Crispy Soft-Shelled Crab with Three-Grain Risotto & Tiger Shrimp

Yesterday in NYC, it was raining all day. Miserable. Grey. Cold. Rain. It has been spring for the past two weeks and all of a sudden, the polar vortex is back, and winter is coming – again. I was waiting for the rain to stop so that I could go out and buy ingredients for clam chowder but then I thought, clam chowder is so much work and it takes 40 minutes to cook. So I made this instead and it was equally comforting.

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Serves 2.

For the Risotto

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup farro
  • ½ cup steel-cut oats
  • 3½ cups stock (I used a blend of fish stock, dashi stock, clam and mussel liquor)
  • Parmesan, as needed
  • ¼ cup strained Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS chopped chives
  • 12 tiger shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Lemon wedges
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cook risotto the old fashioned way or put everything (grains and stock, seasonings) into a rice cooker and wait for that beep. I did the latter since it was a miserable, rainy Monday.

When the risotto is done, set aside, and season shrimp with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a pan, heat some canola oil and sear the shrimp. Once shrimp is almost cooked, add the white wine and cover until alcohol has burned off. Remove lid and fold in risotto. Grate in parmesan to your taste, add yogurt and herbs. Taste for seasoning and adjust with lemon juice. Keep risotto warm while frying crabs.

For the Crab

  • 4 soft-shelled crabs
  • AP flour, as needed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Lime wedge

Clean crabs by cutting off their face (I know it sounds so mean), pulling off their aprons (butt flap?), and pull the points of their shell back to reveal their gills and remove those on each side.

Heat oil for frying. Season crabs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then dress crabs in AP flour and tap crabs to remove excess flour. Fry for 3-5 minutes. Remove and place on wire-rack. Squeeze some lime over and lightly season with salt.

For the Finish

  • Arugula
  • Lime wedge
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Toss greens with salt, lime, and EVOO before serving.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon risotto into a bowl, place arugula salad in the middle, and top with crispy soft-shelled crab.

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Lemon Tart

Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve been making this tart about every two weeks. That’s much more frequently than before when I would just make it once or twice a year. I have definitely been eating a lot more desserts, that is at home or outside in restaurants. I’ve been making a lot more ice-creams too.

Makes 8-inch tart.

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[100% organic]

For Pâte Sablée (Short Bread dough)

  • 150 g butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 90 g powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 255 g cake flour (sifted)
  • 1-2 TBS cold water (optional)
  • Butter, as needed, for tart pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a rubber spatula or spoon, flatten out butter and powdered sugar. Add yolk one by one and then add sifted cake flour. If you don’t have cake flour, substitute with pastry/AP flour (for every 1 cup of pastry/AP flour, remove 1 TBS of it and add 1 TBS cornstarch). Mix slowly to combine. If dry, add the cold water. Form into a ball and flatten it, wrap with plastic and place in refrigerator until firm.

Butter the tart pan and put in freezer.

In between two sheets of parchment paper/plastic wrap/SilPats, roll dough to 1/16 inch. Carefully place into buttered pan, press into place and roll over the top of the pan to remove excess hanging dough. Using a fork, puncture tart shell with holes. Blind bake with weights for 20 minutes. Remove weights and continue baking until golden.

Reserve shell at room temperature before pouring in the tart filling. Lower oven to 300°F.

For the Tart Filling

  • Pinch of flour
  • Butter, as needed
  • 5 eggs
  • 6 lemons: zested, and 150 g juice
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g heavy cream

Zest lemons and mix the juices together. Infuse for as long as possible.

In a bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add cream, mix lightly and continue to whisk. Stir in lemon juice, zest, and pinch of flour. Skim the foam off. Strain before putting it into the cooled pastry shell.

Bake 25-30 minutes. When removing from oven, the custard should jiggle. Cool on wire rack and serve with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Warm Pear Tart with Spiced Crème Chantilly

This was the final course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. When I was thinking about what to make, peaches were still in season. Then I’ve done apple tarts so many times already so I really didn’t want to make it again so I settled for pears! But once again, it looks and tasted amaaaazing!

Makes 8-inch tart.

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[100% organic]

For the Tart Shell

  • 100 g AP flour
  • 100 g cake flour
  • 100 g cold butter, small cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 TBS water, whisked

Preheat oven to 400°F. Sift both flours on work surface, mix sugar and salt into it. Using a bench scraper, cut with cold butter (sablay). Create a well, and add the egg-water. Working quickly, compress the dough using the palm of your hand piece by piece (fraisage). Form the dough flat and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Butter the tart mold and place in freezer.

For the Compote

  • 3 large Asian pears peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 50 g sugar
  • 30 g water

Add all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium-low until slightly chunky and dry, approximately 10-15 minutes. Cool over ice.

For the Garnish

  • 2-3 Bosc pears
  • 50 g butter, melted

Peel pears and cut in half. Remove the seeds and cut the halved pears in half again. Mandolin them but not too thin and rub lemon juice over each slice.

Take the dough out of the fridge and brush off excess flour. Roll dough into a thin layer larger than the tart mold. Carefully place over tart mold and press into buttered mold.

Layer all of the cooled compote into the mold, tightly arrange mandolin pears over the top but do not hang over the edges. Brush melted butter over everything.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, then turn temperate down to 350°F and continue baking for 50 minutes.

For the Finish

  • 150 g apricot juice
  • 30 g water
  • 20 g sugar

Mix together, reduce until thick, and brush on after tart is slightly cooled, out of oven.

For the Crème Chantilly

  • 300 mL heavy cream
  • 25 g confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients into an iSi dispenser and charge twice. Place in refrigerator.

Serve whipped cream with slice of warm tart.

Scallop Crudo with Shichimi, Shimeji, Haricots Verts Salad & Fennel Foam

This was the first course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. Originally, I had another course before this but I cut it once I realized that the duck confit would take too much of my time and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

Serves 6.

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[100% organic, wild scallops]

For the Fennel Foam

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • Bouquet garni: white peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, fennel fronds
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

In a pan, sweat the onion, fennel, and bouquet garni with vegetable oil. Once the vegetables have soften, deglaze with white wine. Reduce until au sec, then add the cream and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend well. Do not strain. Pour purée into a whip cream dispenser and charge twice. Keep warm.

For the Salad

  • 2 packets brown shimeji mushrooms
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 1 cup neutral oil

Cut base off of mushrooms (save for stock making) and cut off ends of green beans. Blanch in salted water then shock in iced water.

In a blender, blend on high the cilantro leaves and oil. Blend until the oil is warm, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or through cheesecloth/coffee filters. Reserve oil into a squeeze bottle.

For the Finish

  • 18 diver scallops, soaked in salted cold water, drained, then sliced
  • Shimichi Togarashi
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Cilantro oil (from above)
  • Micro cilantro
  • Fennel fronds (if saved, and I forgot to use it)
  • Sea salt/Maldon salt
  • Lemon

TO ASSEMBLE

In a bowl, lightly toss blanched mushrooms and green beans with cilantro oil,  lemon juice, and salt. Slice scallops into thin rounds.

On the plate:

  1. Season mushrooms and green beans with lemon, cilantro oil, and salt. Arrange salad.
  2. Place scallops on plate, season scallops with crushed sea salt, lemon, and togarashi.
  3. Squeeze an odd number of fennel foam dots.
  4. Garnish with micro cilantro, pomegranate seeds, fennel fronds, and more cilantro oil.

Roasted Beets with Mascarpone, Apple Salad & Chive Oil

This was the fourth course to my 7-course Friendsgiving party for 8 people.

Originally, I had planned this course near the beginning but since there are a lot of protein courses following each other, I changed the course and decided to use this salad as a palate cleanser. I wanted to update this dish. I don’t like the white goat cheese that comes in logs… Like, I really do not like it. So I opted for mascarpone instead.

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Serves 6-8.

For the Beets

  • 7 large red beets
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2 TBS EVOO

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and generously salt the bottom layer. Place the beets on top of the salt layer. Season well and add 2 TBS of olive oil. Wrap up the beets and place them in the hot oven for 45-60 minutes, until done.

Remove the beets, set aside to cool, then peel them. Cut them into small squares when cool. Save scraps for beet purée.

For the Chive Oil

  • 1 large bundle of chives, 1-inch in diameter
  • 1 cup neutral oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Blanch chives then squeezing excess water out, place in blender. Blend until it’s a purée then on a low speed, add in the oil and season. Strain through a mesh chinois before placing it into a squeeze bottle.

For the Apple Salad & Finish

  • 6 oz. mascarpone
  • 3 tart apples
  • 2 lemons, suprêmed
  • Chive oil, as needed
  • 2 cups pea leaves
  • Beet scraps, for purée
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Salt

Bring mascarpone to room temperature.

Purée beet scraps, season with salt, then set aside.

Suprême the lemons and chop roughly. Peel the apples and dice into small squares. Toss with chopped lemon segments with chive oil and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, press and mix mascarpone until it is soft. Then toss in cubed beets and pine nuts. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon beet purée onto plate. Using a ring mold, put beets 75% of the way up the ring mold. Top with apple salad then carefully remove ring mold.

In a separate bowl, toss pea leaves with chive oil and salt. Carefully place a small portion of the pea leaves over each mold. Drizzle with chive oil and serve.

Apple & Lemon Tarts

This was the fifth and final course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

I had originally planned for this really complicated work of art but since I’m not a pastry chef, I just wanted to give myself an easy dessert course. Easy, meaning, no soils, no foams, no gelées, no silicone molds, no siphons etc… And also, I am off on Thanksgiving so I should give myself a somewhat “light” cooking day. Haha, this is what I L.O.V.E. to do: hosting multi-course dinner parties.

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[100% organic]

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Sorry, no recipe for the Apple Tart but Lemon Tart is here.

Lemon Saffron Risotto with Mussels

This is a very much long over due post! Wow, this month flew by! I’m not really surprised though because July always goes by so fast for me since it’s my birth month and it’s a constant reminder that I am at the third week of my new age…

I thought work would die down but it hasn’t and I am constantly so very tired and stressed. Not having my usual two consecutive days off contribute to my being tired all the time; my days off are split. I miss my Sunday food parties… I haven’t had the time nor energy to hold house parties since May!! But I insisted to myself that I post something for July because August is right around the corner… and not updating my blog is not an option!

The lightness of the lemon flavoring definitely balanced out the heaviness of the saffron!

Serves 4.

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[100% organic, wild mussels from Canada]

For the Mussels

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 3 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 garlic head, cut in half horizontally
  • Parsley stems
  • 1 TBS black whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt

Clean, scrub, and soak mussels in salted cold water for 15 minutes. De-beard mussels.

In a pan on medium low heat, melt butter with olive oil. Sweat shallots with a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat to medium and add in aromatics (garlic, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf) and sweat for 1 minute. Turn heat to high and add in mussels. Cover the pan with a lid and shake the pan over the heat vigorously. Add in white wine and simmer until mussels open up, 3-4 minutes. Mussels will be halfway cooked. You will finish cooking the mussels in the risotto.

Strain the mussel liquor and set aside. Remove each mussel from its shell and set aside, either over ice or in the refrigerator. Discard shells, unless you want to plate mussels in their shells.

For the Risotto

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • Reserved mussel liquor
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • 2 qts vegetable stock
  • 4 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Reserved mussels
  • Salt
  • (Optional: grated Pecorino Romano)

Heat up vegetable stock in a saucepan and keep hot.

In a pan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add in the diced onion and sweat until soft. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter fully coats each grain of rice and cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the mussel liquor and saffron, and cook until completely absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding 1 cup broth at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is short of al dente, about 15-20 minutes.

Before the last addition of stock, fold in reserved mussels, lemon juice, lemon zest, and half of the chopped parsley.

Season and taste to adjust seasoning. I like to fold in finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese into my risottos so I rarely have to season with any salt since the cheese is very salty.

Scoop risotto into bowls and top with more chopped parsley. Serve immediately.