Shrimp, Potatoes, Corn and Leeks

I was hunting for a recipe that contained everything in the title, but the search kept delivering the New England shrimp-potato-corn boil stuff. No, I wasn’t interested in that. I wanted a dish that featured those, but with no “boil.” So, here it is.

3 leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. small white new potatoes, scrubbed and larger ones cut in half
4 fresh ears of corn, kernels cut off the cobs
20-25 shrimp, shells and tails removed, decent size
5 Tablespoons butter, divided
swirls of olive oil
shake of smoked paprika
salt and pepper

Cut the root ends of the leeks, then lay on your cutting board. Slice in half lengthwise, leaving the greens at the top intact, if possible. Under running water, separate the layers to wash out the dirt. Pat dry. Slice into 1/8″ slices, removing the outer layers as you go up the leek, but stopping before the dark green.

Place 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet, and a swirl of olive oil. Place the leeks in the pan, and over medium heat, cook about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic. Turn the heat to low and stir occasionally for another 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes and slice the larger ones in half, so they all end up about the size of a golf ball. Cook in boiling, salted water until nearly tender; drain. Place back on the unit and shake to dry them, then add 1 Tablespoon butter, tossing to coat. Lightly add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Back to the leeks: push them to the sides of the pan. Slide 1 Tablespoon butter into pan. After the butter melts, add the kernels of corn to the pan, tossing them with the butter. Sprinkle with salt, and a wave of smoked paprika. Toss, then incorporate the leeks and garlic. Let cook at low heat until kernels are cooked, but still have a some texture.

Meanwhile (again), melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a skillet, and add a swirl of olive oil. Place the shrimp around the pan in one layer; add salt and pepper. Flip shrimp over when you see white around the edges. Turn the heat up to give a slight coating to the shrimp, evaporating any moisture, but don’t burn them.

To serve, place a layer of the corn/leek mixture into a low, flat bowl or plate, then a few potatoes, and then top with shrimp.

If you are really fancy, finely chop some parsley and use that to garnish the dish.

Coconut Rice with Shrimp and Corn

Inspired by a recipe from the New York Times, it’s easy to make the rice in a rice cooker, cook the aromatics and corn together, adding the shrimp at the end. Some say to cut down on the amount of rice, so you’ve been warned. (Or up the amount of vegetables and corn?)

Rinse 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice until water runs clear. Drain well then place in rice cooker. Add 1 can (14 oz) low salt chicken broth and 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk. Stir, then set up to cook the rice.

Rinse 14 ounces shrimp (tails and shells off), cut in half and set aside.

Cut the kernels off 4 small ears of corn. I do this by standing it in a large bowl, letting the kernels be caught by the bowl. Set aside.

In a large flat pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1 small yellow onion, chopped along with 1 finely chopped Thai red pepper (they are mild) OR 1 jalapeño, making sure to remove seeds and membranes. (Red pepper flakes can be substituted; add near the end)

Sauté over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, then add 2 grated garlic cloves. Stir.

Add corn, continue to cook on medium-low heat, tossing the corn with the aromatics. Add the shrimp, tossing, but not overcooking. Correct the seasoning by adding:

  • salt and pepper
  • splash of fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • lime zest, if you have it
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

After tossing together, taste. Add more of whatever seasoning you think is missing: salt or tangy.

Because the ratio of rice to the vegetable mixture may vary, I’d spoon the cooked rice into a serving bowl, then add the vegetables over the top.

Garnish with fresh, torn basil leaves.

Salmon-Rice Bowl

This is my favorite one-pot meal, although there is some chopping of toppings. It comes together quickly, and is also good the next day.


¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 ½ cups sushi rice (short-grain white rice), rinsed until water runs clear
1 ½ pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons safflower or canola oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (from one 2-inch piece)
3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
8 ounces green coleslaw mix (about 3 packed cups) OPTIONAL
1 avocado, halved, pitted and thinly sliced or cut into chunks
Nori Komi Furikake seasoning


  1. In a large saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt; stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the rice and 1 3/4 cups water, and mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, toss salmon with 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and season with salt. Once rice is tender (after about 20 minutes), arrange salmon in an even layer on top of rice. Cover and steam over low heat until fish is cooked to medium, about 12 minutes longer.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine soy sauce, white vinegar, safflower oil, scallions, ginger and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil. Mix well, and season with salt.
  4. Scoop salmon and rice into bowls. Top each with some cucumbers, coleslaw mix (if using) and avocado. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with seasoning.

Cold Noodles with Tomatoes

It had been a hot week, with all daytime temperatures approaching — or over — 100 degrees. I saw this on the New York Times Cooking website, and we decided to try it. That first time we garnished it with a soft-boiled egg. Wrong. The “broth” was barely there, so this week we made it again, with the revisions shown below. Much better, and perfect for a really hot day. We like the addition of the shrimp, but you could leave them off.

Last note: I usually toast my sesame seeds in a small non-stick skillet, swirling and tossing until they look a slightly darker color. But on our last trip to the Ranch 99 Market near us they had a large container of Toasted Sesame Seeds. We brought it home with us and used it this go-round.

Gather Ingredients:

  • 2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 12 to 14 ounces somyeon, somen, capellini or other thin wheat noodle
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups cold filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 to 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 pound raw shrimp, tails off, deveined, cut in half


  1. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes and salt. Let sit until juicy, at least 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, poach the shrimp briefly in boiling salted water. Remove promptly and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  4. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, mustard and sesame oil. Add to the tomatoes, and toss with a spoon until well combined. Stir the filtered water into the tomatoes and sprinkle the surface of the broth with the sesame seeds, radishes and scallions.
  5. Right before serving, add the ice to the broth. Divide the noodles among bowls, and ladle in the broth and any unmelted ice, making sure each serving gets a nice sprinkling of tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, scallions and sesame seeds.

Crispy Rice with Shrimp, Bacon and Corn

When I posted this to Instagram, with an invitation to come to dinner, I had quite a few people accept my invitation; some even wanted the recipe.  It came from the New York Times, and was written by Genevieve Ko; however, I have modified it slightly as I’m making it for two.  Modifications are in the recipe below.  Serves 4 amply, especially if served with fresh ciabatta bread (or take-n-bake, whatever works for you).


1/2  pound peeled and deveined shrimp, patted very dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4-5  strips bacon
2  ears uncooked corn
6  scallions
pinch of red pepper flakes
1  pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
2-3  cups cooked rice — I used a mixture of brown rice and white rice


Prepare the shrimp by rinsing in cool water, and removing any shells.  Lay out on paper towels to dry; blot with another paper towel.  Grind salt and pepper over one side of the shrimp.  Set it aside for now.

Cut tomatoes in half; set aside.  Trim off ends of scallions (green onions), then slicely thinly on an angle, using nearly all of the green tops.  Reserve a healthy handful of green tops for garnish, and set the sliced scallions aside.  Slice the kernels off the cobs of corn; reserve.

Lay bacon strips out in heavy skillet over med-high heat, and cook until nearly crispy, turning as needed.  Remove strips to a plate covered with paper towels to cool.  Layer more paper towels on top.

Sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes in the hot bacon grease, then add the shrimp, stirring for one to two minutes per side, or until just cooked.  Using a slotted spoon, remove from grease and lay atop the paper towels that are on top of the bacon.

Keeping the heat on medium-high, add the corn, most of the scallions, and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the scallions just wilt, about 1 minute.

Add the rice and stir until well-mixed and heated through, about 3 minutes. Press the rice evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Let cook, without stirring, as the rice and corn begin to crackle, until you smell a toasty scent and the rice browns, about 5 minutes. You can lift up a section of rice to peek and see if a golden brown crust has developed.

Layer on the bed of rice/corn, in this order:
•  halved tomatoes
•  cooked shrimp
•  crumbled bacon
•  handful of green scallion tops for garnish

With heat off, cover with a lid for about 2-3 minutes, letting the steam from the rice/corn soften the tomatoes.  Remove the lid to serve.

Note: While I realize that putting the lid on for too long might soften your “crust,” in our case, it did not.  We could still taste the crunch.  We stored the leftovers in the refrigerator and had them four days later; it was still amazing.

Corn and Shrimp Soup

After doing lesson prep for my classes for so long that my eyes hurt, I wandered downstairs to figure out dinner.  It was a colder day, the first not-hot day we’ve had this fall and some rain was falling here and there all afternoon.  I wanted something warm for dinner, but not heavy.  Something traditional but with a bit of kick.  The soup cookbook fell out and after looking through it I chose a recipe to start in on.  But I took a huge turn off their recipe highway onto something wholly my own.  We enjoyed it and I hope you will too.  Oh, that red pepper?  It’s for looks.  You leave it in, but to add some heat, use Sriracha sauce at the table.

Although this looks complicated, get everything ready at the beginning as it goes together quickly.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 sweet bell peppers (I used 1 red and 1/2 yellow), chopped
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or put through a garlic press)
2 stalks lemon grass
2 dried red pepper pods (more if you want more heat)
2 knuckle-sized chunks of fresh ginger
about 2 cups white frozen corn (can add more at the end if you like your soup with more “stuff”)
1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and drained
2 cans chicken broth (14 oz each)
1 can coconut milk (about 14 oz.)
1 Tablespoon sugar
juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
pinch or two of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Melt butter and oil together in heavy soup-sized pan, saute peppers, shallot and garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Add chicken stock, broken-in-half lemon grass stalks, dried red peppers and the pieces of ginger.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the shrimp and corn.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Fish out lemon grass and ginger.  Add sugar, lime juice, pinch of red pepper flakes, and cilantro.

Add coconut milk.  Adjust seasonings (add more salt?) and serve with Sriracha (Rooster) sauce at the table.

Note: I keep lemon grass stalks in my freezer.  I simply smacked them over the edge of the counter to break them in half, then threw them in.  Ditto the ginger (for keeping it in the freezer), but tonight I set it on a cutting board, and lopped off one of its chunks to throw in.

Scallops with Peppers and Corn

It had been a long, hot day and I didn’t feel like throwing a meal on the table.  I had earlier found this recipe in my new favorite publication: Sunset’s Fast and Fresh (go and get it) and knew I had the basic ingredients. I only had to find corn.  Corn?  No problem, right?  It’s summer–corn is cheap, right?  Wrong.  I must have hit the week that all the corn was shipped to China, or that the first harvest was finished and the second hadn’t begun.  I gave my money to the lady at the register, thinking it was the most expensive ears of corn I’d ever purchased.  Note to self: make this dish when corn is on sale.

At any rate, make a note to yourself: make this dish anytime.  They suggest serving it with couscous, pasta or rice, but somehow I had boiled New England supper on my mind, with the combo of the seafood, vegetables and corn.  We served ours with boiled white rose potatoes. I placed those in our individual bowls, cut them up, then over that spooned the vegetable mixture, and then the scallops.  It was delicious, easy and refreshing.


3 ears corn (about 2 1/2 lb. total), husked, silks removed
1 1/4 pounds sea scallops
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell peppers rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (I used three: one yellow, one orange and one red)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Holding each ear of corn upright in a deep bowl, cut kernels from cobs. Rinse scallops and pat dry; sprinkle lightly all over with salt and pepper.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of two 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pans over high heat. Add corn, bell peppers, garlic, and cumin to one pan; add scallops to the other. Cook, stirring both pans often, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, and scallops are browned on the outside and barely opaque in the center (cut to test), about 5 minutes.

3. Just before serving, stir basil into the vegetable mixture and cilantro into the scallops. Add salt and pepper to taste to both. Mound vegetables in a wide, shallow bowl; top with scallops (and any pan juices).

Pecan-Crusted Trout with Orange-Butter Sauce

I got this recipe from–where else?–Bon Appétit, published in April 1996.  I’d been over to our local grocers and they had a fine selection of fresh fish.  I randomly selected trout, thinking of when we’d had it on our honeymoon in Austria.  We were in the hills above the town of Salzburg and the owner had diverted some of the mountain stream into a holding tank, where he farmed trout.  As we sat down to dinner that night, he asked us what size fish we would like.  We used our hands to gesture, as neither of us spoke German.  He went over behind us, and I heard some splashing, then a firm *whack*.  He held up two now-whacked-dead trout.  “Gut?” he asked, with a huge grin on his face.  We nodded. “Gut.”  And they were.  We even ordered one more and shared it.  When are you ever–except if you catch it yourself–going to have trout that fresh?

Bon Appetit addes this note: At the fish market, ask them to remove the head, tail and bones from the trout, then to cut each trout into two fillets, leaving the skin intact. Mine was already a fillet, so I didn’t have to do any of that.  We thought this was delicious.

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients for trout
2 cups pecans (about 8 ounces)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large (12- to 14-ounce) trout, filleted, skin left intact
3 large egg whites, beaten to blend

Ingredients for sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup dry wine–I don’t drink, so I used apple juice with a splash of rice vinegar
2/3 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
8 5-inch-long fresh parsley stems
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large fresh thyme sprig (ACK! didn’t have any, so I sprinkled some dried thyme into the mix)
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces

For assembly
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Chopped fresh chives


Make trout:

Combine pecans and 1 tablespoon flour in processor. Grind pecans finely; transfer to plate. Place remaining flour on another plate. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dip 1 fillet into flour to coat; shake off excess. Using pastry brush, brush flesh side with egg whites. Place fillet, egg white side down, onto pecans; press to coat with nuts. Transfer to waxed paper-lined baking sheet, pecan side down. Repeat with remaining 3 fillets; chill.

Make sauce:

Combine first 7 ingredients in medium saucepan. Boil 10 minutes; add rosemary. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain sauce into another medium saucepan, pressing on solids in sieve. Add cream; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.

To assemble:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat. Add carrot and bell pepper; toss 2 minutes. Add cabbage; toss until cabbage wilts, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 fillets, pecan side down, into skillet. Cook until crust is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using spatula, turn fillets over. Cook until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and fish.

Whisk sauce over low heat to rewarm (do not boil). Divide vegetables among plates. Top with fish. Spoon sauce around fish and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve.

Halibut Steaks with Creamy Saffron Sauce

When I was in high school, our Spanish teacher, Miss Azevedo, corralled the class to join her at another teacher’s house for some real paella.  She’d provide the ingredients, one of which was saffron.  We talked about this spice as she stood and stirred the seafood, the broth and the rice together, and she admitted that she couldn’t afford the REAL saffron.  Instead she had a packet of “fake” saffron that she’d bought in Spain on her last trip home and brought it back with her.

That idea–that saffron was expensive beyond belief–stuck with me for more than 40 years.  This belief was confirmed by sightings of jars of saffron in the store–a regular sized jar with a thread or two of saffron for a whopping price.  It never made it into my spice cupboard, until one day in Trader Joe’s I saw Spanish saffron in a small jar with a cork for a lid at a very affordable price.  I bought two.

So when I went hunting for a new recipe to make tonight with my frozen Costco halibut steaks, I found this in Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything. Creamy Saffron Sauce.  Given that I was now the proud possessor of some actual saffron threads (as well as having leftover Greek yogurt from dinner at the beginning of the week) I was in business.  We enjoyed it–hope you will too, as it’s another quick and easy dinner.

1 cup yogurt, preferable whole milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
small pinch cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste (roughly 1-2 Tablespoons)

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with some salt and pepper, the cayenne and the shallot.  Rub the saffron threads between your fingers to crush them, then stir it into the yogurt miexture.  Let sit for about 20 minutes.  [It’s like watching a Polaroid photo develop–the sauce starts to turn this fabulousy yummy shade of yellow from the saffron.  I kept giving it a whisk or two to help it along.]  Alternatively you can let it sit for up to 2 hours in the refridgerator.  Just before serving, add the lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning.  It mainly needed more salt, in my estimation.

2 halibut steaks (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

If halibut is frozen, let thaw, then rinse and pat dry.
Sprinkle the halibut with salt and pepper.  Put the butter and olive oil in a large [nonstick] skillet over medium heat.  When the butter melts, swirl it around the pan, then add the fish and cook gently, turning once or twice until a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance when inserted into the thickest part; this weill generally be less than 10 minutes.

Note: we served this with Baked Asparagus and Pearl Couscous with Pine Nuts and Sultanas.

Scallop Gumbo

When I saw this recipe in the New York Times (recipe by Mark Bittman), I knew it would work beautifully with what I’d planned to serve for Super Bowl Sunday: Cajun Jambalaya.

Bittman said it was  lighter gumbo, and the seafood was scallops, rather than the shell fish and bivalves I’d seen in other recipes.  The only place I wondered about was where he said to cook the roux, stirring constantly, until it darkened.  Really?  How dark?  Chocolate brown? Mud-colored?  In the end, I went with his timer advice, cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes.  It did darken (see photos below), but I’ll never know if it was dark enough.

The gumbo was a lighter version of a soup, flavorful, a bit spicy (but not uncomfortable) and I actually liked dumping spoonfuls of the Cajun Jamalaya into the soup, enjoying the rice, shrimp, chicken and sausauge all together in my bowl.  It’s a fine gumbo on its own.

My advice? Prep all the ingredients before you start, because you are stirring the roux and won’t have time to stop and chop.

This is the prep for both dishes, the gumbo and the jamalaya.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper
2 to 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
2 cups chopped tomatoes with their juice (canned are fine)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
1 pound scallops
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish.

1. Put oil and butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, stirring almost constantly, until roux darkens and becomes fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes; as it cooks, adjust heat as necessary to keep mixture from burning.

These are the stages of the roux as it darkened over 15 minutes.  I dumped in the vegetables when it was mud-colored.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and raise heat to medium. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, about 10 more minutes.

2. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, bay leaves and cayenne. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat so soup bubbles steadily. Cook for about 20 minutes or until flavors meld. Add scallops and cook until they are no longer translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve, garnished with parsley.