Crawfish Soup

Crawfish Soup and a few jalapeno-cheese corn muffins make a great lunch or dinner regardless of whether the temperature is 80 or 40 degrees fahrenheit.

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Crawfish Soup
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Louisiana Cookin’, March/April 2014)

Makes about 12 servings

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups green bell pepper
2 cups carrot
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
10 cups shrimp and/or chicken stock
2 16-ounce packages crawfish tails
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh basil
2 tsp hot sauce
4 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 freshly ground black pepper
½ cup half and half

In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper and carrot. Cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, and crawfish. Bring to a boil. Add lemon juice, parsley, basil, hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer 26 to 30 minutes. Stir in half-and-half. Serve immediately.

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Orange-Dill Shrimp Salad

Orange-Dill Shrimp Salad is a derived from an Ina Garten recipe in which the shrimp are roasted in the oven and mixed with a citrusy mayonnaise dressing .

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Orange-Dill Shrimp Salad
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 Tbsp capers, drained and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, small dice

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the shrimp on one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, Creole seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the shrimp are cool, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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Shrimp with Garlic and Fennel Sauce over Pasta

If you have access to good quality large shrimp this is a perfect way to prepare them. Enjoy!

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Shrimp with Garlic and Fennel Sauce over Pasta
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 2

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 large shallot, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried fennel seeds
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz. clam stock
4 oz. dry white wine at room temperature
1 lb dried spaghetti pasta
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Season the shrimp with black pepper and the red pepper flakes.

Boil pasta per package instructions.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat bring 2 tablespoons of oil to a shimmer and saute the half of the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and saute for 1-2 minutes per side until just cooked through. Remove the shrimp to a platter and set aside.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine. Add the shallots to the skillet and saute for 1 minute. Add the Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and salt and black pepper to taste. Add the clam stock and bring the sauce to a boil then reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in butter and add shrimp to the sauce to warm.

To serve, place pasta on plates and top each with 6 shrimp and half of the pan sauce. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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Slow-Roasted Grouper with Fennel, Citrus and Chiles

If you are looking for a simple fish dish to cook for Valentine’s Day try Slow Roasted Grouper with Fennel, Citrus and Chiles. If you don’t have access to grouper you can prepare the salmon, cod, halibut or even large tilapia fillets using the recipe. Preparation is a snap and the long-slow cooking method produces a tender, flavorful fish with a rich citrusy sauce.

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Slow-Roasted Grouper with Fennel, Citrus and Chiles
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BONAPPETIT.COM, January 2014)

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 navel orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh dill
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 3/4 pound grouper fillets
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 275F. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile and dill in a shallow 3-qauart baking dish; season with salt and pepper. Season the grouper with salt and pepper and place on top of the fennel-citrus mixture. Pour oil over all.

Roast until grouper is just cooked through, about 30 – 40 minutes for medium rare.

Transfer the fish to serving plates, breaking it into large pieces. Spoon the fennel-citrus mixture and some of the oil from the baking dish over the fish. Discard the dill sprigs. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Two Recipes for Grilled Pork Loin

Over the Super Bowl weekend Ample Bites prepared two pork loins using the recipes provided below.

The Orange-Glazed Pork Loin was a big hit. This is probably because the roast was brined, which produces a more tender finished product, and because of the citric acid in the Orange Glaze. The Grilled Pork Loin with Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce is a spicier option because of the rub. Try them both and let Ample Bites know what you think.

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Orange-Glazed Pork Loin
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Weber’s Real Grilling, 2005)

For an 8 to 9 pound pork loin

Brine:
1 ½ cups Kosher salt
8 Tbsp granulated sugar
grated zest of 2 oranges
6 bay leaves, crushed
8 whole cloves
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Glaze:
3 cups orange juice
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
6 whole cloves
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

To make the brine: In a large pot, combine the brine ingredients with 3 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the brine in the pot. When the brine is cold, put the roast in the pot completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice, rosemary, cloves and red pepper flakes to a boil and then simmer for 45 to 60 minutes until about ¾ cup of glaze remains. Strain into a bowl and then add Worcestershire sauce. The glaze can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Heat grill to medium-high for direct grilling. Remove the roast from the pot and discard the brine. Allow to stand at room temperature for at hour before grilling. Sear the pork until golden brown on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes total. Reduce heat to medium for indirect grilling and continue to cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours longer or until internal temperature reaches 155F, basting the roast occasionally during the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Allow the roast to stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.

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Grilled Pork Loin with Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Weber’s Real Grilling, 2005)

For an 8 to 9 pound pork loin

Sauce:
16 ripe plum tomatoes
2 large jalapeno peppers, stem and seeds removed
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup roughly chopped red onion
½ cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Rub:
1 ½ Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 ½ Tbsp chile powder
1 ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground allspice
Extra-virgin olive oil

To make the sauce: grill the tomatoes and jalapenos over direct heat until blackened and blistered, turning as needed. Put the tomatoes and peppers in a food processor along with the remaining sauce ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste, and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Rub the loin with oil and then evenly apply the rub to all surfaces. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Remove loin from refrigerator, unwrap and allow to stand at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before grilling.

Heat grill to medium-high for indirect grilling. Grill the roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue grilling for 1 to 1 ½ hours longer or until the internal temperature reaches 155F.

Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve warm with warmed sauce.

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