Creamy Orzo w/ Bay Scallops, Broccoli & Parmesan

Oblong and common in Mediterranean cooking, orzo has a look of rice and the texture of pasta. While orzo’s origins lie in Italy, it is now a staple in cooking across Europe, especially Greece, and the Middle East. Its use in North America can be traced to the mid-20th century or even earlier. It seems there are recipes that date back to the early 1950s like orzo pasta salad, orzo stuffed tomatoes and Betty Crocker’s Chicken Orzo Soup.

The pasta itself is made from durum semolina wheat… a particularly hard variety of wheat. It holds up perfectly during the cooking process and has a very pleasant clear flavor and chewy ‘mouthfeel’. The name is somewhat misleading though as orzo actually means barley in Italian, but there is no barley in it. Instead, the pasta derives its name from its shape, which closely resembles the grain.

Orzo has been around a long time… and stands on its own as a versatile and tasty pasta in a supporting role as a side dish, or as the star in a main dish. Because of its size, and ability to absorb flavors very well, orzo can be combined with other ingredients and become a perfect filler for things like stuffed peppers and squash.

Orzo pasta also comes colored, and flavored with vegetables. Spinach is common, but it can also be mixed with beets, carrots and other vegetables. Rainbow orzo pasta combines several different vegetables to create a highly colorful take on this wonderful, and versatile pasta.

Today, I’m pairing it with bay scallops and broccoli in a nice cheesy parmesan sauce. Yum!

Print Recipe
Creamy Orzo w/ Bay Scallops, Broccoli & Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Rinse scallops & pat dry. Set aside.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion & sauté until soft, about 4 - 5 minutes. Remove the onions to a plate. Set aside.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp of the butter to the skillet & melt over medium heat. Add the prepared scallops & sauté for 4 - 5 minutes. Place scallops on a heated platter & cover with foil.
  4. Fill a large sauce pan of water with 4-6 quarts of water & bring to a boil. Add the orzo & stir.
  5. After the orzo has been boiling for 5 minutes, add the broccoli florets to the same pot and continue to cook for 5 additional minutes. Once the orzo & broccoli are cooked and tender, drain well and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Quickly add the parmesan cheese & the final 2 Tbsp of butter to the orzo & broccoli mixture. Stir thoroughly, allowing both the cheese & butter to melt. Slowly add the cream, while stirring. Next, add the sautéed onions, scallops. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley if you wish. Serve immediately

Scallop Crepes w/ Cauliflower Sauce

Can you believe the New Year is almost here and as the clock approaches midnight, it is a time to reflect and assess the year that has gone by…to hopefully, realize how precious time is. The word ‘new’ brings about thoughts of hope, and an opportunity to focus on a list of fresh goals, challenges, and opportunities.

Many cultures around the world believe the key to a happy, healthy, financially secure, and even productive year begins with eating certain lucky foods. The theory is ‘do good, eat good’, to begin the New Year right.

New Year’s Eve calls for a celebration. Whether you’re spending the night in, or you’re hosting an intimate party with friends, a scallop dinner is the perfect treat to finish off the year because scallops symbolize new opportunities or the opening of new horizons.

Brion & I enjoy seafood a lot so its not hard to fit some elegant scallop crepes into the menu.

Print Recipe
Scallop Crepes w/ Cauliflower Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Crepes
  1. Place all crepe ingredients in a small blender & whirl for 1 minute at high speed. Scrape down sides, whirl for another 15 seconds. Pour into a small bowl & cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or more.
  2. Brush an 8-inch non-stick skillet lightly with melted butter; heat. Stir crepe batter; pour 2 Tbsp into center of skillet. Lift & tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry; turn & cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with melted butter as needed.
Sauce
  1. Pour chicken broth into a medium saucepan, add cauliflower florets & bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is tender. Drain in a colander, reserving the liquid, then place the cauliflower in a food processor & allow it to cool for 5 minutes before blending. Process, slowly adding 1 cup of reserved chicken broth. Add seasonings & process until 'creamy'. Set aside.
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, bring scallops, wine & pepper to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until scallops are firm & opaque, 3-4 minutes. Drain & set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, fry chopped bacon until slightly browned. Add 2 Tbsp butter, mushrooms & green onions & sauté until moisture has evaporated from mushrooms. Return scallops back to skillet & add cheese & enough of the cauliflower sauce to bring mixture together into a filling consistency.
Assembly & Cooking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Divide filling among the 12 crepes, spreading filling down the center of each one. Place remaining cauliflower sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Roll up crepes & place in a single layer on top of sauce. Cover & bake until heated through about 30 minutes.
  3. Garnish with sliced green onions if you prefer.
Recipe Notes
  • These crepes look & taste indulgent, but I've made the sauce with pureed cauliflower rather than lots of cream. It sounds a bit odd, but it works beautifully & compliments the flavor of the sweet scallops & salty bacon.

Seafood Bread

French bread doesn’t get enough recognition for its worth. Fresh, soft crusty bread can be so much more than a simple side to a big family meal. You can base an entire meal around a loaf of French Bread!

Stuffed with salmon, scallops, shrimp, and mushrooms, this seafood bread can be served as an appetizer or sliced into larger pieces as an entree with a salad. The recipe itself is quite versatile. This stuffed French bread reminds me of the edible bread bowls of the past, but all stuffed inside a wonderful loaf of French bread. 

Edible bread bowls were a huge hit in the 80’s and 90’s, but the idea fizzled at the start of the 21st century. Bread has always been a main stay of any meal, from toast at breakfast to sandwiches at lunch and rolls for supper. Many restaurants used the bread bowl idea as a way to justify charging more for soup. They are an extremely versatile way to hold thick, creamy soups, spicy chili or stews as well as dips and warm melted cheese.

Bread bowls will always hold a special memory for Brion and I. Over the years we have made many trips to the California coast. We always stayed in the Carmel/Monterey area and walked the coastline with our destination being Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a special treat having clam chowder in a sourdough bowl at a wharf restaurant.

This seafood bread combines many ingredients that enhance its delicious and creamy flavor, perfect for a late summer meal.

It has a soft and velvety textured inside with the French bread giving texture to the combination with its crustiness. Lots of seafood, cheesy, and super savory, this stuffed French bread is your fast track to home-cooked comfort. So good!!

Print Recipe
Seafood Bread
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword seafood bread
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, sauté mushrooms & 2 green onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add shrimp, scallops & salmon with a bit of the seasonings & sauté for another 5 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid & set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk mushroom soup, eggs, mustard & remaining seasoning together. Don’t overmix, keep the mixture a little lumpy.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  4. Slice into the bread, but not all the way through. You need to cut deep enough into the bread to open out the loaf and fill between the “slices, while leaving the loaf connected at the base. You can either cut bread into thick slices or slice from both directions. Place the bread on a sheet of parchment paper.
  5. Into each slot in the bread, place a slice of potato, followed by some of the seafood/mushroom mixture.
  6. Spoon some of the soup/egg mixture into each slot, so that the bread absorbs as much as possible.
  7. Finally insert the slices of cheese. Enclose the loaf fully in the baking paper and then wrap it in foil to make a tight parcel.
  8. Put the wrapped bread into the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes, then remove the tray and open the foil and parchment paper. Return to the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top of the bread and its filling is golden brown. Remove, garnish with green onion, & serve!
Recipe Notes
  • Any combination of seafood you prefer will work.

Seafood Shepherd’s Pie

Very often, when I’m deciding what to make for our supper, an idea is derived from the taste of a memory. I don’t know if you’re familiar with smoked Haddock fish. I recall a meal my mother made that was called ‘Finnan Haddie’. It was a perfect cold weather meal. Basically, smoked haddock cooked in milk and served with potatoes and peas.

Finnan Haddie is cured with the smoke of green wood, turf or peat. The name comes from the Scottish town of Findon and the slang word for haddock. In the 1800’s, Findon fishwives hung lightly salted haddock in their chimney’s to be smoked gently over peat fires.

Finnan Haddie has a distinct and unique flavor and can be made into many dishes. It can be combined with other seafood where the smoky flavor carries through and influences all the elements such as in a seafood pie.

This brings me back to supper, which is going to be a seafood pie that I’m going to top with mashed potatoes. I guess in essence could be called Seafood Shepherd’s Pie.


Print Recipe


Seafood Shepherd's Pie

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!

Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, European

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
Mashed Potato Topping
  1. Bring potatoes to a boil & cook until fork tender. Drain; return to pot & add salt (to taste), margarine & cream. Mash & set aside. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Seafood Filling
  1. In a saute pan, melt 1 Tbsp of margarine; add shallots, celery, mushrooms, thyme & a pinch of salt. Saute, stirring often until soft & fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Turn off heat & set aside.

  2. In another saucepan, add cream, chicken broth, flour, salt, mustard & cayenne pepper. Whisk together to incorporate all ingredients. Bring to a boil, whisking often then turn down heat & continue cooking until thick, whisking for about 8 minutes. Turn off heat & add remaining 1/2 Tbsp margarine along with the vegetable mixture. Blend well, taste & adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.

Assembly
  1. Spray or butter a casserole dish. Place cod (or finnan haddie), scallops, shrimp & drained, sliced water chestnuts on the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Sprinkle with paprika & parsley. Add lemon juice & a pinch of salt & pepper. Pour cream sauce over seafood. Top evenly with mashed potatoes.

  2. Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbly & potato peaks are browned. Allow to rest 10-20 minutes before serving.


Recipe Notes
  • For an extra flavor boost you could top it with some grated 'old' cheddar cheese before baking the casserole.

Seafood Salmon Roulade

Today, July 25th, is my sister Loretta’s birthday. As I think of her with fondness on her day, I wanted to feature a special meal that I’m sure she would enjoy. I would much rather be making it for her but distance makes that impossible.

The entree I am preparing is WILD SALMON ROULADE stuffed with SHRIMP & SCALLOPS and served with DILL SAUCE.

Roulades have been around since the 18th century. The things that have made them so popular are that they are simple — once prepared they need little attention while cooking. They are versatile — any meat or fish that can be thinly sliced lengthwise will work. There are many options when it comes to the filling — anything that cooks faster than the outside is suitable. Elegant for entertaining — on the outside a delicate fillet of fish or meat; on the inside a hidden second flavor.

In this recipe, the salmon roulade is stuffed with shrimp and scallops and served with a delicate sauce.

Loretta is a few years older than I am so she has always been in my life. I have lots of wonderful memories from our ‘adventures’ while growing up on the farm together. Thank you, Loretta, for those beautiful moments in life that can never be brought back but I will treasure them in memories forever.

             OUR FAMILY CELEBRATES YOU WITH LOVE ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY!

Print Recipe
Seafood Salmon Roulade
Votes: 2
Rating: 4
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Votes: 2
Rating: 4
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Seafood Stuffing
  1. In a bowl, whisk egg white until frothy; set aside. Finely chop shrimp; cut scallops into 1/2-inch cubes. Add seafood to egg white. Add bread crumbs, chives, parsley, lemon rind, tarragon, salt & pepper; toss to combine. Refrigerate.
Salmon
  1. Butterfly (skinned) salmon fillet; sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spread stuffing over salmon leaving a border at edges. Starting at long side , roll salmon, tying with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Place on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roast about 50 minutes or when thermometer inserted into the thickest part reaches 160 F. Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil & let rest for 10 minutes.
Dill Sauce
  1. In a small bowl, mix dill sauce ingredients together. Adjust consistency with milk & tartness with lemon juice. Set aside for 10-20 minutes You could use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It is slightly more tangy & low fat tends to be less creamy but does reduce the calories.
Recipe Notes
  • You can prepare the salmon roulade up to 2 hours ahead, just cover & refrigerate.