Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recipe: Saffron Seafood Linguini

This recipe goes out to Karen and all the other folks from Newport Hospital, Newport, Rhode Island, who check out "Chop Onions, Boil Water." Hello everyone, thanks for reading my blog. Keep it up and you'll find yourself in the book coming out in 2010!

The lack of a proper name has kept me from adding this recipe, but tonight I've decided it's going on the blog and the name will come to me as I type. Of course I'm typing right now and nothing is happening. Nope, not yet.

You see, by all accounts, it would appear to be a seafood linguini, only it's really not. The basis of the recipe is a French bouillabaisse and then I commenced to twisting it to my desire and well when seafood is involved I just know I'm going to add something Portuguese in there. I just love chourico, but when that doesn't work its got to be linguica. Then of course there's saffron. I mean you cannot pull off this dish without the saffron. So many complications.

So, in the end, what seems Italian is really French and then it's got a South Coast New England and Portuguese twist that just complicates the whole thing! A name should reflect something important about the dish. As of this moment a name hasn't come to me yet.

It's not that my ego can't float calling it "Henry's Awesome Friggin' Saffron Seafood Bouillabaisse Linguini", my ego could certainly handle that. It's just not pretty or short enough. As Shakespeare said "Brevity is the essence of wit."

Well, it's crunch time and I'm just going to type out a name as the words pop into my head here goes: Saffron Seafood Linguini.

Okay, it's done. For the record, you need saffron for this. There's no substitute for it and you cannot omit it. It's not going to be the same dish without it. Also, mail order the saffron because the grocery stores sell horrible saffron for bewilderingly high prices.

Saffron Seafood Linguini

1 lb. linguica (cut in 1/4" slices and pan fried until cooked and firm)
1 lb. linguini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only, cleaned, split and thinly sliced)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 cup of diced tomato (the redder, the riper, the better-ALWAYS)
3/4 tsp thyme
2 tsp fresh parsley (chopped fine)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 TBS tomato paste
32 ozs. chicken broth
2 lbs. littleneck clams (scrubbed and set aside)
2 lbs. mahi mahi filets (or similar fish)
1 lb. sea scallops
1 lb. medium shrimp (in the shell)
2 lbs. mussels (scrubbed, debearded and set aside)
1/2 cup of white wine (I use pinot grigio)
1 TBS sweet butter
Salt and pepper to taste.

For the pasta, place a large pot of water on high heat to boil.

Place a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil.

When the oil begins to shimmer, add the leeks and the garlic and sauté until the leeks become translucent.

Add the saffron threads, salt, pepper, tomatoes, thyme, parsley, orange zest and tomato paste and blend together well for about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a low simmer and continue cooking for about 30 minutes.

Bring to a higher simmer. Add all the seafood and cover and simmer until the littlenecks and mussels open wide (5 to 8 minutes usually). Discard any that do not open.

Remove all the seafood and place it in a large bowl to cool. Return broth to a low simmer.

As soon as it's cool enough to handle, remove all the seafood meat from its shells and place it in a bowl. Discard shrimp shells, but reserve littleneck and mussel shells. Cut mahi mahi into chunks and place in the bowl with the shrimp, littlenecks, scallops and mussels.

Place all littleneck and mussels shells back into the broth and cook until the white abductor muscles attached to the shells fall into the broth or are easily removed. Don't worry, these will not be tough and they add a creaminess to the final product.

The pasta water should be boiling by now, cook linguini in the normal way, drain and set aside. Try to time everything to end at the same time. Yes, it can be difficult, but you can do it.

Raise the heat on the broth until it comes to a high simmer. Add the white wine and the butter and reduce the broth until it begins to thicken. You're looking for the consistency of loose melted ice cream. I know that is a strange analogy, but it works.

When it reaches the desired thickness, add the fish, scallops, littlenecks, shrimp, mussels and linguica and toss to coat and warm. Immediately add the cooked and drained linguini and toss well to coat. Be sure the seafood and the linguica is evenly distributed in the linguini. Remove from heat and allow it to set and cool a little before serving.

Serve with a good white wine (Pinot Grigio) and crusty bread.
Recipe: Saffon Seafood Linguini from Chop Onions, Boil Water by Henry Krauzyk

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