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March 2009/July 2012 COTM Fish Without a Doubt: Fish Cakes & Burgers and Pasta and Rice

**March 2009 Cookbook of the Month** is Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for fish cakes and burgers as well as pasta and rice here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Linguine with Clam Sauce, Pg. 382

    This is a nice take on a classic Italian clam sauce. We both liked it very much.

    The clams are steamed open then they're drained and chopped and both are set aside separately. 1/3 cup chopped garlic is brought to a sizzle in 1/3 cup of olive oil, the heat turned down and the garlic infuses oil for 15 minutes. The trick here is to not let the garlic color. Red pepper flakes and oregano are then added to the infused oil and cooked for a few minutes. The reserved clam juice is then added, the heat turned to high and the sauce reduced by half.

    In the meantime, the linguine has been thrown into boiling water and cooked to the al dente stage. When done drain the pasta, pour back into the pot and add the sauce, the chopped clams and 1/2 cup of Italian parsley. I actually did the opposite... tossing the pasta into the sauce pan, not wanting to lose a drop of the sauce. Toss well and serve. This is a very easy dish to make and quite suited to a Friday during Lent.

    A mixed greens salad completed the meal....

    9 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      That sounds wonderful, Gio. And Linguine with Clam Sauce is one of my favorite dishes. Not sure why I've been putting that off, but now that I've read your report I'm sure I'll be getting a round tuit sooner rather than later.

      1. re: JoanN

        It's one of mine too - though that sounds like an awful lot of garlic ....

        1. re: MMRuth

          It Was quite a lot of garlic...much more than I usually chop for my version. We liked it well enough at dinner but the next day... well, let's just say it's a good thing there are two rooms here where one can restore one's personal comfort......

      2. re: Gio

        I love linguine with clams too, but I'm having a hard time imagining how or why you'd c hop the clams. The clams we get here are pretty small and it just seems unecessary too cook them separately. Just my twopennorth....

        1. re: greedygirl

          I always cook the clams separately to make sure that no sand gets into the dish. I strain the liquid that comes out of the clams, and then add it to the pasta at the end. If I can't get the tiny clams (Manilas?), I will cut up the larger ones.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Yes, That's what I do too... I did not have to chop the clams I used for this dish. He mentions it in the recipe, though.

        2. re: Gio

          Linguine with Clams (page 382)

          Were we having a conversation elsewhere about linguine with clam sauce? Because I’ve been craving it for a few days now and decided tonight was the night to scratch that itch. And now I’m annoyed that it took me so long.

          I’ve been cooking from this book for nearly four years and I’ve made probably half of the recipes in it. Why in the world did it take me so long to make this one? Can’t remember what used to be my go-to recipe, but I know it had whole clams (in the shell) in it. Doesn’t matter, because this will be my go-to forever more. It isn’t just the rather generous amount of garlic that puts his over the top, but the saving and reducing of every bit of clam cooking liquid that intensifies that clammy goodness. Loved it. Just loved it. Can you tell?

          1. re: JoanN

            I completely forgot that I made this dish, Joan. In fact during the conversation you refer to I said I've never cooked linguine with fresh clams. Arrrrgh. (usually I make it with good canned clams in juice) This will be a perfect first course for Christmas Eve dinner here on Monday. We're paring the whole thing down this year... So glad you liked it. So glad you wrote your report.

          2. re: Gio

            Linguine with Clam Sauce, p. 382

            Clams are one of my favorite foods and after reading the reviews, I had to try this recipe. Wow! I loved the garlicky, briny sauce. Following Gio's lead I tossed the pasta in to the pan with the the sauce in an effort to get every morsel I could. I also reduced the sauce slightly less than suggested and let the pasta finish cooking in the broth. Such little effort for clam bliss.

          3. Tuna Burgers with Harissa Mayonnaise (page 367)

            These were just great. There are a number of different components, but you can make most of them at least a day or two ahead.

            The burger is hand-chopped tuna mixed with chives, dill, and Harissa Mayonnaise. You can use store-bought harissa to make the mayonnaise, but I made his recipe using guajillo chiles, fennel and coriander seeds, a bit of crushed red pepper, garlic, and olive oil. Really tasty stuff. You mix that with store-bought mayo, lemon zest, and lemon juice to make the mayo mixture.

            The burgers are sauteed in a bit of oil, he says about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. I cooked mine a bit longer than that and they were cooked all the way through, but they were still perfectly juicy.

            You spread hamburger rolls (I used brioche rolls) with more harissa mayonnaise, add the burger, and top the burger with Mom’s Cucumber Salad (page 459). I served the burgers with German-Style Potato Salad (page 467).

            My friend and I loved these. The whole lunch reminded us of summer. We felt as though we should be sitting on beach chairs somewhere watching the waves come in. The burgers are rather fragile so I’m not sure how you’d manage to cook them on an outdoor grill, but I sure think it would be worth a try. They’re just a delightful and surprising combination of flavors and textures with the spiciness of the harissa mayo playing off the vinegary cucumber and onions. These would just be so wonderful for a special barbeque.

            6 Replies
            1. re: JoanN

              That sounds like something I'd like, Joan. The recipe was overlooked during my first scan of the book. Now I'll have to give it a go. Thanks!

              1. re: JoanN

                I am excited to try these, JoanN... I had a fantastic burger on this idea in Provincetown a couple of summers ago, and I enjoyed the *kick*

                Was it hard to keep these from falling apart as you cooked them? I've never made fish burgers but I had a bad experience with black bean burgers (the ones in Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) getting all crumbly and weird on me. I would like to try these for sure and just want any tips to keep them from getting fall-aparty as I cook them-- Yum!

                1. re: foxy fairy

                  I had no fall-apart issues at all. Looking at the photo, I may have chopped the tuna more finely than I should have and that might have helped. I just wasn't sure that they'd hold together as well on a grill. But in a skillet, no problems at all.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Coming back to add that the formed, uncooked tuna burgers froze brilliantly. I thawed one in the fridge overnight and cooked it up for lunch today. Every bit as good and juicy as it had been when fresh.

                2. re: JoanN

                  Just made these tonight. Won't go into too much detail as there is a great description above. Suffice it to say, the most challenging aspect of this project is chopping the tuna into small dice. The next challenge is shaping the burgers, getting them in the pan, and turning them. This went surprisingly well considering these are held together by a 'wing and a prayer'.
                  I made all the suggested components and thought this was just a terrific recipe - especially since
                  I've relegated beef to a 'once in a while' status in my diet.
                  Now what do I do with all that leftover Harissa ?
                  The homemade harissa recipe makes quite a quantity, but apparently it keeps!

                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                    Happy to hear the good reports on these, I've got my eye on this recipe. I love both tuna and harissa (and have both on hand), but hadn't imagined them paired.

                3. Linguini with Tuna Sauce (pg. 383)

                  We loved this. Not only was it positively delicious, but it was quick and easy with mostly pantry supplied goods. Plus, it was pretty to boot.

                  The recipe is so basic and simple, but the flavors just melt together. Saute chopped garlic, then add chopped anchovies and a can of tuna in olive oil. Then add a large can of chopped tomatoes and crushed hot pepper flakes. Simmer for a short bit. Lastly add mostly cooked pasta and chopped parsley to the sauce.

                  The recipe called for 1/2 cup parsley and 4 chopped anchovies. I used more of both. I also used whole wheat pasta, thinking correctly, that the sauce would be so flavorful that it wouldn't matter that it was ww pasta v. regular (my natural preference).

                  The red of the sauce and the green of the parsley was just lovely to behold. My one minor pet peeve is that the recipe called for 3/4 lb of pasta. I hate when recipes do that because then I am left with a weird amount of pasta.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: beetlebug

                    Ooh, I can totally do that! I thought most of the dishes were made with fresh fish! I'm going to pick up the book from the library today, and now I'm super excited!

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      If you want me to post the recipe, I'll be happy to do so.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        I just went and picked it up at the library last night- I had it on hold. Everything looks so good! I told my husband I would like to move now, for the fish that is! ;-)

                        (The only thing I can't get behind is the catfish sloppy joes- the thought of those just kind of disgusts me! I think Oprah had that on her show when Gayle went around to try the top 10 sandwiches, or something along that lines.)

                    2. re: beetlebug

                      It's so good to know that you liked the Pasta & Tuna sauce, beetlebug! It's on my list for this coming Friday. I noticed that there is much less garlic in this recipe than in the clam sauce.... thank heavens.

                      I always use the whole pound of macaroni no matter what the recipe calls for and adjus,t as well as I can, the other ingredients. I can't be bothered saving 1/4 lb....

                      1. re: Gio

                        I thought about throwing the whole box in and have done so in the past. However, the wheat pasta box was also some weird amount (I think, almost 18 oz). And, I was concerned about the tuna to pasta ratio. One can of tuna didn't seem to be enough protein for the sauce. I also thought about throwing in two cans of tuna but worried about the taste ratio being off with the other ingredients.

                        Regardless, we both really liked this recipe and I'll be making it again. I don't do Lent, but C does and he said it's so much better than tuna noodle casserole that he grew up with.

                      2. re: beetlebug

                        My plans for dinner last night suddenly fell through, but thankfully I remembered this post, beetlebug. We absolutely LOVED this. And it is a pantry meal that I would feel very comfortable serving to unexpected guests (if only I remember it!)

                        I used two small cans of (good) tuna, about 3/4 of a tin of anchovies, Muir Glenn toms, crushed red pepper, probably 5 cloves of garlic, and plenty of parsley. I forgot to save some pasta water to mix back in - when that timer goes off, I'm on automatic pilot.

                        Bursting with flavor and made for a terrific weeknight dinner.

                        1. re: mirage

                          So glad you liked the dish. I'm looking forward to next Friday, when I'm having it again.

                        2. re: beetlebug

                          My second time with this dish was not as successful. It was still delicious but not swooningly so. But, I pinpointed the problem as I was cooking the sauce.

                          This time, I used two cans of tuna in olive oil and a big can of chopped tomatoes. But, this can, the tomatoes were in chunks v. more of a puree. Last time, it was definitely saucier. And, the sauce result didn't have the proper balance to it - too much tuna but not enough sauce. Even as I was cooking it, there wasn't as much red color as there was tuna color. And, when I added the parsley with the pasta, it wasn't as vibrantly colored as my first batch.

                          I think that's the reason why the author has you pureeing a can of whole tomatoes. I'm probably going to revisit this recipe again, and either buy a can of pureed tomatoes or pure a can of whole tomatoes.

                          1. re: beetlebug

                            My turn on the pasta with tuna. I was especially excited about this recipe because of the whole "everything already in the pantry" nature of it. I followed the recipes to a t, pureeing the tomatoes before adding, using his suggested amounts of garlic/hot pepper, tuna and anchovy. We liked this, but thought it needed more "oomph." If made again (and I likely will, just since it is so easy to throw together if you didn't ge to the grocery store) I would add a LOT more of the garlic, anchovy and hot pepper.

                            Photos shows a very messy plate - sorry. Husband gave me a drink while cooking ...

                          2. re: beetlebug

                            Linguini with Tuna Sauce, p. 383

                            It has been a long week of work and another late day with no time to stop by the grocery store before I had to get home and let the nanny go (and make dinner). I was despairing about the choices between frozen pizza and scrambled eggs for dinner when I saw the reviews for this dish while I was looking up the reviews for Moonen's paella (for a special dinner during a much needed vacation next week).

                            This dinner was a true pantry meal (with the exception of the parsley). I actually added in some oven dried tomatoes which I had in the fridge (chopped) along with the canned, with added a little extra texture and sweetness.

                            The result was SOOO much better than frozen pizza, and really didn't take any longer to make. I found the flavors fairly subtle, for something that starts with anchovies and garlic. But that went over well with my crew. My fish-averse daughters ate it up and actually ate some of the tuna and my fish-loving son had 3 helpings! I personally thought it could maybe use a little extra kick (maybe kalamata olives for a puttanesca riff) or a little lemon zest to lift it up? But overall a great save for a busy night. This one will definitely be going in the "there's nothing to eat for dinner" file.

                          3. CATFISH SLOPPY JOES, page 373, together with BARBEQUE SAUCE, page 437

                            I admit, this recipe did not call to me at all. But, my husband wanted me to try it, so I did. He indulges my COTM fascination, so, surely I could indulge him this once.

                            This was pretty good, if you're a person who likes sloppy joes. I find them too sweet and this was no exception, especially since you start with ketchup (which already has sugar in it), then add sugar. For my tastes, I would have pulled back on the sugar, but I think for most tastes it was probably about right. I made the mistake of serving this on a "local and organic" bun that was more firm and smaller than the ideal, so, our joes were even sloppier because nothing stayed on or soaked into the bun, it just fell off. Moonen suggests a soft potato bun and I agree, a big soft bun would have been a better choice.

                            We didn't top our sandwiches with potato chips as he recommended. While I, too, think chips on a sandwich provide a nice, salty crunch, we didn't need the extra calories (or an open, nearly full bag of chips around the house), so we skipped it. It was just fine without.

                            Overall, I think this was a winner, especially if you're a fan of sloppy joes and just want to try to mix it up a bit. One small quibble: I did think the clam juice in the barbeque sauce was too much. It gave this a fishier taste than necessary. I was a little short on ketchup as well as on the clam juice, so, perhaps my proportions were off, but I didn't think they were that far off. Next time, I'll try less clam juice.

                            I can't believe we're nearly halfway through March and this is my first attempt from this book. Well, it's not actually my first attempt. Twice I've purchased fish, then just decided I was too tired to follow a recipe and just broiled it instead. The problem is that weeknights, when I have little time to cook, is when I drive right past the fishmonger, whereas, on weekends, I have to go pretty out of my way to get there.

                            Sorry, no photos.


                            10 Replies
                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Could someone explain to a confused Brit what a sloppy joe is? Thanks!

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Basically, a Sloppy Joe is browned minced meat, and sauteed onions, garlic, and other vegetables like celery and carrots cooked together in a sweet-sour tomato sauce served on a bun.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Sounds, er, interesting. Maybe you have to be American to appreciate this!

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    I'm an American and I didn't have my first SJ until I was about 45. I'm not sure I even appreciate it and only have had it a few times since then. It's one of those quick & easy recipes busy folks throw together and call it dinner. Or lunch. Or snack.....

                                    I saw that catfish recipe in the book but passed it by. If I do make it I'll definitely take TDQ's advise and cut down on the sugar. I prefer savory.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      I am also from the US and I've never eaten a sloppy joe :) My mom never made them, and then I just couldn't get into the idea of trying one later.

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    Good description, Gio. GG--here's a photo of a sloppy joe. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/113/30... I think it's one of those things that's easy to feed to large groups because it has an easy to vary portion size (i.e., you can give a child just one spoonful and an adult two spoonfuls) and is also an easy way to "extend" beef. I think it, or variations of it called loosemeats or maid-rites, are more common in the Midwest than in other parts of the country.

                                    As for our leftovers, I'm going to re-heat them right now and serve them over eggs for breakfast. Will let you know if it's a giant mistake!


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      We made the Catfish Sloppy Joes last night and liked them very much. For the BBQ sauce we used the sugar for the caramel but subbed chicken stock for the fish stock called for. That gave the sauce a more mellow flavor, I think, and seemed to counterbalance the sugar. DH had bought a smallish bag of Cape Cod potato chips so they were placed on the side. Finally, we served the Joes on a large roll very similar to a potato roll....used a knife & fork BTW. I made the Classic Cole Slaw from Bon Apettit Y'All which was a good accompianment. All in all a very tasty Saturday night meal which we both liked.

                                      We have leftovers too; I thought I reheat them and serve over rice for lunch.....

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I'd love to read a report on the cole slaw from Bon Appetit Y'All. Has anyone started a thread? If not, could I twist your arm?

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Yes... I plan to start that thread Joan, but I thought I'd wait till April 1..... hah. Just kidding. I don't have the book in front of me.... i usually make my notes after dinner because I won't remember the exact procedure, senior moments being what they are, ya know. IIRC.... the final result was not too sweet with a tartish flavor having shredded carrot, a bit of minced onion, mayo (she recommends her home made but I used TJ's organic, some vinegar.... I'll write it up properly tonight when I start the thread.

                                          Have a Happy Sunday!

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Catfish (Pickerel) Sloppy Joes – p. 373

                                  I’ve had an interest in cooking since I was a little girl. We moved to Canada from England when I was 7 and I was fascinated with the variety of “unusual” foods my friends were eating. It stands to reason that when my mother gave me some of her blank recipe cards, one of the first recipes I wrote out was for “Sloppy Joes on Toasted Buns.” I hadn’t ever eaten one but I still remember the photo in a women’s magazine at the Doctor’s office. And wow, I’d only recently developed a knowledge of and passion for ketchup so imagine my delight to find a recipe cooked w ketchup!! I still have the recipe cards I wrote out way back then and though I never did make that particular recipe, needless to say, Sloppy Joes hold a special place in my heart!!

                                  DQ & Gio have the prep well covered above. I had some of the barbecue sauce left over from another dish I’d prepared. FYI, it freezes well so all I had to do was defrost it and away I went with this recipe. As noted above, I used Pickerel instead of catfish and I don’t love green peppers so I went w a yellow bell pepper instead.

                                  The book instructs you to top these with some potato chips for some added crunch. Though it wouldn’t have been my first instinct, we went with it and really enjoyed them. Kinda’ made a nice dish a little “naughty”!!

                                  I have to admit, mr bc wasn’t as excited (read…he was dreading this meal!!) about trying these as I was but the dish won him over. We both enjoyed this very much and I’ll definitely make it again.

                                3. Linguine with Tuna Sauce, Pg. 383

                                  Last night DH made this recipe all by himself; No help from me at all !
                                  Took the book, got his mise en place and cooked it start to finish while I worked on the rug I'm making. Ahhh, the life....

                                  It's a very simple tomato sauce starting with 4 chopped garlic cloves sautéed in olive oil. Anchovies are added (he used a whole tin) and cooked till melted. A can of tinned tuna in oil is then added (he used 2 tins), plus a can of tomatoes, and either cayenne or crushed red pepper (CRP here). The whole thing is brought to the boil, then with heat reduced is simmered while the linguine is cooking. The recipe calls for 3/4 lb. but he used the whole pound. When al dente, the pasta is drained, tossed into the sauce with 1/2 cup chopped parsley and cooked for a minute adding some pasta water if necessary... he didn't.

                                  This was nothing very special and I thought somewhat blah for what it was. The tuna was not discernible and the anchovies didn't seem to do their usual job of boosting the flavor. In any case, it was satisfying and the dear boy was very proud of himself. That's worth it's weight in something or other.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    So sorry that you didn't love it as much as I did. Interesting that you found it blah for what it was. When we had this for dinner, we couldn't believe the explosion of flavors coming out of this tomato sauce. I wonder if it's the difference of one tin of tuna v. two since our sauce was more tomatoey with hints of tuna and anchovies.

                                    It's funny, C mentioned this dish again and wants it soon. To me, it's also the perfect pasta dish for a pre-long run dinner (carbs and protein mix, plus fast to make).

                                    ETA: I already know I'll be making this in two fridays. ha.

                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                      Wow - what a difference. I wonder if it was the "brand" of ingredients we used. I mean, we used Bumble Bee canned albacore, the ubiqutious tin of anchovies in olive oil you see everywhere... can't remember the name now, and Pastene Kitchen Ready instead of Pomi tomatoes. We usually buy TJ's tinned tuna in EVOO because it has such a wonderful taste, but used the albacore since we're trying to go along with the sustainable seafood lists. That's increasingly more difficult than I want it to be.

                                      Edit: The brand of TJ's tuna we usually buy is Genoa, in olive oil.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I used Cento tuna packed in olive oil, ubiquitous tin anchovies and Muir Glen diced tomatoes (why chop whole tomatoes when it comes chopped?).

                                        Maybe it's the tuna that made the difference, both in brand and proportions.

                                  2. Red Curry Shrimp (p. 386)

                                    This was fine but really nothing special. It needed a lot more oomph and spice. We added a lot of lime squeeze over the table and it was pleasant but not great. Fish sauce, lime juice, coconut milk, red curry paste and some saki along with the veg (the most delightful thing about this is the very quickly cooked onion and peppers - they still have a nice bit of crunch to them) and shrimp. It needed a lot more of the curry and lime for us.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      Red Curry Shrimp, p. 386

                                      To my surprise, we liked this a lot. Although I wasn't in the mood for curry, I was looking for something quick, with ingredients on hand, and happened on this recipe, a slight variation on the red curry recipe I've used up to now. My husband thought it the best one yet.

                                      It is quick once you have everything sliced, chopped, minced, and ready to go: onion, red pepper (I used strips instead of finely chopped as I wanted the crisp texture, and skipped the green pepper altogether), garlic, are sauteed briefly, but maintain their crunch. Sake (I used a 50/50 mix of vermouth and mirin) is added to deglaze pan. Red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand, a jar of which has been in the fridge a good long time) is whisked into coconut milk and simmered briefly. Then it and fish sauce go into the skillet w/the veggies. Shrimp, which have already been sauteed briefly, are added to the mix. Herbs (mint, cilantro), sliced scallions, and juice of a lime are added just before serving with, in our case, jasmine rice, lime wedges, and stir-fried asparagus.

                                      A lovely easy weeknight meal for us.

                                    2. Salmon Burgers with Green Tartar Sauce (p 366, I think?) were pretty darned tasty even with previously frozen salmon and a few alterations. Turned out I didn't have the bell peppers in the fridge I thought I did, thanks to another family member's snacking, so subbed red onion, which worked well with the scallions, nice flavor. The salmon I had to defrost and press with several layers of paper towels to get somewhere near dry enough that I thought the burgers would have a chance of holding together, and they did pretty well. I also didn't have pitas, so used burger buns, and though a little messier than pitas, they worked fine--only a little slippage and bloops of tartar sauce on the plate. Very tasty, great tartar sauce recipe. Oh, and I got more burgers from the mix than the recipe said, probably because pitas would've held much bigger burgers.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: amyzan

                                        Salmon Burgers with Green Tartar Sauce, page 366

                                        I made these burgers for my picky eating family yesterday. Cooking for a vegetarian who will eat fish every so often who is lactose intolerant and needs moist food and a mother who has decided she can't consume milk, raw onions, beans or hot sauce. I used 3 Wal-mart frozen wild salmon which was probably about 3/4 lb of fish. [This kitchen doesn't have a scale.] I omitted the bell peppers and increased the scallions. Used just a touch of milk, maybe 1/2 of the called for amount. I pulled out the Tabasco sauce from the cupboard and it had a date of 1972 on the bottle. It smelled horrid, was discolored and separated. Nope. So instead I minced some red pepper flakes. I suspect that I used a greater ration of the whipped egg whites to make up for the missing cream. I chilled the burgers for 4 hours and they firmed up nicely. The salmon burgers are cooked in butter. I didn't add the extra butter under each burger as suggested since this 60 yr old cast iron pan has a gorgeous finish and nothing stuck. One diner chose an English muffin while the other two chose toasted rye bread. Served with a freshly cut tomato and lots of tartar sauce.

                                        I have whipped by this recipe many times and always reviewed the ingredient list with suspicion. The ingredients are simply not how I would freelance a salmon burger. But this was very good. The salmon is the star but clearly the tartar sauce is where the bold flavors appear.

                                        Served with a vinegar cole slaw [with no onions.]

                                      2. Paella (p. 390?)

                                        Loved this. There was a lot of chopping involved, but aside from that this was very easy and very very good. My husband just said "I feel like royalty." Can't get much better praise than that. I did sub TJs soy chorizo (my first time trying it, and I'll use it again) for regular. Only used 3 chicken thighs since there are only 3 of us, but aside from that followed the directions (oh ... didn't let the fish cook the full 10 minutes ... more like 5, but they were smallish pieces - turned out perfectly cooked). Just a perfect one dish meal. I've been very busy and stressed and have lost a bit of my cooking mojo, but this did a lot to bring me back. Everyone, Lulu included, wanted seconds. Definitely company worthy.

                                        28 Replies
                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          That looks beautiful. What kind of fish and shellfish were used?

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            Sorry, I should have given more details. I used the chicken thighs, then little neck clams and mussels. They didn't have any of the fish he recommended (striped bass, rouget, two others that have skipped my mind right now) at WFs, but they suggested red snapper, and it was just perfect in this. Another recommendation of his was scallops, which I think would have worked well too

                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                            Thank you for that review. I don't think I would have tried paella without your recommendation. I have marked it in the book to try soon.....when the temperature gets a bit cooler.

                                            1. re: Jane917

                                              Honestly, I'd skipped it my first few turns through the book. But somehow I got to thinking how nice a one dish meal would be, and it was a huge hit. I hope you enjoy it (and I agree, it really is best once the weather is a bit cooler).

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                And the photo looks pro! Gorgeous.

                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                              Paella (pp. 390-391)

                                              I made sooo many substitutions, so I'm wondering from my previous bout of learning about Paella http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807185
                                              a long thread - my paella really didn't qualify for a traditional or adequate paella from a recipe from ATK/Cook's Illustrated. So here, I'll give it a shot again.

                                              Chicken breast, skinless boneless (I/we don't care for thighs) thawed, I think the recipe calls for about 1/2 pound more than really necessary. Although if there are bones in the thighs, that would account for the difference.

                                              I used Spanish extra virgin olive oil.
                                              Did not use Spanish chorizo (I've tried just about every chorizo I could get my hands on, and I don't like chorizo) but used my very favorite Hot Italian sausage from Costco; took off the skin.
                                              Used red onion instead of vidalia or yellow. I think it makes a real difference in taste.
                                              Since I used the Italian hot sausage, I did not add any garlic.
                                              Used Spanish saffron threads. good quality threads.
                                              As to the rice, after a long research of rice for risotto and paella, I've used my choice (which others might not approve of for paella) and it was very good in paella. I'm not sure whether one would call it long-grain or not.

                                              I did not use a bouillon cube - it said optional. IMO, the taste of the rice was wonderful without adding any stock or bouillon. I'm glad I didn't add any.

                                              Fish (calling for about 3/4 pound) I used a combination of mahi mahi and scallops.

                                              As I don't like clams, I decided to use shrimp with the tails on in place of them.
                                              All the called-for recipe of mussels were used.

                                              Instead of fresh parsley, my choice was not to use it at all. Parsley IMO would just add too much of a parsley taste. I added a few leaves of basil instead, but not enough to overpower it, as I feel that fresh parsley would.

                                              The pans were a disaster, both paella, two different sizes, that I tried.
                                              Stainless steel Steven Raichlen Paella Pan


                                              Garcima Carbon Steel Paella Pan

                                              The first one was the smaller one 12" across the top. I used the induction burner and was able to control the heat in degrees. No matter what was I able to control the heat in this pan. I then went to the other larger pan, and it is too large to fit on my largest electric cooktop. I was afraid to let the paella pan edges hang over onto the cooktop.
                                              Finally I went to a 12" Le Creuset paella-type pan (see picture). I should've thought of this in the first place. I will save the paella pans for perhaps the otdoor charcoal grill. NEVER will I use these thin stainless steel and/or carbon steel paella pans again in the house on induction nor cooktop.

                                              I'll post a few pictures separately, as I can only upload from Mozilla.

                                              1. re: Rella

                                                Picture of the Le Creuset pan I used instead of the traditional Paella pans.
                                                Picture before the fish was added
                                                Picture of almost finished Paella

                                                1. re: Rella

                                                  Well your dinner looks bountiful & delicious even though you had trouble!

                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                    What a spectacular presentation Rella. Just beautiful and so enticing!!

                                                  2. re: Rella

                                                    Regarding my above: "Used Spanish saffron threads. good quality threads."

                                                    There is a discussion regarding saffron at
                                                    and the cost thereof. For those who feel that saffron can be prohibitive in the use thereof, I added my 2 cents worth here about using saffron as an ingredient in this paella.


                                                  3. re: LulusMom

                                                    LLM and others who made this paella, did you also tried Paella from The Food of Spain book? I decided to make paella for a small dinner I am hosting next week but can't decide which recipe to use.

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      I haven't tried the recipe from FWAD, but I have made the recipe from Casas innumerable times and I can tell you that her recipe is much more involved and more time consuming. It's an excellent recipe, one of the reasons I haven't yet tried the Moonen. But if you want less of a hassle and less of a mess, the reviews of the Moonen recipe sound excellent and I'd go with his.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Thank you,JoanN, for your response and suggestion!

                                                      2. re: herby

                                                        Sorry, been out of town and away from my computer. I have not made the other paella. And given how much I love this one (and my whole family does) I really doubt I'll ever both with another paella recipe. You know when you find just the right recipe for your tastes? The FWAD recipe for paella is that for me. And it really is pretty easy to put together.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Thank you, LLM! I am going to try Moonen's recipe. I have my own tried and twicked but want to try something different. I think I still have some nice Japanese rice left and will try making paella with it as per above discussion.

                                                      3. re: LulusMom

                                                        Paella (page 390)

                                                        Finally got around to trying Moonen’s version (instead of my go-to Casas). Used Bomba rice and added the optional lobster. I substituted about half a pound of scallops for the fish, added about another half pound of shrimp, and used a teaspoon of Better Than Boullion for the cube. All in all, an excellent paella, and far less fussy to prepare than the Casas. My guests loved it (one of them warmed up the leftovers in the microwave for breakfast the next morning) and I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again if time were an issue as it was the night I made this one. But I like the Casas better and when going all out to impress, the Casas it will be.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Joan I didn't see this when you originally posted but I must say, that dish looks pretty darned impressive...I can't imagine what the Casas version must be like. Stunning!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            So happy you found this, because I'd forgotten about it. It does look pretty good, doesn't it? Casas is my go-to, but it does take time. Good to be reminded that this was a seriously time-saving second best.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              I'm thinking of making it Joan, that's what brought me here to your lovely creation! I haven't pulled the book yet to see how much time it will take but I gather from reading the posts here that its the prep/chopping that takes time but then it's relatively quick to pull together.

                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                          PAELLA – p. 390

                                                          What on earth has taken me so long to make this recipe?!! Foolishness of course because, as others before me have wisely declared, this dish is outstanding. Once you have your ingredients prepped and assembled this comes together in a snap and produces a dish that your guests would swear you’d spent the day working on. Delicious and visually appealing this is a family-style meal that would impress your toughest critics. Since prep has been well covered above I’ll just note the adaptations I made:

                                                          • I had a fennel and a red pepper languishing in the crisper so I roasted them off, chopped them and added them into the paella along with the chopped tomato. I used yellow tomatoes.
                                                          • I used chicken stock vs water and a bouillon cube
                                                          • I used ¾ lb of chicken thighs (vs 1 1/2 lbs) which I chopped and;
                                                          • 2.5 lbs of mussels (vs 1lb)
                                                          • I used lobster since I had neither clams nor fish on hand
                                                          • I sliced my chorizo very thinly vs chopping it
                                                          • My peas were fresh from the market and we loved how they popped in your mouth…little bursts of sweetness

                                                          My rice wasn’t Bomba but I did manage to find Spanish long grain rice and it cooked beautifully. I didn’t add any seasoning to the dish as I cooked as I find shellfish add their own brininess. I did pass S&P at the table though I don’t recall anyone using it. This was delicious.

                                                          I removed most of the lobster in the last shot to better show the paella.

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Almost shocking how much return you get for comparatively little time and effort, isn't it? Curious about why you used the claws but not the tails from the lobster. Saving them for another preparation?

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              I know Joan, I was totally surprised with the speed at which this came together.

                                                              As for the tails, yes. I'm hoping to get some more fresh peas at the market tomorrow and make a tarragon pea puree. I put a little in the bottom of each soup plate and then top with medallions of the lobster tail meat. I drizzle a little lemon infused evoo atop. If all goes according to plan, this will be our appetizer tomorrow.

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                Sounds lovely. You're making me want lobster. Good excuse for a trip to Chinatown.

                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  There seems to be an over supply here in Canada and it's as cheap as I've ever seen it. A very happy problem to have indeed! (if you're a cook vs a trapper I should add!)

                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                    The price of lobster never seems to go down much here in Manhattan. Even in Chinatown the price of the 1-1/4 pounders is usually around 3 for $24.00, although on rare occasion I'll find larger ones at a lower price. Lobsters of any size at Fairway are usually $10/lb, even when I hear that other people are finding them on sale for about $3. Ahhh, the pleasures of living in the Big Apple. It indeed annoys me that the lobstermen are getting so little and the shops here are just taking a larger profit.

                                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                                            Paella, pg 390

                                                            As everyone who has gone before has noted, there is a big return for investment with this dish! I am a paella newbie and I had a few problems along the way, but overall I was very happy with the results and will be trying again with a few modifications.

                                                            My main modification, which was probably my downfall was I subbed a medium grain rice for the long grain rice called for in the recipe. I did this partly out of personal preference and also after reading that the famed Bomba is actually a medium grain rice. Perhaps as a result, my final result was a little too wet. Not soupy, but more moist than it should have been (at least to our tastes). The good news is I did have a lovely layer of toasted rice on the bottom of the pan. Horray for socarrat!

                                                            I also subbed shrimp for the mussels (added just before the peas). The used halibut for the fish and it was perfectly cooked and delicious. So much so, that I will probably double the amount of fish on my next attempt, we were all fighting for the fish! My chicken thighs were huge and not quite cooked through when everything else was done. I actually fished them out and put in a small pan in the toaster oven to finish cooking and there was plenty of food for our family of 5 without them. They got packed up with the leftovers for a lovely lunch. Next time, I will look for more normal sized thighs and make sure I get a really nice brown on them before everything else goes in.

                                                            No pictures, but it really is a lovely dish, as well. Will definitely be put on the list for company (once I can figure out my liquid to rice proportion adequately).

                                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                              Sounds as though you did well for a first try. And now that you know what to look for and what to expect, I'm sure your next one will be spot on. It really is such a great company dish. Not only impressive as hell to bring to the table, but a one-dish meal to boot.

                                                          3. Leek and Asparagus Risotto wth Sea Scallops (p. 388)

                                                            Husband's turn to cook again, and again he turned to this book. The results were delicious, but I think he felt like as much as he liked it, it wasn't as good as the labor-intensive directions made him expect it to be. And one thing we agreed on - you are asked to blanche the asparagus with salted water to make it less strong in flavor; we actually Love the flavor of asparagus, and missed it in this dish. Once asp. is blanched it is zapped in the blender, and this puree is added toward the end of the risotto making process. Anyway, I liked it very much, as did Lulu. And it is a really pretty dish.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                It is indeed a very pretty dish LLM and your scallops are perfect!

                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                  The credit goes to LulusDad - he did a great job with those scallops.

                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                  Funny, but I thought greens are blanched in salted water to keep their green color, not to diminish their flavor. The risotto really looks beautiful, LLM... and I love those scallops.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    I totally agree on the blanching, Gio. I just skimmed the recipe very very quickly and didn't notice anything about it making the asparagus less strong. Not sure if I just happened to miss it, or if it was something my husband said at the dinner table when serving it or what.

                                                                3. re: LulusMom

                                                                  The color on these scallops is what I always aim for. Delicioso!

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Leeks and Asparagus Risotto with Sea Scallops (Shrimp) Pg. 388
                                                                    I had some shrimp on hand and wanted to squeeze in one more recipe from the FWAD before the end of the month so I took a crack at this one since we love risotto. I thought this came out very nicely indeed. I do believe the blanching was meant to achieve the dual purpose of preserving the colour and making the asparagus easier to puree, but I wish he would have noted why you should put ice in with the asparagus when you blend. In my case the result was a perfect puree, but I wondered if that was because of the ice or would have regular water achieved the same goal. Not that it matters too much, but I was quite curious about this technique.
                                                                    I did allow myself one small modification to the recipe, I added about 1/2 cup grated parmesan to the rice at the very end, along with the recommended butter. I know for many people fish and cheese are a no no, but I am Francophone and we do make some judicious use of fish and cheese, often times to good effect. In this case I thought the slight hit of cheese gave the risotto that little bit of umami that was missing from the dish.
                                                                    Overall the texture was wonderful, the colours a lovely pink and light green, and the mouth feel very luxurious. A great dish!

                                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                                      Everything about this--including the cheese--sounds wonderful. Lovely looking, too.

                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                        Thanks so much nomadchowwoman. I have to say I have really enjoyed this book.

                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                      Forgot to attach the photo, yet again.

                                                                    3. Shrimp Fra Diavolo Pg. 380
                                                                      This was positively scrumptious! I have made pasta with shrimp and tomato sauce in the past and it was always fine, but this preparation had tonnes of nuance.
                                                                      Typically my approach is to make a simple tomato sauce with maybe some basil and a little chili flakes, and then toss the shrimp into the sauce at the end along with a little extra basil to finish. The sauce then gets tossed with the pasta and we are good to go. The preparation in FWAD is a only a little more involved but yields a much better result.
                                                                      Firstly the tomato sauce in augmented by a quick shrimp stock made with the shells, some wine, and a little water. The tomato sauce is also much more heavily seasoned than I would normally do (including, thyme, lots of chili flakes, oregano, and a large amount of garlic). I think the balance of flavour that is achieved with the heavy seasoning, the briny and tangy shrimp stock, and the sweet acid of the tomatoes makes a delicious sauce.
                                                                      Also, I typically simply simmer the shrimp in the sauce, but FWAD suggests you quickly saute the shrimp in a hot skillet to mostly cook them, then quickly finish in the sauce. To be sure you need a good size shrimp to proceed with this method so that you dont' overcook it, but the results wtih jumbo shrimp were just great.
                                                                      All in all this dish was a definite winner for us.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                        Good to read your report of this Delys. I have a pound of shrimp to cook tonight and am debating with myself about which recipe to use. The shrimp I have are the size that's one step down from jumbo. I wonder if can use them for the Diavolo if I'm very careful not to over cook them.

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          I think if you are careful it should be fine. His process in the recipe is to cook the Shrimp on high for about 2 minutes and then add to the sauce at the very end. In my case the high heat very slightly seared the shrimp and turned them pink, but they were still raw in the middle. When I tossed them into the sauce at the very end they probably got another minute or so of heat, just enough to cook them. Perhaps with a smaller shrimp you could shorten the sear a little, because they will definitely get a tiny bit of cooking when you pop them into the sauce.

                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                            Thanks Delys. I'll see if Mr. Gio would like pasta tonight or something lighter and keep your idea in mind... I Love a good Fra Diavolo sauce.

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              If you do try I hope it goes as well for you as it did for us!

                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                Well we didn't have the Diavolo last night. There were a few preliminary steps I hadn't counted on and it was getting late. Instead I made the shrimp & ginger cream sauced pasta. The Diavolo will be made next week-end however since that's when I'll be able to get the larger Florida Gulf shrimp we use since we don't buy farmed shrimp... Plus I'll have more time to make the stock, etc.

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Pg. 380

                                                                                  The Fra Diavolo was a huge success. Thank you Delys for reporting on this and your tips. The shrimp shell stock adds so much flavor to the tomatoes and herbs. I used the recommended Pomi. We loved it. The next time I make lobster Fra Diavolo I'll make the stock from the shells first. I usually do what you formerly did for your shrimp sauce. I also served ricotta and basil stuffed zucchini blossoms simply shallow pan-fried with no batter. Great meal.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Gio your meal does sound great indeed!

                                                                                    You & delys have me craving this. I have lots of shrimp in the freezer so I'll have to get it on the menu...hopefully this week. If work travel doesn't interfere.

                                                                                    I haven't seen any blossoms yet but this is one of the highlights of the produce season for us. I don't stuff ours, just dip them in a light batter and fry 'til crisp. Served w a dusting of sea salt and a spritz of lemon.

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      Oh I'm glad you enjoyed it! Plus your accompaniment sounds fabulous.

                                                                          2. re: delys77

                                                                            We loved this shrimp dish too. Raves all round.

                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                              Shrimp Fra Diavolo – p. 380

                                                                              I spent the weekend w my two favourite Ricks. Saturday I was cooking from one of Rick Bayless’s books and yesterday, it was Rick Moonen providing the recipe for our dinner!

                                                                              RM said he liked Lobster Fra Diavolo so much he had to adapt the recipe for shrimp. I must confess that prior to this meal, I’d never had either dish but I’m happy we took care of that unfortunate oversight since we just loved this!

                                                                              Thanks to Delys for doing a brilliant job covering how this comes together. I totally agree w Delys and Gio, the sauce really shines because of the delicious shrimp stock. I’m now a convert and will never discard a shrimp shell again!! Since the stock is reduces, it really does make a discernable impact on the tomato sauce and deepens the flavour of the sweet shrimp.

                                                                              The only adaptation I made was out of concern my not so gigantic shrimp would overcook so instead of cooking in two stages, I simply stirred the raw shrimp into the completed tomato sauce. They finished cooking as I tossed in the linguini.

                                                                              I don't know that I've ever made a shrimp pasta using fresh thyme as a herb...just not a pairing that seems natural to me. That said, we really enjoyed the combination and it was a nice change of pace for us.

                                                                              I’ll definitely make this again, such a lovely recipe. I love this book!

                                                                            2. Pasta With Shrimp and Ginger Cream, Pg. 377

                                                                              This is a delightful pasta recipe both surprisingly homey and luxuriously rich. Perfect for large sized shrimp. Everything comes together in lickety split time.

                                                                              First thing to do always is put the pasta water on to boil. Ginger matchsticks soak in white wine for about 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile peeled deveined shrimp that have been seasoned with salt and white pepper are sauteed in EVOO till just pink then placed into a bowl. Into the skillet put the ginger and wine, minced shallots, champagne vinegar. Boil this down to 3 T. Pour in 2 cups heavy cream, season with S & white pepper, bring to boil, reduce to just a simmer, cook down till you have 1/3 of the sauce in the pan. Return shrimp and any juices to the skillet.

                                                                              Thin spaghetti is cooked till al dente, at which time prepped and julienned snow peas are added to the pasta and boiling water then drained. Although the directions from here are to mound the spaghetti in bowls, spoon some sauce over, place a few shrimp on top, then place chopped tomatoes around the plate we did this: Tossed the pasta in the sauce, added the tomatoes, plated, then garnished with chopped basil.

                                                                              In retrospect in future I would season the tomatoes before adding them to the plate as I think having the tomatoes circle the plate would be a nice presentation. But, this was a lovely dish and we liked it very much. The peas were fresh from our CSA, the shrimp were wild Florida Gulf. Altogether a really delicious and satisfying meal.

                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                I'm really glad you reported on this one, Gio. I've had some issues with ginger/cream/tomato not working for my taste buds, but trust Rick Moonen so found this one intriguing. Your post makes it even more so.

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                  I'm getting to trust this book more and more!

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    My first instinct, LLM, was to at least season the chopped tomatoes. Then thinking further I wanted to saute them with a little minced garlic but that would have changed the flavors of the original recipe. Still I just couldn't bring myself to simply surround the sauced spaghetti and shrimp with plain tomatoes so tossed everything together. I will say, though, that if you do cook this recipe be sure you season everything aggressively, even the pasta water.

                                                                                    Third thought: plating the dish per the recipe you have the red, white and green of the flag of several countries...

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      Including many that don't use much ginger!

                                                                                      So here is a thought - what if one left the tomatoes out of the equation entirely?

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        Well... there you are. Do it. (I'd be tempted to make a tomato/onion salad too.)
                                                                                        BTW: the ginger is subtle but I feel it does contribute to the richness of the sauce..

                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          I love tomatoes, I love ginger. I'm just not crazy about the mixture. Maybe you have pushed me beyond concentrated interest ...

                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                    That sounds great! I agree with the tossing approach. I always find that pasta that is sauce separately ends up a bit watery. When you toss the starch from the pasta helps the thickened sauce adhere to your pasta. Yum!

                                                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                                                      I agree with you, Delys. Plain pasta on a plate doesn't contribute anything to a finished dish.

                                                                                  3. Pasta with [Shrimp] and Roasted Tomato Sauce, Pg. 377

                                                                                    Other than using sea scallops instead of shrimp and serving rice not thin spaghetti I followed the sauce recipe as directed. We absolutely Loved it. Although I couldn't actually detect a roasted flavor the sauce had a distinct tomatoey flavor similar to the taste of a late season tomato straight from the garden. They came from the farm where we get our CSA so I think they probably came from New Jersey, so not really local but at least on the east coast.

                                                                                    The sauce is made by combining diced onion, thinly sliced garlic, anchovy fillets, and "ripe Summer" tomatoes sliced in half crosswise in an ovenproof skillet. Drizzle EVOO over all, season with salt and white pepper, place into a pre-heated 500F oven. Roast till the tomatoes are "blistered, wrinkled and browned". Should take about 15-ish minutes. Remove skillet and set aside to cool a bit. Take the skin off the tomatoes and mash the tomatoes. Simmer sauce till thick and reduced to 2 cups. Taste for seasoning and adjust if nec.

                                                                                    Prepare the garnish: mince pitted Kalamata olives, drizzle with EVOO, set aside. Chop some parsley, set aside. Capers are to be rinsed, blotted and fried but since we were all out of them, I added a few more minced olives without frying them. Cook the pasta now if using. Saute the shrimp (scallops), seasoning with salt and white pepper.

                                                                                    To serve I placed a mound of steamed short grain rice in the middle of a plate, ladled sauce over, placed scallops on top, drizzled with the olive garnish, sprinkled parsley over top. Lovely looking dish and quite delicious too. The side dish was Chard Cooked with Butter and Yogurt from Pontos - "The Glorious Food of Greece". Now that was an unexpected surprisingly wonderful dish...!

                                                                                    1. Lobster Fra Diavolo P. 379

                                                                                      With live lobsters on sale at $5.99 a pound, I decided to forgo my usual summertime favorite of steamed lobster and fuss a bit more with the fra diavolo. It was really incredible! With every mouthful, my husband and I kept repeating how delicious this dish was.

                                                                                      I tweaked the recipe to reflect my personal preferences, but I don't think the tweaks changed it in any significant way. I used more garlic than the recipe called for (something I ALWAYS do), omitted the thyme, increased the oregano to about 3 tablespoons, increased the crushed pepper to about a tablespoon, and used crushed tomatoes in place of chopped.

                                                                                      The most difficult part was the "dispatching" of the lobsters -- a task I assigned to my husband, who was NOT happy doing it. Next time I'll have them separate the tail and claws in the store. The recipe, which serves four, calls for 2 lobsters, each about 1.5 pounds.

                                                                                      After the lobsters are dispatched, the claws are separated from the body and cracked to facilitate cooking. The tail section is removed and cut in half, lengthwise, and the vein is removed. The lobster segments are sauteed in hot oil until they're bright red. I cooked the claws just a little longer than the tail sections. Then all the lobster is removed from the pan.

                                                                                      The heat is reduced and a little more oil is added along with 1.5 cups of chopped onions. When the onions begin to soften, garlic, fresh thyme, oregano and crushed red pepper are added to the pan and cooked briefly. Then the pan is deglazed with 1/2 cup of dry white wine. A 28-oz. can of tomatoes is then added. I also "swirled" a little water in the can to remove the last of the contents, and added the water to the pan. The sauce simmers for about 10 minutes. I covered the pan so the sauce wouldn't reduce.

                                                                                      While the sauce is simmering, the pasta pot with water starts heating. The pasta (linguini) is cooked to almost al dente. You finish cooking it in the sauce.

                                                                                      Fresh basil and parsley chopped, are added to the sauce, and the lobster pieced are added back in to the pan, where they simmer for about 4 more minutes to finish the cooking.

                                                                                      About a cup of pasta water is scooped out of the pasta pot and the pasta is drained. The lobster is removed from the sauce and the pasta is added. If it's needed, add some of the pasta water. The pasta cooks for about a minute i the sauce, until it's al dente. The recipe says to divide the pasta among four large plates and top each serving with the lobster. I opted instead to put the pasta into one very large, pre-heated serving bowl and place the lobster on top.

                                                                                      This dish was a real treat. It's a little labor intensive and it does make a splattered mess of the stove, but in the end, it's well worth it.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                        Cindy, your great report of this dish inspired me to try the Lobster Fra Diavolo recipe in Jasper White's "Lobster at Home," which is essentially the same as Rick Moonen's recipe. My comments on that recipe are here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8566...

                                                                                      2. Thai-Style Catfish (Tilapia) Burgers, p. 362

                                                                                        I'm surprised to be the first person reporting on this. It was delicious, and easier than it looks on the page. First you make a paste in the FP of 1/2 lb shrimp, shallot, garlic, chiles, lime zest, sugar, ginger, fish sauce, veg. oil (I'm suddenly realizing that I skipped the oil) and a whipped egg white. Chill this. Cut up 1 lb of catfish (or tilapia or flounder) int0 1/3 inch dice and mix with 2 chopped scallions and fresh cilantro, then add to the paste. Make into burger shaped patties and fry about 5 minutes per side. He gives two ways of serving - one on lettuce with fresh herbs and one on toasted pita with cilantro aioli. I went with buns and the cilantro aioli. We all really loved this. I could have used more of the spice, and am not sure I would have picked this out as especially Thai, but I do like a lot of spice so others may think this is just right as is. I was surprised at how easily the burgers stayed together, and I really liked the flavor (even if I did want a bit more spice).

                                                                                        1. Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes (page 370) with Chipotle Sauce (page

                                                                                          As Moonen notes in the intro to this recipe, it is a lot longer and more complicated than most others in the book. He also notes that much of it can be done ahead of time (and I did), that he made his reputation on these crab cakes (I see why), and that they’re “worth every moment of effort you expend in making them” (yes, they are).

                                                                                          First, you make a “base” by creating a sort of mayonnaise from vegetable oil simmered with diced onion and red and green or poblano pepper (I used poblano) then drizzled while still hot into a whisked mixture of egg yolks, lime juice, Dijon mustard, fish sauce, Tabasco, and white pepper. The base can be refrigerated until needed.

                                                                                          Then, sprinkle jumbo lump crab with minced dill, chives, and parsley and fold in some of the base mixture along with fresh breadcrumbs until the mixture just barely holds together. Form crab cakes, coat top and bottom with panko, refrigerate the formed cakes for at least 30 minutes, sauté for two minutes per side, and put into a 250F degree oven until the cakes are heated through. The crab cakes can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours after being formed.

                                                                                          I made half a recipe and have lots of base left over. He says you can use it to make other fish cakes, but really? how many fish cakes do you want in a week? I think, but wouldn’t want to guarantee, that you can make half the base for the full amount of everything else.

                                                                                          These were just spectacular. Probably the best crab cakes I’ve ever had. They were loaded with flavor and a hint of spice, but it didn’t overwhelm the crab. The not totally soft peppers added just a bit of texture and they and the herbs were lovely as well as tasty. There was just enough filler to hold it all together, yet not enough to be noticeable. I served the cakes with the recommended Chipotle Sauce (report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6001... ), which was very spicy, but when used judiciously was indeed the perfect complement to the cakes,

                                                                                          If you’re interested, here’s a video of Moonen teaching a sous chef how to make the crab cakes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egzcg5.... I wish I’d seen this before I made mine. Even though I don’t have a ring mold, I might have shaped mine differently. I doubt, though, that I could have liked them any better. And I think I see a ring mold in my future.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                            They look gorgeous, Joan. Now I'm intrigued. I have a very easy crab cake recipe that I love; the base is mayo (just Duke's) and almost exactly the same ingredients are whisked in--but it's not quite the loveliness you describe. I love the addition of poblano.

                                                                                            Best you've ever had? That sounds like a must-try, obviously worth the extra effort.

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                              Joan thank-you for such a helpful and enticing review. If I could only ever eat one protein, it would be crab and these crab cakes sound absolutely sensational. Fortunately I do have a ring mold so I'm all set...but for the crab. Next time I head to my fish market I'll be getting some though. Beautiful!