Monday, May 23, 2016

Seafood Salad with Roasted Garlic Capelin Roe Dressing

     A Modern East Coast Style Seafood Salad! 
     Many old fashioned east coast seafood restaurants offer mayonnaise shrimp or lobster salads.  Mayonnaise seafood salads are popular too.  Seafood salads are usually made with 80% shellfish and 20% fish.  
     For the most part, most east coast style mayonnaise seafood salads are flavored with only Old Bay Seasoning mix.  The Old Bay Seasoning flavor can get to be boring after a while, unless one really happens to like Old Bay.  People in Baltimore simply cannot get enough Old Bay, while outsiders may prefer a bit more variety.  
     Tried and true flavors that have been well established in other American cultural areas are the best choice when introducing something new, especially in old fashioned east coast seafood restaurants.  This is because the clientele usually has conservative tastes.  
     Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise was a very popular item back in the 1980's, so it is a well proven familiar flavor.  Capelin Roe is also called Masago.  Masago is used to garnish sushi rolls and it has a mild flavor that is now well known along the eastern seaboard.  Adding these two familiar items to an east coast style mayonnaise seafood salad will jazz things up, while still remaining within the bounds of conservative taste.    

     Roasted Garlic Capelin Roe Dressing:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (Enough for 2 salads 
     Step 1:  Peel 5 whole large garlic cloves.
     Place the garlic cloves in a small sauté pan that is brushed with oil.
     Cover the saute pan with a lid.
     Step 2:  Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Shake the pan once every 5 minutes.
     Roast till the garlic turns a light brown color.
     Step 3:  Place the roasted garlic in a mixing bowl.
     Mash and mince the roasted garlic.
     Step 4:  Add 2/3 cup of mayonnaise.
     Add 1 tablespoon of capelin roe (Japanese Masago).
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Add 3 tablespoon of minced celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced roasted red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced parsley.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 5:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the dressing in a refrigerator for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     Seafood Salad with Roasted Garlic Capelin Roe Dressing:
     This recipe yields 1 large salad portion.  
     Step 1:  Place 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Add a 3 ounce piece of flounder filet.
     Add 4 large shrimp (peeled and deveined).
     Add 3 or 4 medium size bay scallops.
     Poach till the flounder, scallops and shrimp are almost fully cooked.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of sliced squid.
     Poach till the squid is fully cooked.  (About 1 minute.)
     Step 4:  Drain off the hot water off of the seafood.
     Cool the seafood in ice water.
     Drain the water off of the seafood.
     Step 5:  Slice the shrimp into small bite size pieces.
     Break the flounder filet into small chunks.
     Slice the scallops in half.
     Step 6:  Place the poached seafood in a mixing bowl.
     Add enough of the Roasted Garlic Capelin Roe Dressing to generously coat the ingredients (about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup).
     Chill the seafood salad to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
     Step 1:  Place a small mound of chopped Boston Lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Place 5 cucumber slices on the plate around the lettuce.
     Place 5 plum tomato wedges on the plate between the cucumber slices.
     Sprinkle some julienne sliced carrot strips on the lettuce for color.
     Step 2:  Mound the Seafood Salad with Roasted Garlic Capelin Roe Dressing on the bed of lettuce.
     Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of capelin caviar over seafood salad.
     Garnish with a parsley sprig and a lemon slice.

     This is a tasty east coast style seafood salad for any season!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cilantro Lime Mahi Mahi with Papaya Salsa

     Tropical Floribbean Cuisine!
     Florida - Caribbean style cooking is known as Floribbean Cuisine.  Usually the accent is placed upon seafood.  Nearly any kind of fruit or vegetable that grows in Florida or the Caribbean Islands is used in Floribbean Cuisine.  This means that there is a wide variety of tropical items to choose from.
     There are many Caribbean cultural cuisines that contribute to Floribbean Cuisine.  Island and coastal resorts often feature Caribbean or Floribbean seafood items on the menu, because this style of food is well suited for hot, humid tropical weather.  I worked with several Caribbean chefs early in my career while in Florida and each of them had their own cooking style.  One thing that these chefs had in common was a preference for serving exotic fruit salsas with fish.  A good fruit salsa tastes nice with tropical fish and the overall effect of this combination is quite refreshing on a balmy hot tropical evening!
     Papaya Salsa:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.  (2 generous portions)
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons each of these diced vegetables in a mixing bowl:
     - Green bell pepper
     - Red bell pepper
     - Onion
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped green onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced seeded green serrano pepper.
     Add 1 cup of coarsely chopped ripe papaya.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced cilantro.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lime juice.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Chill the salsa in a refrigerator for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Cilantro Lime Mahi Mahi: 
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Select a thick Mahi Mahi filet that weighs 6 to 8 ounces.
     Butterfly cut the filet, so it is an even thickness that will cook quickly.
     Lightly season the fish with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the seasoned mahi mahi filet.
     Sauté the fish on both sides, till it is almost fully cooked and a few golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Drain off the excess oil and butter.
     Step 4:  Return the pan to medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lime juice.
     Add 1/3 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped cilantro leaves.
     Step 5:  Simmer till the sauce reduces to a thin glaze consistency and the cilantro can cling to the fish.
     Remove the pan from the heat and keep it warm on a stove top.
     Cilantro Lime Mahi Mahi with Papaya Salsa:
     Place the cilantro lime mahi mahi filet on a plate.
     Spoon any of the remaining cilantro lime and white wine reduction over the fish.
     Mound a generous portion of the Papaya Salsa on top of the fish.  (About 3/4 cup)
     Garnish the plate with a cilantro sprig and a lime slice.
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice.
     The vegetable in the pictures are blanched carrot strips and green beans sautéed in butter with toasted pepitas.  (Pepitas are toasted calabaza seeds.)
     Papaya Salsa has such a soothing flavor.  The combination of the Cilantro Lime Mahi Mahi and Papaya Salsa is pure tropical paradise!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Medallions of Lotte Lautrec

     A Classic French Café Style Monkfish Entrée! 
     Lotte is also called Monkfish.  Monkfish is a deep water fish.  Monkfish has a flavor and texture that is similar to lobster.  Lotte is best when it is cut into medallions and quickly sautéed.  
     Many years ago, Lotte was known as "Poor Man's Lobster."  Lotte is also called "Slipper Tail."  Dubious chefs used to substitute Lotte in place of lobster or use Lotte as a filler in recipes like Cioppino and Bouillabaisse.  Substituting Lotte for Lobster is a deceptive marketing practice, but fortunately, most modern chefs have never heard of this cost cutting measure.
     Lotte used to be sold at a very cheap price and it was abundant.  Now Lotte is rarely seen at fish markets and the price is fairly high.  Lotte does have sustainability issues.  It is always best to check the sustainability of Lotte at reputable marine websites before making a purchase, so the dining venture will be guilt free.  If no Lotte is available, then large shrimp, prawns or even Spiny Lobster Tail is a good substitute.
     The Mint Crème Sauce in today's recipe was named in honor of the great French painter, Toulouse Lautrec.  I am not sure who created the original Lautrec Sauce, but it was well known over 30 years ago, back when I was apprenticing with a French chef that taught culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  The French chef liked serving the Mint Crème Lautrec Sauce on seafood during the spring season.            

     Lautrec Mint Crème Sauce:  
     This recipe yields about 3 ounces.  (Enough for 1 entrée.)
     The Lautrec Mint Crème Sauce is usually made to order, so the crisp mint flavor is at a peak.  This sauce is usually made as a reduction, instead of being made as a secondary Béchamel Sauce.   
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced shallot.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the till the wine is a thin syrup consistency.  
     Step 2:  Add 3/4 cup of cream.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh mint leaves.  
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
     *Start cooking the Lotte, before the sauce loses its fresh mint character! 

     Medallions of Lotte Lautrec:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Cut a 6 ounce monkfish filet into 4 thick medallions.
     Season the monkfish medallions with sea salt and black pepper.  
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of blended olive oil. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the seasoned monkfish medallions.
     Sear the medallions on both sides, till golden brown highlights appear and they are fully cooked.
     *Try to only flip the lotte medallions once when searing! 
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Arrange the monkfish medallions on a plate. 
     Spoon sauce on the plate around the monkfish medallions. 
     Serve with rice and a vegetable of your choice.
     Garnish the plate with a mint sprig.
     *The vegetables in the photos:
     - Plain steamed brown rice was placed in a mold and then inverted on the plate.
     – Eggplant sticks (3/8"x3/8"x 3 1/2") were dredged in seasoned flour then dipped in buttermilk.  The eggplant sticks were dredged in flour a second time and then fried in 360ºF vegetable frying oil.
     - Buttered par boiled peas and pimiento.  

     Medallions of Lotte Lautrec is a refreshingly simple elegant entrée that is perfect for the spring season! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Parma Prosciutto e Melone

     Savory Refreshing Prosciutto & Melon!
     Parma Prosciutto e Melone is a well known Italian antipasti.  The rich savory flavor of dry cure aged Parma Ham and ripe melon truly is one of life's simple pleasures!
     There is only one place where authentic mountain cave aged dry cure Parma Prosciutto Ham comes from.  That is Parma Italy!  Parma Ham is Italian government certified and quality inspector stamped.  There are a few different prosciuttos in Italy, but Parma Prosciutto is considered to be the very best.  Parma Prosciutto can be sliced as thin as paper.  The flavor is very mellow, yet very rich.
    Only the rind is trimmed off of a Parma Ham and the fat is part of the serving slice.  When prosciutto is sliced, the individual slices should be separated by parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Prosciutto slices will easily cling to each other and then the slices will tear when trying to separate them.  It is best to handle one slice of prosciutto at a time.

     The best ripe melon choices for prosciutto are Honeydew, Cantaloupe and Canary Melon.  The melon slices should be about 3/8" to 1/2" thick and the curved ends should be trimmed off.
     Wrapping melon slices with prosciutto sounds easy, but it is very time consuming.  One full slice of prosciutto per slice of melon is the standard.  Wrapping a slice of prosciutto once or twice around the piece of melon is enough to impart plenty of flavor.

     Parma Prosciutto e Melone:
     The yield is as many pieces that are needed.  Usually 1 or 2 pieces of Prosciutto e Melone per guest is plenty.
     • Free one prosciutto slice at a time and drape the prosciutto over the melon slice to start the wrap.  
     • Wrap the prosciutto tightly against the melon slice.
     • Place the prosciutto wrapped melon slices on a serving platter.  Try to arrange the prosciutto e melone in a nice pattern that has eye appeal.
     • Garnish the platter with bite size melon pieces and a lemon curl.

     The flavor is hard to describe and it must be experienced!  Cool refreshing melon with the flavor of Italian aged dry cure Parma Prosciutto Ham is a tasting experience that can be described as simplicity at its best!