Roasted shrimp with garlic and herb sauce

Mark Bittman’s recipes are terrific and often really light and simple. This one is so easy and tasty especially with great bread to mop up the sauce. You cannot put in too much garlic in this recipe.

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6 cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 cup parsley, leaves and thin stems
2 pounds shrimp, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
4 dried chilies or a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
⅓ cup stock (shrimp, fish or chicken) or white wine or water

Nutritional Information

Preparation

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine garlic and oil in a small food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add scallions and parsley and pulse until mixture is minced. Toss with shrimp, salt, pepper and chilies.
Put shrimp in a large roasting pan. Add liquid and place pan in oven. Roast, stirring once, until mixture is bubbly and hot, and shrimp all pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve.

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Orange-scented quinoa salad with pistachios and dates

Another beautiful healthy and tasty Summer salad. I can’t have enough of these and am always looking for more of these interesting recipes. We love eating them with a piece of marinated and barbequed fish or chicken.

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Serves 4

6 oz (175 g) quinoa or red quinoa, rinsed
1 oz (30g) shelled pistachios
5 tbsp 70ml) fresh orange juice, plus finely grated zest 1 orange
4 tbsp (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 scant tsp Dijon mustard
6 green onions, very finely sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 large bunch watercress, tough stalks removed
10 ready-to-eat dates, chopped
Optional- goat cheese or Greek feta cheese to toss through or sprinkle over it

Bring 3 cups (500 mls) water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 broth of your choice) to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 18-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and spread over a large plate to cool.

Meanwhile, in a dry frying pan, toast the pistachios until fragrant and starting to brown. Cool, then coarsely chop.

To make the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, mustard and vinegar and season well.

To assemble the salad, put the quinoa in a serving bowl and toss with half the dressing. Fork through the orange zest, green onions, herbs, watercress, dates, chopped pistachios and enough of the remaining dressing to coat. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or dressing if needed, then serve.

Lemongrass prawns with Thai noodle salad

This is a very refreshing Asian-style salad, perfect for a hot day. We have a Kaffir lime tree (well worth having, if you cook a lot of Asian food) but if you can’t buy Kaffir lime leaves, then use some grated  lime rind instead. This is also a great do-ahead recipe if you’re entertaining.

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Serves 8

For Prawns and Noodles:

2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh Kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 lb tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
1 (8-oz) package bean thread (cellophane) noodles

For Dressing:

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp red pepper flakes

For Garnish:

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus sprigs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 spring onions, chopped

Directions

For prawns and noodles: Peel outer layer of lemongrass. Cut into very fine crosswise slices and transfer to a large bowl.

In same bowl, combine lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, lime leaf, salt, and pepper. Add prawns and toss to coat. Chill for 1 hour.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high, cook prawns for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate.

Put noodles in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients.

Add noodles and toss, then add prawns. Garnish with chopped cilantro, mint, spring onions, and cilantro sprigs.

Simple, stunning salmon tartare

On a hot day with a glass of champagne or Rose what could be more wonderful than this?

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Serves 4

8 oz fresh boneless wild salmon, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp good quality mayonnaise

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until very cold before serving.

Easy lemon pesto sauce

A light, lemony and more refreshing version of a traditional pesto sauce is delicious tossed with hot pasta for a quick meal or side dish with roasted or grilled meats and fish.
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2 garlic cloves
3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts (to toast the pine nuts, place them on a baking sheet and bake in a 350°F oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.)
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a food processor, combine the garlic, pine nuts, basil, parsley, cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse until ground to a fine paste, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups.

Saffron rice with barberries, pistachios and mixed herbs

If you are like me, you will go onto Google and buy a bag of barberries rather than schlepp around all the stores. They are not expensive and there really is no substitute to these little jewels. I must credit the incredible Ottolenghi for this recipe and picture as there is no way my iPhone can better this image.

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Serves six

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed under cold water and drained
2 1/2 cups boiling water
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp saffron threads, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 tbsp boiling water
2 oz dried barberries, soaked for a few minutes in freshly boiled water with a pinch of sugar
2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chervil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped
4 to 5 tbsp slivered or crushed unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted

Firstly;
Barberries are tiny, jewel-like, dried sweet-and-sour Iranian berries. Their intense sharpness accentuates other flavours in a dish and adds wonderful drama to its looks. You can get them online, and from Iranian and some Middle Eastern grocers. If you can’t find any, use currants soaked in a little lemon juice instead. Serve this rice with roast chicken or just on it’s own.
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Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice, making sure the grains are well coated. Add the boiling water, a teaspoon of salt and some white pepper. Mix well, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on a very low heat for 15 minutes. Don’t be tempted to uncover the pan – you need to let the rice to steam properly.

Remove the pan from the heat – all the water will have been absorbed by the rice – and pour the saffron water over about a quarter of the surface, leaving most of the rice white. Cover with a tea towel, reseal tightly with the lid and set aside for five to 10 minutes.

With a large spoon, transfer the white rice to a large bowl and fluff it up with a fork. Drain the barberries and stir them in, followed by the herbs and most of the pistachios, reserving a few to garnish. Fluff up the saffron rice in the pan, then fold gently into the white rice – don’t overmix: you don’t want the white grains to be stained by the yellow ones. Taste, adjust the seasoning and transfer to a shallow serving bowl.

Scatter the remaining pistachios on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Gooey baked fontina cheese with herbs

This is divine and all you need is some great fresh bread and red wine. I could polish this off all by myself. As always the Barefoot Contessa does it again! This is not for the faint-hearted though!

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1 1/2 pounds Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette

Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.

Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

Serve the baked Fontina family-style right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip. Mmmmm