That was dinner

I've been in an Italian-seaside-resort frame of mind recently. Partly because that's just how I swing and partly because visiting one such resort is a likely option for this summer.


One of the nice things about being on the Fringe O' Paradise is that seafood doesn't have to be flown in. Throw in the combination of having enough of an Asian population that positively fetishizes fresh seafood and you got something. Among my twelvety frillion errands today I had decided to include stopping by the Japanese seafood place. (It was my last stop.)

As usual they had a tank full of live shrimp and I managed to get a pound, shells and heads reserved. They also shucked a few scallops for me. I had decided to make Cioppino.

It's pretty easy stuff.

Shrimp & Scallop Cioppino*

+/- 3 Tbsp. EVOO
4 cloves of garlic, sliced translucently thin (you want as much surface area as possible, feel free to add 1-2 more)
1 small yellow onion, diced small but not freakishly so
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch fennel seeds
8-10 basil leaves, cut in shreds as fine as your patience will permit
1 14oz. aseptic package of diced tomatoes (use canned if you must, but I prefer the Pomi)
24 oz. seafood stock (I made this with the shrimp shells, but you can go 50-50 water and clam juice)
24 medium shrimp (31-40/lb. size)
1/2 lb. sea scallops
Salt to taste

Swirl the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. The nanosecond it shimmers, add the red pepper and fennel seeds -- you won't believe how much the latter will perfume the final dish -- and when that goes fragrant, add the garlic. Wait about half a minute and add the onion; this will "cushion" the garlic and help prevent its burning. When the onion is translucent, add the tomatoes and basil and stir, cooking until the redness of the tomato mutes to a brick-red...figure 5 minutes. Add the seafood stock and bring to a simmer. Add any accumulated juices (esp. if you used frozen) from the shellfish. Return to a simmer. Add the scallops. After 5 minutes, add the shrimp and turn off the heat; cover stockpot. 5 minutes later, the shrimp should be JUST pink. Check and correct seasoning.

Serve. I like mine garnished with "aglio/olio/peperoncino**" but you do whatev.

(You WILL need good bread to soak up the liquid. Either that or a straw.)


* Yes, yes. I know it's supposed to have every possible creature that swims the ocean thrown into the pot. But I wasn't in the mood.

** Garlic & Italian chile pepper in EVOO.


shula said…
Let me get this straight.

They pull out the live shrimp, and then prepare them for you?

That would take, like, forever.
Joke said…
Nuh-uh. These Japanese guys work at blinding speed.

They behead, peel and devein each shrimp in nanoseconds. I'm not sure there isn't some sort of witchcraft involved.

For some reason they also shout at the live shrimp in Japanese, I speculate to lessen their will to live.

blackbird said…
I have to say: I'm disappointed that you cook in non-stick.

Looks good though...
Joke said…
Not exclusively. Whenever I cook with a large garlic base, i.e., it'd be easy to burn it and it'd taste like Hell if I did, I go nonstick. (Eggs and rice dishes likewise.)

Otherwise I have cast iron or copper-clad stainless.

I am, after all, a man of openmindedness. (The sound you just heard resembling a propane explosion is Poppy laughing her head off.)

teachergirl said…
My word, that's beautiful. I could have some right now. And that would be for breakfast. But did you say just 4 scallops? Am I missing something here?
Joke said…
These are HUGE scallops. Figure a half pound of whatever scallops you have.

MsCellania said…
Oh, Yummy.
I swear I could smell that fennel from the photos.
MsCellania said…
Oh - and those Japanese guys were not yelling at the shrimp.
They were yelling at you.
"Lazy Spanish Man! You should take this home and make your wife peel these things! Look at how easy this is, you sissy boy!"
Joke said…
I think they just like hacking stuff.

My float said…
Licking the screen as we speak.

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