Friday, February 15, 2013

Branzino with Mussels and Tomatoes

I love Branzino, it is one of the tastiest fishes in the Mediterranean Sea and there are so many great ways to prepare it. It is the perfect summer lunch with a lovely glass of Pinot Grigio. The fish has such a lovely taste and can be done in endless variation. I remember seeing it on the markets and restaurants in Italy, often presented on ice at the table and the just roasted whole in the oven with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil

This time I wanted to make it simple with some fresh mussels, tomatoes and onions. It is a really easy dish to prepare but something everybody will love

Generally when doing a fish fillet, check for any bones that might be left in the fillet. This is done best with tweezers. First you go gently with your fingers over the fillet. When you feel any hard bones sticking out (usually on the top half of the fish towards the back) you take the tweezers, hold the bone tightly, press the fillet around it gently on the cutting board and then pull the bone out. This takes a little practice and you will see that if you do it in the wrong direction you might pull some of the meat out as well


1.6 kg Branzino Fillet

1.2 kg fresh Mussels
500 g Tomatoes
150 g Onions
25 g Garlic
Olive oil
White wine

Make sure all bones are out of the Branzino
Clean the mussels (or buy them cleaned)
Season the fish with salt and pepper and fry in hot olive oil till golden brown but still very juicy
Slice the onion and cut the tomatoes in cubes
Heat up a bit more olive oil, add the mussels
Saute a little while in the hot oil, add the garlic and onions, season
add a little white wine
just before the mussels are cooked add the tomatoes and time

Serve the fish and top with the mussel-tomato mix

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Prawn Cocktail

I thought today I do something nice and easy, something that fits well for a Sunday or a dinner party, a Prawn Cocktail. Ahhhh, this is so 70 ties....yes it is but it is an absolute all time favorite. When I was working on the ships I was amazed how many of them we sold every single night during the cruise. It must have been hundreds every single day, so yes you might say that it is old fashioned, but it is a classic.

Now what can we do with a classic? We could go the El Bulli way and do little Spheres and powders and you would not recognize what you eat, or we can just play around with the plating of the cocktail.
That is exactly what I did. So we still have the prawns, I took king prawns, we still have the Thousand Island Dressing and we still have the lettuce. I just like to take nice little fancy lettuces and then plate them nicely like a little mixed green salad, then poach the peeled prawns carefully, cook them down and then add the thousand island dressing. For the salad I usually make a little bit of a honey dressing which really goes well with the Thousand Island Dressing
So, here is the recipe

1 Kg Prawns
150 G Onions
100 G Leeks
100 Ml White wine
15 G Salt
5 G Pepper corns

400 G Mayonnaise
200 G Cream cheese
200 Ml French Dressing
75 Ml Chili Sauce
50 Ml Tomato Sauce
100 G Gherkins
100 G Red Peppers
10 G Garlic
50 G Chives
Salt, Pepper

40 G Lollo Rosso
40 G Baby Spinach
40 G Endive
40 G Frisee
40 G Radicchio

100 G Honey
250 Ml Cider Vinegar
650 Ml Olive oil
10 G Salt
5 G Pepper
10 G Thyme leaves


Boil water up with all the ingredient for the Court Bouillon
Peel the prawns the poach in the stock till just cooked
Take the prawns out and cool everything down
Add the prawns back in the stock and let them marinate over night

Thousand Island
Cut the gherkins, garlic and peppers in brunoise
Cut the chives in very fine slices
Mix together mayonnaise, cream cheese french dressing, chili sauce and tomato sauce
Add the brunoise
Season well , it should be a spicy sauce

Clean all the lettuces

Honey Dressing
Blend all ingredients well together
Season to taste

Mix the lettuce with a little honey vinaigrette
Plate in the middle of the plate
Add the Prawns around drizzle the Thousand Island dressing on the prawns

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Confit Salmon Salad

Today I want to show you a bit of a different way of how to prepare salmon, this time as a Confit. So what is actually a confit? It is pretty simple, usually it is pork or duck that has been very slowly cooked in its own fat. So long that it is nice and tender and falls off the bone.

Of course I can't use salmon fat to make the confit, that would never work and would not be very nice in taste as the fat of the salmon, apart from the one that is in the meat is very strong in can see the fat directly under the skin and it has this grey look...usually it is cut away as it is not nice to eat.

So, what should we take to cook the salmon in? Olive oil....a really good olive oil and some spices. I use lemon rind, bay leave, pepper corns, gloves. The the cleaned salmon gets submerged in the oil and the whole lot gets heated up.......only to about 55 to 65 C and very slowly cooked. Then it gets chilled and kept over night in the fridge, so the salmon can marinate some more.
It is a delicious way to eat the salmon, I just flake it carefully and then mix it under garden greens, add some nice vinaigrette to it and finish. Eat it with some nice dark bread, you will see the flavor is even better

500 G Salmon Fillet
600 Ml Olive Oil
50 G Endive Lettuce
50 G Radiccio Lettuce
20 G Dill
50 G Lollo Biondo
50 G Red Oak
20 Ml Cider Vinegar
60 Ml Olive oil
0.5 G Saffron
5 G Salt
1 G Pepper

Heat the olive oil to 100 C, then take off the stove
Carefully submerge the salmon fillet in the oil Leave it in for 4 to 5 minutes till the outside is opaque but inside is still pink
Remove from the oil and cool completely
Flake the salmon

Clean the lettuce
Mix gently with the flaked salmon and a bit dressing
Plate in the middle of a plate and serve with brown toast
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