Archive for May 27th, 2009

Red Snapper Meuniere

May 27, 2009

meunierWhen you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific fish is paramount to your diet.  There are relatively few cases of grouchy teenage syndrome, behavioral and learning problems among youngsters and life expectancy is above average for the adult population.  The indigenous diet is full of veggies, fruit, fish and coconut in every form.  Its probably a contributing factor to the high number of PhD’s per capita among the Tongan populace.  Unfortunately, this results in a brain-drain of the islands as the educated migrate to mainland countries. However, they do return to the islands for retirement.

One of the most popular main courses served at my restaurant, Coco’s, was red snapper meuniere.  Lightly dredged in flour, pan fried in butter and olive oil, and dressed in a aromatic lemon sauce with hints of tarragon and chili sauce for sparkle.   Side dishes included a choice of yellow coconut rice or baked potato and ratatouille.  Nothing compares to a fresh caught fish for flavor and nutrition.  The American Heart Association recommends 3 servings of fish per week so try this dish one night soon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh red snapper fillets (or cod, white fish, or tilapia)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of tarragon
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • splash of white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • dash or two of Tabasco sauce

Method:

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil and butter and heat until bubbly.
  2. Mix flour, salt, pepper, and tarragon in a flat pan or plate.  Dredge fish fillets lightly, shake excess flour off, and place in skillet.
  3. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and fish flakes with a fork.  Remove from pan to a plate. 
  4. Add wine to deglaze pan, scraping up brown bits, add lemon juice and swirl.   Add butter and Tabasco, swirl until creamy.
  5. Pour sauce over fish fillets.  Garnish with lemon slices, capers or parsley sprigs.
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Olé! Chocolate Glob Brownies

May 27, 2009

inabrownie1

The original recipe for chocolate globs appeared in Maida Heatter’s   book of Great Chocolate Desserts, published in 1980.  Maida Heatter is a three time winner of the James Beard Award and was inducted into the Chocolateria Magazine’s Hall of Fame.  She is known as “The Queen of Desserts” and her specialty is chocolate.   Maida’s cream filled chocolate cookies (chocolate globs) was the inspiration for the Chocolate Glob cookies published in the SoHo Charcuterie Cookbook.  Sally Schneider, author of The Improvisational Cook, created her recipe for an elegant Essential Chocolate Cake from the chocolate glob recipe in the SoHo Charcuterie Cookbook.  Several TV personalities such as Ina Garten and Paula Deen have also developed decadent brownies and yummy chocolate globs based on the recipe from the SoHo Charcuterie Cookbook.

The impetus for creating amazing recipes is virtual necessity.  The cook starts with an idea, takes stock of the ingredients on-hand and improvises.  In baking, this could be substituting almond extract for vanilla extract, using yogurt instead of cream, or adding dried herbs and spices to a chocolate batter.   Experimentation or accident can result in dynamic combinations of flavors and textures that awaken taste buds and turn ordinary into extraordinary fare. 

The recipe given here is based on Ina Garten’s Outrageous Chocolate Brownies, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Copyright 1999.  Everyone loves rich moist chocolate gooey brownies.  The addition of Kahlua and cayenne pepper give these brownies a little kick.  They’re perfect for a piñata party or a coffee break with your favorite espresso or French press brew.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 lb plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Kahlua (or coffee liqueur of your choice)
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of cayenne powder
  • 3 cups chopped walnuts (or nuts of your choice)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 x 18 x 1-1/2 inch sheet pan.
  2. Melt together the butter, 1 lb. chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly.
  3. Stir together the eggs, Kahlua, almond and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Add to cooled chocolate mixture.
  5. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Fold into the chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Do not over-bake!
  7. Cool thoroughly and chill in refrigerate before cutting into squares.