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Grilled Calamari - (serves 6)



8 medium squid (3 lbs.), cleaned, leaving skin on

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

6 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Italian parsley, chopped



1.  Toss the cleaned calamari bodies and tentacles together with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and red pepper in a bowl, until the calamari is coated.  Cover the bowl, and marinate for in refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to overnight.


2.  Prepare a charcoal grill well ahead, so it is hot, or heat a wide cast-iron skillet or griddle over high heat until a drop of water bounces and sizzles.  Lay the squid on the grill or skillet.  Set a heavy skillet on top of the calamari to weight it down so as much of the calamari as possible makes contact with the hot grill or skillet.  (This make sit easier for the calamari to cook evenly and brown well.) Cook until golden one side, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook 3 minutes on the other side.


3.  Transfer to a warm platter, and drizzle with additional extra-virgin olive oil if you like.  Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley, and serve immediately.



Savory Seafood Stew - (serves 6)



2 quarts water

1 (35 oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes, with liquid

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

4 small leeks, white parts only, trimmed & cleaned, 2 cut into3-inch pieces, & 2 sliced 1/2 thick

2 medium carrots, trimmed & sliced thick

2 large onions, 1 cut into thick slices, & 1 thinly sliced

10 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of 1/2 lemon, removed in wide strips with vegetable peeler

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


8 cloves garlic, peeled

4 medium calamari, cleaned, tentacle left whole, & bodies cut crosswise into 1/2 rings

10 medium sea scallops

8 oz. fresh, firm textured fish fillets (salmon, snapper, swordfish), skin remove, cut into1-inch pieces

2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans (optional)

24 mussels, cultivated & cleaned

12 jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Ground black pepper, to taste

Garlic bread or crusty Italian bread



1.  Make the Soup Base:  Combine the water, tomatoes, wine, 3-inch leeks, carrots, thickly sliced onion, thyme, and lemon zest in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to keep at a lively simmer, and cook until reduced by about one-third, about 45 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, season the mixture lightly with salt, and continue to simmer until the liquid portion of the soup base is reduced to about 8 cups, about 20 minutes.


2.  Strain the soup base into a 3-quart saucepan, and keep it warm over low heat.  Discard the solids.  (The soup base may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.)


3.  If you have prepared the soup base in advance, bring it to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Adjust the heat to very low and keep it arm.  Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a large 8-quart heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the thinly sliced onion, 1/2 inch sliced leeks, and garlic, then cook, stirring until the onion is wilted, but still crunchy, about 4 minutes.  Add the calamari, and cook, stirring, until they turn opaque, about 2 minutes.


4.  Pour in all, but 1 cup of the soup base, and bring to a boil.  Stir in the scallops, fish fillets, and beans, if using.  Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the seafood is barely opaque at the center, about 5 minutes.


5.  Meanwhile, add the mussels to the soup base remaining in the saucepan.  Increase the heat to high, cover the saucepan, and steam over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels open, about 3 minutes.


6.  Stir the shrimp, parsley, and steamed mussels in their shells into the large pot of soup.  Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute.  Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary, and pepper.  Ladle into warm soup bowls, passing a basket of the bread of your choice separately.



Shrimp Buzara Style - (serves 4 to 6)



2 lbs. super colossal shrimp

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup hot light fish stock

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed & peeled

Salt & ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped



1.  Using poultry shears or a sharp paring knife, cut through the outer curve of the shrimp shells from end to end, but don't remove the shells.  Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, and de-vein.


2.  Dissolve the tomato paste in the hot stock.  Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic, and sauté over moderately high heat until golden.  Season with salt and pepper, add the wine, and bring to a boil.  Add the stock and tomato paste mixture, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.


3.  Meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet, add the shrimp, and sauté ( in 2 batches) 1 minute on each side.  Drain off the oil, return all the shrimp to he skillet, and add the sauce.  Cover, and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.


4.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parsley, mix well, and cook a minute longer, uncovered.  Serve immediately.



Lobster in Zesty Tomato Sauce - (serves 6)



6 (1 1/4 lb.) Maine lobsters

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta (optional)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

11/2 cups onion, diced

1 cup scallions, diced

6 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 cups hot water

4 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, crushed

Hot red pepper flakes

1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped

1 lb. spaghetti (optional)



1.  Cut the live lobsters into serving pieces.  If you plan to serve the lobster with pasta, bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil.


2.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, lightly coat the exposed meat of the lobster tails with flour, shaking off excess flour.  Add lobster tails, meat side down, and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove the tails from the oil and set them aside.


3.  Heat 1/3 cup of the olive oil in a large, wide saucepan, over medium heat.  Add the onion and scallions, and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the lobster body pieces, and cook, stirring, until they turn bright red, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 5 minutes.


4.  Blend the vinegar with the hot water, then pour it into the pan and bring to a full boil.  Add the tomatoes and salt, bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes.  Stir in red pepper flakes to taste.


5.  Remove the lobster bodies with tongs, allowing all juices to drain back into the sauce, and keep them warm;  they may be served on a communal platter in the center of the table.  The most delicate meat is in those bodies and should not be wasted.


6.  Add the claws to the pan, and cook 7 minutes.  Add the reserved tails, the lobster legs, the parsley, and the remaining olive oil.  Simmer until the lobster tails are fully cooked, 3 to 5 minutes longer over high heat, skimming off all surface foam.


7.  Remove the tails and claws, and keep them warm under aluminum foil.  Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until slightly thickened.  Arrange the lobster pieces on a warm platter, and spoon the hot sauce over them.


8.  To serve the lobster with pasta, cook and drain the pasta and return it to the pot.  add half the lobster sauce, and toss to coat over low heat.  Transfer the pasta to a platter, and flank with the lobster pieces.  Spoon the remaining sauce over the lobster.

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