Melissa Clark’s Spicy Calamari With Israeli Couscous

I’m not one for posting other’s recipes unless I somehow riff on them. But tonight I am singing the praises from my apartment that smells like lemon, garlic, butter and the sea—and I only have NY Times writer Melissa Clark to thank.

Her book, Cook This Now was just released in October, and it’s everything I like in a cookbook. The recipes are fast (which is nice for after-work preparation), flavorful, and even a little healthy (yes, Ms. Clark I noticed all those whole wheat ingredients!). Each chapter is separated by month, so you cook with what’s in season. Even though this recipe is from the February chapter, it shouldn’t be missed at any time of the year.

Since copyright issues are sticky, I’ll just give you the basics and implore you to go out and buy her book. I’d offer to lend you mine, but I’m already making 3 recipes from it this week…I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. This recipe reminds me why I love seafood-it’s light but not dull, and almost demands to be washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. The (kind of) recipe:

Cook Israeli couscous according to the package (I like Bob\’s Red Mill) and toss with  a little olive oil. Heat more olive oil in the largest pan you have, and throw in a pound or so of cut calamari, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, garlic and butter. Toss until opaque, about 4 minutes. Finish with an abundance of lemon. Hide the leftovers from your dining partner.

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Whore Sauce With Shrimp & Lentils

*As Published In The Daily Vanguard*

Sugo alla puttanesca translates to “whore’s sauce” in Italian because of its “easy ingredients. The components of this sauce may be simple, but it is complex in taste. If you make Italian food a lot (Lord knows I do!), you’ll likely have these ingredients in your fridge.

The recipe, inspired by a dish that Food Network’s Guy Fieri made with salmon on his show Guy’s Big Bite (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/lentil-puttanesca-with-salmon-recipe/index.html), is a combination of high flavor and high health. Lentils are full of all the good stuff—protein, iron, fiber, amino acids and vitamin B1.

Adding shrimp complements the nutrition factor of this dish, too. It’s a lean protein with just 85 calories to a three-ounce serving.

Of course, flavor is the most important aspect of your meal, and the saltiness of this sauce, with the hint of the brine from the shrimp, takes the palate to a very good place. Enjoy!

PS..sorry about the lack of pictures for this one..still trying to figure out this camera…more this weekend though:)

Ingredients

For the main course
1/2 cup uncooked lentils or 1 cup of the precooked kind (Trader Joe’s)
2 anchovies in olive oil, drained
2 tablespoons of kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons of capers
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes, low sodium
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 cups of shrimp of any variety, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of parsley

For bread
Olive oil
Whole wheat baguette
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons of oregano

For salad
4 large handfuls of spinach
2 handfuls of red cabbage, chopped
1 pear, sliced
2 ounces of almonds
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Half the juice of a lemon

Method
Prepare your ingredients. Chop and drain the anchovies. Chop your olives. Drain your can of diced tomatoes. Chop the parsley. Dice your onion and garlic cloves. Slice your bread into as many slices as you wish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat one cup of water and the lentils in a saucepan on high until boiling. Simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium-high, and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Add red pepper flakes to the oil and wait for a minute until fragrant. Next, add your diced onion and garlic to the oil. Sauté with spatula for five to eight minutes or until soft. Add anchovies, capers and olives. Add tomatoes and kick the heat down to medium and let the flavors mingle while you make the salad.

Take the cabbage, spinach, almonds and pear slices and place in a large bowl. Take the olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork in a small bowl or glass.

Next, place bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Add shrimp to sauce, raising the heat a bit. Move around the shrimp with the spatula until they are a ripe pink, around six minutes.

Squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle oregano on the hot bread slices.

When the shrimp is done cooking, add lemon juice, white wine vinegar and pepper.