Tuesday, 9 June 2015
1 large hake fillet or 2 small ones
1 Courgette cut into thick slices
2 Tomatoes, quartered and de-seeded
1 hand full of chopped thyme
For the sauce
2 small shallots finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
Small hand full of whole black pepper corns
1 Teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1/2 Glass of white wine
2 Tablespoons of double cream
50g unsalted butter cut into small cubes
Begin by seasoning the courgette slices with salt and ground pepper, and fry in olive oil on a low to medium heat. Do not allow it to get too hot as Olive oil becomes carcinogenic if it stars to smoke. And as that can kill you best not to! Fry until is starts to turn colour then add in the tomatoes. Sprinkle the chopped thyme over the lot and stir it all in. Let that carry, turning them over occasionally until the courgettes and the tomatoes are browned and soft. All told,that should take about 10 minutes tops.
While the courgettes and tomatoes are cooking cut your fillet(s) into 4 roughly equally sized portions, and with a very sharp knife, score the skin with 2 or 3 slits on each and lay the fillet portions skin side up on a grill tray. Drop a teaspoon of olive oil onto each of them and massage it into the skin with your hands.Then season and put under a hot grill (220 degrees C) for 5 minutes or until the flesh of the fish has gone from translucent to white.
As that bit didn't take a lot of effort, while that's grilling, put the chopped shallots, wine, vinegar, bay leaf and pepper corns into a saucepan and put on a high heat so it starts bubbling and reducing down quickly. Once the liquid has reduced by half, turn down the heat and add the cream and stir it all in. Again, you are waiting for it to reduce down, Now turn the heat down lower again and start adding the butter you have prepared, just a couple of cubes at a time. Whisking everything together after each cube, and keep going until the sauce thickens. Then pour it through a sieve so the smooth sauce ends up in a jug without all the lumpy bits and pepper corns.
Now just bring it all together. One top tip, before plating up the fish, run a blow torch over it to make the skin really crispy. Do the same with the courgettes and the tomatoes too. I don't generally go in for burned food but with this dish it really woks. Serve with chips or some light greens such as asparagus or french beans. Great with a cold glass of Muscadet.
CHICKEN, BACON AND AVOCADO SALAD
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 chicken breasts cut into 1" chunks
50g of bacon lardons
2 ripe avocados, peeled, stone removed and cut into chunks
2 table spoons of Mayonnaise
1 Frisse lettuce cut roughly
2 salad tomatoes de-seeded and cut into quarters
1 chicory (aka endive) cut into chunks
2 Thick slices of bread
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
25g unsalted butter - softened
1 teaspoon of capers
Sprinkling of pine nuts
If you want to make your own mayonnaise I've already posted a good recipe that would go well with this dish. Click on the hyper link to find it.
Start with the hot stuff: put the lardons into a baking tray and into an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees. Also fry the chicken chunks in some vegetable oil and butter until brown and crispy. While that is cooking away cut up the lettuce, chicory, tomato and lay it out in a dish and dizzle with olive oil.
After 10 minutes, your chicken and bacon should be done. Set them to one side in a paper kitchen towel to absorb off any surplus oil or greasiness and to cool. Next, take your bread slices (this is a great way of using up old, stale bread), spread them with butter on both sides, cut them into 1" chunks, sprinkle with your chopped garlic and fry until crispy all over to make croutons.
Finally, in a bowl, add the chicken, bacon, avocado, croutons and mayonnaise and mix thoroughly. Spoon it over the salad stuffs already in your dish. Sprinkle with some pine nuts and capers. Season well and serve. Makes a lovely light lunch.
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of french mustard
2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
The juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons of cream
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Good quality vegetable or rape seed oil (not olive oil - too strong)
This is a whole heap easier to do with a food processor or some kind of a mechanized whisk. It can be done in a bowl by hand but your wrists will be aching by the end of it. And I'm all for physical excersize, but if there's one part of my anatomy that doesn't need a work out its probably my wrists. ANYWAY! Separate the yolks from the whites of two eggs. Put yolks only into your bowl. Add the mustard and mix. Now start to add your oil. The technique for doing this effectively is to add a small stream then whisk it thoroughly in. Then another small stream, then whisk again and so on. I've seen celebrity chef's on the TV add a constant stream while the kitchen processor is left running. It may be the deign of my machine but when I tried to do it that way most of the oil got splashed around the side of the inside of my bowl rather than got added to the mixture it self. Then when I finished I had big oily reservoirs around my lovely mayonnaise when it started to settle.
Once the mixture has started to thicken add your vinegar (which will water it down a bit) then carry on with the oil. Once it's started to thicken again add your lemon juice. Once that is fully mixed in then add your cream, salt and pepper. Then continue with the gradual oil adding ritual. Its difficult to tell you exactly how much oil to add. It depends how thick and gloopy you want your mayonnaise to be. The general rule is that the more oil you add the thicker it gets. My test to see if it's ready is to spoon out a little bit on a teaspoon. If it keeps its shape and wobbles if you give it a gentle shake then it's ready.
Once you've got the basic method for making mayonnaise you also have the bedrock for making salsa verde which is beautiful with meaty fish, also sauce marie rose and thousand island dressing and a lot of others.