Friday, April 18, 2008

chris hambly's frutte di mare

Another Italian dish, this time from Web Strategist Chris Hambly.
Chris is the founder a distance learning company based in London UK, which he now manages through his creative web development company Audana.
Chris is also the founder of Mediacamp the new media unconference, and blogs at

take it away Chris...

'Frutte Di Mare means Sea Fruits so get your seafood taste buds wrapped around this.

Also bear in mind, like all great cooking, the ingredients change, just like Chinese whispers can change the meaning of text, so feel free to adapt this to your own needs, that's what I did and do each time.

OK so you are going to need.

Red Onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Moscatel de Valencia (a very sweet wine)
Green Chili
Tomato Passata (tinned toms are fine)

So first take half the red onion and chop it really fine:
The next step is to plenty of the olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat and "sweat off" the onions. The secret here is not too hot, do not burn them but get ALL the water out of them, as in ALL the water, "sweat" them off...

While that is doing you should prepare some water for the pasta which should be as salty as the Mediterranean, so get plenty of salt in there. I usually add a lot of salt, some of you may prefer less than me, but hey I'm a salt nut.

Next job is to "sweat off" the tomatoes, and add a tiny amount of green chili and some capers.

You hear me say "sweat off" a lot in this recipe, this is vital in lots of dishes like this. Italian food is oil based not water based (this is one of the key areas some people get wrong), you really need to get all that water out.

Have patience take a bit of time (sip some wine while it's doing)
until the water really has ALL gone. Only the ingredient remains with the oil. Looks delicious already, and the tomatoes at this point have become sweet, if you do not sweat correctly they do not become sweet, they have that sharp taste still.

So now that you have the basic sauce prepared (easy eh), you can get on with washing the seafood.
I have crab sticks, mussels and squid as my seafood, that's a good taste and not too strong in flavour, also the texture is good, firm. Most stores sell this in packs, but you can mix this up from a good fish shop.

So next up is that "special touch", adding some of that deliciously sweet white wine. I like to use dessert wine, very sweet and thick in texture.

Throw plenty in with the seafood and sauce. Again you must "sweat" this down a little, not too much as the seafood will become hard, so don't add too much.

Pasta should be prepared Al Dente, you know, firm to the bite, do not get it all soft and bloated, it is best with texture. This is another key area some people get wrong. Pasta should be textured, firmish.

Lastly you drain the pasta (DRAIN ALL WATER) and mix together,
Note the colours will vary a lot from dish to dish, so don't worry about that but do take note of the textures and amounts.

And lastly get that wine, and enjoy the delightful taste of Chris Hambly's version of Frutte di Mare.

I'd love to hear about it if you do try this version, send a comment in.

Have fun and, always take your time, never rush food, cooking and eating is to be made special.'

1 comment:

eaon pritchard said...

sounds tasty. Mrs P has a thing about fish though, I'm not allowed it in the house...