food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘seafood

fennel and seafood salad

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Here in the southern hemisphere we recently celebrated the Summer Solstice. Our feast began with this salad, a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe from the cookbook Ottolenghi, cooked by Fifi. It looked magnificent and tasted even better.

Trim the tops and bottoms of four fennel bulbs then slice them crosswise as thinly as you can. In a large bowl combine the sliced fennel with ½ a finely sliced red onion, the grated zest and juice of 1 lime2 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped dill, 2 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 seeded and diced red chilli, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well and set aside. Prepare 8 large tiger prawns (shrimp) by removing their heads, shelling the body (leave the tail intact) and de-veining. Toss the prawns and 350g (12 oz) of cleaned baby squid in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat a heavy pan or griddle and cook the prawns and squid in batches until just cooked. Cut the cooked squid into rings and when the seafood has cooled add it to the salad bowl along with some tomato wedges and toss to combine. If you are not serving the salad immediately it will keep in the fridge for up to a day. To serve stir in 1 tablespoon of sumac and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander (cilantro) and adjust the seasoning to taste.


Written by michelle picker

January 2, 2019 at 12:26 am

Posted in fish & seafood, vegetables

Tagged with , ,

squid stuffed with prawns

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Seeing fresh squid tubes on a recent shopping trip inspired this meal.

squid-stuffed-with-prawns-2For 4 squid tubes, you will need 300g (10½ oz) raw prawn meat. Place half of this in a food processor and process to a fine sticky paste. Add the rest of the prawn meat, 1 finely diced clove of garlic, a few sprigs of basil leaves, a handful of walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil, 2-3 anchovy fillets and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and pulse until everything is well blended but still has some chunks in it. To this mixture add 1 grated zucchini and mix well by hand. Take the cleaned squid tubes and close the smaller ends by threading small skewers or toothpicks through them. Fill with the prawn mixture and close the large ends in the same way as the small.

For the sauce purée ½ a cup of tomato passata or tinned tomatoes with a small diced onion, 2-3 roasted red peppers (these can be from a jar), 2-3 anchovy fillets and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add a generous amount of olive oil and cook this mixture in a shallow pan for 20 minutes. Heat some olive oil in a fry-pan and flash fry the squid tubes briefly. Place them into the sauce and spoon some sauce over them. Cook them on low heat for 20 minutes, turning them once after 10 minutes. To accompany my squid tubes I served sliced fennel and asparagus tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper and cooked in a closed pan.


Written by michelle picker

January 12, 2015 at 5:56 am

scallops in coconut sauce with fresh basil

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Here’s a really quick and easy meal which is still luxurious and impressive.


From a can of coconut milk take the thick coconut cream and melt it in a wide saucepan over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon of Thai roasted chilli paste in soya oil (you will find this at any Asian store which sells Thai food products) and stir to combine. Add 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass (either bruised or finely diced if you don’t mind the texture), 2 kaffir lime leaves and 1 tablespoon of Thai fish sauce. Simmer until thickened a little. You can set this sauce aside while you cook any other dishes for this meal. When the rest of your meal is nearly ready, reheat the sauce and add 500g (17½ oz) of fresh scallops. Allow them to just cook through so that they remain soft and plump. Turn off the heat and stir in a generous handful of fresh basil leaves.

Written by michelle picker

November 1, 2014 at 5:35 am

seafood and couscous salad

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Lovers of seafood will appreciate this salad. The two kinds of couscous create a wonderful texture and it’s easy to prepare ahead of time. A great alternative to pasta marinara on a hot day.


In a medium to large saucepan boil water with a drizzle of oil and some salt and add a 250g  (8¾ oz) packet of pearl couscous. Cook until al dente (according to the packet instructions) then drain and cool. In a smaller saucepan heat 1 cup of couscous with a little olive oil and salt, stirring until the couscous is coated with oil. Add 2 cups of boiling water and continue to simmer for 2 minutes then turn off the heat and set aside to cool. You will need 1 kg (2 lbs) of seafood marinara mix. If you can’t buy this ready made you can create it with a mix of red and white fish fillets, green shelled prawns, mussels and calamari rings. Heat some olive oil in a large fry-pan and add 3-4 cloves of minced garlic. Immediately add the seafood, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until the prawns and fish are just opaque. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. While all the components are cooling juice 2 lemons and roughly chop half a bunch of parsley. Combine everything in a large bowl. Add more olive oil, season to taste and toss to combine.

Written by michelle picker

February 21, 2013 at 10:09 am