Speedy shellfish … scallops, shrimp, and oysters in a microwave Essay

Speed and simplicity: that’s what a microwave oven gives to
shellfish cookery in these three main dishes for two. Because you work
with small portions, foods cook evenly and quickly. Each dish combines
vegetables or pasta with the fish. You might offer a salad with the
chowder and pasta, and cook a seasoned rice to go with scallops. Plan
on fruit for dessert, and you are set for a relaxing evening.



Since microwave ovens vary widely in performance. Our cooking
times are only guides. Standing times are important; foods continue to
cook during this period. It’s beter to undercook the foods and
return them briefly to the microwave than to overcook. Scallops with
Pea Pods 6 medium-size (2 to 3 in. across) fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms Water 1 green onion, including some top 3/4 pound scallops,
rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 3 quarter0size slices fresh
ginger 5 teaspoons salad oil 4 teaspoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons dry
sherry 1/2 pound edible-pod peas, ends and strings removed, rinsed well

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Trim stems from fresh mushrooms and discard. Cut caps into thin
slivers. If using dried mushrooms, soak in warm water for 20 minutes;
squeeze to remove most of the moisture and cut off and discard stems.
Cut caps into thin slivers.



Trim root from onion, then cut onion lengthwise in thin strips. Cut
strips into 1-inch pieces. Reserve about a quarter of the onion slivers
for garnish. Place remaining onions, mushrooms, scallops, ginger, oil,
soy, and sherry in a shallow 1 1/2-quart nonmetal dish; mix to blend.
Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes; stir
occasionally.


Spread scallop mixture in an even layer and cover loosely with
waxed paper. Cook in a microwave oven on full power until scallops are
opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes; stir every 2 minutes. Let mixture
stand, covered, 4 to 5 minutes.



Meanwhile, place peas with water that clings to them in a shallow
1-quart non-metal dish. Cover snugly with lid or plastic wrap. cook in
a microwave oven until peas are just tender to bite, about 3 minutes;
stir after 2 minutes. Let stand 1 minute; uncover. Serve peas and
scallop mixture; discard ginger pieces. Garnish with reserved onion.
Makes 2 servings. Pesto Shrimp Pasta



In a food processor or blender, puree 1 cup lightly packed fresh
basil leaves (or 1 cup lightly packed chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons
dry basil), 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic (cut in
pieces), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons olive oil to make
pesto; set aside.



Pare yellow peel only from 1/2 lemon, then cut into thin strips;
set aside.



Bring 3 quarts water to boiling in a 4- to 5-quart pan. add 6
ounces dry spaghetti or fettuccine and boil, uncovered, justuntil tender
to bite, 8 to 10 minutes.



Meanwhile, mince or press 3 more cloves garlic and combine with an
additional 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
in a shallow nonmetal 1 1/2-quart dish. Cook in a microwave oven on
full power, uncovered, until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes.



Shell and devein 3/4 pound medium-size shrimp and mix with
seasonings in dish. Cook in the microwave oven on full power,
uncovered, until all shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes; stir after 2
minutes to bring cooked shrimp to center of sih. Stir in pesto sauce,
cover, and let stand for 2 minutes.



Drain pasta well; mix with 1 more tablespoon butter or margarine
and mound on a platter.



Spoon cooked shrimp and pesto mixture over pasta and lift with 2
forks to coat pasta strands with seasonings. sprinkle with the reserved
lemon peel slivers. Makes 2 servings. Oyster Stew 3 tablespoons butter
or margarine 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley 1 medium-size thin-skinned potato
(peeled, if desired), cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 can (14 1/2 OZ.)
regular-strength chicken broth 1 cup whipping cream 1 tablespoon
cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water 1 jar (10 OZ.) oysters, cut
into pieces (reserve liquid) Salt and white pepper



Place butter in a deep 2-quart nonmetal dish. Cook in a microwave
on full power until butter melts, about 30 seconds. Stir in onion,
celery, 1/3 cup of the parsley, and potato. Cover snugly with lid or
plastic wrap. Cook on full power just until potato is tender when
pirced, about 10 minutes; stir once after 5 minutes.



Stir broth, cream, and cornstarch mixture into potato mixture.
Cook, covered loosely with waxed paper, on full power until broth is
bubbly, about 8 minutes; stir after 5 minutes. Mix in oysters and
liquid. Cover and let stand 3 minutes. If oysters aren’t done to
you liking, let stand a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste
and top stew with remaining parsley. Makes 2 servings.

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