TIME TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
I’m having a small party of sorts, (mucky-muck’s and the neighbors,) and will try to awaken our pallets with some interesting tastes. The menu is simple enough and fairly reeks of fall, but is anything but traditional.
There will be Fish & Pumpkin Soup, followed by Lucy’s Fish Pie, followed by Grilled Marlin Tail Steaks, a Cold French Green Bean Salad, and Squash Pudding Souffle.
Beverages will include: Original Sin Hard Cider, Champagne – (well a fine sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer .. 1997 Royal Cuvee,) a Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais, and some Galliano over the pudding.
The recipes are a hodge podge of net browsing and remembered tastes that I’ve carried in my mental pallet for years. They are listed primarily as a reference since I always improvise, (it’s usually OK.)
Fish & Pumpkin Soup
This Khmer Krom country soup is very simple and very delicious. It is much more delicate than most oriental soups, and is a delightful beginning to any meal.
* 1 lb. Bass or Catfish fillets, cut into chunks, (I use Any firm white fleshed fish – up here it’s frozen rock fish – which could be any thing!)
*2 Tablespoons fish sauce
* 1 Tablespoon sugar
* ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
* 3 Stalks green onion, chopped
* 4 Cups water
* 1-2 lbs Pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut small chunks
* 1 Cup chopped cilantro
In a large bowl, marinated fish with fish sauce, sugar, black pepper and green onion , set aside. Bring water to a boil, add pumpkin and marinated fish to boiling water, stir and cook till pumpkin is tender. Top with cilantro. Serve hot with rice, (I pour the soup over hot rice, and use it as a sauce for the rice.) This is very rich and a little goes a long way.
LUCY’S FISH PIE
You know it’s fish, but oh so much more. The mushrooms and dill send you to the country, and the cheese will pull it all together. Select the cheese wisely.
*2 leeks, (or three or four)
*oil – (or butter)
*tarragon and dill
*grated cheese 200g (Munster or white Cheddar works well)
*breadcrumbs (couple of handfuls)
*puff pastry – ready made pack
*salmon 4 fillets
Filling: Chop 2 leeks & mushrooms finely and fry in oil, when the leeks have started to soften, add tarragon and dill, salt and pepper to taste. When mushrooms and leeks are soft take off the heat.Add grated cheese, breadcrumbs and enough creme fraiche to bind everything together – not too much that it goes sloppy
Roll out puff pastry – I use a ready made pack and split 2/3 for base and 1/3 for top.
Grease dish, (with ample butter,) and lay pastry inside, add half of the filling then the salmon fillets, cover the salmon with the rest of filling and cover with the rest of the pastry. Brush with beaten egg and pierce pastry. At this point you could make an attractive pattern on top – let’s say a fish shape if you fancy that.
GRILLED MARLIN TAIL STEAKS (With Salsa)
Be sure that you appreciate a palate-awakening experience before you try this one. Use a very hot grill, and be sure to have it well lubricated. Singed and blackened grill marks are more than just decoration – their taste with the wine is startling and delicious, (a little bit burned is ok.) The sweetish salsa sets the wine to an interesting counterpoint.
• 1/2 cup drained Mandarin Oranges
• 1/4 cup Pineapple pieces (drained)
• 1/4 cup of another fruit (Raisins, Sliced Red Seedless Grapes, peeled & diced Mango)
• 1/4 cup of Coconut Milk
• 2 tbs. Lime Juice
• Corn Starch to thicken, (be careful here!)
• 1/4 cup Orange Juice
• Marlin steaks cut from the narrow part of the tail, (I like them about 1″ thick.)
Before cooking the marlin make a tropical fruit salsa to accompany the grilled marlin-serve the salsa warm.
Combine liquids together in pan, heat and thicken with corn starch. When this thickens add fruit and warm all ingredients until hot. Keep warm and serve with the grilled marlin. Brush the marlin steaks with olive oil. Grill the marlin for about 4 minutes per side, (test it for flaking.) If the marlin is thicker than 3/4 inches cook a bit longer on each side.
This recipe has been generously contributed by www.fishingworks.com.
COLD FRENCH GREEN BEAN SALAD
This is just standard beans, (and that’s not bad!) They are always good and sometimes I put some crumbled bacon with them. Be careful with the sugar – it can make the dish too sweet.
• Enough Green Beans for guests
• A couple of large sweet Red Onions
• 1 cup, or so, finely minced Parsley;
• 1 (4 1/2-oz.) jar Chopped Black Olives; 1- 3 clove Garlic;
• 2-3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar;
• Olive Oil;
• Red Wine Vinegar.
Clean and blanch beans, (tender but slightly crunchy,) – cool. Press garlic and combine with rest of ingredients to form vinaigrette marinade. Toss beans in marinade; place in refrigerator for 24 hours. When ready to serve; drain and cover with thin sliced red onion rings.
Squash (Butternut) Pudding Souffle
This is a rather detailed recipe and you can find the procedure HERE. Yummie!
Just before serving pour a couple of tablespoons full of Galliano over the top, (more if you like – just no too much.)
There is a recent blog, (hope it lasts,) about Brett Emerson in San Francisco. After pounding the iron piano for ten years he will be opening his new restaurant, Olallie (1320 Castro, near 24th Street.) His blog, In Praise Of Sardines, is a combination of good recipes, daily chores, the trials of opening a restaurant, and life in the city. The restaurant isn’t even open and it’s made the San Francisco Chronicle. Good luck Brett, and beware the Dragon’s Eye.