Easy Weeknight Meals - Seafood Edition

March 8, 2022, noon

Here are three more easy meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Vietnamese Crispy Fish with Cilantro
from Hook, Line and Supper by Hank Shaw
serves 6

This dish will come together in about the same time it takes to make the steamed rice that goes along with it.

2 pounds of lean white fish, cut into 2-inch chunks
sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, about 3 cups, thinly sliced from root to end
1 piece ginger, about the size of your thumb, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 to 5 jalapenos or other hot chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of two limes

Sprinkle salt over the fish. Heat the oil in a large saute pan or wok and add the fish. Sear the fish in the oil so one side gets a nice, golden brown crust. Don't flip the fish; you'll finish cooking it later. Remove each piece of fish as it browns.
When all the fish is done, add the onions and ginger and a little more oil if needed. Stir-fry over very high heat until the edges of the onions begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, chiles, fish sauce and water and bring to a boil.
Add the fish and gently toss everything to combine. Cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Gently mix in the cilantro and turn off the heat. Add the lime juice, and serve with steamed rice.
You could easily add a vegetable like snow peas, or broccoli to this when you cook the onions.

Barefoot Contessa
serves 3

1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
all-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in 1/2
If you're using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you're using sea scallops, cut
each one in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in one layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on one side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total.
Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops.
Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning.
Serve hot over pasta or rice with a squeeze of lemon. Add a salad or vegetable and you have a meal.

This dish can be made with large shrimp also as a lower cost option.

Barefoot Contessa
serves 2

This is one of my favorite meals and I make it about twice a month.

3 pounds cultivated mussels
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and
the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. If they're dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren't tightly shut.
In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don't burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot with salad and some crusty bread.