I didn’t suppose I used to be going to get away with testing these recipes at house, the place typically even a fishfinger is a tough promote. How improper I used to be. What these recipes have in widespread is utilizing seafood as a seasoning to zhoosh up pasta or greens. These flavours can, although, be dropped to make vegetarian variations in each case. Just add olives, capers, further chilli and bundles of contemporary herbs as an alternative. I additionally thought of mixing them up – making the pasta with shrimps, placing roe on the chickpeas.
Only one among these recipes is conventional regional Italian. The mussels with rice and potatoes is traditional Pugliese, however all are straightforward and what I need to eat proper now, earlier than I get into spring cooking correct.
Squid, potatoes and mushrooms
As the potatoes cook dinner, the flavour of the garlic actually softens and the mushroom (even when utilizing such a small quantity) actually involves the fore. I believe these are tremendous fascinating with the squid, however they’ll clearly go along with many issues.
dried mushrooms, ceps or different 10g
entire milk 200ml
garlic 4 cloves
extra-virgin olive oil
squid 4, medium, cleaned and with beaks eliminated
parsley a small bunch
Soften the mushrooms in 1/2 a cup of boiling water. Peel the potatoes and garlic. Add to a different pan of boiling water together with the mushrooms, their water, the milk and extra water to cowl. Add a pinch of salt, carry to the boil after which proceed to cook dinner over a low warmth till effectively cooked.
When the potatoes are cooked begin to stir, permitting them to interrupt up a bit. Keep stirring and lowering till they’re effectively damaged up and you’re left with a thick combination. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and test the seasoning.
Heat the oven to 220C/ gasoline mark 7.
Make a slit within the squid alongside the highest facet, from 1 finish to the opposite, however go away it intact at both finish. Dry effectively. Brush with olive oil and season. Place on an oven tray and roast within the oven for 7 minutes till puffed and barely golden.
As quickly because it has popped into form it’s prepared. Serve 1 subsequent to the opposite, protecting with freshly chopped parsley.
Spaghetti with cod’s roe
I’ve by no means seen smoked cod’s roe in Italy, however in Japan they make a well-known chilli and cod’s roe noodles. It fits me effectively for a midweek supper.
garlic 2 cloves, peeled
dried pink chilli 1
smoked cod’s roe 130g
parsley a number of sprigs
extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil and drop within the spaghetti. Roughly chop the parsley – embrace some stalk. Finely slice the chilli. Remove the pores and skin from the roe and break up into smaller items.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil with the cloves of garlic. Fry over a reasonable warmth, turning from time to time till the garlic is a deep golden color on all sides, however not blackened in any approach. Discard the garlic and substitute within the oil with the chilli and parsley. Turn off the warmth. Add the roe and a ladle of pasta water. Use a fork to assist it soften collectively, making a thick sauce.
With the pasta properly al dente, reserving one other cup of water, drain and add to the sauce. Turn and switch once more, that is best utilizing tongs, including a number of the water and further oil as you want it. Serve on warmed dishes.
Chickpeas, cicoria and shrimps
The lengthy inexperienced cicoria has a stunning sweet-bitterness when cooked, which excellently compliments the shrimps. If you’ll be able to’t discover it, go for shredded uncooked chicory or radicchio as an alternative – each are suitably bitter they usually don’t want cooking.
chickpeas 200g, dried
garlic 4 cloves, peeled
pink onion ¼
bay leaves 2
cicoria a bunch
salted anchovy 3 fillets
brown shrimps 200g
extra-virgin olive oil
Soak the chickpeas in a single day in chilly water. The subsequent day carry them to the boil effectively lined by water with 3 of the garlic cloves, the bay leaves and the onion. Boil for 1 hour or till softened. Season effectively. Using a meals processor, or with a potato masher, mash to a creamy consistency, eradicating a number of the water ought to or not it’s extreme. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Wash and roughly chop the cicoria. Bring one other pot of salted water to the boil and cook dinner the cicoria for 15 minutes. Drain and costume with slightly extra olive oil whereas heat.
Slice the remaining garlic as thinly as potential and fry it in a small pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil. When it turns into sticky and begins to twist on the edges, add the anchovies after which the shrimps. Season without delay liberally with black pepper and add a few knobs of butter and take off the warmth.
Serve the creamy chickpeas in a bowl topped with the greens, the shrimps and extra black pepper.
Mussels, rice and potatoes
This is a conventional dish from the coast of Puglia. Though arduous, it’s value going to the effort of opening the mussels earlier than cooking them. You’ll be happy to get it out of the way in which and I promise it’s value it.
short-grain rice 150g
mussels 1 kg
tinned or bottled tomatoes 150g
pink onion 1
pecorino 50g, grated
parsley 4 sprigs
extra-virgin olive oil
Soak the rice underneath chilly water.
On a towel by the sink, clear the mussels. Have a cup, a bowl and small sharp knife prepared. Along the straight facet of the mussel take away any beard and thoroughly slide the knife between the 2 sides. Hold it over the cup and twist in order that because the mussel opens any water drains into the cup. Then, with the mussel popped open, use the knife to scrape all of the meat into 1/2 of the mussel and take away the opposite 1/2 of the shell. Put the 1/2 with the meat into the bowl till wanted.
This is just not all that onerous and it’s a lot simpler than shucking oysters, however do watch out and make no sudden jerks with the knife. Cracked mussel shell might be sharp. There will in all probability not be that a lot juice – as little as 50ml – however it has good flavour and is value reserving. Discard any mussels that open too simply or have a nasty odor.
Heat the oven to 180C/gasoline mark 4.
Line a heavy, spherical 10in earthenware baking dish or cake tin with cooking paper. Drizzle over slightly olive oil and calmly season. Slice the onion and potatoes into rounds a number of millimetres thick. Drain and chop the tomatoes and parsley. Make the primary layer with two-thirds of the onion and a single layer of potatoes on high. Scatter with 1/2 of the tomatoes, parsley, pecorino, slightly oil and calmly season once more.
Now place on virtually all of the mussels with the flesh going through up. Drain the rice and scatter over. Over that pour the mussel water and the remaining onion. Lightly oil and season earlier than topping with a final layer of potato. Totally cowl the rice. On high of this scatter any leftover mussels, the other way up, tomatoes, parsley, pecorino and breadcrumbs and a last drizzle of oil.
Cook within the oven for 1 hour earlier than permitting it to relaxation for five minutes forward of serving.
Joe Trivelli is head chef on the River Café. Nigel Slater returns subsequent week
Joe Trivelli from theguardian.com