Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On a mission from dog.....

Above, photographed is the final course of the dinner cooked for the Gorgeous C's departure from these rain sodden shores.

From the top......

Pan fried scallops, with a ginger, lime and olive oil dressing, sprinkled with chives.

Insalata Caprese, a firm favourite, made with organic tomatoes, and Mozzarella di Bufala. Black olive bread on the side.

Grilled Cep Salad, with a lemon and olive oil dressing, and mixed greens.

Boiled globe artichokes, with a lemon and butter sauce.

Pan fried sea bream, with black olive paste, on a bed of boiled asparagus, with a balsamic dressing.

For the dressing, heat 200ml of oil. Saute a half a very finely chopped shallot until soft. Grate in a 3/4 inch cube of fresh ginger. Stir for 60 seconds on the heat. Remove. Let it cool. Squeeze in roughly the juice of 1 lime, and the zest (mix and taste repeatedly. the lime should be present, and not overpowering). Season with salt and pepper.

Trim the red coral from the scallops, leaving just the luscious eye. Heat a skillet, add a teaspoon of oil, and fry off the scallops until just browning on both sides. Not more than 90 seconds say, on either side.

Place on a heated plate - as large a dinner plate as you can conscientiously muster. Drizzle with the now cold dressing. Black pepper and chopped chive the plate for presentation. Perfection.

Insalata Caprese. Enough said.

Grilled Cep salad. I used dried ceps, as the ignorant moron epsiloning his way around the market wouldn't let me near the mushrooms. Bizarre. But it looked like he though I was going to steal them. I guess he felt he couldn't catch me with the knuckle dragging friction co-efficient going on.

Hey Temple Bar moron. If you're reading this, I'm surprised that you are literate.

Anyway. On a griddle, of, preferably, a barbecue grill, cook the mushrooms. Rub a serving plate with a cut lemon. Arrange your mixed greens. For 200 mls of Olive oil, mix in the juice of a lemon, and some zest, and a pinch of salt in a jar. Lid the jar, shake like a bastard. Arrange your ceps on the serving plate with some mixed greens. Drizzle the lot with the oil. Serve.

Artichokes. Boil for 45 minutes. Drain. Melt a little butter and mix in a little lemon - taste, and adjust as necessary. Plate each artichoke, and drizzle with the butter. Leave top rest for 20 seconds - the butter should drain onto the plate. Strip each leaf from the artichoke, and nibble off the soft pull at the leaf base. Dip in the butter as you do. When you get down to the small leaves, cut off at the base - about 3/4s of the way down, at the ridge. Squeeze lemon on the bottom bit, and nibble off the pulp, leaving the rough fibres still attached to the stalk.

Pan fried Bream.

For the black olive paste. 2 anchovy fillets. Black pepper. A tiny amount of salt - which may not even be necessary. Deseeded olives - the best you can buy. 2 cloves of garlic. a squeeze of lemon juice. Olive oil. Half a chili - optional. Blitz everything, except the salt, and olive oil. remove to a bowl. Add oil to attain your desired texture. For this dish I used very little.

Fillet a whole bream. Do this by making a vertical cut from top to bottom perpendicular to the head, until you hit the backbone. Talk off the tail, and fins. from the head - which should still be attached, slip the knife under the flesh so the knife blade comes flat against the backbone. Slide the knife down the bone to remove the fillet. It should stay in one piece. Repeat on the other side.

Boil the asparagus in lightly salted water for 5 minutes, using an asparagus pot with lid - the tips should be steaming, not boiling.

While that's happening, add 2 teaspoons of sunflower oil to a skillet, heat, and ass the fish, skin side down. Don't touch it for a minute. It should sizzle, and begin to curl. Smooth it back down onto the pan with a fish slice after 1 minute. Soak up the excess fat that drains from the fish with some paper towel. Flip it when the flesh turns opaque about two thirds the way up the fillet, and remove the pan from the heat. Let the fish finish in the pan for two minutes or so. Mix uo a balsamic vinaigarette - I like about a 2 to one mix in favour of the balsamic.

Drain your asparagus, and toss in the vinaigrette. Lay out on a serving plate, and pour over the last of the drerssing. Lay the bream, skin side down on top of it. Spread some paste (less than I used) on the Bream, and serve.

Damned fine.

The 30th birthday post will follow, when I nab the photos. Far too busy, and bolloxed on the day to photo myself.


Deborah said...

What a spread! I will have to try your artichoke recipe. Sounds lovely and refreshing, although I'm embarrassed to say I've never cooked with fresh artichokes before!

Scallops also sound divine.

Abulafia said...

Thanks. It's my second artichoke foray - though I didn't actually cook them this time - twas the gorgeous C.

Scallops were good. Tricky to get the dressing right though.

lorraine@italianfoodies said...

Yum, Yum, Yum, what a menu!! I think we should have a blogger get together at yours;)

Felix said...

It is all delectable. I especially like what the polka dot apron adds to all the making-food photos!!
I saw a pasta-making thing the other day in a charity shop but until the uber-project is over, any such purchase would have to be classified as an extreme vacillation.
Hope you're well... I have to go and cook something now after looking at your blog...

Abulafia said...

Felix. Life is impossible, in the long term, without pasta making.

If Mark loves you, he will make one happen.