Monday, June 17, 2013

Fast and Easy (and Delicious) #SuperFresh™ Seafood



Thank you to Bumble Bee SuperFresh™ for sponsoring this article. Find the new Bumble Bee SuperFresh™ entrées in your area by visiting: http://bumblebeesuperfresh.com/buy

I've heard so many people say that seafood is best "right off the boat." Those people live near coastlines. I live near mountains. Far from any coast. But the absolute next-best thing is properly prepared and frozen seafood. And in some cases, it's the best option, even if you live sorta-near a coast.

I mean, fresh fish (or shellfish) doesn't stay fresh all that long, so unless you're building a bonfire on the beach to cook what was just caught, your fish is losing freshness every minute that ticks away.

Bringing fresh fish home from the store and chucking it in the refrigerator to cook the next day doesn't help it one little bit.

Commercial freezing technology has improved so much since the olden days when freezing was a terrible thing to do to any food. So, yeah, frozen seafood is pretty darned good these days.

So when the nice folks at Bumble Bee® offered to send me a variety of their new Bumble Bee SuperFresh entrees, for sure I wanted to give them a try. Because not only are these properly frozen, they're complete fish recipes.

Can I be brutally honest here? Fish is one of my top "I need something fast that I don't have to think about" dinners. It cooks so fast, and you can cook it from its frozen state. So no need to think about it too far in advance.

The downside to using fish as my last-minute meal is that I'm not at my most creative right about then. So I grab whatever seasoning looks good, maybe some lemon. And it is what it is. It's good enough, but it's not the best I could do if I thought about it for a while.

That's where these Bumble Bee SuperFresh entrees really shine, because the thinking part is all done. Seasoning is done. You just follow some simple directions and you have a danged good dinner.

Which gives you a little time to think about a side dish or relax with a cocktail.

Did I say cocktail? We'll get to that in a minute.

But first a side dish that pairs well with just about any fish dish you can imagine. It's lightly lemony, freshly herby, with color and texture and vegetables. What more could you ask for? I paired it with the Spicy Shrimp Romesco for dinner.

One more confession? My number one side dish with fish is rice. It's simple. I can throw it in my rice cooker. And then I have white rice to go with my seafood. It's not the prettiest plate in the world.

Since I didn't have to fuss much with the entree, I whipped up a colorful pasta side using tri-color orzo and some bright vegetables. It's like edible confetti.

If you can't find tri-color orzo, regular orzo is fine. The one I used had white(ish), light salmony-orange, and pastel army-green pasta. I've seen some at the farmer's market with more brilliantly-colored pasta that would be even more interesting.

Confetti Orzo

1 cup tri-color orzo
2 ears fresh corn
1/2 medium onion
1 red bell pepper*
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain. You can do this ahead of time and rinse with cold water to keep it from sticking.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Cut the corn from the cobs and discard the cobs. Dice the onion into pieces about the same size as the corn. Core the bell pepper and dice into pieces about the same size as the corn.

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring as needed, until it begins to soften and become translucent. Add the salt, pepper, bell pepper, and corn. Cook, stirring as needed, until the bell pepper barely begins to soften.

Add the cooked pasta, and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice and chives, give it another stir, and take it off the heat. Serve hot.

*I used parts of several peppers - red, orange, and yellow - for more color. You can use one pepper, if you prefer.

Cocktail Time!

Moscoto wine is becoming one of my favorites. It's not super-sweet, but sweet enough. I particularly like the sparkling versions. They seem so festive. And it's inexpensive enough that you can mix it with fruit juices or use it in cocktail recipes without feeling like you're ruining a fancy varietal wine.

In this case, I decided to do a play off the mimosa, made with champagne. Or even a bellini, made with prosecco. The idea is the same - sparkling wine and fruit juice. The moscato wine is light and fresh and easy to drink (and perfect for summer). and the citrus is always a good match for seafood.

Moscato Mimosa

Orange-pineapple juice, cold
Moscato wine (sparkling preferred), cold
Maraschino cherry (optional)

Fill your favorite sparking-wine drinking glass about 1/4 full with juice. Top with the wine. Add the cherry, if you like.

Serve.

If you prefer, you can change the ratio to 50-50, or even use 3/4 juice and 1/4 wine. It's up to you. And that cherry? Completely optional.

And NOW for something fishy!

But you're getting no recipe. Because these entrees really are complete out of the package. The fish entrees slide into parchment bags to cook en papillote in the oven for about 20 minutes (more or less, depending on the variety) and can be served in the parchment or removed for plating.

The shrimp cook in just a few minutes (about six minutes, total) on the stovetop.

The funniest thing was my husband's reaction to the first entree I served - the tilapia with garlic. He was surprised when I told him that I didn't add anything at all to the fish - that it came with the seasoning and it tasted so typically like something I would make and serve - even to company.

I was surprised how fresh the basil tasted when we sampled the salmon with garden pesto. I'm betting most folks wouldn't realize that it was frozen along with the fish. Really impressive.

Even better, the ingredient list on the entrees are devoid of chemicals, preservatives, or things that I wouldn't have in my own pantry. Nothing scary or weird. Just normal stuff. If you're concerned about the sustainability of the fisheries your seafood comes from, the Bumble Bee SuperFresh™ seafood is certified by third-party certifying organizations. Well, okay then.

The ingredients for the Spicy Shrimp Romesco are shrimp, butter, vine-ripened tomatoes, red wine vinegar, tomato powder, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, garlic, shallots, cayenne pepper, parsley, red pepper, and sea salt. See, perfectly normal stuff!

It was pretty simple to cook, just toss it in a nonstick pan, turn on the heat, cook for four minutes, then drain the liquid and add the flavored butter. When the butter was melted - two minutes more - it was done.

I haven't tried all of the entrees yes, but I've been really pleased with the ones I have sampled. I still have salmon with garlicky black pepper and extra virgin olive oil; tilapia with lemon, pepper, and herbs; and lemon shrimp with garlic and herbs.

For sure I'll be looking for these at the local stores when I've finished them off, so I have on hand for quick and easy meals.

Bumble Bee SuperFresh™ gave me free product and said they'd pay me to blog about it IF I liked it. I do!
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