Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: shellfish (page 1 of 4)

CALAMARES SALTEAR

This dish I call Calamares Saltear or Sautéed Squid. It came about when we visited our local supermarket and discovered they had frozen cleaned squid available. In Nuyorican culture, squid is a favorite. From infancy, we are taught to appreciate it. I guess it goes back to life on the island when squid was, and is, a reliable inexpensive way to feed the family. Problem was, once you obtained the squid, you had to rinse it, cut the tentacles, remove and discard the mouth, rub off the purplish outer skin, squish out the innards, wash the inside of the body; discard the viscera, then cut into bite-sized pieces or strips. Admittedly, this is a time consuming process. Cleaned and prepared squid makes it far easier to cook the suckers.

Now, in our canon we have stewed squid (calamares guisado), stuffed squid (calamares relleno), even squid salad and sandwiches. This time I decided to prepare a simple squid sauté, easy and delicious. Served over Spanish yellow rice, it makes for a great criollo dinner.

CALAMARES SALTEAR
(Sautéed Squid)

Ingredients:

2 (10.6 oz.) cleaned and prepared frozen squid, thawed
2 cups fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped
2/3 cup cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup water

Instructions:

  1. Wash squid under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Note that that the squid, though cleaned, will come with the tentacles.  Cut the squid, inclusive of the tentacles, into  bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large bowls, combine mushrooms, bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, tarragon, egg and butter.
  3.  Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add contents of bowl and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add squid and sauté about 3 minutes more.
  4.  Add wine, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Stir everything over high heat. Add water, and cook, uncovered on moderately-low heat for 5 minutes. Serve over white or Spanish yellow rice.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

EGG-CRABMEAT FRITTATA

I call this dish a frittata. But it can also be referred to as an “egg-bake.” See, in a classic frittata, the thing is baked, usually in a 400 degree oven. In my version, I let the eggs set first, and then broil briefly. I still referred to it as a “frittata.” Though some of my  conservative friends don’t regard it as such. They think of it as an egg-crabmeat bake. Whatever. I’m a fan of crabmeat, and this makes an exquisite dish. As a side, all you need is some crusty bread and a good light wine. Another way we like it, in our family, is over rice. It makes for a marvelous combo.

Before setting in the broiler, you should top the recipe with cheese. By that, I mean sliced cheese. You can use whatever cheese slices you desire,  be it American cheese, cheddar, gouda or other. And, oh, yes, this time around, we served it with that Puerto Rican favorite tostones (friend green plantains).

EGG-CRABMEAT FRITTATA

Ingredients:

6 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 (6 oz.) cans crabmeat, drained
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons light or heavy cream, your choice
6 cheese slices of choice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Instructions:

  1. in a large skillet or frypan, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onion and stir-fry over medium heat until onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Stir in crabmeat and cook until combined. Mix in oregano, salt and pepper. Add cream and cook until eggs are are set (the top should be somewhat firm but not burnt).
  5.  Cover with cheese slices. Place in broiler and cook until cheese melts. Garnish with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

CALAMARES CON PIMIENTO (Squid with Bell Pepper)

It always amazes me the reaction I get from my Anglo brethren when the subject of squid as an edible comes up. It’s usually: “Yuk—Ugh–Ick!”—or another negative reaction. And this surprises me. In Latin American, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisine, squid is something that is treasured. Growing up in Spanish Harlem, we ate a lot of it. Mainly because it was cheap, and nutritious. And I still eat it regularly. Especially now when you can get cleaned and prepared squid in almost any market. Gone are the days when you had to clean the squid, remove the tentacles and mouth from the head;  pull out the innards; discard head and viscera and, finally, wash the inside of the body thoroughly. Yes, a time-consuming task. So, as a result, we eat squid more often, as with this classic recipe, Calamares con Pimento or Squid with Bell Pepper. In  this dish you can use any bell pepper type you like be it green pepper, yellow, red, or a combination of each.

For nomenclature purposes, bell peppers are also known as “pimentos.” In Spanish we call them pimientos. I’m told that in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan they are know as   capsicum. Whatever terminology used, this recipe can’t be beat when bell peppers are coupled with squid. Let me add that when we cook this dish, we serve it over yellow rice. Bur you can pair it with whatever grain you like, be it quinoa, couscous, farro or even pasta. The beauty of this dish is in its versatility.

CALAMARES CON PIMIENTO
(Squid with Bell Pepper)

Ingredients:

2 pound cleaned squid
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8-oz. can tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon coriander  powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large frypan or skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Sauté over medium and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the bell peppers and sauté for 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the body of the cleaned squid into ½-inch rings. Add the rings and tentacles (cut up) to the peppers and toss for 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the coriander and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

STEAMED MUSSELS PROVENÇAL

Steamed mussels is a very popular dish in the Mediterranean. To be honest, back in Spanish Harlem, we never had mussels as a dinner dish. We had it in sandwiches, yes, sandwiches. Figurer that one out. It  wasn’t until my early manhood that I enjoyed steamed mussels. And invariably it was Provençal style. That is, infused in a broth with olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and a host of other herbs. The mussels are steamed in their own juices and served with crusty bread. In the recipe given, we serve them with fresh spinach, braised in the broth in which the mussels are steamed. Another good aspect of this dish is that leftover broth can be used as a base for a cream sauce for fish,  poultry or even steak.

Today we are fortunate that most markets have mussels that come already cleaned. So, you don’t have to spend time cleaning the suckers .But if you are not fortunate enough to get mussels already set, then you will have to go through the ritual of removing all the barnacles, seaweed material and sand from the shells. Then you will have to scrape off the “beards” from the barnacles with a clam knife or any bunt-edged knife. Afterward, you put the mussels in a deep bowl and cover them with cool water. It’s good to agitate them with your hands for 30 seconds or so. Finally you drain them well and discard the water.  You repeat this until the water is clear. Discard any mussels that open  before it is cooked.

Admittedly, the above procedure is a pain in the you-know-what. But, as stated, you’ll probably find cleaned and prepared mussels in most  markets.  Something that makes it all easier.

One of the great things about mussels is that you can use whatever variety of seasonings you desire. In French cuisine, the favorite ingredients are white wine and shallots, that’s it. As for myself,  I like to liven them up with whatever herbs and seasonings I have in the cupboard. So, give yourself and family a treat today. Get some mussels and go at it. It’s a cheap, delicious meal and, apart from the cleaning and preparation, the dish can be cooked in 5-6 minutes.

STEAMED MUSSELS PROVENÇAL

Ingredients:

2 pound fresh mussels
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
½ teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon (or to taste) crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

  1. If mussels come in a package, already clean, then proceed with recipe. If not, scrub them, remove beards and barnacles and wash in cold water. Drain well (see above).
  2.  Heat olive oil in a large pot or saucepan. Add garlic, onions and sweet red pepper, Cook briefly over medium heat until wilted.  Stir often and do not burn garlic.
  3. Add tomatoes, saffron, turmeric, red pepper flakes, wine, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes.
  4.  Add mussels and parsley. Cover pan tightly and cook over high  heat until all the mussels are opened., 5 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
    Yield: 4 or more servings

 

SEA SCALLOPS WITH TOMATOES AND ZUCCHINI

This recipe is Provençal in origin. Provence is  a region in southeastern France bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s cuisine is known for its spices, especially that mix of thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf. known as “herbes de Provence.” Because of its location, it is also renown for its seafood.  And this is were Scallops with Tomatoes and Zucchini come in; a prime example of Provençal cooking.

Sea scallops are bigger than bay scallops. On average they measure five inches across the shell, and the thick meat they provide can be an inch and a half or more wide. That’s why in most sea scallops recipes, it’s prudent to slice the scallops horizontally. That way, the scallops cook faster and more evenly. For the recipe given, the cooking time for the scallops should be about three minutes total.

The vegetable base here is tomatoes and zucchini. The scallops are pre-cooked then added to the vegetables just before serving. Scallops and vegetables is a seafood dish that traditionally goes well with noodles or pasta. This time around, we paired it with couscous, and it was delicious.

SEA SCALLOPS WITH TOMATOES AND ZUCCHINI

Ingredients:

1½ pound sea scallops
3 small zucchini, about ½ pound
4 small, ripe plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper taste
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

1, Halve each scallop crosswise  if ¾inch thick or more. Set aside.
2. Wash the zucchini. Trim the ends of the zucchini and slice thinly
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet or fry pan. Add zucchini, salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes over high heat, stirring and tossing. Remove zucchini to a plate and keep warm.
4. In the same skillet, heat remaining olive oil over high heat and sauté the scallops about a minute. Season with salt and pepper while stirring.
4. Add butter, shallots and garlic. Cook briefly, add tomatoes and  and cook for a minute more. Add the zucchini, lemon juice and rosemary. Cook, stirring, for a minute over high heat. Blend well, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings.

PULPO GUISADO (Stewed Octopus)

In my culture, octopus is considered heaven sent because of its nutrition and value.  Just like squid, it is something that we relish. We bake it, we broil it, and we even make it as salad. Yet, in our family, the favorite was stewed octopus that we served over steamed white rice. But you can also pair it with pasta or couscous, or quinoa.

In the old days octopus could only be found in Latino, Greek, Asian or Portuguese neighborhoods.  Today it’s readily available in most markets, fresh or frozen, and already cleaned. If fresh, the skin should be firm and elastic to the touch, and it should be purplish pink. If the color is brownish or brownish purple, skip  it.

Octopus is cleaned just like squid in that the head cavity is flushed out. Before cooking, octopus should be rinsed in water and drained thoroughly. The mouth, a hard piece underneath the body and that looks like an eye, should be cut off and discarded. Now you’re set to go.

PULPO GUISADO
(Stewed Octopus)

Ingredients:

2½ to 3 pound baby octopus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano leaves or ½ teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place octopus in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven and cover with water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover pot, lower heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. At this point the octopus should be pink and slightly tender. Remove octopus from kettle, drain and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a deep skillet. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Sauté over moderate for about 5 minutes.
  3.  Stir in tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Cook 3 minutes more.
  4.  Add octopus meat. Cover skillet and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.
    Yield: 4 servings.

SCALLOPS ON A BED OF SPINACH

This is a simple recipe that contains scallops (which we love) and spinach. Yes, spinach. I know, think of the old Popeye cartoon: “I’m Popeye the sailor man, I’m strong to the finish ‘cus I eat my . . .” You know the rest. I like spinach. I even liked it when I was a kid back at PS 75 in Harlem. And, believe me, I got hassled by my peers because of it. Kids are not supposed to like spinach. Well, some of us do.

You will note that for this recipe, we used frozen spinach. But, if you can get fresh spinach, you can use it as well. In this case, use 1-2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and trimmed. Steam the spinach for 3 minutes and drain. Then chop and toss with butter.

What makes this recipe good is that it’s a spur of the moment thing, and it works with any variety of greens, be it spinach or broccoli, or even okra. You can serve the scallops with any vegetable you want. With some crusty bread, a good wine (white or red), it’s superb. If you want to mix it with rice, quinoa, couscous or noodles, it’s still a definite winner.

Ingredients:

4 (10-oz.) packages frozen spinach
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Cook frozen spinach according to package directions. When done, toss with the butter and keep warm.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add scallops and sauté for 1½ minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and balsamic vinegar, and braise for 3 minutes.
  3. To serve, place spinach on a warm serving platter. Arrange scallops on top and spoon some cooking juices over them.
    Yield: 6 servings.

SAUTEED BAY SCALLOPS

I’m always on the lookout for good scallop recipes. Mainly because they are so easy to prepare. So, today, we have a recipe of scallops sautéed with garlic. I did a post back in 01/30/15 on scallops cooked in garlic butter. It was more of scallops cooked in a sauce that included butter, lemon juice, and oregano.  This dish is different in that it has garlic, breadcrumbs and parsley. Along with salt and pepper, that’s it. Also, I would recommend bay scallops.

The trick to cooking  scallops is to never overcook them. When they’re done, their usual ivory color turns opaque.

This time around we served the scallops over yellow rice; but you can pair it with any grain or even pasta. Have fun.

SAUTÉED BAY SCALLOPS

Ingredients:

1 pound bay scallops
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse scallops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  Heat olive oil in large skillet or fry pan and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds.
  3. Add scallops and stir fry until they become opaque. Depending on their size, this will take 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add bread crumbs and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the parsley and cook 20 seconds. Remove and serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

CRABMEAT POMODORO

This is one of those recipes that’s created at the spur of the moment. You look and see what you have in the fridge and cupboard, and create something—and give it a fancy name. Like “pomodoro.” Which, in Italian, simply means “tomato.” Nevertheless, some of the best meals are created this way. As the one given below. All you need is a couple of cans of crabmeat and some spaghetti or linguini, preferably whole-wheat.

CRABMEAT POMODORO

Ingredients:

1 pound package whole- wheat linguini (or spaghetti)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
2 (6-ounce cans) crabmeat, drained and flaked
¾ cup black olives, rinsed and sliced in half
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook linguini or spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 9-11 minutes), or according to package directions. Drain.
  2.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in crushed red pepper and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in crabmeat and cook until it’s incorporated into the sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in black olives.
  4.  Place pasta in a heated platter or serving dish, top with crabmeat sauce and garnish with basil. If desired, you can sprinkle the dish with  some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve hot with crusty bread and a good red wine, like chianti or cabernet—hell, serve with with whatever wine you like. My mom, of late memory, would enjoy all her meals with Gallo Sherry. And, if she couldn’t find Gallo sherry, it’d be Mogen David Heavy Malaga Red. In the Rivera clan, we never stand on formality. Just enjoy the dish.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.

CALAMARES FRITO (Fried Squid)

In the southern part of Puerto Rico lies the fabled town of Ponce, which a has a coastal area known as “Los Meros.” This area, at one time, was home to a number of makeshift restaurants, some no more than tarp structures that sold beer, snacks and sandwiches. The sandwiches consisted of the local seafood like conch and octopus. When I would visit my parents in Ponce, the first thing we did was drive up to Los Meros and enjoyed their superb squid, another item on the menu. I know, you’re saying, “Yuck!Squid?” Yes, as in fried squid, the recipe that my family got most likely from a joint in Los Meros.

In my family we enjoyed this dish over rice, and the leftovers were used for sandwiches the next day. I’m just saying, give the fried squid a try. It is also very popular in the Mediterranean. We can’t all be wrong. You’ll be surprised how delicious this dish can be. You like fry chicken? you’ll love fried squid. I guarantee it.

Note that in this recipe you can use frozen squid. Today you can buy frozen calamares (or calamari) rings that are already cleaned and ready to cook. If you’re lucky enough to find these, half the recipe given is already done.

CALAMARES FRITO
(Fried Squid)

Ingredients:

3 pounds fresh or frozen squid
2 cups bread crumbs
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon oregano
3 eggs, well beaten
Oil for frying
Lemon wedges

Instructions:

  1. If frozen, thaw the squid. Whether fresh or frozen, remove the arms by cutting them from the head, and reserve them. Remove and discard the head, chitinous pen, and viscera. Wash thoroughly and drain. Cut the mantle into rings.
  2.  In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper and oregano
  3.  Dip the tentacles and mantle rings  in the eggs and then in the bread crumbs, coating well.
  4.  Deep-fry in a pan or skillet until golden brown.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
    Yield: 4-5 servings.

 

Older posts

© 2023 Oswald Rivera

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑