Friday, September 23, 2011

Seabass in salt bed


I like to stroll on the food market, to see all the delicacies, to smell the different odours of vegetables, fruits... But if I go there without having a defined shopping list it ends up dramatically :). Meaning that I don´t know how to carry all the things I bought, who will eat all the staff, where I can store everything ? (my freezer, my cupboards sighing in advance..)... So I was tempted by a fish stand showing mussels, fish filet, whole fishes ..and I conquered a seabass. After having carried and stored everything at home the fish was looking at me and asking about my intentions to cook him. Quite some time ago a friend of mine served us on the occasion of a dinnerparty a whole fish prepared in a salt bed and I also have read about this way to cook a fish but I never tried to make it by my own. Also because I was afraid about the idea how to serve the fish in a propper manner without bones, skin...just as a filet.. But this day I was determined to rise this challenge and went to the supermarket to buy the amount of salt needed. And it is a lot of salt you need, so the till girl looked at me a little bit intrigued when I came over with my 2,5 kg of salt.... Finally to resume my experience: I love fish in salt bed. It is easy to prepare and I can´t remember having eaten a better tasting fish. It went very tender with a great, refined taste and a fingerlicking odour filled my kitchen and dining room...Curious?
You need (1 fish about 800g):
- 1 prepared Seabass
- 2, 5 kg of coarse sea salt (look for a cheap one as you throw it away afterwards..)
- 1 bunch of different herbs like thyme, oregano, basil
- 200 ml of cold water
To prepare:
1. Put the salt in a bowl and pour in the water and mix with your hands together until the whole salt is soaked with water.
2. Wash the fish, dry him with some kitchen paper and put in his belly the cleaned herbs

3. On a oven tray or in a oven proved form (I like to cover first with parchment paper to reduce cleaningwork afterwords) put almost 1/3 of the wet salt (it has the consistence of wet sand, means that you can form it a little bit..)
4. Place the fish on this salt bed and cover allover with the rest of the salt and press a little bit with your hands
5. Put in the oven (preheated  to 200 C) for 20 minutes.
6. Carefully remove the upper part of the salt by cutting along with a sharp knife. The skin of the fish can be easily removed and then you have to cut along the spine of the fish to cut in filets first on one side and then turn the fish around and repeat to cut on this side the filets in same manner
7. Serve with a drizzle of olive. You want need salt as it has got a fine, slightly salted taste. But have a try
by your own and enjoy....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Socca with Chanterelle Ragout

Since a long time I associated chickpeas only with humus. But some days ago a friend told me about a pancake like treat made with chickpea flour called Socca.. and then I found a recipe in a cookbook with recipes from the south of France. In this recipe they make out of chickpeaflour somewhat of a crispy bread..they called it Soccer....have to try it soon. But to start I made those chickpea flour pancake called Socca that my friend was telling me about. As Fall starts I found some delicious looking Chanterelles at the Farmers Market and so I made Socca with Chanterelle Ragout. The chickpea flour gives a very definite taste to the pancakes and paired with the creamy Ragout resulted in a very fine, easy done dish.
Here to the recipe...
You need:
For Socca:
- 230 g chickpea flour
- 2 Egg whites
- 450 ml water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- Some more olive oil to bake the pancakes
For Chanterelle Ragout:
- 500g Chanterelles
- 1 small onion, cut in small cubes
- 150 g Crème fraiche
- 3 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to season the Ragout.
To prepare:

1. Start by preparing the batter for Socca by mixing together the chickpea flour, water, 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and salt.
2. Whis the egg whites with a hand whisk until it forms soft peaks
3. Fold the egg whites gently into the batter
4. Reserve the pancake batter for 30 minutes
5. Meanwhile clean gently the chanterelles by brushing them, cut them in halves or quarters (depending on their size)
6. Heat up a small amount of olive oil in a non sticking pan and pour in some of your socca batter (so that it is about 5 mm thick). When you see some sort of bubbles appearing on your pancake surface, turn it to the other side and continue cooking the second side until slightly golden brown.
Proceed in the same way until you have used the whole batter. Reserve the pancakes in the to 50 C preheated oven
7. Heat up 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan. Sear the onion and than add the chanterelles, stir from time to time until they start to get soft
8. Add the crème fraiche to the Chanterelles and season with salt and pepper to your taste and fold in the chopped parsley (but do not cook anymore)
9. Place the Socca on a plate, cover with some Chanterelle Ragout and disperse some chopped parsley over all

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