A steamy pot of mussels or clams is a rather effective, yet extremely simple and easy dish. It takes so little time to prepare it that it almost seems unfair. Anyway, if you're looking for a spectacular main for a date, a family dinner or a larger party, go for shellfish. They're great with white wine, but beer and cider make delicious alternatives.
Recipe: Clams steamed with cider
1 kg of clams, cleaned
2 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
one tbsp. of butter
300 ml of dry cider
2 tbsp. of freshly chopped parsley
Melt butter in a large pot.
Add garlic and shallots and cook until tender.
Add clams and wine, increase the heat and cover the pot.
Cook for about 5 minutes, until shells has opened.
Top with fresh parsley. Serve with fresh baguette and a glass of chilled cider.
This recipe falls into quick weeknight dinner that is not frozen pizza or Chinese takeaway category. All you have to do is to steam the vegetables, prepare dressing and pan-sear tuna steaks. It takes 15 minutes tops, but you can feel almost like a professional chef when serving dinner.
Recipe: Warm tuna steak salad
one cup of broad beans
one cup of snow peas
2 tuna steaks
Marinade tuna steaks for abou 30 minutes (it can be longer or a little shorter, if you don't have time).
Steam snow peas and broad beans for a few minutes, so that they soften, but are not overly cooked.
Combine dressing with peas and beans. Transfer vegetables into two plates.
Pan-sear tuna steaks for one or two minutes each side.
Slice the steaks and place on top of the vegetables. Top with freshly ground pepper.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. of feta cheese
2 tbsp. of coarsly chopped parsley
Cut the eggplant in half lenghtwise. Then cut the center diagonally to form a crisscross pattern in the flesh. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in a baking dish and roast at 180C for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Scoop out the flesh and chop it.
Scald tomatoes and remove the skin, dice them.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add minced garlic and diced shallots, saute them. Add chopped eggplant and diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, add wine and cook for about 10 minutes, until the wine has evaporated.
Stuff the eggplant skins with eggplant-tomato sauce, top with crumbled feta. Bake at 180C for about 10 minutes.
Seafood has three essential assets: it’s scrumptious, it’s healthy and it’s almost ludicrously easy to prepare. A pot of mussels and prawns is one of the simplest and most effective dishes you can serve your friends at dinner. The most difficult step might actually be getting fresh seafood.
Once you’ve put your hand on some deliciously fresh mussels and prawns, it’s a piece of seafood cake. Start with throwing away defective mussels: tap open mussels against the counter and, if they don’t close up immediately, discard them. Next, rinse mussels under cold water, cut the beards and brush off any sand or debris from the shells. If your guests happen to enjoy interacting with their food, you can limit yourself to rinsing prawns before cooking. If, on the other hand, this might cause horror rather than pleasure, you can do some more work yourself. Chop off the heads, pull off the shells and legs and use a sharp knife to make slits around prawns’ back and belly in order to devein them.
Now all you need is some butter, a few cloves of garlic, onion, white wine, lemon juice, fresh parsley and a crispy baguette. If you want to keep it really simple, butter, garlic and white wine are enough for a mouthwatering dish. Or, if for some reason you have failed to get the seafood, wine will be fine on its own. White or red, doesn’t really matter at this point. Just make sure there is enough for everyone.
Recipe: Seafood pot with mussels and prawns
1 kg of fresh mussels, cleaned
200 g of fresh tiger prawns
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
one medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. of butter
2 cups of dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp. of finely chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Melt butter in a heavy-bottom pot. Add garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until they are soft, but not browned.
Add wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add mussels and prawns, cover the pot, increase heat to high and cook for about 5 minutes - until the mussel shells open and the prawns turn pink.
Before serving, top with parsley and freshly ground pepper and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve with a crispy baguette.
Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt and yeast. Gradually add warm water and combine the ingredients with a spoon. Add olive oil and start mixing by hand. Work the dough vigorously on a pastry board for about 8-10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cloth. Set aside in a warm place for about an hour.
Recipe: Shahshuka pizza
250 g of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp. of olive oil
a tsp. of ground cumin
100 g of feta
2 tbsp. of freshly chopped parsley
Heat the oil in a skillet, add cumin and fry for a moment. Add halved tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring every now and then, for about 10 minutes.
Work the dough again for a couple of minutes. Roll out the dough, form two small pizzas and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet..
Cover with cloth and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes.
Place tomatoes on the pizzas. Bake at 220C for about 8 minutes.
Take pizzas out of the oven, crack an egg on top of each, top with crumbled feta and bake for another 3-5 minutes.