Monday, March 4, 2013


I had misgivings about Nigella's Speedy Seafood Supper (pg 193 of Nigella Kitchen) from the outset, based upon the fact that I don't really trust frozen seafood. Especially shellfish. There are certain things in the world that just seem to demand they be eaten fresh. Mussels are one of them.

Still, every supermarket around here prominently displays packets of frozen seafood. It's usually a mix of calamari, mussels, and little shrimp. I figured I'd give it a shot, rather than potentially miss out on some easy way to keep seafood on hand.
Should have gone with my gut. I don't know that there was necessarily anything wrong with the seafood. I'm very careful when I cook fresh mussels, though, and if the shell is cracked or open and won't close when tapped before it gets cooked, I toss it without question. If the shell refuses to open after all of its buddies have given up, I toss it without question. The fact that the mussels in this frozen mix were already split in half meant that I couldn't check for these telltale warnings.
I made too much pasta. Woops.
The sauce for this seafood is quite nice. It's a lightly-flavored mix of saffron, tomato, garlic, scallions, tarragon, and white wine. But then you dump the still-frozen seafood in and only cook it for 3-4 minutes. The shrimp hadn't turned pink yet in that time, so I let it go longer. A crustacean who was in the pack (I forget what they're called. It looks like a miniature combo of a shrimp and a lobster) didn't change color at all by the time the shrimp looked done. I know when I had one of these guys in my pasta at a restaurant, it was definitely not a pale blue color. I let the sauce simmer a little longer. I don't know how you tell when mussels are done, if they aren't capable of opening their shell.

I just couldn't get past my distrust for the seafood. The mussels looked weird. I can't explain it.

Matt thought his first bite tasted nasty, but liked the rest of it.

We didn't get sick, so that leads me to believe that the seafood was fine and I'm a drama-queen. I don't think I need frozen seafood in my life, though. Matt asked me why a person would use frozen seafood when they have access to fresh. Before I started to eat, I told him that it's all about being able to throw together a nice dinner in no time, without having to stop at the store. After eating, I have to agree with him. I'll save seafood for nights when I have time to deal with the fresh stuff.

Conclusion: Dislike. The sauce would be good for fresh seafood, though.

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