In our house, Friday night is fish night, and it has been for as long as I can remember. Friday mornings involve a trip to Eddie’s Seafood Market, an amazing fishmonger in Edinburgh which offers up a huge range of fresh seafood from crabs to monkfish to sole to scallops to cod roe to mussels to mackerel, and much, much more. Rick Stein named it as one of his Food Heroes, so take it from him if you won’t from me! Friday evenings start with the lights being dimmed and mum lighting the Shabbat candles. The melodious tones of Alanis Morissette or Joni Mitchell often float through the house. Sometimes things are a bit more upbeat and we’re going 70s style with Billy Joel, Elton John or David Bowie. There’s wine chilling in the fridge, fresh bread on the table with real butter to slather over it and a general feeling of contentment that the weekend is beginning.
So I guess this recipe is the first of my odes to glorious Friday nights. (We actually ate this dish on a Sunday. So sue me.) I made homemade tagliatelle, a recipe for which I will post soon, promise, but you could use bought fresh or dried pasta. I chose prawns and cute little baby scallops, but if you’re taking a trip to your local fishmonger, or even the supermarket, then don’t be restricted by that – go for whatever looks fresh. If you pick mussels or clams then I would clap a lid on top of the pan after the wine and cream goes in, until they have opened up. This feels like a truly indulgent pasta dish, but it’s actually not too rich. Crème fraiche is quite aciditic, plus the white wine and the lemon juice cuts through the creaminess of the sauce. The chilli adds a perfect hint of heat.
Ingredients (serves 3)
Bunch of flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1 small glass dry white wine, plus a large one for the chef
300g dried or fresh tagliatelle, or homemade pasta made with 300g flour and 3 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
200g king prawns
2 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
1. Finely chop the shallot and parsley and crush the garlic. Finely slice the chilli. I used about ¾ of the chilli, but you can test a small piece of yours to see how hot it is and make a judgement from there. Juice the lemon and measure out the wine.
2. Put a pan of water on to boil and liberally season with salt – apparently pasta should be cooked in water as salty as the Mediterranean Sea. Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Dried pasta will probably take about 10-12 minutes so get it on now. Fresh pasta will take 4-5 minutes and homemade pasta only 2 minutes, so wait until the sauce is nearly ready before cooking.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the shallots for 2 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and red chilli and fry for a minute.
5. Increase the heat under the frying pan and add the seafood for 2-3 minutes until it starts to become opaque (fancy word for the seafood gaining colour and being less see-through) .
6. Add the wine and allow the alcohol to cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add the crème fraiche and bubble the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Note: this is the time to chuck your fresh pasta in the pot, if that’s what you’re using.
8. Finish the sauce with the lemon juice, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and mix through the sauce.
Serve with a green salad, crusty bread and another large glass of chilled white wine.
When I was little, I remember it being such an exciting feeling to be allowed to stay up a bit late, join mum and dad at the table and taste some unusual new seafood or have a sip of wine. Now I’m allowed to decide my own bedtime, but it’s still just as lovely to relax lazily with the perfect combination of company, music, food and wine.
I guess that it comes with the territory of being an insane food-lover that most of my fondest memories tend to involve food in one way or another, and I’m sure there will be more to come on the blog. Do you have any particularly happy food-related memories? I’d love to hear them if you do.
Anyway, enough of these sentimental, and probably tedious, ramblings. Whatever you’re doing tonight, I wish you the most lovely of Friday nights…