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

Speed and simplicity: that’s what a microwave oven gives toshellfish cookery in these three main dishes for two.

Because you workwith small portions, foods cook evenly and quickly. Each dish combinesvegetables or pasta with the fish. You might offer a salad with thechowder and pasta, and cook a seasoned rice to go with scallops. Planon fruit for dessert, and you are set for a relaxing evening. Since microwave ovens vary widely in performance. Our cookingtimes are only guides.

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Standing times are important; foods continue tocook during this period. It’s beter to undercook the foods andreturn them briefly to the microwave than to overcook. Scallops withPea 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 freshginger 5 teaspoons salad oil 4 teaspoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons drysherry 1/2 pound edible-pod peas, ends and strings removed, rinsed well Trim stems from fresh mushrooms and discard. Cut caps into thinslivers. 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. Cutstrips into 1-inch pieces. Reserve about a quarter of the onion sliversfor 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; stiroccasionally. Spread scallop mixture in an even layer and cover loosely withwaxed paper. Cook in a microwave oven on full power until scallops areopaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes; stir every 2 minutes. Let mixturestand, covered, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place peas with water that clings to them in a shallow1-quart non-metal dish. Cover snugly with lid or plastic wrap. cook ina microwave oven until peas are just tender to bite, about 3 minutes;stir after 2 minutes.

Let stand 1 minute; uncover. Serve peas andscallop 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 freshbasil leaves (or 1 cup lightly packed chopped parsley and 2 teaspoonsdry basil), 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic (cut inpieces), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons olive oil to makepesto; 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 6ounces dry spaghetti or fettuccine and boil, uncovered, justuntil tenderto bite, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mince or press 3 more cloves garlic and combine with anadditional 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter or margarinein a shallow nonmetal 1 1/2-quart dish. Cook in a microwave oven onfull power, uncovered, until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Shell and devein 3/4 pound medium-size shrimp and mix withseasonings in dish. Cook in the microwave oven on full power,uncovered, until all shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes; stir after 2minutes 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 margarineand mound on a platter. Spoon cooked shrimp and pesto mixture over pasta and lift with 2forks to coat pasta strands with seasonings.

sprinkle with the reservedlemon peel slivers. Makes 2 servings. Oyster Stew 3 tablespoons butteror margarine 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup finely chopped celery1/2 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 tablespooncornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water 1 jar (10 OZ.) oysters, cutinto pieces (reserve liquid) Salt and white pepper Place butter in a deep 2-quart nonmetal dish. Cook in a microwaveon full power until butter melts, about 30 seconds.

Stir in onion,celery, 1/3 cup of the parsley, and potato. Cover snugly with lid orplastic wrap. Cook on full power just until potato is tender whenpirced, 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 isbubbly, about 8 minutes; stir after 5 minutes. Mix in oysters andliquid.

Cover and let stand 3 minutes. If oysters aren’t done toyou liking, let stand a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to tasteand top stew with remaining parsley. Makes 2 servings.


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