Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday Night, Tilapia

As you all may know I am new to the seafood thing. Salmon is so far my favorite. I have tried Black Sea Bass (Momofuko restaurant) and that was a strong fish flavor so not one of my favorites. I had salmon a few ways and...It's good. A few people have said to try Tilapia so that's what I did. I think it was meant to be that I try this recipe because I was trying to get more familiar with sauces and in my "Food Lover's Companion" book, I saw a sauce called, Bagna Cauda [BAHN-yah KOW-dah] so I was reading about it and it's a specialty sauce made in Piedmont, Italy, made up of olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies, usually served warm with raw vegetables. So I went on The Food Network about five minutes after reading about that sauce to look up a tilapia recipe. I came across "Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Couda". The only reason I was drawn right to it is because it was rated with 5 stars and about 250 people rated it. You know it's good when that many people rated it with 5 stars and I couldn't believe that the recipe included the very sauce I was curious about. So when I went to Whole Foods Market I went to the fish counter and the guy was just putting out some fresh tilapia, of all things. So It was meant to be...

Smoked Salmon Beggars Purses with Spicy Lemon-Dill Oil

I don't remember what gave me the idea to make these but I have seen different chefs do Beggars Purses in the past and if I made some, it was a while ago. It's crepes that are filled with something and then tied with a long piece of scallion or leek. I thought I would just put a dollop of creme fraiche (basically a sour cream and whipped cream combined) and smoked salmon and maybe some capers or chives, I wasn't exactly sure. I looked on and Michael Chiarello has a recipe that's pretty much what I was thinking except he was using marscarpone cheese and cream cheese, both of which I had in the refrigerator, so I decided to make it that way. His recipe doesn't have a sauce but I wanted to make something so I mixed together in a blender 1/2 of a bunch of fresh dill (blanched and shocked in cold water to help retain the green color), 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 of a lemons juice and zest, 1 Tbsp capers, 6-7 peri-peri picante peppers (tiny little spicy red peppers from a jar), salt and pepper to taste and olive oil to emulsify. It was perfect with the Beggars Purses. I garnished the plate with a few more spicy peppers and very finely cut scallions at a very sharp angle so you get long strands, then into ice water until they get crisp and curly.

Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda Sauce

This is Giada De Laurentis' recipe, you can find it on We didn't get a very good picture of this but it was on the plate. The tilapia was simply cooked in a skillet with olive oil for a couple minutes on each side and the citrus bagna cauda sauce was spooned over. The mistake that we made was Tony offered to spoon the sauce on the fish while I finished cooking the rest of the fish fillets and I forgot to tell him that the sauce is 6 portions...the zest in the sauce was a little much, so if you make this don't use anymore than 1/6th of the sauce per portion. Otherwise it was good, very mild tasting fish.

Zucchini, Carrot and Baby Red Potatoes cooked en Papillote

En papillote means to cook in paper or parchment. In order to do this you really have to cut everything fairly thin, otherwise it can take forever to cook. I thought the potatoes might take longer than the vegetable so I made two packages. The potatoes I cut into 1/4 inch disks. I drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and I added some sprigs of fresh thyme. For the vegetables I cut them into a very thin Julienne and put them on a piece of oiled parchment. I topped them with more thyme, a couple pats of butter, salt and pepper and a couple thin slices of lemon. You top the oiled parchment paper with another piece of oiled parchment and fold all around the edges to seal it tightly. I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees and put the parchment packages on a sheet pan. I cooked the potatoes for 30 minutes and the vegetables for 20 minutes and they were perfectly done. I do like to cook this way because the flavor has no where to go. I really noticed this with the potatoes, they were very potatoey (if you will).

Caramelized Pineapple with Creme Caramel and Banana Ice Cream

This was from "Follow That Food" show on pineapples. I remember Julia Child saying her favorite dessert is a creme caramel and I had never made one up until now (that I can recall). I remembered she said that because Gordon Elliot (the host of the show) said the same thing. So I had to make it. I thought it was good but I'd like to do it again and add some Flor De Sal to the caramel, I love what salt can do to caramel. I almost did it but decided to follow the recipe exactly. I also would fill up the ramekin a bit higher to get a taller finished creme caramel. Otherwise it was very simple to do. The pineapple is cut into thin rounds and basically is macerated with a mixture of some of the caramel from the creme caramel, orange juice, rum, vanilla extract and raisins. As you know I would have made the ice cream myself but I couldn't find a good recipe using eggs. They all used corn syrup or sweetened condensed milk and I just gave up and decided to buy some. All I could find at the store was Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey which was perfect because the chocolate chunks in it worked with everything. It was all a great combination together.

By the way, I love how things happen. A few weeks ago I told you about a brazilan mojito I had at Bar Boulud's in NYC and how I was trying to make it at home. Well we got the April addition to Food and Wine magazine and Daniel Boulud was featured in it. One of the recipes they put in the magazine was a drink that was very similar to the mojito. It was a Caipirinha which is 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice, plus 3 lime wedges, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 ounce simple syrup and 2 ounces of cachaca. I changed the lime to lemon, I put in natural sugar cane granules, a bit of fresh ginger and some fresh mint and muddled all that then added the cachaca and ice and shook it with ice. I think that is it exactly!!

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