper flakes

Clean and cut into bite-size pieces or strips (not rings)

  • 11/2 to 2 pounds fresh or thawed cuttlefish

Even if you have purchased cleaned cuttlefish, check that it is completely cleaned. In a pot (large enough to hold all the ingredients) on medium heat, place

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced

Cook until the onion is translucent. Add

  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • A few leaves of minced basil

Saute for another minute. Wash well to remove sand from

  • 11/2 to 2 pounds fresh Swiss chard, beet greens, or spinach

Cut across the stems of the the greens to make large strips, but only use the parts where there are greens. The strips are maybe 1/3-inch wide. Discard the stem-only parts of the greens and avoid including any really tough stems. ATTN If you’re not feeling motivated to use fresh greens you can substitute 20 ounces of thawed, frozen whole-leaf spinach that’s been coarsely chopped.

If using fresh greens, cook on high heat until it cooks down, stirring every minute or so. If using frozen spinach, cook until it is heated through. Add the cuttlefish and

  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 to 2 tsp red pepper flakes, according to your taste for spicy food
  • salt and pepper to taste

Break up the tomatoes with a spoon. ATTN Go lightly with the salt as the flavors will concentrate as this cooks down. Adjust heat so the pot stays at a simmer. Keep the pot covered and stir every now and then, till the fish is cooked and the sauce is thick. You may need to add some hot water to keep the mixture from drying out or remove the cover towards the end if it’s too watery. This will take about 40 minutes to cook.

Check the seasoning and cook 5 minutes more. ATTN Serve with slices of crusty bread.


Clean really well:

  • 1 pound mussels
  • 18 little neck clams

Clean but leave in their shells

  • 8 or 12 shrimp, depending on size


  • 1/2 pound sea scallops, cut in half horizontally (producing shorter cylinders)

Cook the clams with 1/3 cup water, covered in a 2 quart sauce pan, until the clams open. Remove from heat, set clams aside. Separate  liquid so that the silty part is removed (pour carefully and you probably don’t need to use a filter paper).

In a large pot (10-12 inches across and nearly as deep) on a medium-high or medium heat, saute until the pasta has turned golden brown to brown

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 3/4 pound angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces

Stir constantly but gently (or it flies out of the pot) until the the pasta is mostly browned. Don’t let it get black. Add..

  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBL garlic, minced
  • pepper

Stir and add the mussels and the reserved clam stock. Stir regularly, and as needed add additional water. If the pasta is firm and the liquid has run out, then it needs more water. (The pasta takes about 10 minutes from when you add the clam stock to finish cooking.) When you reach the point the mussels have all opened and the pasta is nearly done, add in the clams and shrimp. Cook for a few minutes more. When the shrimp are nearly done, stir in the scallops, turn off the heat and cover to let the scallops cook. After a minute or two, it will be done.

Check seasoning, it might need salt but usually we don’t need to add any because the clam stock provides enough. Transfer to warm serving platter and top with:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Serves 4 people.

Grilled, Stuffed Squid

Buy 1 pound of uncleaned squid. The ones I bought had bodies about 5-6 inches long and there were 8 of them in a pound. Clean the squid (directions below) reserving the ink, which is the whole reason to buy uncleaned squid and cleaning them yourself. Chop 4 scallions, napa cabbage (about 11/4 cups) and 1 medium large carrot. You will have about 2 to 3 cups of finely chopped vegetables. (You can grate the carrot if you  like and if you don’t have scallions, you can use onion.) Saute the vegetables in olive oil until soft, seasoning them with salt, pepper, dried herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary  and dill) as they cook. and remove from the pan. Remove the fins and tentacles from the squid and chop finely. Saute them briefly in the pan and add to the vegetable mixture. Add the squid ink and mix to complete the filling.

Fill each squid body with the filling. Close with a toothpick. When about ready to eat, grill the squids on each side until done. Squid cooks quickly but it will take long enough to get nice-looking grill marks on the squid. Be sure to remove toothpicks before serving; drizzle with a bit of olive oil and serve.

Cleaning squid isn’t as bad as this description makes it sounds. You can do it quickly and are rewarded with the ink, which you can’t seem to get your hands on easily any more (unless you buy it commercially… and I’m not even sure what they’re selling when you buy that stuff).

  1. Grasp the squid at the tip of the body and just behind the eyes. Pull to separate the tentacles from the body.
  2. Remove the cuttle bone from the body cavity: just fish it out with your fingers.
  3. Look for the ink: it’s a small black sack encased in a silvery-colored material. Sometimes it’s in the body, but often it comes out when you separate the tentacles from the body. You can carefully squeeze the pasty ink out of the sack that holds it and not get it all over your hands. There isn’t a lot of it, but it will definitely flavor the filling.
  4. Reach in the body cavity with your fingers as you run some water: pull out and discard anything you find.
  5. Remove the purple skin from the body.
  6. Cut the tentacles off from the innards by making a single cut between the tentacles and the eyes. Check that the beak is gone from the mouth area (between all the tentatcles). It usually separates when you make the cut, but check to be sure it’s not in the center of all the tentacles. If you find it’s still there, just push it out with your fingers.

Fiery Shrimp

I was amazed how nicely the shrimp were cooked. (And if you don't have a good tolerance for spicy food, cut the cayenne in half.)

Combine 1 tsp tamarind concentrate, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp groun cumin, 1 tsp salt. Add 1 pound of deveined shrimps with the tail left attached. Mix until spicesd are distributed evenly over the shrimps.

In a glass or Corning ware dish with a glass lid, combine 3 TBL vegetable oil and 2 medium onions, sliced in thick half-rings. Cook in microwave for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are very cooked and looking glazed.  Add the shrimps, cover and cook in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring once). You want to cook them until they are just barely done. Uncover and squeeze some lemon juice over them. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Julie Sahni’s Moghul Microwave.

Grilled Swordfish

Easy as can be. Get a 1-inch thick swordfish steak. Let it come to room temperature and season lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Get the grill hot (400 degrees F.), and grill for about 5 to 6 minutes per side. I prefer charcoal but it works just fine on a gas grill.

Corn-Crusted Soft-Shell Crabs

In a pie plate, beat together 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk and some salt. Put some very fine (Indian Head brand) corn meal in another pie plate and mix with some ground pepper. Dip each cleaned soft-shell crab in the egg mixture, let drain a bit and dredge in the corn meal (on both sides). Heat a large frying pan, melt butter and fry crabs 5 to 7 minutes per side. Serve immediately.