food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘fish & seafood’ Category

lobster tail

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Here’s a simple and delicious treat for a luxurious lunch. Christmas, perhaps?

Trim the lobster tails and cut down the middle of the inside with a pair of chicken shears. Now, with a heavy knife, cut through the middle of the tail just enough to allow it to open and still stay connected. Season with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper. When you’re ready to cook, heat a pan to medium, add a little olive oil and place the lobster tails in – shell side down. Cook for a few minutes (this will depend on size) until the shell is quite pink. Now add a good amount of butter and turn the lobster tails over. Cook for a few minutes more, allowing them to colour a little. Serve with a fresh green salad and a chilled white wine.

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Written by michelle picker

December 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

snapper with beetroot and olives

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David has a way with fish. This amazingly colourful dish was not only stunning to look at but absolutely delicious too.

In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 crushed cloves of garlic, a 5cm (2″) piece of finely grated fresh ginger, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and the crushed seeds of 15 cardamom pods. Mix to a rough paste, then add 6 snapper fillets and coat them with the marinade. Cover and allow to marinate for at least an hour. Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add 3 beetroots and cook for 40 minutes (15 minutes in a pressure cooker) until soft. Drain and when the beetroot is cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin, then chop the flesh into 1cm (⅓”) dice. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat and fry one large finely diced shallot until it’s soft and caramelised. Add 6 cardamom pods and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and fry briefly. Add the beetroot, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 10 pitted and halved black olives and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Combine well then remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place. Place 85g (3 oz) of flour in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the fish from it’s marinade, discarding the marinade, and toss it in the flour to coat it on all sides, shaking off any excess. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 30g (1 oz) of butter in a large fry-pan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, fry the fish flesh-side down for two minutes. Turn and fry for another two minutes until cooked through. Remove the fish from the pan and place it on a serving platter. Season with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon the beetroot mixture over the fish and garnish with parsley to serve.

*Adapted from a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe.

Written by michelle picker

September 27, 2017 at 12:21 am

spicy stir-fried squid + cabbage and bok choy with bean paste

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Now that I’m home I’m inspired to try some Korean cooking. Ojingeo bokkeum is a perennial favorite among Koreans and can be found on most restaurant menus. Like most Korean food it is hearty and spicy. This recipe is adapted from kimchimom.com.

In a large bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ¼ of a cup of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). Clean and score 450g (1 lb) of squid (or use thawed frozen squid) and cut it into pieces. Add it to the sauce, making sure it is thoroughly coated, and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat some oil in a wok or large frypan over high heat. Add 5 stalks green onions (cut into lengths), 1 green chili pepper (thinly sliced) and 1 red pepper cut into pieces. Sauté until the onions start to wilt. Now add the marinated squid and cook for approximately 1½ – 2 minutes until cooked through (the squid will curl and become opaque). Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tabelspoon of sesame oil. Remove to a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

This cabbage and bok choy recipe (adapted from maangchi.com) is a great foil for the spicy squid.

Cut 300g (10½ oz) of cabbage into pieces and separate the leaves of 3 large bok choy. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes then add the bok choy for 1-2 minutes until the stems appear slightly less opaque. Strain the vegetables and rinse under cold running water to stop them cooking. In a bowl combine 1 minced garlic clove, 1 minced green onion, 2 tablespoons of doenjang (fermented soybean paste), 2 teaspoons of gochujang (hot pepper paste), a pinch of sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and mix well. Squeeze the cabbage and bok choy to remove excess water and add to the bowl, mixing well. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.

Written by michelle picker

July 20, 2017 at 5:42 am

sous vide salmon

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Another (very successful) sous vide experiment. Incredibly moist, tender and flaky!

sous-vide-salmon-2

You can achieve many different results cooking by this method. There’s an excellent article on what to expect when cooking salmon by this method at Serious Eats. I cooked mine at 49ºC (120ºF). The fillets had nothing but salt on them when I sealed them into a plastic bag. After 45 minutes in their water bath all they needed was a quick sear to brown the skin and give it some texture. Served with some mash and a fresh green salad – simple and delicious.

Written by michelle picker

April 29, 2017 at 6:02 am

green curry mussels

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These green-lipped mussels were delicious cooked in a Thai green curry and served over fat egg noodles.

green-curry-mussels

For the green curry, a home-made paste is the best but when I’m in a hurry I use store bought curry paste. Fry the paste in a little coconut fat until fragrant then add 1 large diced eggplant (aubergine) and a little water. Cover and cook until the eggplant is softening then add some baby corn and cook until tender. Add a can of coconut milk and some frozen peas and bring to a simmer without covering as this might curdle the coconut milk. In another pot cook your noodles. Balance the seasoning of the curry with Thai fish sauce and sugar to taste then add the cleaned and de-bearded mussels. I added a few prawns (shrimps) as well. When the mussels are cooked, place the drained noodles onto a platter and pour the curry over the noodles. Garnish with plenty of fresh coriander (cilantro).

Written by michelle picker

April 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

baked whole snapper + bean sprout salad

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Here’s a Japanese recipe for baked fish.

baked-snapper

After cleaning and drying, cut some slits into the sides of your fish to allow the flavouring to penetrate. For a 1 kg (2 lb) fish, mix 2½ tablespoons of sake, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of finely grated fresh ginger. Place some slices of onion and carrot into the banana leaves, foil or paper in which you’ll bake the fish. Oil the fish on both sides and lay it onto the onions and carrots, topping with some more onion and carrot slices. Pour over the soy mixture and close the parcel tightly. Cook in a moderate oven or on a barbecue until the fish is cooked and flaking.

I served mine with a bean sprout salad.

bean-sprout-salad

Slice some carrot and red pepper in to fine strips. Bring a pot of water to boil and add ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Add the carrots and cook for 1 minute. Add the bean sprouts and peppers and allow to come to the boil before removing from the heat and shocking under cold water. Make a dressing of 1½ tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of white rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Toss the cooled and drained vegetables in the dressing, adding some finely sliced green onions. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Written by michelle picker

February 16, 2017 at 5:52 am

fine dining in Aukland

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sky-tower-aukland The Sky Tower in Aukland, New Zealand is a distinctive landmark. Thanks to Nicolas who generously gave me a voucher, I ate there with 6 others at The Sugar Club on the 62nd floor. We tried many dishes from chef Peter Gordon’s degustation menu.

turmeric-cured-salmon

 

 

 

First there was an amuse-bouche of turmeric cured salmon over an anchovy paste with crispy lentils.

The menu is designed to go from lighter dishes to heavier so here, in the same order, are some of the outstanding dishes we ordered followed by equally good desserts.

Hiramasa kingfish with nori, cucumber, orange, chilli soy dressing, peanuts and wasabi cream

kingfish

miso eggplant with medjool dates, feta, crispy buckwheat, tahini yoghurt and mango puree

eggplant

asparagus and spiced quails eggs with shiitake, miso and almonds

asparagus-and-spiced-quails-eggs

spiny crayfish and Marlborough saffron linguine with pine nuts and aged parmigiano reggiano

spiny-crayfish

creamed Pāua (the Māori name for abalone or ormer shells) with kiwi dip and frybread

creamed-paua

octopus with corn puree, quinoa, celery and capsicum

octopus

tempura aubergine (eggplant) and blue pea inari with panch phoron spiced tomato pickles, rhubarb and guava

tempura-aubergine

line-caught fish with tempura oyster, mussels, cucumber and dashi

_fish-tempura-oyster-mussels-cucumber-dashi

Hawkes Bay lamb rump with pecorino gnocchi, pesto, lamb floss and preserved lemon dressing

lamb-rump

Mahy Farms beef fillet with spiced beef cheek, smoked mash and spinach

_beef-fillet

Aukland harbour sunset from the Sky Tower

aukland-harbour

berries and meringue

meringue-berry-sorbet

Zealong Oolong panna cotta with matcha sponge, blueberries, fennel confiture and red shiso

panna-cotta

peanut butter parfait with miso caramel, sesame, paprika and orange

peanut-butter-parfait

chocolate cru virunga 70% semifreddo with spiced pineapple, mochi and tamarind caramel

chocolate-semifreddo

Written by michelle picker

February 4, 2017 at 5:57 am