Culinary, Travel & Lifestyle Stories
 

 
 

Christmas EVE menu

A seafood feast worthy of a celebration

Crostini with Butter & Anchovies

Baked Scallops with Almonds & Orange

Prawns with Pink Pepper

Scampi Crudo

Lemon-Scented Squid Ink Linguine

Prawn & Prosecco Risotto

Poached Rainbow Trout

Sgroppino

 
 

 
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Crostini with anchovies & butter

Easing your way into dinner, hustle-free

 

Ingredients

Thin slices of sourdough bread
Your very best unsalted butter
Cantabrian anchovy fillets in oil, drained

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C. Scatter the bread slices on a baking tray and toast it for about 10 minutes or until golden and crisp, flipping it halfway through. Alternatively, toast in a toaster on in a hot skillet.

Cool the toasts on a rack until just warm. Then, smear them generously with your favourite butter (it really is worth splurging on a great one here) and top them with an anchovy fillet. Serve right away, with a glass of bone-dry sparking wine.


 

baked scallops with almonds and orange

A dish of effortless elegance

 

ingredients

Serves 6

12 king scallops in half shell
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed orange
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g almond flakes, toasted
Fine-grain sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the scallops from their shell; scrub the shells clean. Wash the scallops under cold running water. Pat them dry.

In a medium bowl, stir the olive oil with the strained orange juice, the crushed garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Gently toss the scallops in the marinade and leave them to rest in the marinade for 10 minutes.

Next, arrange the scallop shells on top of a baking tray lined with parchment. In each shell, pour a little of the marinade and then set the scallops on top.

Bake the scallops for 10 minutes. After that, turn the grill function on. Remove the scallops from the oven and top them with flaked almonds. Return to the oven for 3 more minutes – check that the almonds aren’t burning. Serve the scallops piping hot.


 

prawns with pink pepper

A sophisticated recipe to spice-up your shellfish

 

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Kg g fresh prawns
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
40 g fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Fine-grain sea salt

Method

Rinse the prawns thoroughly under cold running water. Slit their shells to remove the black filament. Pat them dry.

Whisk the oil with the lemon juice, sugar, peppercorns, ginger, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Add the prawns and toss them with the marinade. Wrap the bowl in cling film and place it the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.

Next, heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the prawns with their marinade and sauté them for 4 to 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Serve right away.


 

scampi crudo

A show-stopper that shouts “celebration”

 

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Kg top-quality scampi (or jumbo prawns)
80 ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
1 bergamot (or unwaxed lemon), segmented
Flaky salt, such as Maldon

Method

Rinse the scampi under cold running water. Pat dry. Slit the tail and carefully free the tail meat from the shell while preserving the head. Discard the shell. De-vein the scampi and cut them in half lengthways. Arrange them on a serving platter.

Whisk the oil with the bergamot (or lemon) juice and pinches of crushed flaky salt.

Serve the scampi with the dressing on the side.


 
 

lemon-scented Squid ink linguine

A pasta dish dressed to impress

 

Ingredients

Serves 6

60 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
800 g squid, cleaned and cut into thin strips
120 ml dry white wine
200 g tinned peeled tomatoes, chopped
10 g squid ink
500 g linguine
Fine-grain sea salt
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic fry gently until just fragrant.

Discard the garlic and add the squid. Sauté for a couple of minutes, until just opaque. Pour in the wine. Allow it to partially evaporate, then add the chopped tomatoes. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When the water is boiling vigorously, add the linguine.

Dissolve the squid ink in a glass with two tablespoons of warm pasta water. Add the ink to the saucepan with the squid sauce and stir so as to colour it evenly. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed.

When the linguine are al dente, drain them and add them to the squid sauce. Toss them until evenly coated in sauce. Dish out the pasta, grate some lemon zest on top, and serve pronto.


 

shrimp & prosecco risotto

A family favourite from Veneto

 

Ingredients

Serves 6

1Kg shrimp, shelled and cleaned (heads and carcasses reserved)
75 g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
360 g risotto rice
240 ml prosecco
Fine-grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place the shrimp heads and carcasses in a large pan and cover with 2 litres of water. Cook for 30 minutes from when the water reaches the boil, squeezing the heads so that they release their juices. Strain the liquid and place back in the pan. Keep it warm over a low heat.

Melt 30g (2 tablespoons) of the butter in a large heavy-based skillet set over a medium heat. When hot and bubbly, add the shelled shrimp. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Season. Set aside.

In a heavy-based pan, fry the onion in half the remaining butter. Once soft, add the rice. Toast it for a couple of minutes, stirring very frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the rice is opaque and hissing, pour in the prosecco. Allow it to reduce, stirring all the while, and then start adding the hot shrimp stock, 1–2 ladlefuls at a time, adding more as soon as it’s absorbed. Carry on this way until the rice is tender but still al dente, about 15 minutes. A couple of minutes before removing the rice from the heat, stir in the shrimp. Taste and adjust the seasoning; add a last splash of stock if the risotto appears too dense.

Turn off the heat and add the remaining butter. Stir the risotto energetically for a couple of minutes (this will make it creamier and lighter), then serve immediately.


 

poached rainbow trout

Delicate flavours for an easy main course

 

Ingredients

Serves 6

2 x 600 g rainbow trout fillets
1 carrot, peeled
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
1 celery stick
Extra virgin olive oil
2 unwaxed lemons, cut into wedges
Fine-grain sea salt
Freshly-ground black pepper

Method

Place the trout fillets in a large pan together with the carrot, onion and celery. Cover with cold water and set over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Carry on simmering the fish until just cooked, about 10 minutes.

Drain the trout fillets and transfer them to a warm serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.

Serve the trout fillets warm, with lemon wedges.


 

Sgroppino

A unfussy, refreshing finish

 

INGREDIENTS

Serves 6

600 g lemon sorbet
45 ml grappa, chilled
80 ml prosecco, chilled

METHOD

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blitz for a few seconds, until just smooth.

Pour into 6 chilled champagne glasses and serve immediately.