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Sous Vide Salmon, Swiss Chard, Ginger Aioli, and Dashi Veloute

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Sous Vide Salmon, Swiss Chard, Ginger Aioli, and Dashi Veloute

Here is a dish that I serve a little bit ago and it was a huge hit with Jp.  This dish definitely takes a little time but some of the things can be done ahead of time.  Salmon is a great fish that can be "poached" or sous vide and also that can be eaten at a medium doneness.  I got a great piece of wild salmon and decided to also use the skin as a chip.  One of the rules in a chef's kitchen is to hardly ever through anything away and the skin of the fish being one of them.  I decided to make ginger aioli and a Dashi sauce.  To round out the dish I made a white miso and eggplant puree along with roasted spring onions. Very French in approach but flavored with Asian ingredients that married beautifully.  Jp couldn't get over how tender and melt in the mouth the salmon was.  This is also a great use of the swiss chard by wrapping the salmon in it.  Here is the recipe I really hope you enjoy it.

1 1/2 lb salmon fillet with skin scaled

1 bunch of swiss chard leaves blanched

 

Ginger Aioli

3 tbsp of fresh squeezed ginger juice

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 cup grape seed or vegetable oil

1 tsp of sesame oil

4 tbsp of rice wine vinegar

1 tsp of Aji Roja puree or sriracha  sauce

4-5 tbsp of honey

Salt to taste

 

Dashi 

3 cups of bonito flakes

1 piece of kombu (optional)

8 cups of water

2 tbsp of butter 

2 tbsp of flour

 

4 spring onions

1 bunch of blanched asparagus tips

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 red radish sliced thin

 

1 large eggplant peeled and diced

3 tbsp of white miso

3 tbsp of cream 

 

For the Salmon,

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

If you can, try and get one whole piece of salmon that weighs around 1 1/2 lbs.  Then take the skin off cleanly or have your fish monger do it for you.  Clean the fish skin of all the flesh so that it is really clean with no meat.  Make sure all of the scales are off on the outside of the skin.  Lay the skin flat on a cutting board and cut with a very sharp knife even strips of the skin.  Then take a piece of parchment paper and lay it flat on a sheet pan. Place the skin flat on the parchment paper and season lightly with salt.  Take another piece of parchment paper and lay on top of the salmon skin.  Place another sheet pan on top to weigh the paper down.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes.  Then flip over the skin and place in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the salmon skin is like a chip.  Set aside to cool and place in a air tight container.  

To make the salmon rolls, cut the salmon fillet down the middle of the fish length wise (you can follow the natural "white line" in the salmon) Then cut salmon into 4-5 oz "blocks".  Make sure that you trim any of the brown part of salmon bottom off (For the visual purposes). The goal here is try and get pieces of salmon that are the same size all the way around or as close as possible.  Then take one piece of salmon block and slice on the bottom 1/3 of the salmon all the way to the end of the other side of the salmon without cutting through it. (basically a butterfly cut) Then do the same slice with the 2/3 part of the salmon fillet (another butterfly cut).  So basically you should end up with a flat rectangular fillet of salmon.  Here at this stage you could use Transglutaminase (meat glue) if you wanted to make a seamless fillet.  I chose not to, I lightly season the flesh side up of the salmon and then roll the salmon up into a tight roll.  Then place the salmon roll in plastic and wrap really tightly, twisting both ends of the plastic until the salmon is a perfect tube.  Continue the process with the rest of the salmon pieces.  Place in the refrigerator to help set the shape for at least 2 hours.  

Then take a stove top smoker and place cherry chips in the bottom of the smoker.  Get a big plastic zip lock bag and fill it with ice.  Place in the stove top smoker on the tray. Take the salmon cylinders out of the refrigerator, cut one end of the plastic off and slide the salmon out of the plastic.  Place all the salmon cylinders on top of the ice.  Place the lid on top of the smoker and turn the heat on for 1-2 minute to get the smoker rolling.  Then turn off the heat and allow the smoke to penetrate the salmon for 15 minutes. ( without cooking the salmon, this is essentially cold smoking)

Then take the blanch chard leaves and remove the stems.  Make sure that you pat the leaves with a towel to completely dry them.  Then roll the chard leaves around the salmon.  Place the salmon back in a piece of plastic and roll it up tight, tying up both ends tightly to form a perfect cylinder.  Then place in a sous vide bag.  Set a water bath to 125 degrees.  Get the other mise en place prepped before you cook the salmon.  

For the dashi veloute, 

Soak kombu in fresh water to soften it a bit and get rid of any impurities for 20 minutes.  Then add kombu to a pot with water and bonito flakes.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and reduce by 1/2 or until the stock is rich and full of flavor.  In a small sauce pot add butter on medium heat.  When the butter has melted completely add the flour to make a roux.  Cook for one minute and then strain the dashi into the roux stirring continuously.  Start with 2 cups of dashi and small amounts until the dashi thickens to a nice consistency for a sauce or veloute.  Simmer for 15 minutes and then strain and season.  Set aside and keep warm.

For the Ginger aioli, 

Place egg yolks, ginger juice, vinegar, honey, and aji into a vita mix.  Turn on medium low and puree until smooth.  Then slowly add the oils until the aioli thickens to sauce consistency.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and place in a squirt bottle.  

For the eggplant puree,

In small pot of salted water add peeled and diced eggplant.  Boil for about 8 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Place in an ice bath. Discard any brown pieces and squeeze out excess water.  Then place the eggplant in the vita mix with miso, and a little cream.  Puree until smooth and adjust seasoning if needed.

Place the salmon rolls in the water bath and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile in a sauté pan on medium heat add olive oil and spring onions.  Cook for 5- 10 minutes until tender.  Then add the asparagus and warm through.  Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.  

To finish,

Take the ginger aioli and make an oval on the plate.  Then spoon in the dashi in the middle of the oval.  Take the salmon out of the water bath and out of the plastic bags. Cut the salmon using a sharp knife in 3 pieces.  Season the tops of the salmon with fluer de sel and place them on top of the sauce.  Place two spoonfuls of the eggplant puree next to the salmon pieces.  Add the spring onions, aspargus and shaved radish.  Finish with the salmon skin chip, serve and enjoy!

 

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Salmon Sashimi

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Salmon Sashimi

Here is an appetizer I served the other day that is really easy and straight forward.  Sushi grade fish has become more available at normal stores over the last few years.  I found an organic sushi grade salmon at Whole Foods that really was a great product.  I would estimate that 80% of the sushi served today is previously frozen.  I don't know that as a fact but that is just my guesstimate.  With a lot of dishes sometimes the best recipes are the ones that are simple and left alone to let the ingredients shine.  Still one thing that I have not mastered yet but still trying to learn.  Most of the things can be done ahead of time and it really is a dish that can be put together in a few minutes if everything else is prepped.  Here is the recipe hope you enjoy it.

8 oz of sushi grade salmon

1 red radish shaved thin

1 spring onion bottom shaved thin

1/4 cup of minced fried garlic

3 tbsp of cilantro stems minced

 

Pickled mushrooms

8 oz of beech mushroom

1/2 cup of black vinegar

1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of sugar

1 slice of ginger

1 tsp of sambal

 

Ponzu

Miso Mayo

Fried carrots, micro radish, and bok choy flowers to garnish

For the pickled mushrooms,

Place all of the ingredients into a pot except for the mushrooms and bring to a boil.  Place the mushrooms in a heat proof container.  Once the liquid comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved pour over the mushrooms.  Place a lid over it and allow it to come to room temperature.  This is better if it is made at least a day ahead of time.  

To finish the dish,

Take four plates and place one streak of miso mayo down on the plate.  Then take your salmon and slice thin pieces of sashimi and place on top of the miso mayo.  Then spoon on top of the salmon some ponzu.  You can add a touch more fresh lemon juice on top if you desire.  Then finish by adding the pickled mushrooms, fried garlic, radish, onion, cilantro stems, flowers and fried carrots.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 


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Sea Bass with Salt Roasted Sunchokes and Leek Brown Butter

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Sea Bass with Salt Roasted Sunchokes and Leek Brown Butter

Here is a dish that was a big hit the other night.  I know sea bass has been on a list for endangered species for a long time.  There are places selling sea bass that is fished responsible.  The problem lies when poaching occurs or when people fish over the allotted amounts.  If you can get the fish from a responsible source with documentation then you know its coming from a reliable source that is fish responsibly (read here).  With that being said I still try not to buy it very often at all.  Sea bass is definitely a star though in the kitchen because of its meaty texture, with butter flavor. The natural crust that you can achieve from this fish is really superb.  I literally serve it maybe 2 or 3 times a year (serving 4 people) so that amount is not something should be frowned upon.  With that being said you can easily substitute another fish for the sea bass if you feel strongly about it.  Two of my favorite things about this dish other than the fish is actually the sauce and the puree.  I roasted the sunchokes in a salt crust.  This technique really intensifies that natural flavor of the vegetable.  You can do this with any root vegetable or protein of your liking.  The sauce is a simple one but delicious.  You take leeks and chicken stock and then emulsify it with brown butter.  Absolutely delicious.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

1 lb of sea bass cut into 4, 4 oz pieces

1 lb of sunchokes

2 lb of salt

2 egg whites

5 tbsp of water

1/4 warm cup of cream

2 tbsp of butter

 

Leek Emulsion 

1 large leek washed and sliced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup of green onion tops 

1/4 cup of white wine

3 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of blanched parsley

1 1/2 sticks of butter, browned

 

Vegetables

6 baby carrots blanched and cut in half

6 baby turnips blanched and cut in quarters

6 baby zucchini blanched in cut in thirds

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of verjus

1 tsp of chopped thyme

 

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

For the sunchokes

Wash the sunchokes thoroughly under cold water.  Then in a bowl add salt, water, and egg whites.  Whisk together everything with a whisk until the salt resembles wet sand.  You can add a touch of water if it is not wet enough. In a small saute pan that is oven proof place a small layer of the salt to coat the bottom.  Then place the sunchokes on top of the bottom coat of salt.  Take the remaining salt and completely cover the sunchokes leaving no exposed vegetable.  Then place in the oven and roast for an hour. Take out and let it continue to cook for another 20 minutes.  Then crack the salt crust with a mallet to break it up.  Remove all of the salt.  Take the sunchokes out and dust off any of the left over salt.  Peel them if you want ( I did not) and place them in a blender.  Pour in the warm cream and butter.  Puree until completely smooth.  Adjust seasoning if need be.  Set aside until ready to plate.

For the Leek sauce

In a small sauce pot add oil, leeks, and garlic.  Season lightly with salt and sweet the leeks.  Do not let them brown.  Add your green onions and white wine.  Let the wine reduce by half and then add your chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then pour everything into a vita mix.  Add the blanched parsley and puree until smooth.  Turn down to a low speed and gradually add your browned butter until incorporated. (To make brown butter simply put butter into a pan and when the milk solid start to brown, smell toasted, and the butter turns brown take off the heat).  Let it blend of a minute and then strain out into a holding container.  Keep warm.

To Finish,

In a hot saute pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Season sea bass on both side with salt.  Place the sea bass fillet down into the pan.  Turn down the heat to medium high.  Cook for 5 minutes so the fish gets a really deep dark crust.  Meanwhile in a another saute pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil, carrots, turnips, and zucchini.  Cover and saute for 3 minutes and then add verjus and butter.  Cook uncovered for another minute, finish with thyme salt and pepper.  Flip the fish over after 5 minutes and then cook for 1 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let your fish finish cooking.  Place a spoonful of the warm sunchoke puree down on the plate.  Place the fish on top.  The ladle some of the sauce around the fish.  Place the vegetables next to the fish and finish the dish with sorrel and vegetable flowers.  Serve and enjoy!

 

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Copper River Salmon Carpaccio

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Copper River Salmon Carpaccio

Copper river salmon! The prized salmon coming from Alaska waters, has a short season of about 1 month out of the year normally running mid May through mid June.  That's it, so when the season comes along and you can get your hands on this salmon by all means do so.  Lately I have been seeing the Atlantic salmon that doesn't even have the coloring it should because the farm raised don't eat what a wild salmon would normally eat.  You can only imagine the difference in taste side by side with the wild.  

Carpaccio is normally a raw preparation of either meat or fish that is either sliced thin or pounded thin.  In this recipe I pounded the salmon thin and topped it with some different textures and flavors.  Jp said it was one of the best dishes he has had in a long time, every bite had something different in flavor.  The next day he even mentioned it two more times on how good it was and how that could have been served in any high end restaurant around the world. Always feels good when the boss is happy.  Here is the recipe

1 1/2 lb of copper river salmon de-boned and skin off

1 red radish sliced thin

1/4 cup of green onions sliced

1/2 cucumber sliced thin and rolled

1/4 cup of chopped peanuts

1 serrano sliced thin

1/4 cup of cilantro leaves

fleur de sel

1 lime

3 tsp of toasted sesame seeds

Ponzu


Pickled baby bok choy

3 baby bok choy cut in quarters

1/2 cup of black vinegar

1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup of sugar

1 tbsp of sichuan peppercorns

1 tbsp of coriander

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp of ginger

2 tsp of salt

Puffed rice chip

1 cup of jasmine rice

2 1/2 up of water (plus a little more) 

1 tsp of salt

shiso fumi furikake

Oil for frying


For the puffed rice chip

Place 2 1/4 cup of water into a pot with salt and bring to a boil. Pour in your rice, cover and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 20-23 minutes until tender and cooked all the way through.  It is okay if the rice is over cooked.  Once the rice is cooked/overcooked.  Place half of the rice in a blender with the remaining 1/4 cup of water.  Puree until smooth, you might need to add a touch more water to puree it completely smooth.  You should end up with a white glue like consistency  .  Pour the rice puree into a bowl and add the remaining cooked rice to the puree.  Mix with a spatula until well incorporated.  Then pour onto a silpat and with a offset or pastry spatula distribute the rice mixture into a thin, smooth, even layer.  Then place the silpat rice mixture into a dehydrator for 5 hours at 130 degrees (or over night).  After the first 2 1/2 hours have passed, I flip the rice mixture over so the the other side dries as well (Here you can also take a pair of scissors and cut the rice into specific shapes if you want).  Once the mixture is completely dry place 2 cups of oil in a pot for frying at 350 degrees.  Take your dried rice and break into pieces if you did not cut them before.  Place 2 at a time into the fryer and fry for 10-15 seconds roughly.  The dried rice should puff up right away and just needs a few more seconds on each side to slightly brown and crispin up.  Drain onto a paper towel and add a little shiso fumi seasoning on top.  Keep in air tight container when you have fried all the rice chips you want.  You can keep the dried rice in a your pantry and fry later if you want.

For the pickled baby bok choy,

Place vinegars, water, sugar, garlic, ginger, and spices into a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Place the baby bok choy in jar or bowl and pour the hot liquid over the baby bok choy.  Cover and let it come to room temperature, or can according to canning instructions.  

For the salmon,

Place a piece of plastic wrap on your counter about 1 1/2 feet long.  Take your salmon and slice thin like sashimi and place it on the plastic wrap.  Continue the process until all the salmon is cut. Then place another piece of plastic wrap on top of the salmon that is lying on the first piece of plastic wrap.  With a mallet, lightly pound fish until it is very thin.  Then you can arrange the salmon onto your serving plates.  You should be able to get 6-8 portions depending on how big a portion you want to serve.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for finishing the dish later.  This can be done hours before you serve your guest.  That way the salmon is cold and the plate is cold.  

To finish,

Take the salmon out of the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic.  With a hand held torch, torch the top of the salmon slightly to give a little different texture and flavor.  Then spoon on a couple teaspoons of ponzu on top of the salmon.  Squeeze a little lime juice over the top. Then season slightly with fleur de sel.  Add sliced serranos, cucumber, and radishes.  Top with chopped peanuts and green onions.  Add cilantro leaves, sesame seeds, and finish with puffed rice chip.  Serve and enjoy!


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Escolar Crudo

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Escolar Crudo

Here is a simple lunch that was light and refreshing.  It is always hard to choose what to make if Jp has been traveling and on the road.  When he is on the road he normally is eating out and so I know sometimes he wants something more light because he has been eating heavier things in the restaurants and hotels.  I just took a few ingredients that I had left over and through them all together and this is what came out.  

1 lb of Escolar Loin

1 tsp of sansho

2 red radishes sliced paper thin

1/4 cup of green onions

1/4 cup of ponzu

1/3 cup of puffed black rice

1/4 cup of cilantro with flowers

1 avocado parisienne balls

Pickled Daikon Radish

2 small daikon radish peeled and sliced thin

1 cup of rice wine vinegar

1 jalapeno cut in half

1 tsp of salt

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of water

ALMOND MISO PASTE

1/2 cup of smooth almond butter

1/4 cup of yellow miso

1/3 cup of warm water

1 tbsp of sambal chile paste

 

For The Almond Miso

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Set aside until ready to use.

For the Pickled Daikon

Take water, sugar, salt, jalapeno, and vinegar and place in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Place the sliced daikon in a bowl and pour the boiling pickle juice over the radishes.  Cover and set aside until it comes to room temperature.  Then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

To Finish 

Slice the escolar sashimi style.  Then take a spoonful of the almond miso on the plate.  Arrange fives slices of escolar on the plate.  Then drizzle ponzu on top of the fish.  Sprinkle sansho on each slice of fish.  Add a slice of daikon radish and red radish to each slice of escolar.  Sprinkle with black rice, cilantro flowers, green onions, and parisienne avocado.   Serve and Enjoy!


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Asian Surf and Turf

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Asian Surf and Turf

This was a request from work this week was surf and turf.  The rest was up to me to figure out how to make the surf and turf and with what proteins to use.  I choose filet because everyone loves it and its easy but expensive for sure.  The surf I choose flounder because it looked great and I haven't used it in a while.  I choose to sous vide both the meat and the fish although I think I would change the fish to just searing in a pan or even grilling next time.  I just don't think that flounder has the depth of flavor and fat content to stand up to the sous vide in my opinion 

 

Pea Sauce

1 cup of english peas

1/2  can of coconut milk

3 sprigs of mint leaves

Salt to taste

 

Black Garlic aioli

2 egg yolks

2 bulbs of black garlic

1 tbsp of whole grain mustard

1/3 cup of oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Tenderloin

4 5 oz steaks

3 tbsp of almond miso sauce (recipe below)

 

1 lb of flounder cut into 4 pieces

2 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp of ginger

 

Smoked rutabaga puree

2 medium sized rutabaga peeled and large diced

2 tbsp of butter

 

1 head of bok choy cut in 1 inch pieces

2 tbsp of gochujang (Korean fermented red pepper paste)

1/3 cup of water

1 tsp of butter

Salt to taste

 

Almond Butter Miso

2 tbsp almond butter

3 tbsp of blond miso

1 tbsp of sambal

1/4 cup of water

 

Salmon roe to garnish

 

For the English pea sauce,

Place a small pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Place the english peas in the water to blanch for about 1 and 1/2 minutes or until the peas are tender.  Strain out and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Then place them in a blend with coconut milk and mint.  Puree until bright green and smooth.  Season with salt, strain the sauce and set aside.

 

For the Rutabaga puree,

Set up a stove top smoker with cherry and hickory chips.  Place the diced rutabagas in the smoker, cover and turn on the heat.  Smoke for 3 minutes and then turn off the heat.  Allow the rutabagas to stay in the smoker for the next 20-30 minutes to allow them cool to room temperature and soak up in extra smoke.  Then place the rutabagas in a pot of water with salt and boil until tender.  Strain off the rutabagas once they are cook through and place them in a food processor.  Process until smooth with a little butter and season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm and set aside.

 

For the Beef

Make the almond miso paste by adding all the ingredients together in a bowl and mixing well.  Then place the tenderloin into the cryovac bags.  Place 3 tbsp almond miso paste into the bag.  Seal the bag air tight and place in a water bath set at 137 degrees.  Cook for approximately 30 minutes.  Then take out and set aside to finish later.

 

For the Black garlic aioli,

Place egg yolks, black garlic, and mustard into a food processor.  Puree until smooth and then slowly drizzle in the oil until you get a smooth aioli.  Season with salt and if the aioli is too thick you thin it out with a little water.   Set aside

 

For the Bok choy,

Take the bok choy, gochujang paste, water, and butter and place in a small pot.  Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid.  Cook for 7 minutes or until the bok choy is tender.  Season with salt and keep warm.

 

For the Flounder,

Place the flounder in a cryovac  bag with butter and ginger.  Seal air tight and place in the same water for 9 minutes.  Then take out and season with salt.  You can sear the fish in a pan for 1 minute for a little contrast in texture which is what I did but you don't have to.  Again the fish turn out good but I think that I would cook the fish the whole way through in a pan and skip this step of sous vide with this particular flounder.  Another fish like bass, cod, or even salmon with a lot more oil holds up a little better.

 

To finish

Take the meat out of the bag and season with salt.  Place the steaks in a hot saute pan with a tbsp of oil. Sear for 1 minute on each side and then place on your cutting board.  Place a spoonful of rutabaga puree on to the plate.  Add your black garlic aioli around the puree. Then slice the beef and place on top of the rutabaga puree.  Then on the other side of the plate add your gochujang bok choy.  Place your flounder on top.  Then spoon the english pea sauce on top of the fish.  Finish the dish with a little salmon roe on top of the flounder.  Serve and enjoy!


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Kona with Puffed Forbidden Rice, Almond Miso, Kumquats, and Lapsang Veloute

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Kona with Puffed Forbidden Rice, Almond Miso, Kumquats, and Lapsang Veloute

I had made a version of this dish a while back but the pictures didn't turn out that great so I thought I would make another version adding a few extra elements.  Lots of flavors going on in this dish but it all really works well together.   A lot of times dishes come together for me by prepping different items, for instance: last week I had dried some cooked forbidden rice ( for puffing ), made candied kumquats, and had some toasted garlic on hand.  Having prepared ingredients that can keep for an extended period of time helps bring a dish together a lot quicker at home.  I bought the whole fish so I made fish stock from the carcass which I turned into the sauce.  That is basically the dish with a few added ingredients to bring everything together.  

1 3-5 lb whole kona kampachi  fillet and portion into 4 oz pieces

Fish Stock

1 carrot

1 celery stock

1 turnip

1 onion

1 sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 whole garlic bulb cut in half

1 leek

1 gal of water

Lapsang Veloute

1 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp of flour

3 cups of fish stock 

1 tbsp of lapsang souchong tea

salt to taste

Almond miso paste

1/2 cup of smooth almond butter

1/4 cup of yellow miso

1/3 cup of warm water

1 tbsp of sambal chile paste

Candied kumquats

8 kumquats sliced thin

1/2 cup of sugar 

3/4 cup of water

1 cup of dried cooked forbidden black rice

1/2 cup of chopped green onion

3 tbsp of fried garlic

1 red radish sliced thin

micro arugula 

For the Fish stock

Have your butcher fillet the kona if you don't know how or go here (the link is for flounder but gives you the basics).  Then cut the collar of the fish and reserve for another use.  Take the gills out and discard.  Then take the whole fish and rinse well under cold water to rid of any blood ( blood will turn your stock cloudy)  The place in a pot with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and reduce by at least half.  The stock should have a rich deep flavor but not overly fishy.  If the stock still taste very mild and watery, then reduce a little more until you have a deep flavor profile.  Strain out and discard the contents.   

For the Sauce

Melt butter in a medium sauce pot over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour to make a roux.  Cook for 1 minute and then add a cup of the fish stock and stir well.   Let it combine completely and then add the rest of the 2 cups of stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for at least 10 minutes and let the sauce thicken until it glazes the back of a spoon.  Then add the lapsang souchong tea and steep for 4 minutes.  Season with salt and strain out.  Keep the sauce warm until ready to use.

For the Candied kumquats

Place water, sugar, and kumquats in a small pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes and then turn off and cool to room temperature.  Set aside for later.

For the Puffed rice

A day before cook forbidden rice, cool it and then dehydrate or dry in an oven over night.  Then take frying oil and bring to 350 degrees.  In small batches add the dried forbidden rice to the oil.  The rice should puff up within 5 seconds, if it doesn't you might need to bring the temperature of the oil to 375.  Once puffed and browned slightly strain out on to a paper towel and season with salt.  Repeat the process until you have roughly a cup of puffed rice.

For the Almond miso

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Set aside until ready to use.

To Finish

Take the kona and season with salt on both side.  Heat a non stick pan on medium heat.  Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan.  Place the fish fillet side down in the pan.  Cook on the one side for 4 to 5 minutes, if the heat is too hot turn it down to medium low so the fish cooks fairly slow but gets a nice crust on the fish.  Meanwhile in a mixing bowl add puffed rice, fried garlic,  and chopped green onions and mix well.  Place a spoonful of the veloute sauce down on the plate.  Flip over your fish and cook for 10 seconds to just finish the cooking. Then take out of the pan.  Place on the plate next to the sauce.  Then add your puffed rice mixture on top of the fish.  Garnish with micro greens, and a few slice of drained candied kumquats.  Add a spoonful of almond miso next to the fish and add a slice of radish and greens to finish the dish.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuna with watermelon radish and shitake-edamame "mille feuille"

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Tuna with watermelon radish and shitake-edamame "mille feuille"

Well, after the busy thanksgiving holiday I am finally getting around to posting another recipe.  During the thanksgiving week I am too busy to take decent pictures of the meal worth posting but hopefully will next year with traditional recipes.  This recipe has nothing to do with thanksgiving but everything to do with Tuna.  I try not to serve tuna but maybe once a month because of the massive over fishing.  Finding fish now that isn't on some sort of list seems like it is harder and harder to come by. The farm raised, especially ones in Asia, don't have the same regulations as the USA so they feed the fish all sorts of antibodies and who knows what.  On the other hand you have some of the wild fish that is either high in mercury or is mislabeled at the market.  I have also heard that the power plant explosion in Japan has already start to makes its way over to California and that they have detected small radiation levels in the kelp off the coast of southern California.

I love fish and don't have any plans to stop eating it but I am just a little concerned about the depletion of our fish and how polluted some of our waters have gotten.  It is hard to know what is the best solution because a lot of these things you can't see, taste, or smell.  My opinion is contrary to a PETA video I saw roughly a year ago where they showed cruelty to animals and they said that meat is the problem.  Meat, fish, vegetables, and flour are not the problem, the way we treat our food chain and how we disrupt (GMO) everything in that chain is the problem.  The food was created for our energy and pleasure; man has changed all of that to the point where the things that should nourish our bodies are actually killing us.  Wheat is one of the oldest ingredients in the world.  They have been making bread for thousands of years and within the last 50 years flour and bread is all of a sudden bad for us? What have we done with that what?  Sorry to go on a little rant but food is not the problem, man and greed are.

1 1/2 lb sushi grade tuna trimmed and cut into

blocks

1 tbsp of sansho (japanese pepper)

3 tbsp of sesame oil

salt to taste

"Mille Feuille"

1 lb of shelled edamame

1 avocado

1 jalapeño

2 tbsp of cilantro

1/2 lime juiced

Salt to taste

1 lb of shitake mushrooms stems removed and small diced

1 tbsp of garlic minced

1 tbsp of ginger minced

1 tbsp of shallots minced

1/8 cup of mushroom soy sauce

2 tbsp of tamari

2 tsp of sambal chile paste

2 tbsp of chopped cilantro

3 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp of butter

Black Garlic and Fennel Aioli

2 black garlic bulbs peeled

1 small fennel bulb

11/2 cups of water

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup of grapeseed oil

salt to taste

1 sheet of puff pastry

Watermelon radish pickle

1 watermelon radish peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thin

1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of sugar

1 jalapeno

1 tbsp of mustard seeds

1 tbsp of coriander seeds

1 bay leaf

1 tsp of salt

1 dozen of quail eggs hard boiled and peeled

snow peat shoots

miso mayo

thai basil flowers to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees,

For the puff pastry, Take 2 sheets of parchment paper ( same length as a sheet pan ) and lay one flat on the a sheet pan.  Lay the puff pastry flat on the parchment paper and sheet pan.  Lay the second parchment paper on top with a second sheet pan on top of the puff pastry.  You are basically weighing down the puff pastry so it doesn't puff up much.  I baked my for roughly 45 minutes.  But I flipped my puff pastry over after about 25 minutes because sometimes one side gets more browned than the other side.  So you want to cook it evenly.  The puff pastry I used was from whole foods and not pepperidge farms but you can use any brand you want or even used home made puff pastry.  It really isn't that hard to make and maybe I will post that in future post.  Once it is completely cooked and browned, take out and cool to room temperature.

Mean while make the filling,

For the edamame, take a pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Place the shelled edamame beans into the water.  Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the beans are just done.  Strain out and place in a ice bath to stop the cooking.  Strain off completely once cooled and dry.  Place jalapeno, cilantro, and edamame beans into a food processor.  Puree for 15 seconds until everything is broken down.  Then scrapes the sides, add salt, lime, and pulse again.  You don't want baby food, you want to leave some of the texture of the beans in the puree.  Take out and place in a bowl.  Then take your avocado and make a very small dice.  Fold the avocado into the edamame puree.  Adjust the seasoning if needed and set aside until ready to use.

For the shitake mushrooms,

In a hot saute pan add butter, sesame oil, shallots, ginger, and mushrooms.  Saute for 5 minutes, then add the garlic.  Cook for one minute and then add the soy sauces, and sambal chile paste.  Cook until there isn't any more liquid left and the mushrooms are tender.  Finish with cilantro and set aside.

For the watermelon radish pickle

Place vinegars, sugar, salt, and spices into a pot.  Bring to a boil and then pour over the watermelon radish.  Let it sit and marinade until ready to use.  This can be done days before.

For the quail eggs,

Simple place the eggs in a pot of boiling water for 4 minutes.  Strain out and cool.   Then peel and set aside.

For the black garlic-fennel aioli,

Place thinly sliced fennel, black garlic, and water into a pot.   Add a pinch of salt and bring boil, cover and simmer until the fennel is very tender and the water is just about gone.  If the water evaporates before the fennel is done just add a little more water.  Then place the fennel, black garlic and just a tiny bit of water into a vitamix.  Puree until smooth.  Then add your egg yolk.  Then take your grapeseed oil and slowly add it to the mixture.  You might need to add a little more oil if the mixture is too thin or add a little water if the mixture is too thick.  Season with salt and set aside.

For the tuna,

Drizzle 1 tbsp of sesame oil over the tuna.  Season the tuna with salt and sansho pepper on all four sides.  Then add the remaining sesame oil to a hot saute pan.  Place the tuna in a saute pan and sear on each side for 1 minute.  Then take out and rest for a minute while you finish the plate.

Take a pastry brush and brush some of the black garlic aioli on the plate.  Then take your puff pastry and carefully cut even pieces about 2 inches long.  The take two pieces and add just a small layer of miso mayo on each side of the puff pastry.  Then on one piece add your mushrooms.  On the other side add your edamame mixture.  Then sandwich together and place on the plate.  Garnish the top of the "mille feuille" with thai basil flowers.  Then slice the tuna and place on top of the black garlic aioli.  Add the quail eggs, snow pea sprouts and dots of miso mayo.  Finish by taking a rolled piece of watermelon radish.   Serve and enjoy!

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Black Truffle Halibut with Buffalo Tenderloin  (Surf and Turf)

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Black Truffle Halibut with Buffalo Tenderloin (Surf and Turf)

This recipe came about from having some left over pieces of buffalo tenderloin and utilizing the last few weeks of halibut season.   I had some domestic black truffles I had bought a few days earlier and thought that this could be a great french dish to utilize them.  I had made a black truffle butter to crust the halibut with that I served on top of a silky smooth celery root puree.   The puree uses a little different technique then simply boiling in water and pureeing with butter.  I paired both of the proteins with different  textures of brussel sprouts to round out the dish.  I sous vide the buffalo tenderloin with foie gras, beef stock, and butter which afterwords was pureed for the sauce.  It might sound a little on the rich side but in small portions it is well balanced.  Here is the recipe for your enjoyment.

1 lb of halibut cut into 3 oz pieces

4 tbsp of butter room temperature

1 small black truffle chopped

1 tbsp of black truffle oil

salt and pepper

1/4 cup of panko crumbs

Celery root puree

1 large celery root peeled and large diced

8 oz of cream

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

8oz of baby purple brussel sprouts blanched

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 garlic clove minced

4 4 oz pieces of buffalo tenderloin steaks

2 oz of foie gras raw or

terrine

4 oz of demiglace or beef stock (gelatinous, not watery)

2 tbsp of butter 

1 lb brussel sprouts shaved

1 fennel bulb shaved

2 shallots shaved

2 garlic cloves minced

3 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of butter

salt and pepper

8 oz of shitake mushrooms sliced

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of butter

salt and pepper

For the celery root puree,

Place cream, celery root, and a pinch of salt into a small pot.  Bring to a boil being careful not to burn the cream and then turn down to a simmer.  Cover the pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the celery root is cooked through.  Strain out the cream into a bowl and set aside.  Pour the celery root into a blender and puree.  While the blender (vitamix) is on, pour a little of the cream back in, just enough until the puree is smooth ( approx. 2-4oz ).  Then while the blender is still on, slowly pour in olive oil until you have a smooth, semi thick puree.  The olive oil will emulsify with the puree to give an added richness to the puree without the use of butter.  Pour the mixture back into the pot and keep warm.  Adjust the seasoning if needed.

For the Tenderloin

Set your sous vide machine to 133 degrees

Place all the ingredients into a cryovac bag, seal, and place into the water bath.  Poach for roughly 35-40 minutes.  Then take out and set aside.  Once it has had time to cool, cut the bag open and pour all of the juices from the bag into a small bot.  Bring to a boil and add 2 oz of the left over cream from the celery root puree to the pot.  Then using a hand blender, blend the liquid until it emulsifies into a smooth sauce.  Set aside and keep warm until ready to plate.

For the brussel sprouts,

In a medium hot saute pan add olive oil, butter, shaved brussels, onions, and fennel.  Saute for 3 minutes and then add the garlic.  Cook for another minute or two until the vegetables have browned a bit and are tender.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the baby purple brussel sprouts simply saute them for a minute in olive oil and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the mushrooms simply saute in a medium hot saute pan with butter and olive oil for 4 minutes.  Then add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside and keep warm.

For the halibut

Place butter, truffle, truffle oil, salt and pepper into a small bowl.  Mix well with a spoon.  Then take your halibut and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Season with salt and then place a spoonful of the truffle butter on top of the fillet side of the fish.  Smear the butter evenly over the fish and then sprinkle with panko crumbs on top.  Then take a few tbsp of olive in medium hot non stick pan and place the fish face down.  Season the bottom side of the fish with salt.  Cook for 4 minutes or until the fish is golden brown then flip over for 1 minute.  Take the fish out to rest.  You want to cook halibut until it is medium to medium well because the fish will continue to cook all the way through.  Halibut can easily over cook and become very dry because of the lack of natural oils and fat in the fish.

To finish the dish, season buffalo fillets with salt and pepper.  Place them in a hot saute pan with a little olive oil.  Sear them on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes.  Take out and let them rest.  Then place two spoonfuls of celery root puree down.  Place the halibut and purple brussel sprouts on top.  Finish the halibut by shaving fresh black truffles on top.  Then take a round ring mold and add your shaved green brussel sprout mixture.  Take the ring mold off and add a few mushrooms on top.  Then slice two slices of tenderloin and place on top.  Spoon the foie gras reduction sauce around the dish.  Finish with a little fluer de sel on top of the steak and serve!

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Escolar with Forbidden Black Rice, Mango Kimchi, Duck Steamed Dumplings, and Edamame Sauce

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Escolar with Forbidden Black Rice, Mango Kimchi, Duck Steamed Dumplings, and Edamame Sauce

Back in Austin after a few months away and trying to get back into the swing of things.  We had JP's personal assistant in town for a day and she had requested fish for dinner.  I was hoping to find something interesting at the store when my eyes came across some beautiful escolar.  I couldn't pass on this buttery fish.  I'm not going to go into all the names and controversy surrounding this fish but I do talk a little more about it in a previous

post

.   I also saw these gigantic green mangos and to my surprise a lot of them were ripe.  I bought a few of the ripened ones to eat and one of the green unripened ones.  I wanted unripened one for a salad and I immediately thought of green mango kimchi.  Green mangos if you have never had them are just what you would think a under ripened mango to be; a little on the sour side although they still have a mango sweetness to it.  In many latin countries they salt the green mango and add a little chile to it, in essence that is what I did.    I braised duck legs in a asian broth and then stuffed them in potsticker wrappers and steamed them.  The sauce I made was from edamame, mint, cilantro, and coconut milk.  It is a really easy sauce that you can make in about 10 minutes.  I added some leeks and black forbidden rice to round out the dish.  Lots of flavors and textures going on but eaten all together was really good.  A few steps to get this one put together but it was well worth it.

1 lb escolar cut into 4 oz portions

3 tbsp coriander seeds crushed

3 tbsp of olive oil

salt to taste

2 leeks sliced whole and blanched in salted water for 4 minutes

1 cup of forbidden black rice

1 3/4 cup of water

salt

2 tbsp of butter

Green Mango Kimchi

1 large green mango julienned

1 small napa cabbage julienned (save the outer leaves for steaming dumplings)

2 tbsp of aleppo or togarashi chile

2 tbsp sambal chile paste

salt to taste

Edamame coconut sauce

8 oz shelled edamame

1 can of coconut milk

1/4 cup of cilantro leaves

1/4 cup of mint leaves

1 lime juiced

salt to taste

Duck dumplings

2 tbsp of sesame oil

4 duck legs

3 tbsp of chinese 5 spice

1 onion chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 finger of ginger chopped

2 stalks of lemon grass chopped

1 bay leaf

6 cloves of garlic chopped

1 stalk of celery chopped

1/2 cup of mirin

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup of black vinegar

1/2 cup of vegetarian stir fry sauce

5 cups of chicken stock or water

3 tbsp of sambal

salt

1 package of potsticker wrappers

3 tbsp of chopped cilantro

3 tbsp of chopped green onion

3 tbsp of sriracha

4 oz of braising liquid

4 napa cabbage leaves

1 egg

salt to taste

For the duck dumplings

In a medium braising pot on medium high heat add sesame oil.  Season duck legs lightly with salt and add them to the pot skin side down.  Sear the duck legs for 4 minutes until golden brown and then flip.  Add all of the vegetables and 5 spice.  Cook for another 4 minutes and then add mirin and black vinegar.  Reduce the liquid by half and then add soy sauce, stir fry sauce, samba and chicken stock or water.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cook for hour and half or until the legs are tender and about to fall apart.  Then take the legs out and let them cool for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile strain the liquid and skim any fat off of the top.  Set aside for later.  Take the meat off the bones throwing the bones and skin (you could keep skin to make chips if you would like, wished I would have thought of that before).  Place the meat in a food processor with cilantro, green onions, sriracha, and a little of the braising liquid.  Pulse a few times to combine everything.  You want the meat to be in small pieces not like a paste or baby food but small enough to make the dumplings without large pieces of duck to pierce your dumpling skin ( think cooked ground beef, small pieces ).  You need to season the duck with salt and add enough braising liquid to bring it all together.    Set aside to cool to room temperature

To make the dumplings take an egg and whisk with a fork or pastry brush, set aside.  Lay the potsticker skins flat on a cutting board, I do about 15 at a time or as many that can fit on my cutting board.  Place a spoonful of duck leg mixture in the middle of each skin.  Then with the pastry brush, brush egg around half of each of the skins.  Then fold them all over so you are left with a half moon shape.  Then take the brush and barely brush the ends of one corner of each half moon dumpling.  Then take the side that is egg washed and fold it under the side that isn't egg washed and pinch together the ends.  Continue until all the dumplings are complete.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment.  Set aside until ready to steam.

For the forbidden black rice.

In a small pot add water and salt. Bring to a boil and add the black rice.  Cover and turn down to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.  This can be done ahead of time and laid out flat to cool on a sheet pan.  Or if doing the same day keep warm and finish with salt, pepper, and butter.  You might want to add a touch more water to give it a creamy consistency.  Keep warm and set aside

For the edamame sauce

Bring a small pot of water to a boil with salt.  Add edamame to the pot and cook for about 5 minuted or until they are tender.  Strain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Then place the edamame in a blender with basil, mint, and coconut milk.  Puree until really smooth.  Season with salt and lime juice.  Keep at room temperature and set aside.

For the green mango kimchi

Place mango, cabbage, sambal, and spices in a bowl and season with salt.  Set aside to marinate at least an hour.

For the Escolar and plate

Take steamer baskets and line with the outer leaves of the napa cabbage. Place the dumplings around the steamer basket making sure to give them plenty of room so they don't stick.  Place over a pot of boiling water and steam for 6 minutes.  Set aside and keep warm.

Take coriander seeds and place in a spice grinder pulse for 8 seconds.  Then take escolar and season with salt and crushed coriander seeds on the filet side.  In a large sauté pan on medium heat add olive oil and the escolar.  Cook the fish for about 5-7minutes on the seasoned side until it forms a golden brown crust.  Then season the bottom side with salt and flip over.  Cook for a few more minutes and then take off the heat.  Take blanched leeks and place in a pan with 1 tbsp of butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook until hot.

To plate add a spoonful of sauce down on the plate.  Place a spoonful of black rice next to it.  Add the fish on top of the sauce next to the rice.  Place the green mango kimchi on top.  Then add the leeks and the dumplings.  Finish by add a little of the duck braising liquid on top of the dumpling and edamame sauce.  Garnish with green onions and serve!

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Petrale Sole with Loroco, Marash Chili, and Tortilla-Tomato Sauce

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Petrale Sole with Loroco, Marash Chili, and Tortilla-Tomato Sauce

This dish really came from nothing, literally.  When I say nothing, I mean I had absolutely nothing coming to mind of what to make.  I had lots of ingredients and not a clue of what to do with them after JP had requested sole for dinner, which is one of his favorites.  Sure, I could have easily done a brown butter sole with vegetables and called it a day, but I am always looking to make my job harder (or at least that is the way it seems) . I was already making plans to go with another fish for dinner when that got sidetracked by the request. 9.99 times out of 10 I do everything from shopping, to menu planning, and preparing, with very little say (which is a dream for a chef).  So when they do request something specific, I welcome it because normally it makes things a little easier, not so in this case.

Earlier in the day I was playing with some sous vide champagne grapes but that didn't make it to the plate.  I also had about 5 other sauces to use but they too didn't make the cut.  I didn't have much time to dive into a labor intensive meal so I took some of the things that were requested like garlic broccoli and sole and combined them with what I had like tortilla sauce, loroco, and caramelized onions.  And this is what came out.  Now loroco is this wonderful flower that grows in my wife's native country El Salvador.  They normally put raw loroco in pupusas with cheese, eggs and chicken soup. Loroco is delicious!  You can find fresh loroco in latin grocery stores when in season and if it isn't available fresh they do sell it canned.  I purchased fresh loroco and instead of just using them raw in the recipes above I decided to fry them to compliment the fish.  The flavor intensifies a bit when prepared this way; hard to describe the flavor because it is a flower but I would say the flavor has a more herbaceous quality rather then a floral.  It is not an overpowering flavor but one that can stand on its own.  If you can find it, definitely get it.  I added a few other ingredients to the dish and this is the recipe I went with.

4 fillets of petrale sole

1 cup of pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp of Marash chili pepper

6 tbsp of olive oil

15 sugar snap peas blanched with tops taking off

2 bunches of broccolini blanched and trimmed of long stems

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of loroco fried and lightly salted

1 cup of caramelized onions (butter, olive oil, onions)

1 broccoli stem peeled and shaved paper thin

Tortilla Tomato sauce

1 small onion

5 garlic cloves chopped

3 tbsp of ground cumin

2 tbsp of annato seeds

3 Anaheim chiles seeds and stems removed

1 jalapeno sliced

1 dried chipotle

5 large tomatoes quartered

3 corn tortillas

4 cups of chicken stock or water

1 lime juiced

3 tbsp of chopped cilantro

3 tbsp of olive oil

Salt to season

For the Tortilla Tomato sauce

In a medium pot on medium heat, add oil, onions, annato and all the chiles.  Cook for 4 minutes and then add garlic, tortillas, and cumin.  Cook for another minute and then add tomatoes, 1 tsp of salt and water.  Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Add the cilantro and transfer everything to the blender (vitamix)  Puree until smooth in batches if need be.  Finish with salt and lime juice.  Keep warm and set aside.

For the caramelized onion

Take 2 onions, cut in half and slice thin.  In a large saute pan on medium high heat add 1 tbsp of butter, 4 tbsp of olive oil, and the sliced onions.  Stir ever few minutes, cook onions until they start to caramelize and turn brown.  Should take about 15 to 20 minutes roughly.  Season with salt and set aside to cool.

Once the onions are cooled take your paper thin broccoli stuff one side of the stem with the caramelized onions and roll up tightly.  Continue until you have the desired number or until you don't have any more onions.

For the snap peas,

Blanch snap peas for 30 seconds in boiling salted water and then place directly into a ice bath.  With  a paring knife, carefully take off the top layer of the snap pea following the natural line of the pod to expose the peas inside.  Set aside until later

For the Loroco,

In a small pot add 1 cup of oil for frying.  Bring to 325 degrees.  Add the loroco to the fryer and fry gently for 30 to 45 seconds. Strain on to a paper towel and season with salt.  Set aside.

For the broccolini

Notice I used regular broccoli stems and here I am using the broccolini.  In a medium hot saute pan add olive oil and garlic.  Add the broccolini and cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.  Then add the sugar snap peas just to warm them up.   

For the Petale sole,

Take the pumpkin seeds and pulse gently in a spice grinder.  Then take 2 tbsp of olive oil and drizzle over the fillets.  Season with salt, pumpkin seeds and marash chile.  In a hot saute pan add the remaining olive oil and the fish crust side down in the pan.  Cook for 1 and half minutes and then flip over.  Cook for 20 seconds and then take the fish out of the pan and place on a side plate.  To plate add a few spoonfuls of the tortilla sauce.  Then add the broccoli roll, and the other vegetables.  Finish with the fried loroco on top of the fish and serve.  

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Black Cod with Romesco and Champagne Grape Crunch

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Black Cod with Romesco and Champagne Grape Crunch

Here is a dish I did recently for a dinner party with comedian

Ron White

and his wife

Margo Rey

.  I had some beautiful black cod and wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go with it.  Sometimes, especially in the summer time in California there is just too many options when it comes to fruit and vegetables.  I did pick up some really sweet champagne grapes and I wanted to use them some how.  I also had corn, veal, eggplant, tons of tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, cucumbers, nectarines, plums, etc.......  I used the veal and corn for the second course.  Plums I turned into dessert.  I decided to use the other vegetables for another meal and concentrate on how to bring this first course all together.  Black cod because of its fat content takes on a wonderful natural crust when it is seared, and I wanted to add a "crust" with out adding it on top of the fish.  I had some home made croutons that I made the day before and thought to crush those up.  Then I thought of adding fried capers.  Frying capers not only changes the texture of the caper but intensifies the flavor as well.  I had made red pepper romesco sauce the day before and thought that would go perfectly with the crispy fish because it had some spice.  Add the champagne grapes for a little sweetness and the result was fantastic!  Everyone completely cleaned their plates and Ron said "it was one of the best things he has ever put in his mouth"  I told him "Great! because I had never made it before", which he responded "way to wing it, chef"! Everyone had a comment on how delicious the dish was.  A great start to the dinner, that is always what the chef wants to see.  Here is the recipe which is pretty easy.

1 lb of cleaned black cod cut into 4 oz pieces

1 cup of cleaned champagne grapes

2 cup of homemade croutons crushed (butter, olive oil, old bread diced, salt and pepper)

1/2 cup of capers fried

3 tbsp of chopped chives

1 lemon zested

2 tbsp of olive oil

Red Pepper Romesco Sauce

1 jar roasted red bell pepper or 3 large roasted

1/3 cup roasted almonds (marcona) or any other nut

3 garlic cloves

1 Fresno chili (jalapeño or Serrano for heat)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or manchego

1 1/2 cup olive oil

Salt

For the Romesco

Put garlic, roasted red peppers, fresno chile and almond in the blender. Pulse a few times to get everything blended and then turn on high and Drizzle olive oil in until a smooth purée. Finish with cheese and salt.  Puree until smooth adjust seasoning if needed and set aside until ready to use.

For the "Crunch"

In a small fryer or pot with vegetable oil, bring oil to 350 degrees.  If using a small pot, have a lid handy.  Take your capers and drain well.  Then place into the fryer and immediately put the lid on to protect from splattering oil all over (because of the water content in the capers).  Take the lid off after about 30 seconds and fry the capers for another 45 seconds.  They should start to open and crisp-en up.  Drain on a paper towel.  They shouldn't need more salt added to them.

Take your home made croutons and crush them up in a plastic bag with a back of a small pan or pot.  You can put them in the food processor as well but don't pulse too fine.  Place in a bowl and set aside.  Take your lemon zest and add to the bread crumbs.  Add the capers, chives, and champagne grapes.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if any is needed.

In a large saute pan on medium high heat add your olive oil.  Season the back cod on both sides with salt and then place the fish fillet side down.  Don't touch the fish and let it cook on medium high heat for 3 minutes and then you might need to turn down the heat to medium or medium low if the fish is getting too dark.  You do want a nice golden brown crust on the fish.  The fish should cook 90 percent of the way on the first side.  When the edges of the fish look like they are cooked all the way around the fish and the bottom has a nice golden brown crust, flip over the fish and cook for another minute.  Turn off the heat while you plate.

Add a spoonful of sauce down on the plate.  Then add your fish next to it.  Add your "crunch" next to the fish in neat line.  Serve and enjoy! 

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Copper River Salmon Crudo with Pickled Strawberries, Cucumber Gelee and Shitake "Bacon"

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Copper River Salmon Crudo with Pickled Strawberries, Cucumber Gelee and Shitake "Bacon"

I am pretty sure the Copper river salmon season is over with by now but I wanted to share this dish I made a few weeks ago.  I have been so busy this summer and I have accumulated a lot of recipes but I just haven't gotten around to posting them. This is a great recipe using some pickled green strawberries that I made from the garden along with some cucumber gelee (without gelatin).  I gave the dish a little crunch from the roasted pistachios and shitake "bacon".  This was a great starter to a dinner with world famous interior designer

Waldo Fernandez

.  This dish is  light, healthy, and most importantly very tasty.  Crudo is just the translation for raw in spanish, so just a bit of play on words, I could have used carpaccio, or even sashimi (although sashimi is a thicker on the slice).

12 oz of copper river salmon belly if possible

1 cup of roasted salted pistachios

8 shitake mushrooms sliced

3 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of butter

1 tsp of soy sauce

1 lemon juiced

Salt and pepper

Cucumber gelee

2 cups of cucumber juice

1/4 cup of mint leaves

1 package of 

unflavored jel dessert

salt

Pickled Green Strawberries

1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of champagne vinegar (white wine)

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tbsp of salt

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp of coriander

3 garlic cloves

1 jalapeno

Horseradish sauce

micro cilantro

Extra virgin olive oil

fleur de sel salt

For the pickled green strawberries,

Place both vinegars, salt, sugar, and spices in a pot and bring to a boil.  Place whole green strawberries into a canning jar.  Pour the hot vinegar over the strawberries.  Let it cool to room temperature and then keep in the refrigerator.  This was a quick pickle I did the day before and the flavor will only get better as time goes on.

For the cucumber mint gelee

Normally you make gelee with gelatin but I wanted to make some without using gelatin.  I bought this box of unflavored jel dessert from the local store and wanted to give it a try.  It is a combination of vegetable gum, tapioca dextrin and a few other ingredients.  It works differently than gelatin because you don't need to bloom it, also once you make it you can't melt it down again and remold it.  It is really easy to use though and the texture came out exactly like gelatin so it could be a great substitute for gelatin in this application.  Simply boil 2 cups of cucumber juice then place in a blender and puree with the mint leaves and salt.  Place back in the pot and bring to a boil.  Stir in the non gelatin and stir for 30 seconds.  Then pour into your mold.  Refrigerate for an hour or until set and cold.  Then dice up the cucumber gelee, set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

For the shitake mushroom "bacon"

There is a way to make the mushroom "bacon" in oven and roasting them for about 45 minutes but I made mine just on the stove top in a saute pan.  Basically you take a medium saute pan on medium heat and add butter and olive oil.  Then add your mushrooms and try not to touch them for the first 5 minutes.  Let them brown, the more you shake and toss them the harder it is to get a nice sear on the mushrooms.  Once you have a good sear of golden brown on one side you can flip them over and sear the other side.  Basically you are trying to crisp-en the outside as much as possible without burning the mushroom.  I like bacon crispy but I also don't mind them a little soft too.  It is the same way with these mushrooms they are fantastic all the way through crispy, but they are also really good crispy on the outside and mushroom meaty on the inside ( your preference on how you like them).  Once you have both sides crispy, strain out the mushrooms onto a paper towel and season with salt immediately.  Set aside

For the salmon,

Slice the belly on the bias (angle) in thin slices.  Place 5 to 6 slices on the plate.   To finish the plate add a drizzle of lemon juice over the salmon.  Then add a drizzle of olive oil over the salmon.  Season the salmon with a fleur de sel .  Then just a splash of soy sauce.  Then add your horseradish sauce and your cucumber gelee.  Take a pickled strawberry and cut in quarters and place on the plate.  Finish with pistachios, shitake mushrooms, and the micro cilantro.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuna Poke and Avocado "Cannelloni"

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Tuna Poke and Avocado "Cannelloni"

This is a dish that is very similar to the dish that I had at Jose Andres restaurant the bazaar in Los Angeles.  When I had it I thought what a simple dish but so effective and tasty at the same time.   It really isn't a complex recipe just takes some care putting it together.  I really don't remember the flavors that they seasoned the tuna with or sauces that went with it.  I just thought I would make my tuna in the style of the Hawaiian poke.  Compliment the dish with micro cilantro, and some horseradish sauce.  This is just a great dish for summer using avocados that are perfectly ripe with tuna that is as fresh as can be, although I try not to buy too much tuna because we have over fished this wonderful fish. 

1 lb of tuna (belly if possible) small diced

1/4 cup of chopped green onion

2 tbsp of shoyu soy sauce

1 tbsp of sesame oil

2 tbsp of sansho (japanese pepper)

1 tbsp of siracha

3 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds

few pinches of salt

1 lime

1/4 cup of fried garlic

1/4 cup of micro cilantro

2 ripe avocados

Horseradish sauce

Olive oil

Miso Sauce

2 tbsp of yellow miso

1 cup of mayo (veganise)

1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp of sambal chile paste

For the Miso Sauce,

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until completely smooth.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Tuna

Place the tuna in a bowl.  Season the tuna with the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well.  You can do this 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time because that will help the flavor merry with the tuna.  To make the "Cannelloni" take the whole avocado and peel the skin off.  If the avocado is ripe it should be easy to do with your hands.  Now you should have a whole peeled avocado.  Prepare a 1 ft by 1 ft piece of plastic wrap.  With a mandolin shave thin, long slices of avocado and place them on the plastic wrap slightly over lapping one another.  When you have 5 to 6 nice slices of avocado, take your tuna and fill the avocado (down the middle of your slices, tubular or roll like) .  Then using the plastic as your guide and "rolling mat" fold the avocado up over the tube of tuna.  Take your time because this is a little delicate because the avocado is slice so thin, it can break easily.  Roll the plastic over it and place in the refrigerator or place the "cannelloni" directly on your serving plate and place in the refrigerator.  My "cannelloni" where long so I cut them in half and that gave me two portions per "cannelloni". You can do these 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time, just have your plates in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.  Then when you guest come you can just finish the plate with the garnishes.

So to finish simply drizzle the whole thing with olive oil.  Then squeeze lime juice over the "cannelloni".  Season with a pinch of salt.  Then top the with fried garlic and micro cilantro.  Add your two sauces, serve and enjoy!

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House Smoked Copper River Salmon with Lavender

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House Smoked Copper River Salmon with Lavender

One of my earliest memories of fine food was when my aunt and uncle (Bea and Duke Chapman) flew our family over to England when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  We stayed for about 2 weeks and saw all the sights of London where they were living at that time.  My uncle traveled the world and enjoyed eating fine food.  Even though I don't think they know or knew that I really credit them both for playing a major role in cultivating my passion for fine food.  They took us places we would have never gone to and experience food we had never had before.  I clearly remember that London was the first place where I tried smoke salmon with capers and toast.  It just melted in my mouth and the strong flavor of smoked I immediately fell in love with.  I just remember that so well and remember the flavors so distinctly.

Since then I have had smoked salmon in many place but nothing compares to fresh in house smoked salmon.  The smoked salmon that you buy at the store is good. And if you have never had home made or fresh smoked salmon then you really don't have anything to compare it to.   But I encourage you to try this recipe because the difference is enormous.  It is a few day process so it does take a little patience but the reward is definitely worth the wait.  It truly is easy to do at home.  Again you just have to be prepared a few days in advance before you want to serve this.  I used Copper River salmon because for one, it is in season and the season only last about a month or so between end of May and June.

1 whole fillet of Copper River Salmon deboned

2 1/2 cup of koshar salt

2 1/2 cup of sugar

1 lemon zested

3 tbsp of red peppercorns crushed

3 sprigs of lavender

Horseradish sauce

1 cup of mayo (or veganise)

3 tbsp of prepared horseradish

1 lemon juiced

2 tbsp of soft cream cheese

First thing to do is to buy the freshest salmon you can find.  Make sure the whole fillet is cleaned and trimmed of any fat and bones.  Then spread the zest, peppercorns, and lavender all over the fillet.

Then in a bowl mix sugar and salt.  Start to cover the salmon

Cover the Salmon fillet completely with the salt and sugar mixture.

Let that cure for a day in the refrigerator (If you have another refrigerator you might want to use this because your refrigerator will smell like smoked salmon by the end of this).  Then after 24 hours wash the salmon off completely of all the salt and sugar mixture.  Pat the salmon dry and let the salmon fillet dry out for 12 hours in the refrigerator.  Then the next day prepare your smoker.  I used a

stove top smoker

with cherry, hickory, and oak wood chips (few pinches of each).  When you smoke the salmon because you don't want it to cook, you have to pack the smoker with ice.  Place the wood chips on the bottom of your smoker.  Then place your rack on top. Fill plastic zip lock bags full of ice ( or ice paks) and place on top of the tray that goes on top of your rack.  Place the Salmon fillet on top of the ice.  My smoker was too small so I couldn't get my lid on so I just wrapped the smoker in foil.  On low heat (because you don't want the salmon to cook) smoke the salmon for about 20 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and let the salmon stay in the smoker another 20 minutes.  Here some people might hang the salmon for few days and let it dry out a little more for preserving it; but essentially you are done from this point.  This should last easily a week or two in the refrigerator but I don't think it will because the flavors will be so good that you will eat it up right away.  The very ends of the fillet will probably be a little tough and salt so discard the first piece or two. 

 Prepare the horseradish sauce by place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  I added cream cheese to the mix because without it sometimes the sauce becomes to runny so it holds it all together without changing the flavor too much.  ( You can always use sour cream as well)

Then slice the salmon very thinly on an extreme angle to get nice slices of smoked copper river salmon.  Serve with horseradish sauce, capers and micro greens for a wonderful snack.

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Kona Kampachi Sashimi with Avocado and Asian Pear Salsa

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Kona Kampachi Sashimi with Avocado and Asian Pear Salsa

Again with another kona kampachi recipe.  This one is fast and easy just like my one from about a year ago.  This was one that JP and Eloise really loved.  Kona is great cooked because of the high fat content but it also makes great sashimi for the same reason.  I paired this simple sashimi with creamy avocados and a sweet crunch of Asian pears along with a few other ingredients.  Everyone I know and cook for loves sushi and sashimi so that ends up being at least one meal or appetizer once ever other week.  Whenever I see Kona in the local markets I almost always buy it because of the versatility of this wonderful fish.  The collar is probably one of my favorite pieces.  Simply sear the collar with a little salt and pepper and you will have one of the juiciest pieces of fish you have ever tried.  But enough about the collar and back to the reason for this post.  

1 large fillet of Kona Kampachi skinned and deboned

1 large asian pear peeled and small diced

1 large avocado small diced

1/2 cucumber peeled, deseeded and small diced

1 lime juiced 

1 tsp of sesame oil

3 tbsp of ponzu

3 tbsp of fried garlic (

10 garlic cloves, 1 cup of oil)

2 tbsp of cilantro leaves

Ponzu

1 lime juiced

1/4 cup orange juice

1/8 cup tamari

1 tbsp fresh ginger

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp cilantro

1 tbsp sambal chili paste

1 tsp sesame oil

For Fried garlic

The easiest way to make fried garlic is to grate garlic cloves on a

microplane grater

 and place the garlic in a small sauce pan.  Cover garlic with a cup of oil and turn on medium-low.  Slowly cook the garlic until it becomes golden brown.  Approximately 10 minutes or so.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Strain out the oil and place on a paper towel.   Season the garlic immediately with salt.  Keep the oil for another application at a later time because you now have garlic oil.

For the Ponzu,

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and let them marinate together for at least 30 minutes.  Set aside until ready to use.

For the Asian pear salsa,

Place asian pear, avocado, cucumber in a bowl.  Season with lime juice, sesame oil, 1 tbsp of ponzu, and a pinch of salt.  Toss well and set aside until ready to plate.

For the Kona,

I took the fillet and cut all the way down the middle of the fillet lengthwise following the line of the pin bones.  Slice the thick side of the fillet into thin sashimi strips on the bias (angle) .  Place the sashimi on a plate and spoon salsa down the middle of the sashimi.  Season fish with the rest of the ponzu.  Top the salsa with fried garlic and cilantro leaves

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Escolar 2 ways with Pineapple, Sumac, and Sweet Potato Chips

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Escolar 2 ways with Pineapple, Sumac, and Sweet Potato Chips

Escolar is a fish that has a lot of controversy and stigma attached to it.  Some countries have even outlawed the fish saying that it is too toxic to eat.  I don't want to go into the debate of the fish or its relative the "oil"fish whether it is healthy to eat or not.  I can tell you that I have served this fish and eaten it many times and never have had any side effects.  Escolar cannot digest the wax-ester (fatty acid  and/or fatty alcohol) which retains the oil in the fish and this is why escolar has almost 25% oil content.  Here is a

link

of the tail of the escolar and this one looks exactly like what I have used.  It was brownish/white and had scales.  I have read and seen as the fish gets older it turns almost black on the outside.  Here is a link to the

Australian Museum

which has pictures and more information on the fish.

Again I have served this fish and eaten it for the last 8 years or so and never have had a problem with side effects like diarrhea.  I have also read if you don't eat more than 6oz of the fish you will be fine.  I don't know if I have eaten more than 6 or 7 oz at one time but I don't think anyone needs to eat more than that of any protein.  Sushi houses sell this fish a lot of times as "super white tuna", which they serve raw.  Because of the oil content it practically melts in your mouth.  You can find loads of online debates and reviews about people that have eaten it and had bad experiences and vise versa.  If you do decide to eat this fish hopefully you won't have any side effects associated with it. 

On to the recipe.

6 1 oz pieces of  escolar 

4 pc of sashimi sliced escolar

3 tbsp of ground sumac

8 oz of shitake mushroom caps roasted

2 sweet potatoes sliced thin and fried for chips

1 pineapple 1/2 juiced (foam) and 1/2 cut into julienne strips (caramelized) 

1 small daikon radish peeled and shaved paper thin and rolled up into a "tube"

2 tbsp of butter

4 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper

Pineapple Foam

350 g pineapple juice

150 g water

2 g of lecithin

pinch of salt and sugar

1/4 cup of ponzu sauce

Ponzu Sauce

1 lemon juiced

1 lime juiced

1 orange juiced

1/4 cup of sushi vinegar

3 tbsp of tamari soy sauce

1 slice of ginger

1 garlic clove crushed

1 sprig of cilantro

1 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp of sambal chile paste

Red Pepper Romesco

1 jar roasted red bell pepper or 3 large roasted

1/3 cup roasted almonds (marcona) or any other nut

3 garlic cloves

1 Fresno chili (jalapeño or Serrano for heat)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or manchego

1 1/2 cup olive oil

Salt

Garnish

3 tbsp of fried garlic

1/2 cup of miso mayo sauce

mache leaves

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

For the shitake mushroom, simply take the caps and drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Season with salt and place in the oven and roast until become really nutty and tender (approximately 20-25 minutes).  Take out and set aside until ready to use.

For the romesco sauce,

Put garlic, roasted red peppers, fresno chile and almond in the blender. Pulse a few times to get everything blended and then turn on high and Drizzle olive oil in until a smooth purée. Finish with cheese and salt.  Puree until smooth adjust seasoning if needed and set aside until ready to use.

For the ponzu,

Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and let the flavors blend together for at least 30 minutes before using.  

For the pineapple,

Take the julienned pieces of pineapple and place in a medium hot saute pan with a tbsp of butter.  Caramelize the pineapple on each side of the pineapple until it has a golden crust.  Drain onto a paper towel and set aside until ready to use.

For the foam place all the ingredients except for the lecithin into a tall container.  With a hand blender mix the ingredients and pour in the lecithin.  After mixed well try to tilt the container and just blend the top layer of the mixture.  This should incorporate the air which should create the foam.  Then you can spoon off the top layer of the foam when ready to plate.

For the Escolar,

Season escolar with salt and sumac on the fillet side.  In a medium hot pan add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and place the escolar fillet side down in the pan.  Now you can season the bottom side of the fish fillet because it should be facing you.  You don't want the pan too hot because it could burn the sumac so be careful not to have the heat to hot.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on that side and because the fish is cut so small flip it over and it should only take another minute or two to finish cooking.  Take out and let the fish rest while you plate

Place three spoonfuls of romesco sauce down on the plate.  Place the seared escolar pieces down next to the sauce.  Then place two pieces of sashimi escolar down on the plate.  Spoon ponzu over those two pieces.  Finish those with fried garlic.  Add a few squirts of miso mayo and place the rolled up daikon radish next to the seared pieces.  Add the caramelized pineapple next to the sashimi and add the pineapple foam on top of that.  Finish with sweet potato chips, shitake mushrooms and arugula.  After all that work serve and enjoy!

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Asparagus "Gazpacho" with Kona Kampachi and Spring Vegetables

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Asparagus "Gazpacho" with Kona Kampachi and Spring Vegetables

Sticking with the asparagus theme here this week, I had another lunch with limited time as usual.  I really wanted to make something light and delicious but had not a clue of what to make.  I normally don't think about what I'm going to make until I have already gathered my ingredients, which I know can sound a little backwards.  One of the luxuries of working for my boss. Sometimes I just having a really hard time on deciding what to prepare.  I knew I wanted to use lots of vegetables and probably along with a nice piece of fish.  Kona Kampachi is a great Hawaiian fish with lots of oil so it stays nice and moist.  It also can maintain a nice natural crust because of that oil.  On my drive over to work I thought of gazpacho and thought why not make it with asparagus instead of tomatoes.  The term gazpacho is used a little loosely here but it is definitely inspired by gazpacho.

1 lb of cleaned Kona fillet portion into 4 oz pieces

3 tbsp olive oil

Asparagus "Gazpacho"

3 bunches of large asparagus

1 1/2 cup of plain yogurt

2 tbsp of sherry vinegar

1 small cucumber de-seeded

1/4 cup of parsley leaves

1/4 cup of basil leaves

1 lemon juiced

Salt

Vegetables

1 cup of fresh English peas blanched

8 baby carrots peeled, shaved, and blanched

1/4 cup of mini melon ball cucumbers (Parisienne )

8 oz Mitake mushrooms roasted, 2 tbsp of each butter and olive oil

1/3 cup of fresh croutons

4 hard boiled eggs quartered

2 red radish sliced thin

Tops of asparagus peeled and blanched

1/4 cup of fried basil leaves (small leaves)

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

For the Asparagus "Gazpacho"

Take the bottoms of the asparagus and cut away and discard if the color is white and they are really fibrous.  Then cut the tips off leaving about an inch of stalk on the tip.  Save the tips for blanching and reserve for later.  You should be left with the rest of the asparagus stalks.  Take your vegetable juicer and juice the asparagus stalks.  Then take the small cucumber with the seeds removed and juice that.  You should be left with about a cup and half to two cups of juice.  Take your juice and place in the blender with parsley and basil leaves.  Puree until smooth.  Season with salt.  Then in a bowl place your plain yogurt.  Add half of the liquid and stir until smooth.  Keep adding the liquid until you have a smooth sauce like consistency.  I ended up using all of my juice.  Finish the gazpacho with sherry vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. 

Preheat Oven 425 degrees

For the Mushrooms,

Simply add olive oil,butter, and mushrooms to a medium hot oven proof pan.  Saute for 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven.  Roast the mitake mushrooms for 15 minutes until they get really crispy, almost like chips.  Take and set aside until ready to use.

Carrots, Peas, and Asparagus tips.

Simply blanch each vegetable in boiling salted water and shock in an ice bath.  Set aside until ready to plate.

To Plate,

In a large medium hot saute pan add 3 tbsp of olive oil.  Season the Kona fillets with salt on both side.  Place the fillet side face down in the pan (skin side up facing you).  Cook the Kona for roughly 6 to 7 minutes on this side until the edges become really brown and a crust forms.  You want to cook the fish 95 percent of the way on this first side.  You might have to adjust the heat to medium so the fish doesn't burn.  You want a hot enough pan where a crust can form but not hot enough where the fish burns and the meat is not cooked.  Then flip the fish over and let fish finish cooking for about a minute or less. 

In the meantime ladle a few spoonfuls of the gazpacho into a shallow bowl.  In a bowl take your shaved carrots and toss with a little olive oil and salt.  Place around the gazpacho.  Repeat the same steps with the asparagus tips, radish, english peas, and cucumbers.  Add the croutons and mitake mushrooms around the plate.  Add a wedge of hard boiled egg that has been seasoned.  Place the fish in the middle of the bowl.  Finish the plate with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and the fried basil leaves.  Serve and enjoy this wonderful spring dish!

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Hoja de Santa wrapped Salmon with Yuca Fries

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Hoja de Santa wrapped Salmon with Yuca Fries

Well after a long stint of not posting and spending 2 weeks in the UK, I am finally trying to get back on top of things.  This recipe contains Hoja de Santa or root beer plant,  This herb is a large leaf from a tree that we have growing here on the property in Austin.  You can probably find the leaf in latin markets either in the spring or fall.   I love the flavor of the leaf because it is very distinctive but not over powering.  You should always blanch the leaves for a few seconds, before using, to make the leaves tender and rid of any bitterness.  The leaves are normally large and are great for stuffing and wrapping things in which will add a great flavor to your dish.  Hoja de Santa is a main ingredient in green mole sauces ( which I have a recipe for and hopefully can post soon).  This recipe is for a latin style salmon with green tomatillo tequila sauce with fried yuca fries.

Recipe

4  4oz pieces of salmon cut into rectangular blocks

6 leaves of hoja de santa blanched and de-stemmed

1 jalapeno slice

15 cloves of roasted garlic

1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Tequila Tomatillo Sauce

3 Tomatillos cut in quarters

1 shallots sliced

2 garlic cloves sliced

1 large serrano sliced with seeds

1/4 cup of silver tequila

1/4 cup of cream

1/4 cup of cilantro leaves

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 lime juiced

2 whole yuca

1/3 cup of grapeseed oil (for frying)

Preheat oven to 350

For the yuca peeled with a peeler and slice the yuca into 4 even pieces (1 inch pieces).  Then cut the pieces in half, length wise, and cut out the core running the middle.  The core tends to be very fibrous and tough.  Fill up a pot with cold water and place the yuca in the pot, add salt, and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until they are very tender.  Strain the yuca into a bowl and remove any of the fibrous parts that you might have missed.  With a whisk or spoon mash together the yuca.  You want to leave some of the texture of the yuca so don't mash it like a smooth mashed potato.   Once it has come together, line a square baking dish with plastic wrap and place the mashed yuca into it.  Level the mashed yuca either with a spatula, your hands,  or with another square dish so that it is all nice and even.  Place the pan into the refrigerator to cool completely.

For the sauce add oil, shallots, garlic, serranos, and tomatillos into a sauce pot on medium high.  Add 2 pinches of salt to the vegetables and cook for 7 minutes.  Add the tequila and flambé reduce the alcohol by half and then add the cream.  Cook for 5 minutes and then add the mixture to blender.  Add cilantro and puree until smooth.  Finish the sauce with salt and lime juice

For the Salmon.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a food processor place roasted garlic, jalapeno slices, pumpkin seeds, and butter.  Puree the mixture until smooth.  Season with a pinch of salt.  Place a spoonful of the pumpkin seed butter on the top of salmon filet.  Place the salmon filet in the middle of the Hoja de santa leaf and roll it up.  Repeat the steps until all the salmon is prepped.   Place the Hoja de santa salmon onto a cedar plank and place in the over for 9-10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a cast iron skillet place the grapeseed oil and turn on medium high.  Take the yuca out of the refrigerator and un-mold.  Take the plastic off the yuca and using a knife cut french fries out of the yuca.  Place the yuca into the cast iron and fry until golden brown.  Drain onto a paper towel and immediately season with salt.

To serve spoon some sauce onto the plate.  Add the salmon and the yuca fry.  Finish with a light red onion and romaine salad

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Black Rice Crusted Sardines with Horsradish sauce

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Black Rice Crusted Sardines with Horsradish sauce

This recipe was one of many courses I prepared for a dinner recently with the world renowned interior designer Waldo Fernandez.  Waldo is a designer to the ultra rich including a lot of the Hollywood A Lister's.  Sometimes I really don't know what I want to make and serve, so I end up making 10 different things.  On this occasion that's exactly what I did.  Waldo is extremely health conscious and I wanted to cater to that.  I prepared all kinds of vegetable dishes and array of proteins as well.  I found some fresh sardines that I know JP loves. So I decided to try and take a classic fried sardine and put my twists on it.  I didn't want to use flour because I didn't know if Waldo was gluten free or not. So how do you get crunch to your "breading" without bread (crumbs)? Rice. I took forbidden black rice and ground it into a flour.  I used this as the crust because of the crunch and look.

Recipe

10 Sardines gutted, heads removed and center spine bones

1 1/2 cups of forbidden black rice ground into flour using vita mix or flour grinder

Salt

1/4 cup olive oil to fry

Horseradish Cream

1 cup of creme fraiche

3 tbsp prepared horseradish

1 lemon zested and half juiced

Salt and Pepper

3 tbsp of snipped chives to garnish

To make the horseradish sauce place creme fraiche, horseradish, zest and juice of the lemon into a bowl and stir well.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve.

To clean the sardines have your butcher gut them and scale them for you.  When you get home cut the head off of the sardines.  Then butterfly the sardine going through the same cut the butcher used to clean the belly, you don't want to cut all the way through to the other side of the fish.  You can almost separate the back bone from the fillet with your hands by just using the knife to help the separation.  Stop right before you get the tail.  Now you should have the sardines butterflied but still intact and the back bone in as well.  With my hands I used my right hand and two finger to hold down the two fillets.  With my left hand I grabbed the back bone and pried it away from the two fillets.  It should come away fairly easily.  Again stop right before the tail because the tail is keeping the two fillets together.  Cut the back bone away from the tail, leaving the tail and the two fillets intact (see picture)  The tail should be able to hold the two fillets together along with the skin of the fish.  I rinsed them under cold water to clean any bones or blood off of the fish. 

Season the sardines with salt and pepper and dredge them into the fresh ground black rice flour.  In a saute pan with the olive oil on high heat add the sardines.  Be careful not to over crowd the pan.  Cook for about a minute on each side and then drain on a paper towel.  Because the fish is so then it will cook really fast on high heat.  The rice "breading" should be crunchy as well.  To plate simply add the horseradish sauce to the plate, place the sardines on top and finish with some snipped chives.

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