Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kingfish with Avocado salsa on Sweet Potato Rosti

Whenever anyone asks me what they should do with a piece of fish, I generally say, "cook it", or in the case of some fish, especially kingsfish, the answer might be "keep some cool, raw, thinly sliced, and dip in soy and wasabi", anyway, the rule here that I have learnt to follow with fresh seafood is to preserve the flavour of the fish, and I find the best method is to cook the fish on its own and serve accompaniments that compliment the fish's flavour.

This is probably one of my favourite ways to eat kingfish or any other gamey type fish and I like to think of it as being a fancy "fish and chips with lemon" as it still embodies all those characters.

For the fish, when filleting I portion the fillet into single serves, removing any red/blood, and keep the steaks nice and thick, this allows you to keep them nice and juicy. Using a hot pan, a bit of olive oil, season the fish, and sear on one side until you see the white start to travel up the side of the fillet, then turn, remove from the heat once there is just a little bit of opaque in the middle of the fillet and place in a warm dish and put aside in a warm oven, the residual heat from the fish will continue to gently cook it through, leaving it really juicy inside.

For the Rosti, grate one potato(I like golden delight as they give a delicious crunch) to one equally sized sweet potato, half a diced spring onion, one egg (perhaps two depending of how much you make or how wet/dry the mixture is) season well and combine, using your hands, put hand fulls into a pan covered in canola oil or veg oil and fry until golden on both sides, place in the oven paper towels and some extra salt to both absorb the oil and to continue cooking them inside.

Now for the salsa, this is so simple its not funny, finely dice the other half of your spring onion, a handful of grape tomato's, half an avocado. The zest of a lime and the juice from half of it, salt and pepper and a good lug of olive oil so it's nice and wet, put aside so the avocado and lime 'flavours' the oil, this will make for a delicious zesty drizzle for the plate.

Its that simple and best of all showcases the individual flavours of your ingredients.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meat and two Veg with Bernaise sauce

This was a lunch a couple of weeks back that I thought would be a great way to show off just how easy a splash of Bearnaise sauce is to make. Be warned though, do not let your guest watch as the amount of butter used will scare them back to their personal trainers.

I used piece of eye fillet and cooked it as per usual (see steak section) accompanied with some brocollini, pan seared then removed from the heat and covered to allow it to steam through and some sweet potato wedges (recipe coming as they are a whole other[tasty] beast).

So, for the Bearnaise, I know this scares some people (cause it used to scare me) but i have devised an almost foolproof method.

you will need, for four people;

one egg yolk
half a stick of butter (bout 180 grams and don't even think of using margarine)
tablespoon of dried or fresh tarragon(the heart of Bearnaise)
Minced- one clove of garlic and one white section of shallot
about half a cup of white wine vinegar
two tablespoons of hot water
salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, add the Vinegar, tarragon, garlic/shallot, reduce by two thirds, pour into a glass bowl, now you want your glass bowl to fin neatly into the top of the pot to act as a double boiler, fill enough water into the pot so that it is touching and well covering the bottom of the bowl, bring the water to the boil and turn the heat off.

put your butter into a pan and heat it until it foams and is liquefied, remove from heat.

Put the bowl with the vinegar reduction on the pot with the water so the water in the pot starts heating the glass bowl, add your egg yolk and using a stick blender on low, whizz the mixture, while you are doing this, in one slow continuous dribble, pour the melted butter into the whizzing mixture, it will begin to emulsify, and the amount of butter is proportional to the level of thickness with not much butter being thin. If your sauce doesn't seem thick enough, melt more butter in the microwave and continue pouring. Once desired consistency is achieved, serve immediately.

whilst it sounds like a complex procedure, it really is easy to do while your meat is resting in the oven and takes all of about five minutes.

Jamie's "Epic Churro Lamb" from "Jamie's America"

I was recently given a copy of "Jamie's America", having watched a couple of the episodes on TV, i was stoked to receive this gift as it also represented the passion for food that i obviously reflect on others, so i was pretty chuffed.

The book is awesome, Jamie Oliver has his critics, but i cant fault him in this instance and readers of my blog will know that i am quite a fan, so take my praise with a grain of salt (and some cracked black pepper).

Apart from the wonderful flavours that Jamie describes and imagines, I think it is also his food fundamentals and strict principals that is the main appeal to me. He manages to display a great respect for all the produce he uses and this is regimented in the book by asserting the importance of using the best quality animals, as this is a direct reflection on the treatment of the Pig, Cow or Chicken during its farming stages. Also the manner in which he articulates his love of fresh unpackaged ingredients is instantly absorbed by the reader and encourages the budding home cook to venture out and source the best freshest and healthiest options.

In a time where there are so many different weight loss diets, nothing is as important as providing your body with a wide range of fresh un-adulterated produce. Jamie has the gift of engaging his readers to garner as much enjoyment from hunting out and gathering the best ingredients, as actually cooking and eating it. And I believe this to be the heart and soul of good cooking.

So, to the food, i took one look at some of the Navajo Churro lamb recipes and had to do this.

The lamb was dripping with the flavours of the marinade and the fat is instantly cut through by the sharp zangy salsa of jalapenos and oven roasted bulls horn peppers. I served it up with a side of butter beans that I fried in some fresh cut tomato, red wine vinegar and the juices from the lamb, let the beans tenderise in the oven with the lamb resting on top, as suggested in the book, i accompanied it with some Navajo flatbreads which like a piece of Naan, mopped up the plate pretty damned well.

If you are of the thinking that American food is big, fatty and sugar coated, then you are surely wrong, the massive diversity of the landscape allows for a huge range of different takes on classic peasant ingredients, which is my favourite manner of cooking. Enjoy.

PS. Thanks Jamie.