Capital Chefs: John Critchley of Urbana (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Shellfish stew at Urbana’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

With spring finally in the air, chef John Critchley’s shellfish stew with coconut and lime is great for this time of year. The coconut milk and lime keep it light, but it still has a rich and creamy broth. For all you seafood wary cooks, this isn’t a difficult recipe to make, so it’s good for taking the plunge into cooking with shellfish. The flavors are great and it’s a dish that will definitely impress your friends.

Click through to find the full recipe after the jump.

Photo courtesy of
‘Shellfish stew at Urbana’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Shellfish Stew with Coconut and lime (Serves 4)

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 limes, juiced
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup  heavy cream

Instructions for the sauce:
1.  In a small saucepan over medium high heat add white wine, shallots, garlic and salt and reduce.
2. When almost dry, add the lime juice and reduce by half.
3. Add the coconut milk and heavy cream and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half.
4. Adjust seasoning with salt and reserve for the shellfish.

Photo courtesy of
‘Shellfish stew at Urbana’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Ingredients for the stew:
1/2 lb. calamari tubes and tentacles, cut tubes in 1/2 inch rings
8 jumbo fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off if you prefer
8 littleneck clams scrubbed and free of sand
16 mussels, cleaned
1/2 cup scallions, sliced (or spring onion, garlic, ramps, etc.)
Pinch of chili threads (which can be found in most Asian markets)
Water as needed
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, room temperature

1. In a clean saucepot with a lid, place the clams with 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
2. Simmer covered until the clams just open (about 3-5 minutes).
3. Add mussels and simmer another 2 minutes until opened.
4. Remove shellfish from pan and add the sauce from recipe above and bring to just barely a simmer.
5. Add calamari and shrimp and cook slowly for 4 minutes (cooking the shrimp for 2 minutes on each side).
6. Add the shellfish back to the pan and the last tablespoon of butter.
7. Warm thoroughly without boiling (boiling will make your calamari as tender as a rubber band).
8. Arrange in a large bowl and garnish with the scallions and chili threads.

Photo courtesy of
‘Shellfish stew at Urbana’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Marissa was born and bred in New Jersey, but moved to DC for undergrad at GWU (Go Colonials, go!), fell in love with the District and learned that there was life and civilization beyond New York City. She loves eating at white-tablecloth-three-forks-at-your-place-setting restaurants, but she’ll also be the first to suggest we scarf down some chili dogs at 2 am. Simply put, she loves all things food. You can also read about why she loves DC. Follow her on Twitter and email her at mbialecki (at)

Comments are closed.