Thursday, May 29, 2014

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare

Chris and I have been trying to cut back a bit on our red meat consumption and increase our seafood intake. We’ve dubbed it our grand ‘Fish and Fowl Experiment’. It’s been a good thing as it has forced us to explore new ingredients; we tend to rely heavily on our old seafood standbys of salmon and cod.

And since we operate by the ‘go big or go home’ mantra, we went for perhaps my most favorite dish in the entire world: Frutti di Mare (Fruit of the Sea).

It’s the kind of meal that I only order in restaurants because a) the thought of messing up that much seafood scares me and b) it’s expensive.

Or so I thought, until I went to the store today and made my seafood purchases. Here is what I acquired:

1/2 lb manilla clams $3
1/2 lb frozen squid $3
1 lb mussels $5
1 lb shrimp (deveined but with shells intact) $5 (This is an estimate since I bought in bulk a while back and can’t remember the exact purchase price. I keep them frozen in the freezer)
1 lb cod $5 (This is an estimate, too, as I also keep cod in the freezer)

So about $20 in seafood for four servings. Not cheap but not out-of-this-world atrocious, either. You could easily skip any one of the items too, depending on what was on sale. We both love calamari but decided that it wasn’t an essential part of this dish, for example. Also, many folks do scallops, instead of the cod. Frankly, this dish would be great with all shrimp, or all clams. Any one of these ingredients could be a stand-alone item if the others weren’t available.

And you know what, peeps? It was awesome. Fantastico. And really easy to make. The longest part was the prep and that took about 20 minutes: de-bearding the mussels and cutting the squid steaks. Frankly, the hardest part is popping the (live) clams and mussels into the fire. Does anyone else ever feel guilty? I have to apologize to them first. Poor tasty mollusks. 



Linguine ai Fruitti di Mare

Adapted from an epicurious recipe

Four (4) hardy servings.

-olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-2 pinches red pepper flakes
-1/2 cup white wine (plus more for drinking during meal prep!)
-1/2 lb manilla clams, cleansed
-1/2 lb squid, cleaned and cut into slices*
-1 lb mussels, cleansed and de-bearded
-1 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined. Leaves the tails intact.
-1 lb cod, sliced into chunks
-3/4 cup tomato sauce (I also added in a cup of tomato chunks, which gave it a little more heft)
-1 lb linguine

Salt, pepper and parsley for garnish (optional)

*squid will often be sold cleaned, which is a major plus. I’ve cleaned them before and it was messy. I like a nice mixture of both steaks and tentacles.

Boil water in a large pot.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Throw in garlic and cook for a few minutes until it sizzles. Add red pepper flakes and cook for an additional few minutes.

Add wine and clams. Cover and raise temp to medium-high for five minutes.

Add linguine to boiling water. Cook to al dente (usually 9-10 minutes).

Add tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste to the sauté pan. Add in squid, mussels, shrimp and cod. The cod will generally break up into smaller pieces during cooking.

Cook, about five minutes, until the shrimp turns pink and the cod and squid is opaque. All mussels and clams should be open.

Toss with linguine and garnish with parsley. Serve with thick, crusty bread for dipping.