Amaretto Flambéed Seafood

Almost every first-world recipe I've come across that uses amaretto is for a dessert, with very few employing the almond/apricot liqueur for meat and seafood dishes. But there are savoury applications for this subtle, bitter-sweet Italian liqueur - typically with chicken, lamb and ham - that reflect the traditional combination of these meats with bittersweet fruits in the cuisines of the Maghreb. This recipe surprises everyone who tries it - the flavour of the caramelised liqueur is quite different from the flavour when first poured.


250g mixed seafood*
1 clove garlic
40g butter
1 tbsp double cream
black pepper
25ml Amaretto

* mix your own to taste, chopping as required, making sure that all pieces are roughly the same size to ensure even cooking. Ideal ingredients include prawns, mussels, cockles, scallops, crab, lobster and small pieces of raw seafish.


Mix the seafood, making sure that you thoroughly wash any ingredients that have been preserved in brine (e.g. cockles sold in jars). Turn out the seafood onto kitchen roll and pat until completely dry. This stage is very important - excess water will cause the seafood to boil rather than fry and the mixture won't flambée.

Melt the butter in a pan with the finely-chopped garlic and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the seafood and toss in the butter for no more than 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the flame for safety, pour in a large dash of amaretto, place the pan back over the fire, tilt it away from you towards the flame (use a match if cooking with electricity) and allow to flambée until the flame disappears.

Add a tablespoon of double cream at this stage and stir with a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan, allowing the mixture to absorb all the delicious flavours and restoring the sweet-bitter balance to the final dish. Serve immediately and enjoy with pasta, rice, bread or salad.