Shrimp and Lobster Risotto with Peas

Shrimp and Lobster Risotto with Peas

You don’t need to break the bank to make a luxurious dinner. Shrimp and Lobster Risotto packs a ton of flavor into a comforting rice dish.  

For years my best friend, Heather, and I would hang out on New Years Eve at one of our apartments (usually on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where we grew up), where we would drink champagne and sigh about how nice it was to not be in an over-priced bar annoyingly packed with drunk frat boys and tourists. We’d watch the Times Square shenanigans on TV and chuckle about how cold and miserable everyone looked when they didn’t think the cameras were on them.

10 pm would roll around and we’d be jolly and happy, in a warm apartment, wondering if we’d even stay up until midnight. By 11, we would get a bit antsy and one or the other of us would start looking out the window at the revelers below, wondering if they were having more fun than they  seemed to be earlier in the evening. “That girl across the street sure seems to be laughing a lot.” “Yeah, hmmm… and it doesn’t even sound like it’s that cold out.”

Inevitably, by 11:30 we’d be in full blown panic mode, convinced that we were missing out on the most amazing time ever, so, wild-eyed and twitchy, we’d race down Amsterdam Avenue, pressing our faces up against every bar window, cursing ourselves that we didn’t pay the $65 cover charge earlier because now they’re full and everyone inside seems so happy—why are they so happy—how come we’re not in there—let’s check that bar across the street!

By 11:55 we’d be pounding our frozen fists against the door of some random dump like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, begging anyone to take pity and sell us a $25 glass of supermarket champagne. Happy new year!

What I’m trying to say is GOING OUT ON NEW YEARS EVE IS FOR SUCKERS.

Luckily, Matt agrees with me so we’ve developed our own tradition (stolen from my dad and step-mom) of steaming lobsters, getting the best French fries we can find and eating everything as messily as possible on a table covered with newspapers and butter drips. Heaven.

I should add that we always steam an extra lobster in case a hungry stranger shows up at our door so we can make something with it the next day. So what to do with leftover lobster? Of course you could make lobster rolls but why not make risotto! Obviously you could also cook lobsters specifically for this recipe (tips for steaming lobsters below). We also added shrimp because we only had one small lobster left. One of the great things about this recipe is that, though it seems really decadent, two lobsters will feed six people, and nothing is wasted since you use the shells to make a flavorful broth to cook the rice with. Fancy and thrifty!

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Miso Glazed Crispy-Skinned Salmon

Miso Glazed Crispy-Skinned Salmon

If you’ve never cooked with miso, this is a fantastic recipe to start with. While many Americans are probably familiar with miso in it’s soup form, it’s also a fantastic ingredient in all kinds of dishes, from savory to sweet. It’s great in salad dressings, drizzled on roasted vegetables (try this same glaze on eggplant, yum).

One of the great aspects of miso is that it keeps for ages in the fridge (seriously, months and months), so you won’t have to go on a miso bender just so you won’t waste it. I mean, you’ll probably go on a miso bender anyway because the stuff is delicious but it won’t be for economic reasons.

This salmon dish is what I use miso for most often (and how I love it best). The glaze is delicate and doesn’t overwhelm the fish and the skin gets wonderfully burnished and crisp. It also takes just a few minutes to make so it’s a fantastic weeknight option. Quick or not, for me, this is one of the best salmon recipes of all time. I could have it twice a week, happily.

You’ll want to use white (also known as sweet) miso for this. Red miso, which is fermented for a much longer time, has too strong a flavor and would overpower the fish. I usually serve it with steamed rice (sometimes white, sometimes brown) and my go-to with everything Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad. I didn’t have cucumbers last night so we just made a quick salad of avocado, arugula and baby kale drizzled with lime.

Oh, and Matt wanted me to make sure to mention that this is his favorite fish recipe of all time. He says that about a lot of recipes (good husband), but I could tell he really meant it.

Miso Glazed Crispy-Skinned Salmon

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Crispy Shrimp Cakes – Thai Style

Crispy Shrimp Cakes - Thai StyleWe made these again and finally took pictures so I’m re-posting. I also changed the recipe a little, adding a bit of cornstarch to the batter and reducing the panko. 

I used to make a similar kind of cake with salmon which was delicious but a little trickier to make since salmon doesn’t stick together as readily and can overcook very easily. Once I tried it with shrimp, I haven’t gone back to the salmon ones (I love salmon, but tend to like it seared with crispy skin).

These cakes have a lot of cilantro in them so if you don’t like that flavor you could add a bit of parsley and/or basil instead or just leave it out. Matt loves how green they are. They’re really tasty served on rice or rice noodles with this Vietnamese style Dipping Sauce. Sometimes I’ll serve them on slider buns with some Asian spicy mayo. I always, always serve them with a Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad on the side. So perfect together. I want them again right now!

Note: If you like them extra-crispy, dredge them in a little panko or cornstarch before frying. It gives them a crunchier crust but masks the shrimp flavor a little.

Ingredients for Crispy Shrimp Cakes

Divided shrimp for crispy shrimp cakes

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Linguine with leftover mussels and clams

Linguini with leftover mussels and clams
Using up leftover mussels and clams is a snap with this linguini dish.

Steamed mussels and clams are perfect for a crowd. Compared to a lot of seafood, they’re cheap, they’re a cinch to make and best of all, tasty. I also really like informal dinner parties and you can’t get more casual than everyone digging and dunking out of a big bowl in the middle of the table. Slurping broth from a clam shell is a great equalizer.

Over the weekend, we had our friends, Karen and Tom, over for dinner and we made a big pot of Garlicky Mussels and Clams along with a Corn, Tomato and Basil salad. With some good bread, a decent bottle of wine (or 3), it was a good night.

We did end up with a lot left over since someone couldn’t make it (‘sup Eric! You were expecting a leftover delivery, huh?). Well, we selfishly kept the leftovers to make this the next night. The best part is, it only takes as long as the pasta takes to cook.

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Garlicky Mussels and Clams

I hated fish so much as a kid that I would fake allergies, stomach aches, symptoms of the plague to keep from having to eat anything from the sea (except seaweed which I loved, oddly enough). Every so often, my parents would take my brother, Nick, and I fishing off of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. We would have to wake up at 4:30am to get to the charter boat on time, which (in my memory) was always filled with cranky old Brooklyn mobsters.

Being on the water was exhilarating though, and I loved the excited chatter that went around the boat when anyone felt a nibble on the line.  At least once, I was the only person who caught anything which would fill me with dread because that meant, at some point, we would be expected to eat it.

family412

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