What are you doing for Valentine’s? We like to avoid the crowd and cook at home so I decided to treat my wonderful husband, Steve with a special dinner. Where better to find inspiration than the Amalfi Coast? I can close my eyes and picture the kitchen at Il Ritrovo where Salvatore prepares a Grand Seafood Feast for two. It is served in the pan with crostini. How romantic is that? One dish at the table and we both eat out of it. This is a variation of Pesce all’Acqua Pazza (Fish in Crazy Water, see recipe below with variation) and it is to die for.I go by the seafood shop to buy a mild white fish, calamari, shrimp and clams. Upon storing them safely in the refrigerator, I set about chopping a few cloves of garlic and soak them in olive oil. This is a trick I learned in the kitchens of Amalfi. The garlic becomes mellow tasting and compliments the fish as a result of the soak.This is not the season for fresh tomatoes but never fear – we have roasted cherry tomatoes in the freezer (Sorry Salvatore, I have to make do with what I have). The Valentine’s Day theme is accentuated by the red color.Steve came home and inquired about dinner. He really likes red meat so he made a face and suggested we go out. No way I respond. He slinks out to the treadmill to do his workout and I began my preparations. I chop the calamari into rings and sorted out the seafood. I gently heated a 3 Quart Braiser, added a little garlic and oil to the pan. Be careful, if the garlic burns the dish will be bitter. Add the wine (I used Vermouth – it’s all I had!) tomatoes, water, seasonings such as salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then simmer together for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Add the fish and turn to coat it in the oil and wine infusion a, then cover the pan and gently simmer the contents.Steve reappeared so I distract him by sending him to the wine cellar to pick out a nice bottle dinner. He poured the wine to let it breathe. This makes him happy but he’s still eyeing the seafood suspiciously.After the fish has simmered for 5-8 minutes I add the shellfish and cover. This needs to be checked frequently to keep from overcooking the shrimp and clams. As the clams open and shrimp turn pink pull them out of the pan and place set aside in a bowl. When the fish is done add the shellfish back in, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.Steve was surprised and delighted. The dish delicious, he declared the dish rivals his stewed calamari in tomato sauce. Sliding a romantic dinner into a weeknight was such a surprise. What are your plans for Valentine’s?
A Grand Seafood Feast
La Grande Zuppa del Costiera Amalfitana is a dish I've made so many times in the Amalfi Coast. It's perfect for any celebration, so easy to make and one of the most elegant dishes you could ever have! Feel free to modify the seafood selections to your preferances. You really can't go wrong with this dish!
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes cut in half or quarters
- 2 Tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Parsley divided
- ½ - 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Chile flakes
- 1 1/2 Cups to 2 White Wine
- ½ - 1 Cup Water or more Wine...
- Salt White Pepper
- 4 lb Red Snapper Sea bass or other mild white Fish Fillets, about ½
- 8-12 Shrimp cleaned & deveined
- 8-12 Clams/Mussels or both
- 1 lb Calamari &/or Octopus cleaned and sliced
In a large Paella pan with a lid or something similar, combine the olive oil and garlic and sauté until the garlic turns golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, chile flakes, white wine and water and season with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down, carefully add the fish fillets to the pan, and then turn them to coat with the cooking liquid. Cover with the lid and cook for 5 minutes then add the remaining seafood. Cover the pan and simmer until the shrimp turn pink and the clams open. Season with salt, garnish with remaining parsley. Serve immediately in shallow bowls that have been warmed or right from the pan. Grilled or toasted bread sgoes great with this!
You be the judge of how much sauce to have. We like lots to sop up with crusty bread.
This recipe serves 4. Feel free to divide the recipe into smaller pans. I do because my pans are small. This also makes a great dish for a romantic dinner, cut the portions in half and it serves two perfectly!