10-Second Recipes: Ritzy Ingredients for Less
March 16, 2015
10-Second Recipes: Ritzy Ingredients for Less

(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

Whether it's your guests at a dinner party or your family during a weekday supper, they'll probably be impressed if the steaming dish that awaits them is lobster bisque, lemon-pepper shrimp pasta with fresh thyme, crab etouffe or salmon risotto.

Canned seafood proves ritzy ingredients don't need to have ritzy price tags. Thanks to the once-in-awhile treats of butter, milk, cream and sherry, bisques and chowders can be as rich as the meal starters at fine restaurants. 

Similarly, former Toronto Star Food Editor Susan Sampson's 200 Best Canned Fish & Seafood Recipes is teeming with great ideas and also adds posh oysters to the aforementioned list.

"When I told people I was writing a cookbook starring canned seafood," Sampson notes, "I heard a lot of jokes about slaving over a hot can opener and stocking up for civil emergencies. There is a certain snobbery surrounding tinned fish, but it also has fans in the millions. Trouble is, even devotees don't always know what to do with a can of fish or seafood, beyond mashing it up with mayo or tossing it into a casserole with condensed soup."

Sampson advises to relish the differences between canned and fresh seafood (such as texture) and use them to your advantage. This comes to life in bisque and chowder recipes where the liquid from the can also become an advantageous ingredient.

Besides saving money, canned seafood can save time: It's already been cooked as part of the canning process. It's especially good when it becomes part of an overall ensemble, like in the following spicy, creamy, freshly grated Parmesan cheesy-sauced pasta with shrimp.

Here are a few other ingredients that may give you inspiration.

  • For canned crab: Thyme, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, ginger, garlic, onion, shallot, bell pepper, lime juice

  • For canned clams: Dill, white pepper, Cajun seasoning blend, Worcestershire sauce, chives, green onions, bacon, tomatoes

  • For canned salmon: Tarragon, basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, sesame seeds or oil, lemon zest, honey, light soy sauce, shredded coconut, zucchini, red onion

Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!

Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.

12 ounces tricolor rotini (see Note)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 slender green onions (white and green parts), cut diagonally into 1-inch segments
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 (4 ounce) can small shrimp, rinsed and drained  
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Leaves stripped from 4 small sprigs thyme

Yields 4 servings.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook rotini over high heat for about 12 minutes, until tender to the bite (al dente). Scoop out about 1/2 cup cooking water and set aside. Carefully drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Add green onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until softened. Remove from heat.

Stir in garlic for 20 seconds. Stir in lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir in cream, then shrimp. Return skillet to medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer.

Add rotini and toss to coat. If pasta seems dry or difficult to toss evenly with sauce, add enough reserved cooking water to loosen it. Taste and, if desired, add remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and more salt to taste, if necessary.

Carefully transfer the pasta to warmed serving bowls. Sprinkle Parmesan overtop and then thyme leaves.

Note: Tricolor rotini is a mixture of white, spinach and tomato pastas. If you prefer, use plain or whole-wheat rotini.

- 200 Best Canned Fish & Seafood Recipes by Susan Sampson.

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Think about using easy recipes you see as springboards to healthier options for your family. A few that fit the bill: A 10- to 14-minute (400 F) baked packaged stuffed crescent roll recipe called for pepperoni, cheese and pizza sauce. Instead, match the pizza sauce with chopped vegetables and/or vegan ground sausage you've sauteed before the quick bake; canned vegetable soups suggested milk or cream to make them creamier, but almond or coconut milk can be substituted.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. 



Posted by Staff at 11:48 AM