Saturday, May 15, 2021

Recipe: Tapa al Antonio from Mediterraneao

I used to live in Hermosa Beach, CA, back from 2004-2008. With all the pleasures of beach life in this beautiful coastal town, the excellent cuisine was one of the largest sources of joy for me. And at the center of that culinary experience for me, was the restaurant Mediterraneo.

FoodSherpas.com recreation of Tapa al Antonio from Mediterraneao in Hermosa Beach, CA

Mediterraneo was a tapas restaurant that specialized in exactly what the name would say: Mediterranean cuisine. They had a well managed menu with select items covering the entire Mediterranean region including typical Spanish tapas, as well as small plates from around the region such as Greek and Middle Eastern fare.

But it was a single Italian dish that was at the top of my list for each weekly visit: Tapa al Antonio. This dish was a simple one of  3 seated scallops, each topped with a shrimp, and served in a shallow pool of one of the best pink sauces ever created. 

The seafood was fantastic. But it was the sauce that was the star of the show. The hardest part of waiting for the dish to arrive was having to set aside the focaccia bread, knowing it was a necessary vehicle to make the Tapa al Antonio the perfect meal.

This sauce from Mediterraneao was so exquisite, that an extra order of bread was a requirement.

Some of my best memories of my time in Hermosa Beach, CA were my visits to Mediterraneao. And I will never forget this dish…especially when I’ve witnessed friends of mine literally pick up the plate and lap the sauce up like kittens.


Below you will find my tribute to the Tapa al Antonio from Mediterraneao. I’ve tested this recipe countless times and it’s always perfect. It’s quick, simple, and wonderful. 




TAPA AL ANTONIO DI MEDITERRANEAO:

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins


INGREDIENTS:

Scallops and Shrimp:

  • 3-4 medium scallops per person
  • 3-4 large shrimp per person
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Pink Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil
  • 1.5 cups cream
  • Fresh black pepper



INSTRUCTIONS:

Pink Sauce:

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan
  • Add garlic and onions and cook until soft for 5 minutes
  • Add red pepper flakes
  • Stir in tomatoes and vodka, cook for 7 minutes
  • Add salt and black pepper
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes
  • Once sauce has been reduced, let sit for a few minutes
  • Transfer sauce to a food processor or blender
  • Add fresh basil
  • Purée until smooth
  • Return sauce to the pan
  • Add cream and stir
  • Cook until warmed through
  • For use with a pasta side dish, top pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese

Scallops and Shrimp:

Grilled:

  • Salt the seafood and grill just long enough to sear 
  • Add black pepper

Seared:

  • Salt and pepper the seafood
  • Add olive oil to pan at medium to high heat 
  • Add seafood and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side 


Serving:

  • Add a 1/2 inch layer of sauce to each plate 
  • Add the scallops
  • Top each scallop with a shrimp
  • Ideal plating would be a smaller plate to serve as a tapa
  • I garnish with fresh basil flowers


Recommend Side Dishes/Additional Tapas:

  • Always serve fresh, warm bread (focaccia or ciabatta) sliced into 1 inch wide strips from dipping into the sauce!
  • Penne with the sauce, topped with freshly grated Parmesan 
  • Gnocchi with sauce, topped with freshly grated Parmesan
  • Grilled zucchini 
  • Sautéed spinach with pine nuts and golden raisins 













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