Monday, May 6, 2013

Filets de poisson et asperges, grille

A springtime treat, with the asparagus and chives. And it is done in 10 minutes. Using the Silpat saves a lot of cleanup.

Serves 4

4 four to six ounce fish filets, such as trout, ocean perch, tilapia
1 pound asparagus--thinner is better--lower stems cut off
Cajun seasoning
Herbs de Provence
sea salt
pepper
herbs for garnish, such as scallion tops chopped, chives, chive flowers, capers, thyme

Preheat broiler.
  1. On a baking pan (half sheet) place one pound thin asparagus, lower stems cut off, and the fish filets, skin side down.
  2. Drizzle all with olive oil, toss the asparagus in the oil, and dust the asparagus and the fish with sea salt. 
  3. Season the filets with Cajun seasoning and herbs de Provence.
  4. Broil the fish for three minutes on top or until they are lightly browned. Turn and broil for one or two minutes more, tossing the asparagus as you turn the fish.
  5. [OPTIONAL:] Nap the fish with Hollandaise or herb butter
  6. Garnish with scallion tops, capers, chopped chives, and/or chive flowers.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Roasted pepper soup -- Soupe Catalane aux poivrons


Sitting in the dentist's office--the dentists who inspired Jane Smiley's novella Age of Grief, about a husband-wife dentist practice--I found a recipe that I dictated into my phone while sitting in the waiting room. And it is really 1 minute.

Roasted pepper soup shots
one 16 ounce jar fire roasted red peppers with your juices.
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar.
1 fourth cup olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
Blend and serve in shot glasses.
Bon Appetite October 2012 page 104

I wondered if there is anything like this in Julia or de Pomaine. Turned out
there is: MAFC II p. 21, Soup Catalane aux poivrons, which I adapted and served last week to Rich and Julie.

Serves four as a first course

1 large garlic clove
one16 ounce jar fire roasted red peppers with their juices
1/4 cup cocktail onions
2 tablespoons sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cooked rice, preferably brown basmati
Salt and pepper
  1. Peel the garlic and chop it in a food processor. 
  2. Add everything but the rice and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a small sauce pan, add the rice, and heat.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tartare de saumon


Easter brunch 2013 continues, with salmon tartare. This is a sort of French ceviche, where lemon juice "cooks" raw fish. It's really really good. It made a nice little starter for us, before the quiche.

This is another lightning dish if the fishmonger (butcher here in Iowa) dices or minces the fish, as the friendly folks at Fareway did for me. Don't dare use a food processor, as it mangles the fishie's tissues.

I suppose verrines are really supposed to have layers. That's easy to do, such as Thomas Keller's with a layer of red onion crème fraiche, or one I did yesterday with capers. A red layer of marinated roasted pepper, drained from the jar and chopped would be nice too.

These "verrine" glasses are actually votive candle holders from Walmart, 88¢ each.

Serves 4

8 ounces of salmon filet (belly if possible) cut into 1/8 in dice or minced
10 chive spears or 2 green onion tops
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, preferably Maille
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
salt and pepper
  1. Chop the chives or green onion tops very finely
  2. In a bowl, beat the chives, mustard, olive oil, and lemon juice into an emulsion.
  3. Toss the salmon into the dressing and season.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  5. Serve in small "verrine" glasses, garnished with chives or green onion tops.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Melon and champagne soup

The bubbly is Segura Viedas Brut Reserva 2011 cava

We had a champagne brunch for Easter, just the three of us. Salmon tartare, Maddie's quiche. And to start this melon soup. It's lightning fast. I bought some melon cubes (Chilean) at the store, popped them in the blender with the juices and bubbly, and -- ZAP! -- summrery froth.

I found some little airplane bottles of bubbly, so it's possible to make an ordinary day special by making this speedy soup. This is a another dentist waiting room special, adapted from Shape magazine. But it's really elegant, and it sort of tickles the nose. Or maybe that's my imagination.

Serves 4

2 cups cantaloupe chunks
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon juice
1/4 cup champagne
fresh mint
  1. In a blender, puree all the ingredients except the mint until frothy. 
  2. Garnish with chopped mint

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Savory souffles


Souffles are pretty easy to do once you've got the hang of separating eggs and whipping them into stiff peaks and folding them in (MAFC I 157). Once you have the trick of this, it's possible to vary this infinitely by adding leftovers to the bottom of the dish before turning in the souffle mixture, or putting half the mixture in and then the leftovers, and then the rest.

And of course you can vary the condensed cream soups many, many ways. Campbell's Cream of Celery is a good base for fish souffles, as is Cream of Shrimp (MAFC I pp. 166-171). The Campbell's Cream of Chicken and Herbs is a good base for poultry souffles. Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic is good too. These taste less like, well, canned soups!

Serves 4 as a starter

Preheat the oven to 425

1 10oz can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken, cream of broccoli, etc.)
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
OPTIONAL: grated cheddar cheese


  1. In bowl combine soup and yolks.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  3. Fold into soup mixture.
  4. Turn into a buttered one-liter souffle or casserole dish (olive oil spray is fine) or individual souffle dishes. The mixture should fill just over half of the dish.
  5. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
  6. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes (15 minutes for individual ones).
  7. Serve immediately.


http://www.grouprecipes.com/94083/simple-spinach-souffle.html
2 eggs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Put eggs, soup, onion, garlic powder and salt into blender and blend for 30 seconds
  3. Add spinach and nutmeg and blend for 30 seconds
  4. Pour into an ungreased casserole dish
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Os à moelle grillés: Marrow bones




On Rue Dauguerre last fall, the night the Beaujolais Nouveau was released, I sat at the banquette at Le Plan B, next to a well dressed gentleman who was diving into a plate of marrow bones. Cross cut ones, like in the picture below. With a tiny spoon. Very much enjoying himself.  

Julia has a recipe of sorts for marrow bones (MAFCI p. 19), but it's for poaching them quickly to get the marrow for sauces, like sauce Bordelaise. (You can pull the marrow from stewing bones for this as well, like Osso Bucco.)

The fleur de sel is crucial. I got some when I was in La Rochelle--raked from the Atlantic salt flats nearby (and very expensive, for salt). When J first had it, she was skeptical, but one taste and she became a believer.   

You can either split the bones length-wise or crosswise. But because I buy dog bones at Fareway, they are always cross-wise. And they are not as long as I would like. The longer they are, the longer they take to roast. 

There's a great video of the master, Fergus Henderson, roasting them at Saint John's Bread and Wine. I ate there a couple of times when I was in London, but never had the marrow bones. Next time. J bought me his classic cookbook, The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating some years ago. Often she does not much like the offal/abats, but she lapped up the marrow bones. And then it occurred to me: She's a rancher's daughter.

Photos of Le plan B, Paris
This photo of Le plan B is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Serves two as a first course

Preheat oven to 450º
  • 8 beef shank bones cut crosswise, 2 to 3 inches. Or two bones cut lengthwise, 6 to 8 inches long
  • fleur de sel
  • pepper from a mill
  • toast made from good French bread
  • Parsley

    1. Put the bones in a half sheet pan and roast. Begin checking in 15 minutes until a paring knife inserted penetrates easily. Don't overcook or the marrow will melt away. 
    2. Serve with fleur de sel, pepper in a mill, and slices of grilled bread garnished with a chiffonade of parsley.

Photos of Le plan B, Paris
This photo of Le plan B is courtesy of TripAdvisor






Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spinach, pear, roquefort & walnut salad


I had this sweet salad first in a little restaurant in Edmond, Oklahoma, my home town. It was in the space where I had my first job, a clerk in a doughnut shop. We clerks got all the doughnuts and ice cream we could eat. Great perks. I lost the job when my hair got too long and I refused to cut it. Ah the Sixties! The restaurant is now kind of shishi. Like Edmond now. Now I eat sweet salads instead of doughnuts. Ah, my sixties!

If you have the walnuts and bacon ready, this is five minutes to put together. If you don't--and have an oven on for something else--you can cook the bacon and the walnuts while other things are going.

Sugared walnuts are kind of a pain to make, and messy gooey to clean up. So an easy (and easy clean-up) method is to simply put eight ounces of walnuts (whole or pieces) on a Silpat in a baking pan, spray with cooking spray, and toss with two tablespoons of sugar. Bake in a 370 to 450 degree oven (depending on what else you are cooking) for five to ten minutes, shaking once or twice. Check them after 5 minutes. They will be crisp and only slightly sugary. Slide the Silpat out of the baking pan and cool. You can add salt or a bit of cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning.

5 minutes
Serves 4
  • 3 tablespoons vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 8 ounces spinach leaves, from a bag--or if not, washed! (romaine works too)
  • 4 strips oven-cooked bacon, crumbled or minced (place bacon on a sheet in a preheated 400 oven for 15-30 minutes)
  • 1 cup crumbled Roquefort or other good blue cheese, such as Maytag
  • 1 pear, cored and cut into eight sections. (An apple corer will help here.)
  • 1 cup toasted or sugared walnuts (or pecans or almonds)
  1. Combine the vinaigrette and honey and microwave until warm. Start with 10 seconds on high. OR if the honey is too cold to pour, microwave the honey jar until it is warm (start with 15 seconds) and pour the warm honey into the vinaigrette, stirring with a fork to combine.
  2. Chop the pears sections, crumble or mince the bacon, and toss with the dressing.
  3. Add the spinach, the Roquefort, and the walnuts and toss again.