Fruit de Mer with Ginger Cream on Squid Ink Pasta

This is a fusion dish, which I’ll admit is not my comfort zone. I normally don’t like mixing Japanese with Mexican, or Brazilian with Middle Eastern. Just typing all those words together makes me a little unsettled. But true as it is, many great cuisines are, in fact, a mix of cultures. Take for instance my co-pirate’s cajun cuisine. It is a beautiful blend of French, Native American and Afro-Caribbean. Many African dishes are laced with the Indian culture; great Vietnamese cuisine is a combo of Southeast Asian and French.

So let me take a stab at what I would classify as “Italian-Southeast Asian Fusion”. Keep in mind that this recipe does not have to be served on squid ink pasta. It can be served on any linguini or rice.

My friend Alyson gave me Squid Ink Pasta that I’ve been saving for peak Galley Pirates season. I’ve made it before, but never in this form. The pasta given to me was 21″ long. You’ve got it….it doesn’t fit in ANY drawer on a sailboat, barely a locker; maybe the lazarette. But I was bound and determined not to break it. Then, upon careful inspection I noticed that this pasta was not just 21″ long but FOLDED OVER at 21″! So each pasta strand was actually 42″ long. That’s about the length of a sail tie. Challenge on. I’m going to boil this pasta without breaking it, and let’s see if one noodle will twirl up on a fork.

Fruit de Mer with Ginger Cream Sauce

For a print-friendly recipe see below

2 lbs of shrimp, lobster, langoustines or prawns, or a combination of them
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ginger juice
2 teaspoons of fresh pressed ginger juice
2 habenero peppers
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Chicken bouillon
1 lb squid ink pasta

Garnished with:
3 cups fresh bean sprouts
4 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Slivers of Habańero peppers
Squeeze of lime

If you think you might be squeamish about squid ink pasta, don’t worry. It tastes little different than regular pasta; you just have to overcome the color.

Let’s start with cooking the pasta. Heat up a pot of water that will fit your pasta. I needed to find the biggest pot on the boat…the crab steamer. And about a day’s worth of tank water to fill it. While the water heats up, prep the ingredients.

The secret to this pungent ginger cream is using ginger juice. Peel your ginger and cut into 1/2″ sized pieces and press through a garlic press. You’ll want about a tablespoon of ginger juice and 3 teaspoons of minced ginger.

Mince the garlic and habańero peppers. (be careful to not touch the inside of the peppers. Best to use gloves.)

Sauté the garlic and habańero in 2 tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of vegetable oil for two minutes. Add the ginger and ginger juice and sauté another minute.

Add the shrimp, langoustines, lobster…whatever you are using…to the pan of spices and sauté on low until pink. Remove seafood to a plate so you can make your white sauce.

Add  2 tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of flour to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. You’re just making a white sauce so it does not need to cook long.

Oh boy! Right in the middle of the white sauce I ran out of propane. You’ve been there, right? It used to happen frequently half way through the Sunday roast when we were living aboard. And we often didn’t have a spare propane tank, so we’d have to run to the gas station to fill the tank. Lessons learned….always have a spare tank on board.

Galley pirates are typically good about swapping out propane tanks in record time. So here I go. (For some good technical advice you can visit West Marine’s propane maintenance page or read Cruising World’s very through and sound advice.) Here are my two cents worth of propane change instruction (click on the images for more details.)

Changing out the propane tank…in the middle of meal prep!

Changing out the propane tank…in the middle of meal prep!
Turn off the tank valve (hand wheel) Pull out nozzle Teflon tape Place nozzle into new tank The Soapy Water Test Turn it back on

Turn off the tank valve (hand wheel)

Be sure your tank valve (the knob on top of the tank) is closed off. Using a good sized wrench (preferably not a monkey wrench as I did here) unscrew the adapter valve. Pro tip: the propane adapter has reverse threads.

Pull out nozzle

Once you've pulled out the nozzle* you can unscrew any lock down devices used that hold your tanks. I've had three different boats and none of the propane systems have been the same.
*I'm calling it a nozzle here. It is also called the adapter valve, the connector fitting.

Teflon tape

Wrap teflon tape around the threads. Be sure to wrap it around at least four times or so. This will give a nice seal.

Place nozzle into new tank

You may need to secure the tank locking devices before you can place the nozzle back into the new tank. Tighten it very tightly with the wrench (but like anything, do not over-tighten and strip the threads.) Turn the tank valve on.

The Soapy Water Test

Now test to be sure it doesn't leak. Take a small cup of water with dish soap stirred into it. Pour over the seal of the valve and check for bubbles. If it bubbles the valve either needs to be tightened, or needs to be shut off completely, removed and threads checked.

Turn it back on

Turn on the propane switch inside and light your stove.

Whew! Now, back to cooking...

So back to the white sauce. Add cream, chicken broth, lime juice and sugar. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Add more both if it becomes too thick. You want this to be a very light, somewhat thin cream sauce. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and more sugar if needed.

Add the seafood into the pan and blend into the cream sauce. Cover and set aside.

By this time your pot of water should be at a boil. Add a good amount of salt to the water. Then throw in the pasta.

It didn’t all fit but within a few minutes I was able to push all the pasta in.

But getting the pasta out of the boiling water…on a boat with tiny sinks…was the problem. Especially when the pasta noodles are close to 4′ long. As you can see, my colander was not quite up to the task. I pulled all of the pasta out of the water with tongs and placed in the “too small” colander. Not pretty, but it worked.

Place a serving sized pile of squid ink pasta on each plate.

Throw a handful of bean sprouts on the pasta.

Then spoon on the Fruit de Mer with Ginger Cream Sauce on top of the pasta. Top with scallions, cilantro and habańero peppers, plus a squeeze of lime.

By the time this meal was served, I realized I forgot to ask anyone to twirl one 42″ long pasta noodle onto a fork. It has yet to be done, here on Galley Pirates anyway. I’m sure there is a physics calculation that will determine if it will work or not. Or…just eat it. Or…challenge on. Let us know!

2 thoughts on “Fruit de Mer with Ginger Cream on Squid Ink Pasta

  1. Our propane ran out on Christmas Day in North Palm Beach when I was in the middle of making your stuffed flank steak recipe for guests:( Luckily we had a second full tank and Skipper Chuck just had to switch them out!! Have to give this one a try-maybe for Christmas Eve at home:)

    • Of course! My flank steak cursed you. Yes, back in the day in Annapolis…say late 1980’s-early 90’s, it was really hard to find propane on Sundays. And that is typically when I would run out. Just like running out of of water in January while taking your shower before work. In the rain. In the dark. Getting out the dock hose with shampoo in your hair. I still think hot running water is the most luxurious thing that most of us take for granted!

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