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Lemon, chili, marinara spaghetti was a flop. Suggestions?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

Last week I made a lemon, chili, garlic, prawn and pasta dish that was amazing. Tonight I made the same recipe but instead of adding in 10 prawns I used about 500 g of marinara mix. The end result was that the spaghetti had flavour but it was also sort of watered down and didn't have the X factor happening like before. It was disappointing. What went wrong? Was there simply too much water in this cooking process from all of that mixed seafood? The stove I used was struggling to really seriously cook the seafood mix and it appeared to be half steamed compared to the prawns which contained little water and fried up quickly in the pan.

 

Is marinara just not suitable for this recipe? Everything I see online shows it being thrown together with a tomato and onion base.

 

Any ideas on how I could have saved the dinner would be appreciated or how I can get it right next time if I choose to use a marinara mix.

 

Many thanks ... S

post #2 of 10

It was steamed. Did you so called Marinara mix come frozen? If it did, next time if you still want to use that junk, let it thaw in fridge in a strainer overnight then use. A lot of frozen shrimp and seafood we use is "" glazed'' that means dipped in a water solution then quick frozen..This they claim helps it retain color and taste and stops freezer burn. The real reason I believe is to add weight to the product as you pay by the pound. In reality you are paying for water. One time I had 3 pounds filet of some kind of white fish and let it thaw, it went down to 1 1/2 pounds the rest a puddle of water.

All the cooking you see online is not the best, it is the easiest.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

The mix was not frozen but may have been previously. It didn't appear to be "wet" really but when it hit the pan there was definitely too much liquid going on compared to the prawn version which tasted brilliant. So the verdict is to stick to one simple type of seafood yes? Would scallops work? Possibly half cook them in butter before throwing them in to the garlic, chili mix?

post #4 of 10

Any seafood will work providing it is dry. Fresh is better. Try an experiment get a previously frozn fish filet, thaw it out. Now take a fresh filet. Squeeze them both in your hand over 2 bowls. The frozen one will throw 2 times the amount of liquid as non frozen. No matter what process they use they still can't 100% stop the breaking down of cells in the fish when it has been frozen. 

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. I had no idea the thawed seafood held so much water like that compared to the fresh stuff. No wonder tonight's pasta was so lacking in zing. Just a watery sensation in the mouth with flavour trying but failing to really come through full force.

post #6 of 10

I don't even know what a marinara mix is, can someone enlighten me?

 

In my world I either cook with the flavors of lemon OR the flavors of tomato.  There are not many exceptions to this rule and can't even think of any off hand. 

 

I use frozen shrimp a lot.  They do have to be defrosted properly in the fridge for a few hours and then I wash them and de-shell them.  I then place them inbetween 2 layers of paper towels to absorb any excess water.  Repeat that step if you see the papers towels are drenched.  This step helps a lot in searing.  In fact I only buy fresh shrimp if I have to buy the super jumbo ones which I can never find frozen.  "Fresh shrimp" at the fish mongers is never fresh, it has always been defrosted from frozen.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Marinara mix is just mixed seafood. The one I bought had prawns, calamari, bits of fish, and some muscles. I wouldn't recommend buying the premixed version in the supermarket. Buy it all fresh and mix it up yourself. There's a fish market here in Sydney and no reason why I can't go down there for the goods.

 

I'm going to try this next with fresh scallops and medium strength (the longer red ones) chili.

 

For those interested, this was the recipe:

 

1) Pour some olive oil into a large pan

2) Throw in about 6 chopped cloves of garlic

3) Throw in chopped chili to taste (2 medium hot chillies)

4) Season and once garlic is gold in colour add in the prawns plus a knob of butter and cook for about 2 min

5) Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice

6) Throw in the pasta and mix it up

7) Garnish with roquette (arugula).

post #8 of 10

Amazing! Though we both allegedly speak English, all I could picture was mixing tomato sauce (Marinara) with a pot of Chili (meat, spices, chile peppers, etc.) and the lemon and seafood caused me to ????? crazy.gif

 

Now that I see what you really said, it makes sense laser.giffrom one who speaks American.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

Amazing! Though we both allegedly speak English, all I could picture was mixing tomato sauce (Marinara) with a pot of Chili (meat, spices, chile peppers, etc.) and the lemon and seafood caused me to ????? crazy.gif

 

Now that I see what you really said, it makes sense laser.giffrom one who speaks American.



 

 

 

     That is exactly what I was picturing too.  Oh, that is funny!

 

 

  Studio34,

 

    The recipe sounds simple and tasty.  I would stick with fresh seafood if possible, which isn't always possible.  keep'em as dry as possible.

 

 

   thumb.gif

post #10 of 10

On the possibly pre-frozen marina mix (calamari rings, prawns, fish, mussels etc etc) best way is as Chefedb says.  Drain overnight in a colander.  Next day, when ready to make your dish, pile it onto kitchen towel and press our the excesss liquid.  Once it feels dryish, full steam ahead :)  It's as has been said, to keep the fish fresher ther are dipped in cold water, frozen, then dipped and frozen again.  You are paying for a lot of water.

 

Sometimes I'll buy frozen whiting as it is so much more affordable.  It's just soggy and horrible really, even with the above process.  Icky. Fresh is best, especially if you consider fresh has just the full weight of the fish per#/kg, whereas frozen seems to have half the weight of fish to water.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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