Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category
The salmon burger isn’t exactly the most original idea these days. Most establishments that bill themselves as seafood or above average dining have some variation of a fish burger. My experiences have been lack luster. More often than not, the fish is dry and chewy, the tartar sauce doesn’t add much flavor or completely overwhelms the fish, the bun is too hard. In short: not worth my $15.
But a little while back I had lunch at Michelle Richard’s Central and spotted their tuna burger on the menu. My mind flashed all the failed executions and disappointed burgers I had had up to that point. I hesitated. “How is the tuna burger?” I asked our server. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head, a tiny smile curled her lips pausing just a second longer than she normally would have before saying, ”It’s excellent.” Sold. Have to trust in involuntary reaction like that. The burger was indeed heaven. Soft, buttery brioche buns encasing a delicate and tender tuna pattie with a rich, tangy sauce to complement. My faith was renewed. This little burger would be a new project. But I’d still need to figure out a good recipe.
Nothing like another established French chef exploring American cuisine to point me in the right direction. Did you know Hubert Keller has a PBS show? I didn’t either until one Saturday morning, after my 2nd cup of coffee, 3rd asprin and 1st bowl of cereal, I stumbled on his little show. Nothing fancy, just standard PBS programing, but it took me a few seconds to process what he mentioned he would be cooking that day. Did he say salmon burgers?! I must still be drunk. No effing way.
I’ve been really holding back on putting together this post. Not because I don’t think it’s important as a technique or worth the effort, but because I just wanted to get it right. Like making your own pasta, filleting fish is not hard but it’s not easy either. It’s a skill that you have to build over time and with practice. Every different type of fish is a little different, sizes constantly vary and every time I think I have a solid handle on the skill, I still manage to butcher at least one size of a perfectly good fish. So I’m no pro yet, but I’ve done this enough to put together a decent (and somewhat lengthy) beginners post.
I would advise not to try learning this skill an hour before a big date or when expecting a lot of company. An important evening is usually better just buying the fillets or having your fish monger do the dirty work until you’re comfortable with the process.
I was so ready to cook up some cornish hens. I had a solid idea for a recipe, legwork had been done to double check different techniques and methods, and most importantly, I was just really craving whole grilled/roasted chicken. Alas, my little Hispanic supermarket owned by a family of Koreans and not in any way affiliated with even the smallest of established and credible supermarkets , cleverly conceals the “Sell By” date on a regular basis. As soon as I unwrapped the plastic from my prize hens, I knew something was wrong and thanks to Alton Brown, precatious paranoia about my poultry’s acceptability was on high. Roast cornish hen = dismal failure.
So I had to take another trip. While the Latin cashiers stared hatefully at my gringo-ass upon my return (this isn’t exactly the type of place you bother tyring to get a refund), this little market sells one thing better than any of the local chain shops: whole fish! A whole red snapper; clear, shiny eyes; clean ocean smell; preserved well in fresh ice. I was sure this time around I had a quality product.
The recipe I used isn’t anything too special, basically me just using what I had on hand that would pair well with white fish. The focus today is on crisping up your fish skin and breaking the long time tradition of leaving the mushy, unappetizing skin as the last morsel on your dinner plate. Fuck that. Would you go to KFC and remove the crispy, battered skin? Of course not, it’s the best part right?
Ahh puttanesca.. who said cheap and easy, couldn’t be something a boy could settle down with and raise a family? To have and to hold. To cherish and honor. Puttanesca, won’t you be mine? Will you be mine? I really am a sucker for girl that is both nutty, briny and spicy.
Pasta alla Puttanesca translates loosely into “whore’s pasta” in Italian, but she’ll always be classy to me. She goes brilliantly with farafell, penne, or in today’s case, bowties, but any type of pasta will be great with this sauce. Just be sure to use a deep pan so you can toss the pasta into the sauce to finish cooking, and save a little pasta water to thin and flavor the sauce.