Tag Archives: seafood

Sautéed Prawns and the Seafood Curse

Sauteed prawns

2 Servings

Since I set foot on Italian soil, I have been “chased” by seafood. Now, if you are a regular reader of F’sT, you know that I do not eat fish for the simple reason that I do not like the taste. For me cooking fish is… well, someone else might say “an act of love,” but since I am who I am… I’ll go with “tantamount to martyrdom”! 😉

I keep repeating to myself that seeing and smelling seafood all over is the more natural thing under the circumstances. After all, I’m on an Italian island and fish is the freshest thing you can find around here. Still, every time I go to a restaurant, finding something I can eat is an odyssey (thank goodness no one has come up with some kind of fishy ice cream idea so far!!!) 😉

Things are not getting any better at home. Every single member of my family seems to enjoy seafood and almost every morning when I wake up (let’s be honest here… late morning!) 😉 someone has already gone to the fish market to buy “the seafood of the day”.

Do you know the old saying “if you cannot beat them, join them”? Well, I decided to join my parents in the kitchen and take advantage of this fish invasion to learn something new.

The reason I picked this recipe is twofold.

The first – which is totally unrelated to culinary logic – is the color of the prawns that my dad brought home. The red was so perfectly vibrant that they were doomed to catch my trained eye of aesthete 🙂

Sauteed prawns

The second is that this is a very simple dish and it takes only about 15 minutes to make… a stretch of time my nostrils seem to still find tolerable. 😉


8 prawns
3 or 4 San Marzano Italian Peeled Tomatoes
1 clover, garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
Some parsley leaves, finely chopped
Pepper flakes


Put some salt (to taste), the olive oil and the garlic in a non-stick skillet and brown the garlic. Throw the garlic away and add the tomatoes. After 1 minute, add the prawns, the parsley and some pepper flakes (to taste). Cover the skillet with the lid and let the prawns cook until the liquid in the skillet boils. Take the lid off and cook for 10 more minutes.

Et Voila’, ready to be served! Easy peasy! 🙂

P.S. Not a day goes by without a family member, a friend or an acquaintance telling me how healthy fish is, what I’m missing, bla, bla, bla… I live by a very simple rule: I do not tell people what to do and I do not judge them for what they do, simply because I don’t like to be told what to do and to be judged. Now, why oh why can I not receive the same treatment from others with regard to this fish thing of mine??? 🙁

Sea Scallops with Olives and Potatoes – Recommended Wine Pairing

Les Crêtes, VdA Chardonnay Cuvée Bois DOCI am still slowly catching up with my overdue wine pairings… Today we will suggest a wine that pairs well with Francesca’s delicious recipe of sea scallops with olives and potatoes.

Based on the ingredients and preparation of Francesca’s sea scallop dish, its main features from a sensory perspective are latent sweetness, latent sourness, tastiness, flavor and a slight greasiness in a fairly structured dish. In light of the ISA wine pairing criteria (in case you forgot or missed my post about them and are interested in knowing more about them, you may want to go back or anyway refer to it), the wine to complement such dish will need to possess good acidity, smoothness, intensity of nose-mouth flavors, good ABV and a decent body/structure.

St. Michael-Eppan, A.A. Chardonnay Sanct Valentin DOCBased on those characteristics, I would go for a structured Chardonnay with some oak-aging and good acidity.

As I mentioned previously on Flora’s Table, it is worth mentioning that in Italy you can drink very good Chardonnay pretty much across the entire Italian territory, literally from Valle d’Aosta to Sicily. This is because, thanks to the great versatility and adaptability of this international grape variety, Chardonnay has been very successfully grown in very different terroirs in North, Central and even Southern Italy.

My recommendations below of most of my all-time favorite Italian Chardonnays will prove the point that I just made, as you will notice that they actually take you on a virtual tour of Italy:

Elena Walch, A.A. Beyond the Clouds DOCLes Crêtes, Valle d’Aosta Chardonnay “Cuvée Bois” DOC from Valle d’Aosta (100% Chardonnay; in my view a phenomenal wine with a wonderful bouquet of wildflowers, jasmine, pineapple and butter – hats off to the producer who invested the energy and resources necessary to achieve a density of 7,500 vines/HA in the vineyard used to create this magnificent wine – the only problem is the absurd price this wine generally retails for in the US, which, at around $80, is about twice as much as what you would pay for it at a wine store in Italy)

St Michael-Eppan, Alto Adige Chardonnay “Sanct Valentin” DOC from Alto Adige (100% Chardonnay; with scents of Mirabelle plum, butter, vanilla and almond)

Elena Walch, Alto Adige “Beyond the Clouds” DOC from Alto Adige (“predominantly” Chardonnay blended with other white grape varieties based on a proprietary recipe; with scents of peach, pineapple, almond, butter and vanilla)

Castello della Sala, Bramito del Cervo Umbria IGTJermann, “W? Dreams” Venezia Giulia IGT from Friuli Venezia Giulia (97% Chardonnay, 3% other grape varieties kept it a secret by the winery; with aromas of Mirabelle plum, citrus, vanilla and a smoky hint – a special note of merit to the producer who achieved a density of almost 8,000 vines/HA in the vineyards used to create this excellent wine)

Tenute Folonari, “La Pietra” Tenute del Cabreo Toscana IGT from Toscana (100% Chardonnay; with scents of peach, butter, honey, hazelnut and flint)

Castello della Sala“Cervaro della Sala” Umbria IGT from Umbria (a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Grechetto aged in barrique casks for 6 months; with fine aromas of citrus, pineapple, butter, honey and hazelnut)

Planeta, Chardonnay Sicilia IGTCastello della Sala, “Bramito del Cervo” Umbria IGT also from Umbria (100% Chardonnay, the “little brother” of the Cervaro della Sala; with fine aromas of wildflowers, pineapple, Mirabelle plum, butter, vanilla and hazelnut – a quality Chardonnay with a good QPR)

Planeta, Chardonnay Sicilia IGT from Sicily (100% Chardonnay; with complex and elegant scents of wisteria, peach, apple, honey, butter, vanilla, hazelnut and chalk)

Tasca d’Almerita, Chardonnay Sicilia IGT also from Sicily (100% Chardonnay; with fine aromas of broom, peach, pineapple, banana, herbs, vanilla and a toasty hint)

Enjoy, and as always, if you happened to try out any of these wines,  let me know how you liked them!

Sea Scallops as a Valentine? Why Not!

Potato and Olive ScallopsI’m about to say something that, as a cook and a food blogger, I shouldn’t say, but I am who I am and, at my age, changes are small miracles.

So, the ugly truth is… I’m not a fish fan, quite the opposite actually. I haven’t eaten fish during the last two decades and I’m not planning on starting again any time soon.

I know, I know. It’s very healthy. Plus, I have a little one who needs all the nutriens that are in fish and a husband who was born in Genoa which means that sea water runs in his veins as much as blood runs in mine.

Bottom line: cooking fish is both a struggle and a challenge for me but I have a secret weapon… my parents. They are both from the south of Italy and both of them cook fish wonderfully.

As the entire world knows, Valentine’s Day is upon us. Being the least romantic person on the planet, I can honestly say that I have no recollection of me celebrating this day ever and this year is not going to be any different. However, this year I was determined to do a nice thing for the people I love the most and, thus, I asked my mom to share her sea scallop recipe. Et voila’! If I could do it, anyone can do it. 🙂

Potato and Olive ScallopsIngredients:

3/4 of 1 cup, extravirgin olive oil
6 sea scallops
8 grape tomatoes
1/3 cup, capers
1 cup, green pitted olives
1/2 cup, black pitted olives
3 potatoes
1 Tbsp, olive spread
1 Tsp, dry oregano


Put the capers in a small bowl with some water and let them stay for half an hour. Rinse the capers under running water and put them aside.

Cut the tomatoes and the olives in half and put them aside.

In a non-stick medium/large skillet, put the olive oil, the scallops, the tomatoes, the olives, some salt (to taste) and start cooking them on low/medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters (depending on the size of the potatoes), roughly the same size, and add them to the skillet.

Put the olive spread in a glass, add some hot water and, with the help of a spoon, stir the spread until you obtain a mixture. Pour the olive mixture in the skillet and toss to coat. Finally, add the capers and the oregano and keep cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

*  *  *

I wish everyone who celebrates Valentine’s Day to have a wonderful one!  🙂