Posts Tagged 'olive oil'



Tequila Chicken Fajitas

Tequila Chicken Fajitas 0708

Tequila Chicken Fajitas

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo – or any night – with these flavorful chicken fajitas hot off the grill.

Chicken fajitas are always a crowd pleaser, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. In about 30 minutes, you can have a delicious south of the border inspired meal on the table.

The secret trick for flavorful and moist chicken is to marinate it overnight. The lemon juice, tequila, onion, garlic, and spices not only flavor the chicken but also make it more tender. I suggest marinating the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag so you don’t have a to dirty a dish. And, if feeding your family, don’t be concerned about the tequila in this recipe. When you put it on the grill, all the alcohol burns off.

This whole meal can be prepared on the grill if you like. Instead of sautéing the peppers and onions, grill them instead.  Even the tortillas can be warmed on the grill. Wrap them in aluminum foil and warm on the grill over direct heat for 2 or 3 minutes.

To serve, arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Be sure to set out an assortment of south of the border toppings: guacamole, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, to name a few. Your guests will enjoy assembling their own fajitas by putting their favorite ingredients in the tortillas.

Tequila Chicken Fajitas

For the chicken:
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fajitas:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
8  flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup guacamole (optional garnish)
1 cup pico de gallo (optional garnish)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional garnish)

To make the chicken: In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, stir together the lemon juice, tequila, hot sauce, olive oil, onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To make the fajitas: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the onion, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

To serve, thinly slice the chicken across the grain. Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Serve with warmed tortillas and your favorite toppings. Encourage diners to make their own fajitas by putting the ingredients in the tortillas.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

It is best to marinate the chicken over night. If short on time, marinate for at least 2 hours.

This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

 

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

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Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

Just like I know that Thanksgiving is around the corner when fresh cranberries show up at the market, I know that the Christmas holidays have arrived when I see overflowing bins of pomegranates at my neighborhood store.

With its hard shell, I used to wonder how you ate this exotic looking fruit.  Did you just take a bite or peel it I wondered the first time I saw one! The part that you eat is the ruby red seeds, which are technically referred to as arils.

Pomegranate seeds are now available in most produce departments, but it’s really easy to de-seed a pomegranate yourself.  Start by cutting the pomegranate into quarters and then submerging the pieces in a bowl of water.  Using your hands or a spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Making it simple to separate the good from the bad, the seeds will float to the bottom and the bitter white flesh will float to the top.  Just be careful to not get any of the juice on you as it will stain your clothes.

Pomegranate seeds can be used to add color and a burst of sweetness to just about any dish. Sprinkling the jewel-like seeds over my holiday salads used to be the only way I used pomegranates.  That changed however when a friend told me about a dish she had made using the seeds and the juice as a sauce.

When pomegranate juice is reduced down to a syrupy consistency, it makes a delicious glaze to brush on meat.  The glimmering and juicy seeds are then sprinkled on top as the finishing touch.

Whereas this glaze would be delicious on chicken or pork, I like to use Frenched lamb rib chops at the holidays. This cut is often called lollipop chops because they are eaten using the bone as a “handle” – making it perfect for either a sit down dinner or a cocktail reception. With this gorgeously rich glaze, they make a fabulous holiday party dish.

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

For the pomegranate glaze:
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the lamb chops:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
12 baby lamb chops (about 3 ounces each), frenched
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

To make the pomegranate glaze:
Place the pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced and is the consistency of syrup, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Pour half the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside for serving.

To make the lamb chops:
Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.
Lightly brush the chops with the olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper.

Place the chops on the grill. Close the lid and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chops over and lightly brush with the glaze. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 more minutes for medium rare. Remove the chops from the heat, brush with more glaze, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, place 3 chops on a plate and drizzle with the reserved pomegranate glaze. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The Pomegranate glaze can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use. You will need to reheat it before using in this recipe.

Cooking Tip: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

Recipe excerpted from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

With Halloween this week, I thought my Meatless Monday recipe should be pumpkin-inspired!

Pumpkins and winter squashes like the butternut and acorn varieties are both of the gourd family and can be used interchangeably in most cases.  I love the flavor of the sweet “meat” of Butternut squash.  It’s my favorite of the winter squashes. I use it in soups, salads and dishes like this one.

Risotto sounds complicated, but it is actually very easy to make. All it takes is a little patience to wait for the rice to absorb the liquid.

This is the basic recipe for making risotto. Once you have mastered this simple recipe, you can make any flavor combination you are craving.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound)
5 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (half a small onion)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel, halve, and remove the seeds from the squash. Cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan place the squash and enough water to cover by 1-inch. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, but not too soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all the grains are coated. Cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup of the stock. The risotto is done when the rice is tender, but still firm.

Stir in the cooked squash and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the squash is reheated and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Collyn Wainwright was the first person to introduce me to grilled pizzas. It was close to 10 years ago and I still remember it.  Sautéed wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella on a slightly charred pizza crust. Heaven!

The sky is the limit on variations you can make, but this is a good starter recipe. The smoked mozzarella and the kalamata olives add great flavor to a “not-so-traditional” pizza margarita.

You can use this same technique with your favorite pizza toppings. Since the crust cooks rather quickly, it is best to use toppings that are pre-cooked or thinly sliced.

If you choose to add tomato sauce, be sure to lightly sauce your pizza. Too much liquid will result in a soggy crust.

Also when grilling pizzas, the lid is your best friend. Use the lid to control the heat as well as to help your toppings to cook and melt more quickly.

You have lots of options for the pizza dough. You can always make you own – click here for my recipe. For a short cut, you can now find pizza dough in the refrigerated section of most markets. Gourmet varieties are available, but to be honest, that first  delicious grilled pizza I had years ago at Collyn’s house was made on Pillsbury canned pizza dough! Definitely not gourmet but definitely a great short-cut option! Another route is to pick up dough from your neighborhood pizzeria. I often get dough at my local Whole Foods store from their pizza station.

Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Vegetable oil, for the grates
Unbaked pizza dough, enough for a 12-inch pizza
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound smoked mozzarella, coarsely shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Place the dough ball onto a baking sheet. Using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Brush the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the dough to the grill, oiled-side down. Close the lid and cook until the dough begins to bubble on the top, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, brush the dough with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn and top with the mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives. Close the lid again and cook until golden and crisp on the bottom and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Remove the pizza from the grill. Evenly sprinkle the basil over the top of the cooked pizza. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

 

Have a surplus of summer squash?

Zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant have thrived in my veggie garden this summer. I keep looking for new ways to enjoy my garden’s bounty! This salad is one of my favorite.

This is a quick and  easy vegetarian salad you can make with grilled summer squashes.

The base of the salad is quinoa. It you are not familiar with it, quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free grain that cooks much like rice and has a texture similar to couscous. It makes a delicious and healthy base for a salad.

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Vegetable oil, for the grill basket or screen
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups quinoa, cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely shopped fresh cilantro

Preheat a clean grill with a grill basket or screen to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Light brush the grill basket or screen with oil.

In a large bowl toss together the red onion, eggplant, red bell pepper, zucchini, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the vegetables to the grill basket. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Place the prepared quinoa in a large bowl.  Add the grilled vegetables and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The quinoa can be made a day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Grill Pan Friendly: The veggies can be grilled indoors on a grill pan.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Honey-Rosemary Pork Chops

I thought I’d share my husband’s favorite dish. He’d make these sweet and succulent pork chops every night if I’d let him!

Sometimes the best food really is the simplest. Over the years, I have tried many marinades and seasoning blends on my pork chops, but the recipe we always come back to is this simple preparation.

Honey and rosemary are a delicious pairing. I find that the honey adds flavor as well as moisture.

For everyday dinners, I like to buy boneless pork chops, because they cook quicker than bone-in chops. Look for chops that are about 3/4 – to 1-inch thick. Chops that are thinner than that tend to dry out too quickly on the grill. A meat thermometer is the best way to tell if your pork chops are ready. For a juicy, perfectly cooked pork chop, pull it off the grill when it is 160 degrees.

This sweet glaze works well whether you are grilling outdoors or cooking your chops inside on a grill pan or skillet.

Honey-Rosemary Pork Chops

Vegetable oil, for the grates
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 boneless pork chops, each about 3/4 -inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and rosemary. Transfer half to a small bowl to glaze the pork chops. Reserve the remaining glaze to brush on the cooked chops.

Lightly brush the pork chops with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly brush the honey-rosemary glaze on both sides of each chop.

Place the chops on the grill. Close the lid and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chops over and lightly brush with additional glaze. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 more minutes for medium. Remove the chops from the heat, brush with the reserved glaze, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Cooking tip: If you like the sweetness of the honey-rosemary glaze, feel free to drizzle a little more over the pork chops just before serving.

From “Simply Grilling” (Thomas Nelson, April 2012) by Jennifer Chandler

The photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.


BBQ Chicken

You don’t have to be a pitmaster to make finger-lickin’ good barbecue chicken. These tips and tricks will have you mastering the grill like a pro.

First, start with the sauce.  Whereas bottled sauces are a tasty convenience, homemade sauces can be much tastier. Surprisingly easy to whip up using pantry staples, homemade sauces have a fresher and brighter flavor than their packaged counterparts. The recipe below is a basic barbecue sauce. But you can doctor it up by adding ingredients like honey, hot sauce and even bourbon to make your own signature sauce.

When preparing your chicken for the grill, be sure to let the meat stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting it on the grates.  Taking away the chill will help your chicken cook more evenly and quickly.

For a boost of flavor, an easy trick is to season the chicken with a spicy dry rub instead of just salt and pepper. Brushing the chicken with a little oil before adding the rub will not only help the rub better adhere to the meat but will also help prevent sticking on the grill.

Two-zone grilling is especially helpful for cooking foods like bone-in chicken. Sear the chicken first over direct heat and then move it to an area with no heat to finish cooking by indirect heat. To create an indirect heating zone on your gas grill, simply turn off the burners on one side.  For a charcoal grill, place the hot coals only on one side of the grill. Also, closing the lid is essential when using indirect grilling. A closed lid helps the grill mimic an oven and evenly cook the chicken.

Finally, the key to perfect barbecue chicken is to apply the sauce when the chicken is almost done. This prevents the sauce from burning.

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken

From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

For the Homemade Barbecue Sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Barbecue Chicken:

Vegetable oil, for grates
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds mixed chicken parts, such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings
1 cup barbecue sauce

To make the barbecue sauce:

In a large saucepan combine the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, red pepper flakes, onion powder, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 to 25 minutes. Measure out 1 cup of sauce. Refrigerate the remaining sauce for another time.

To make the chicken:

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

In a small bowl combine the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2  teaspoon pepper. Brush the chicken with the olive oil. Generously season the chicken with the dry rub.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until no longer pink in the middle, about 12 to 15 minutes per side. During the final 5 minutes of cooking, baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Remove the chicken from grill.

Serves 4.

The Photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Soft Shell Crabs

Soft Shell Crabs … if you have never had them, now is the time to give them a try!

Soft shell crabs are one of my favorite treats. They are only available for a couple of months each year – usually late April through June or July. Soft shell crabs are crabs that have just molted. Their shell is soft … allowing them to be eaten whole. No more need to pick out that coveted meat from a hard shell!

Soft shell crabs fresh from the Gulf are now available. I picked some up last weekend at my local farmers market. Each week Paradise Seafood drives fresh Gulf seafood up from the coast to sell at the Memphis Agricenter Farmers Market and the Memphis Farmers Market downtown. Living in Memphis, we are lucky that the Gulf coast is within driving distance.  If you live no where near a coast line, no worries. You can find soft shell crabs throughout the country at gourmet seafood markets. Just ask your fishmonger.

Soft shell crabs are ideally purchased live so they are at their freshest. Store live soft shell crabs uncovered in the fridge over a bed of wet paper towels for no more than one day. Live soft shell crabs will need to be cleaned. It is a really simple process but a necessary one.  Cooking Light Magazine has an excellent post with step by step instructions. Click here.

If you do have to buy frozen crabs, they have probably already been cleaned. Defrost them overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Fresh is best but the frozen ones are a close second.

I find the best way to enjoy this seasonal treat is sautéed with a simple dusting of cornmeal.  No need for a deep fryer or heavy batter. Whip up a quick homemade remoulade sauce and from start to finish your soft shell crabs can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs with Remoulade Sauce

For the Remoulade Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions

For the Soft Shell Crabs:
8 soft shell crabs, cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons olive oil

To make the Remoulade Sauce:

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the Soft Shell Crabs:

Season both sides of the crabs with salt and pepper. Place the cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, lightly dredge both sides of the crabs in the cornmeal, shaking off the excess.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the crabs on one side until lightly browned and soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over the crabs and cook until desired doneness, about 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve warm with a spoonful of the remoulade sauce.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The remoulade dipping sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.

Grilled Herb Chicken with Greek Tomato-Olive Relish

A good relish can make an everyday chicken breast into a show-stopper. This Greek-inspired tomato relish from my new cookbook Simply Grilling is just such an example.

Enjoy!

Grilled Herb Chicken with Kalamata Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese

For the Greek Tomato-Olive Relish:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4  cup finely diced red onion (1/2 small onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint 

For the Herb Chicken:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Greek Tomato-Olive Relish: Place the tomatoes, olives, red onion, oil, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Add the feta cheese and mint and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the chicken: Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Season both sides of the chicken with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side.

To serve, place the chicken on the plate and top with a generous spoonful of the tomato-olive relish.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips: To evenly cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I suggest pounding them to a uniform thickness before grilling.

Dried Italian seasoning is a mixture of several dry herbs. To make your own, combine 1 tablespoon each of dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried marjoram, dried thyme leaves, dried rosemary, and dried sage. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

Do-Ahead: The tomato-olive relish can be made 4 hours ahead. Store covered in your refrigerator until ready to serve.

Variation: Fresh basil would be a delicious substitute for the fresh mint.

Grill Pan Friendly: Don’t have a grill or the weather is not so great, this dish can be made inside in a grill pan.

Photo credit: Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Spaghetti Vongole

This is my husband’s favorite dish.  Not only is it delicious, but it brings memories we both love to savor.

Paul spent a semester in college studying in Venice. It was a time I think he will cherish forever. When we were dating, we decided to take a trip to Europe to show each other our “homes” abroad … for me, Paris and for Paul, Venice. It was in Venice, that Paul got down on one knee and made me the happiest girl in the world. That evening, I enjoyed my first true Spaghetti Vongole with a bottle of Pinot Grigio as we celebrated our engagement.

This is the dish I will making for my Valentine this year.  It is full of love, flavor and … as an added bonus is surprisingly simple to make.

Enjoy!

 

Spaghetti Vongole

2 pounds small clams, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound linguine, cooked as per package directions, drained, and kept warm
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sort through your cleaned clams to make sure all are tightly closed. If any aren’t closed, that means they are dead so throw them away.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and the tomatoes.  Stir and cook until the garlic turns fragrant; be careful to not let it brown. Add the white wine and stir to combine. Add the clams, stir gently, and close the lid. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels open.

Add the drained pasta to the pot along with the parsley. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Cooking Tips:

When buying fresh clams, do not seal the plastic bag. The clams are still alive and need to breathe. I immediately transfer them to a colander to store in my refrigerator until ready to use.

To prepare the clams, first discard any with broken shells or that are open. Rinse under cold water to remove any dirt.

Any clams that do not open during cooking, should be discarded and not eaten.


Jennifer Chandler

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