Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anti-Oscar Pasta

The Oscars were on TV tonight, not on the plate.

We are all familiar with the Oscars: the movie award ceremony that honors the best of each given category from best picture to best make-up to best original screenplay. What we all may not be so familiar with is the crab meat oscar.

A delicious innovation in the surf-n-turf section of many fine restaurant menus is the "oscar-style." You can order a "fillet oscar" or even "asparagus oscar" which simply means a small pile of crab-meat (sometimes with a tasty sauce) will come layered on top. It can be a nice upgrade to any meal depending on the establishment at which you choose to dine (although I prefer my steak to come unencumbered, no sauce, no sizzling butter, no oscar).

Since the Oscars were on TV last night, I decided to make the ultimate shellfish dish, 86 the oscar. This pasta involved clams, shrimp and crab meat in sight. It comes from a magazine, and no it is not Family Circle. Ok it may be from Family Circle, but I swear this is the last one in a while (mostly because I have exhausted all the recipes from last month's issue). Oh, and the Oscars were fun to watch too. Some highlights for me included:

*The opening dialogue between Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
*The straight-faced George Clooney throughout the opening dialogue between Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
*The many Meryl Streep references including the one about her being a good kisser.
*Everything involving my new love, Penelope Cruz.

Enough With the Oscars Shell Fish Fettuccine:

(recipe from Family Circle Magazine - makes 4 servings)

2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb scallops
3/4 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 C fat-free half-and-half
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 can (6.5 ounces) chopped clams, undrained (I drained about 1/2 of the juice)
1 C shredded Swiss Gruyere cheese blend
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 box (12 ounces) spinach fettuccine, cooked following package directions
Directions (well, I used a 9oz non-spinach FRESH fettuccine pasta and it was just fine...I did throw some spinach leaves into the mix for added color which turned out wonderfully...fresh pasta can usually be found in the refrigerated section near the cheeses in most grocery stores)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 3-1/2-quart oval dish with nonstick cooking spray (I used my trusty huge iron skillet so I could do everything in the same dish).
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops, shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.
Cook for 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
Blend half-and-half and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer in the skillet.
Simmer 1 minute. Take off heat and stir in clams and the juices, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the tarragon, cayenne and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt (this is where I mixed in the whole, fresh spinach leaves).
Add cooked shellfish and toss with fettuccine.
Spoon into prepared dish (or in my case, leave it in the oven-safe iron skillet). Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Enjoy with a gin martini and a night at the Oscars.

I know I said it makes four servings, but let's makes that three servings okay?

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