Monday, January 17, 2011

Surf's Up, Crab

            In apartment ten, dinner for one is served. I need the night off from cutlets and marinara so I settle on a Rachael Ray adaptation of Surf and Turf. Sadly, I serve this dish with steak and a token green but no crab to greet the turf. I have not exactly made amends with crab in apartment ten in my grey and metallic blue backsplash kitchen; not since last summer, when I encountered a brave crustacean ensconced in his ethereal exoskeleton behind an icebox at Di Bruno Bros. in Philly.
            I am not a vegetarian or a vegan or an animal rights activist. Surely, I disagree with animal cruelty, but I am the first person to crave a pan-seared tilapia or to marinate and grill up a petite filet mignon. I did however lock eyes with a little crab and my sympathies went to him; particularly because of a scene in the Little Mermaid in which Arielle’s pal, Sebastian, managed to circumvent a crazed French chef. Fortunately, dinner was salvaged in the film because Arielle brought a fork to dinner to comb her hair with. I digress.
            I still make fish for dinner weekly. Seldom will I compromise the possibility of whipping up a fresh salsa to garnish a tuna steak with because of my crab blues, but these days after reaching for a package of prepared shrimp or a nice cut of Salmon, I’ll saunter to the check out counter feeling horribly guilty for leaving behind Sebastian to fend for himself in the glass-enclosed case resembling a cold-cut counter with the man wearing a butcher smock.
            Regardless, I successfully adapted Rachael Ray’s surf and turf suggestion from her Big Orange Cookbook for my own enjoyment just the other night. Being an Italian, a recipe that calls for ¼ cup of red wine means very little. The kind of wine included in the sauce will dramatically alter the sauce’s taste. I went with a Cabernet. Its mint and eucalyptus undertones offset the sweet finish of the flour and scallions, which create a savory paste to couple with the steak. I imbued the spinach leaves with the leftover garlic and butter I cook the shrimp with, adding nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon as dictated by the recipe. High five Rachael.
            For a night off from Ditalini, this DIY dinner comes together nicely, requiring minimal preparation and clean up. I also slept better because I made it with shrimp. Your call, though.

Tenderloin with Red Wine Gravy and Cracked Garlic Shrimp
·      1 in. thick tenderloin
·      2 tbsp butter
·      1 shallot, finely chopped
·      ¼ tbsp flour
·      1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
·      ¼ cup dry wine
·      ¼ cup of beef stock
·      2 garlic cloves
·      Shrimp (amount is to your liking)
·      Fresh thyme
·      1 tsp hot sauce (I skipped this ingredient)
·      ½ lemon
·      Nutmeg
·      Spinach leaves

      When you remove the meat from its package, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and begin heating a skillet with olive oil Transfer the meat to the pan and let it cook for two min on each side before placing it on a baking sheet and letting it cook in the oven for 5min at 400F for medium rare. Add a bit more oil and butter and cook the shallots for 1 to 2 min. Add flour and allow it to melt before including the Worcestershire sauce and red wine. Whisk in the stock and season with salt and pepper.   

While the meat cooks in the oven, add oil and butter to a skillet to melt. Add garlic and soon after the shrimp and thyme for 3min. Douse the shrimp with lemon and remove from the pan. Heat the spinach leaves in the leftover juice from the shrimp. Allow the spinach leaves to wilt slightly.  Dinner is served.

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