Jamie Oliver shellfish recipes: Cook with Jamie

Cook with Jamie: Sizzling shellfish

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UPDATED:

21:28 GMT, 3 August 2012

We’ve had a bit of a useless summer so far, but this makes it doubly important to get out and grab any bit of sunshine you can.

Barbecuing seafood on the beach is hard to beat – after all, where else are you likely to pick up such fresh produce

But if you’re not lucky enough live by the coast, and you aren’t off on your holidays, don’t worry – these delicious recipes will suit any barbecue, whether you’re in your garden or at the park.

Barbequing seafood on the beach is hard to beat

Barbequing seafood on the beach is hard to beat

I think a lot of people can get stuck in a rut when it comes to barbecuing, probably because we’re so conditioned to seeing simple (and often boring) options like sausages and burgers cooked up without any thought or additional flavour.

This is a real shame because, for me, barbecuing is the most exciting way to cook. It’s almost primal and is all about getting back to our roots. There’s something about the relationship between food and fire that you can’t re- create any other way, so if you can, cook over charcoal or wood rather than gas for that great authentic smoky flavour.

There’s so much you can cook on a barbecue, from beautiful meats to fish, vegetables and even the odd dessert. This week I’m embracing seafood with two gorgeous crab recipes and a really simple way to cook prawns.

The prawns take just minutes to cook but taste absolutely killer. Think of it as a guide rather than a recipe, and use the flavour combos in whatever way you choose.

Crab is really delicate, so it needs subtle and simple flavour combinations to bring out the best in it. Fennel works really well with the crabmeat in this simple salad with a punchy fresh tomato salsa, and the contrast between the soft crab and crunchy toast in this Posh Soldiers recipe is wicked. Get hold of freshly picked crabmeat if you can, or even have a go at picking your own.

DIRTY PRAWNS

Serves 2

10 large, raw prawnsA small handful of fresh basil1 fresh red chilli, choppedA few jarred peppers, slicedA squeeze of lemon juice

I’ve heard of people in the States cooking steaks on ashes and coals, so I tried it out with some large, raw prawns. I threw the dry, whole prawns directly onto the barbecue ashes and covered them with coals. Four minutes later, I picked them out with tongs, then blew and wiped off most of the ash. While they were cooking, I mixed some fresh basil, a chopped red chilli and some sliced
jarred peppers in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. I chucked the hot, dirty prawns straight into the bowl and frankly, they turned out to be the highlight of the day. The experience of eating them was gnarly: the juices ran over our hands and the ash acted as an extra seasoning. With a cold beer, they were the best things ever.

POSH SOLDIERS

Posh soldiers

Posh soldiers

Enough for 16 soldiers

2 large, long green banana chilliesExtra-virgin olive oilRed wine vinegar100-150g (3-5oz) picked crabmeat, barbecued if possibleA small bunch of fresh dill, fronds choppedJuice of 1 lemon1tbsp quality mayonnaise, made from free-range eggsSmoked paprika (optional)4 big slices of sourdough, toasted1 garlic clove, halved4-5 cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)

On a hot barbecue, blacken the chillies all over until they look ruined. Put in a bowl and cover with clingfilm to steam off the skins. Once cool enough, remove the core, seeds and skin. Finely slice, season, add a drizzle of oil and a swig of vinegar. Adjust the seasoning until it’s just delicious. In a bowl, dress the crab with dill, lemon juice, a couple of tablespoons of oil, mayo, a good pinch of paprika, if you like, and seasoning. Rub the bread with the garlic. Drizzle with oil, slice into soldiers and arrange on a board. Divide the chilli between the toasts, top with the crab, then the tomatoes. Serve with chilled white wine. Heavens above!

CRAB SALAD WITH CUCUMBER AND GRATED TOMATO SALSA

Serves 4

A delicious crab and cucumber salad

A delicious crab and cucumber salad

1 cucumber1 fennel, top trimmedA small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and finely choppedJuice of 1 lemonExtra-virgin olive oil300g (10oz) picked crabmeat

For the grated tomato salsa

2 ripe tomatoes of different colours a fresh red chilliExtra-virgin olive oilRed wine vinegar1cm (in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

Peel the cucumber into elegant ribbons using a speed-peeler, discarding the watery middles. Finely slice the fennel with a knife or peeler (even if it’s rough and choppy you’ll get lovely results). Put in a bowl with the mint and half the lemon juice, plus the same amount of olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and any fennel tops. Don’t toss, just pop in the fridge until you need it.
For the salsa, put a box grater over a chopping board and coarsely grate your tomatoes to a slurry. You’ll end up with seeds and skin on one side, slurry on the other. Get rid of the seeds and skin. Finely grate in the chilli and season well. Add a lug of oil, a swig of vinegar and the ginger, then set aside.
Put your crabmeat in a bowl and pour the remaining lemon juice in one side of the bowl. Add the same amount of olive oil and a good pinch of pepper, then set aside. Toss the cucumber and fennel to dress, then divide between plates or pile on a platter. Toss the crabmeat in its lemon and olive oil dressing, place it on the cucumber, then lob your kicking salsa over it. This is fresh, clean, vibrant, crunchy and exciting.

GNOCCHI WITH PANCETTA AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Serves 2

Gnocchi with pancetta

Gnocchi with pancetta

100-150g (3-5oz)Tipo 00 flour, plus extra1 small free-range egg, beaten
2 medium potatoes
an onion, sliced
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
A pinch of dried chilli 3 rashers of smoked pancetta, chopped100g (3oz) cherry tomatoes, halved2 handfuls of spinach.

Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour, or until cooked through. Scoop out the flesh. Leave to cool. Mix the flour, egg and seasoning into the potato for a smooth, slightly sticky dough; add more flour if needed. On a floured surface, roll out into long thin sausages, then cut into 4cm (1in) lengths; cover with a damp kitchen towel. Fry the onion in 1tbsp oil for 8 mins, until softened. Add the garlic, chilli and pancetta and cook for a few more mins. Add the tomatoes for 5 mins or until softened and add pepper. Set aside. Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water; when they rise to the surface (1-3 mins), remove with a slotted spoon. Add to the sauce with the spinach. Heat through.

OATCAKES

Serves 4-6

200g (7oz) oats
50g (1oz) wholemeal flour
tsp salt
tsp sugar
tsp baking soda 50g (1oz) butter, cubed, softened.

Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. Mix the oats, flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Rub in the butter evenly to form clumps. Form a dough, adding enough hot water so it holds together. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into triangles. Place on a greased tray and cook for 20 minutes, until golden and firm. Serve with soft cheese.

Easy like Sunday morning

Easy like Sunday morning