Friday, October 29, 2010

Lovely Linguini

Today's menu combines my love of fresh seafood and pasta in a delicious, fresh tasting and easy to put together dish. I have used lovely new seasons local mussels and fresh prawns and teamed them with vine ripened tomatoes, a hint of chilli, crisp flat leaf parsley and the tang of lime. Finished off with a little butter at the last minute, it is rich tasting without being too heavy. You could of course us any seafood you like - scallops, clams, fish and calamari would work really well too. Add other herbs if you want to - dill, lemon thyme or chives would be a nice addition.

I made this dish for dinner last night and it took about half an hour from start to finish, including the cleaning of the prawns and mussels, so it is an ideal midweek dinner. It is also good looking and special enough to serve up to guests. As always, make sure that the seafood you have selected is absolutely fresh - anything less than first rate seafood will result in a second rate dish. This dish is not suitable to make ahead or freeze.

A note about the mussels - I prefer to use the black, local mussels - although it seems that the large, green lipped variety from New Zealand are more popular. Our local mussels are smaller, but they are also beautifully sweet and I find the flesh more delicate tasting. I will choose the local product over imports every time. A few years ago when I was visiting the South Island of New Zealand I ate their green lipped mussels and they were stunning, but shipping them thousands of kilometers from New Zealand to eat them in Australia really loses something taste wise - as well as the environmental impact of transporting them.

I am actually off to New Zealand for work next week (North Island this time) and I'm hoping to sample some of the beautiful produce they have to offer while I'm there. If the quaility is anything like the last time I visited, I will be in for a treat. Stay tuned for a report on what I find there and some pretty pics.

In the meantime, enjoy this lovely simple seafood pasta. Bon Appetit!

Mussel and prawn linguini with chilli and lime

You will need: About 150g dry linguini or pasta per person, 5 mussels per person, 5 whole raw prawns per person, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/3 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon minced chilli, 1 clove minced or finely grated garlic, grated rind of 1 lime, juice of 1 lime, 1 cup chopped continental parsley, 2 large tomatoes with the seeds removed and diced finely, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, pinch of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, extra olive oil.

Method: First, clean and debeard the mussels, then remove the heads and shells of the prawns (I leave the tails on for flavour and presentation) Don't forget to devein the prawns - no one likes to have a delicious dish ruined by having the gritty digestive tract left in!

Combine the paprika, a splash of olive oil, chilli, salt, garlic, lime rind and half of the lime juice in a bowl. Add the prawns and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

In a seperate bowl, combine the tablespoon of olive oil, parsley, tomato, cayenne, the rest of the lime juice, parsley and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta until it is al dente - don't overcook it - it should by slightly firm to the touch. Drain the pasta and set it aside while you quickly finish the dish.

Put the empty pasta pan back on the heat and turn it up high. Add a splash of olive oil and when it is smoking add the prawns. Quickly cook the prawns (this should only take a minute) and then remove them from the pan. Turn down the heat a little. Add the mussels and put the lid on. Cook the mussels for a minute or so, until they steam open. Remove them from the pan and disgard any that do not open.

Return the cooked pasta to the pan and add the butter. Toss through until the butter is melted. Add the tomato mixtutre and all of the seafood. Mix gently until combined and season with salt and pepper.
Serve right away.



  1. Excellent,I am now feeling insprired and just about to head out and buy seafood. Will report back later. Thanks. Mary

  2. Hi Mary - let me know what you choose. I have been in a real seafood mood lately! GG