Thursday, 8 March 2012

The 'Pageview Millenium Celebration' Recipe: Seafood Platter with French Fries and Shallot Dipping Sauce

1000 pageviews!!! My first milestone.

Thanks to everyone for supporting my new venture. Over my first 7 weeks as a blogger, I have absolutely adored sending out my rambling missives on a one-way ticket into cyberspace, with the hope that someone would notice, and maybe even stick around to hear what I have to say, on such diverse topics as family, charity donations, bus advertising, the crumbling Eurozone, Nigella Lawson, and working from home. Oh yes, and the recipes - you can't forget the recipes.

Today's recipe is very dear to my heart, as befitting the celebratory atmosphere which only a pageview millenium can provide. For one day only, the Potless budget shall be cast to the winds and I shall spend, spend, spend, like a 20 year old foreign currency trader at a crappy Liverpool nightclub (did you read that story? £200,000 in one night. What a legend fool).

I had the most memorable plateau de fruit de mer in the world a few (dear God, was it really ten?) years ago on a patio in front of a restaurant in the centre of Troyes in France, on a sunny July day. Troyes is the forgottenest of the three towns in the Champagne area of northern central France - the other two being the much better-known Reims and Epernay (although I'm certain you didn't need me to remind you of that wildly interesting fact).

Anyway, Troyes is great, and all the better for being off the tourist trail. I'm planning to take Mrs Ribeye there for lunch on our road trip down to the Cote d'Azur on our summer hols, at the end of June. All being well, we should be eating this dish at the same restaurant I first enjoyed it at a decade (eek!) ago - as long as the faltering French economy hasn't forced the restaurant owner to succumb to the offer from Starbucks/McDonalds/Costa to purchase his lease.

The cost of this decadent dish? Well, let's say that it's a metre or trois over the Potless budget - but a kilometre below what the baby-faced currency trader paid for a Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne at Playground Bar in Liverpool. So that's alright then.

Roll on, 10,000 pageviews!!!

Serves 2

Seafood Platter:


1 x 750g brown crab, in shell, legs separated, and gills removed from the head meat
1 x 750g lobster, in shell, halved lengthwise
4 langoustine (Dublin Bay prawns), in shells
8 tiger prawns, shelled and deveined, but tail fins still attached
4 large clams, on the half shells
4 large mussels, on the half shells
100g whelks, in shells
100g winkles, in shells
4 rock oysters, on the half shells

N.B. All  of the shellfish to be cooked in salted boiling water, from longest to shortest length of time, in the order as shown above (except the oysters, which are served raw).

8 lemon quarters, to serve
Handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped, to serve
250g French fries, to serve

Using a three-tiered platter, fill the three plates with crushed ice. Place the lobster halves and the crab legs around the periphery of the top tier, with the head of the crab as a centrepiece.

On the second tier, arrange the langoustine, the tiger prawns and the oysters.

On the lower tier, arrange the clams, mussels, the whelks and the winkles.

Dot the lemon halves around the three tiers, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve the plateau with a side dish of the French fries, and a ramekin of the mignonette.

N.B. If you are using a large single platter, arrange the shellfish in attractive concentric circles, with the head of the crab as a centrepiece.


Shallot Dipping Sauce:


50ml red wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar
Dash of Tabasco
Pinches of salt and pepper

Mix ingredients in a bowl and transfer to a ramekin, to let the shallots macerate and the flavours develop (for 1 hour, at least).

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