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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Star Makeover: Icy Poached Fish

"Most of the famous French dishes involving filet of sole center around fish poached in white wine and coated with a lovely, creamy sauce made from the poaching liquid." 
Julia Child describes poaching fish fillets from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This month's 5 Star Makeover theme is Cooking with Wine. We can choose any classic dish where wine is a major ingredient and put our own unique spin on it.

Poached Red Snapper with Wine Ice
served with Mushroom Cream Sauce, Lemon Zest, and Scallions

I re-created Julia Child's Fish Filets Poached in White Wine and decided to present an icy, refreshing poached snapper dish surrounded with ice made from its poaching liquid, accompanied by a mushroom cream sauce, lemon zest, and scallions. For a light dish like poached fish, a low-tannin wine is most appropriate due to the lack of fat in this dish. Tannin and fattiness go hand in hand. So braised short ribs would go well with a bottle of Bordeaux or Cabernet, for example. In this case, I poached the fish in Pinot Grigio to avoid masking the light fish flavor with a high-tannin wine.

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Fish Filets Poached in White Wine
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
  • 2 tbsp of finely chopped green onions
  • 2.5lbs of skinless, boneless red snapper fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp of butter cut into bits
  • 1.5 cups of Pinot Grigio and water mixture
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • A handful of small cremini mushrooms
  • Lemon, for zesting
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a shallow fireproof baking dish that is about 2 inches deep.
  2. Sprinkle half of the scallions in the bottom of the dish. Season fillets with salt and pepper.
  3. Place fillets in dish and sprinkle remaining scallions over them, along with bits of butter.
  4. Pour in wine/water mixture until fish is barely covered.
  5. Bring dish almost to a simmer on stovetop. Lay a buttered paper over the fish, then bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove fish and set on a plate to cool, then refrigerate. Pour 2/3 of the poaching liquid into a shallow dish and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  7. Bring remaining poaching liquid to a boil on the stove and stir in 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of flour, 1 tsp of salt, a dash of pepper, and mushrooms. Boil sauce down until thickened. Leave in fridge to cool.
  8. To serve, scrap poaching liquid ice with a fork. Place ice in a glass or bowl. Spoon a little bit of the mushroom sauce over the ice. Place a piece of fish over ice and sauce. Cover fish with more crushed ice. Sprinkle a little bit of lemon zest over the fish. Serve cold.

Thank you to Natasha from 5 Star Foodie and Laz from Lazaro Cooks! for hosting the 5 Star Makeover!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Bread Salad Days

There is something about the Los Angeles Times that I just love. The layout. The content. And it has an amazing food section! I was so happy to be featured in the LA Times' Daily Dish.

LA Times' Daily Dish - Bacon and Souffle

Yes, my bread salad tasted quite delicious! I served it at dinner with Chicken Marbella (a previous post) and the combination was great.

Bread Salad
Bread Salad
from LA Times
Serves 6
  • 1/3lb stale ciabatta
  • 1lb tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3 tbsp of toasted pine nuts
  • 3oz of arugula
  1. Tear bread into pieces and put them in a bowl with water to cover. Soak for 15 minutes.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in halves and place them in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow salt to pull juice from tomatoes.
  3. Squeeze as much water out from the bread as possible. Crumble bread into a serving bowl. Stir tomato mixture into the bread, working the mixture to moisten as much of the bread as possible with the tomatoes. Stir in the red onion.
  4. When ready to serve, add more salt or vinegar to taste. Add pine nuts and arugula to bread salad and toss lightly to mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Harvest to Heat: Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

As you may already know, I am currently in love with the Harvest to Heat cookbook. I made the Burrata with Speck, Peas, and Mint, a Chef Nancy Silverton creation, and it tasted fantastic.

Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions is a dish by Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, Chicago. This tastes so familiar, almost like a childhood meal, yet so different at the same time. It's clean and flavorful.

Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

I served grilled fajitas with bell peppers on the side as another taco filling option. Such a fun meal for the weekend!

Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

  • 8 to 10 corn tortillas
  • coarse salt
  • 9 cups loosly packed, stemmed lamb's quarters (or 6 cups of chard leaves sliced 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 lb of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup Chipotle Tomatillo Verde Salsa* for serving (see below)
  • fresh cilantro sprigs
  1. Wrap tortillas in a kitchen towel and put it in a steamer (with boiling water). Cover and steam for 1 minute. Turn off heat and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  2. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and add the greens to cook until barely tender (1-2 minutes for lambs' quarters and 1-2 minutes longer for chard). Drain and cool. Roughly chop and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add chopped greens, broth, and salt to taste. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  4. Serve warm tacos with cooked greens, cheese, salsa, and cilantro (and a side of fajitas if you prefer).  
*Toast 3 large cloves of unpeeled garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly blackened. Let cool, slip off skins and chop. Turn broiler on high and broil 5 to 6 medium tomatillos about 4 inches from the broiler for about 5 minutes. Turn them over and roast the other side. Let cool. Scrape tomatillos and any juices accumulated into a food processor. Add garlic and puree mixture. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 3 to 6 canned chipotle chiles in adobo (stemmed and finely chopped) along with 3 tbsp of water to give salsa a nice consistency. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of sugar.