Cucina de Povera – Seafood Trio In Tomato Sauce

Italy shapes like a high-heeled boot from the map.  In the heeled area, it is relatively poor and less developed. There are no buzzing tourist attractions, no fancy restaurants and no travelling crowds. It is quite possible the famous mafia is part of the puzzled scene.  About 2500 years ago, this place is ruled by Greece.  There is an old village where people are speaking ancient Greek. Greek ruins dotted the country side.  As I have traveled to Italy 30 years ago.  One local young man told me: “ although the ancient architectures attract tourists worldwide to Italy, we don’t have enough funding to repair or even to maintain them”.  It was very sad to see that those ruins are just left crumbling in front of all of us.

With the blue Mediterranean Sea as the beautiful backdrop, there are onion fields and ample seafood produced by diligent farmers and fishermen. They deserve to eat well.  That is the background for the humble but elegant Cuicina de Povera – poor men’s food. No matter how simple is the ingredients, the proud Italian cooked with precision and generate no lousy dishes.

Watching the latest saeries Hairy Bikers’ trip to Mediterranean, they started with ciooked octopus and potato slices.  Then adding onions, oregano and lots of chilli powder, etc. to make a simple stew.  Octopus is not readily available, it is subsituted with seafood trio – shrimp, baby clam and squid. So this is my take on this lovely dish.  It is highly recommended for you to cook this dish with the seafood of your choce or readily available.

Its taste turned out to be like the seafood stew I had 30 years ago when two of my colleagues and I travelled to Illinois for a conference and were referred to a nice little Italian restaurant.  The table is set with a piece of crisp white paper on top of table cloth.  The seafood stew is the most memorable one and this dish instantly brought me back to the moment of being in that restaurant. I was really young then.

Seafood Trio in Tomato Sauce

Preparation: 20 minutes

Overall cooking time: 30 hour

Skill level: elementary

Budget level: $$$ (range from $ least expensive to $$$$$ most expensive)

Number of servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • Shrimp, baby clams and Squids 2 cups (With skin removed and cut into large pieces)
  • Aromatic ingredients:

Organic White Onion              1

Tomato                                    1 (peeled)

Organic Tomato Puree          1T

Paprika                                  1t

Garlic                                      3 cloves

Oregano                                  1/2 t

Salt                                          to taste

Black Pepper                           pinch

Olive Oil                                         T

Black and green olives            2T

White Wine                             1T (Italian white wine, of course)

(c)Side dish:

Organic rice trio                     2 cups (white rice, brown rice and purple rice in the ratio of 6 to 3 to 1)

Instruction:

  1. Prepare the seafood trio by peeling off the shell of shrimps, cleaning the clams and peel of the guts of squid and removing the skins.
  2. Slice peeled tomato and onions. Take 2 cloves of garlic and chop into mince.
  3. Heat a skillet and add the olive in medium heat. Fry onion strips for 2 minutes. Add tomato and garlic till tomato is tender. Add tomato pasted and stir.
  4. Add seafood trio till 80 % cooked.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients and stir till it is all cooked. Spoon over prepared rice and serve.

Variations:

  • Alternatively, serve it as a main dish as one serving. Use bread as side dish so you can wipe up all the stew at the end at the very end.
  • The original recipe called for hot chili powder and plenty of it at about 1 teaspoonful. Spicy hot dishes is not my preference, therefore I used the smoky mild paprika instead. If I had added hot chili powder, it will not turn out to be the taste of the seafood tomato stew in the Illinois restaurant.  This is a love twist I was very glad to make.

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