Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Interpretation of Fra Diavlo-with Clams, Mussels, Shrimp and Scallops

Last night a couple of my favorite ladies came over to celebrate the day I turn a year older, and have some dinner. Being the food nut that I am, I was thrilled to have the chance to cook for people and try out some new things that Ive never made before. Oddly enough- that is a present to me- allow me to cook for you. Anyway- striving for something somewhat light, I decided to make sort of a seafood fra diavlo sauce to top over fresh pasta that one of the girls picked up for me.

So Tuesday night, I headed to Whole Foods after work and picked up all of the fixings for what would turn out to be a bit of a seafood feast. Mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp were all purchased, along with the needed ingredients for a tomato based spicy sauce.

I stocked my fridge with all of the seafood as soon as I got home so it would stay cold, fresh, and in the case of the clams and mussels, alive until Wednesday night, then I got to work on my sauce. In a large sauce pan I melted a teaspoon of butter into about the same amount of olive oil. Then I added about 4 cloves worth of chopped garlic, chopped red onion, one and a half chopped Serrano peppers (I realize I am obsessed with those spicy devils), and a bit of salt and pepper. I allowed those to simmer together for a while over medium-low heat, and then added very healthy amounts of chopped parsley and basil. Once those had blended together, and my kitchen was smelling amazing, I added a couple of handfuls of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms. Once they were looking slightly cooked, I added just about a half a cup of Pinot Noir, and simmered just long enough to cook off the alcohol and impart its flavors into the other ingredients. Then I added a can each of fire roasted crushed tomatoes and fire roasted chopped tomatoes. Under normal circumstances- I would MUCH prefer to use fresh tomatoes, however this salmonella scare has me terrified, so I decided to go with canned. Sue me. After the tomatoes had had a chance to mingle with everything else for a while, I started my tasting process. A nice piece of french bread into the pan, and then an addition of a bit more salt. Next time through- I realized that I wanted it a bit spicier- so a few shakes of crushed red pepper went in. Third time- it tasted right. I pulled it off the heat, cooled it off in some Tupperware, and then into the fridge for the night.

Last night, the girls arrived, and all I had to do was heat up the sauce, once I was satisfied with that, I threw in the clams and the mussels-which we had quite a time sorting through, covered and allowed them to steam. While they were working in the sauce, I sauteed shrimp in pesto for about a minute each side, added those to the sauce to finish cooking, and then cooked the scallops in the same pesto pan. Unfortunately, I did not anticipate the scallops taking as long as they did to cook, so by the time I was satisfied with their done-ness to be added to the sauce and finish cooking their, I believe I over cooked the shrimp a tad. The mussels, however, were open and had captured the lovely flavors of the sauce, as had the clams. I ladled this mixture over these beautiful fresh cheese ravioli that D had picked up at Russo's and we dug in. Both D and J stated that they loved it, and I found it pretty tasty as well. The sauce had a nice heat to it, and the scallops- lo and behold- were cooked perfectly. I'm just a little sad that my shrimp were slightly over done.

The girls then treated me to delicious desserts of strawberry shortcake and red velvet cupcakes decorated with LOTS of candles. I have to say it was a beautiful sight.

I will definitely be making this meal again- and I think that the next time I might fore go the clams, and serve a nice white fish in their place? Otherwise, I loved the chunky-ness of the sauce, and how nicely the flavors lingered on the seafood, and though I wouldn't normally pair ravioli with the seafood, it was absolutely delicious. We did remark though that the sauce had enough to it for it to be served alone as well.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I fully support the addition of a white fish to the mix and INSIST that I be there to taste test it. SOOOOO YUMMY!!!!

Unknown said...

sounds good. thx so much for the invite fi. ;)

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