Inch-thick filets of fresh grouper are gently poached at exactly 120 degrees in top quality Spanish olive oil, thinly-sliced Meyer lemon, fresh Italian parsley and imported caper berries. Freshly-ground black pepper and crunchy sea salt top off this Mediterranean-inspired, velvet-textured dish..
Deceptively simple, the key to success in poaching fish this way lies in ensuring that the olive oil is kept at a constant temperature throughout the entire process (about 15 minutes to pre-heat, and another 10-15 minutes to cook over low heat). Use an instant-read thermometer to keep the temperature as close to 120 degrees as you can; if the oil is too hot the fish will be tough and the flavors will lose their delicate balance.
“…Groupers, widely distributed in warm seas, are characteristically large-mouthed, rather heavy-bodied fishes that tend to remain in discrete areas. Some are very large fishes, attaining a length and weight of about 2 metres (6 feet) and 225 kilograms (500 pounds)—in some instances reportedly much more. Groupers are often dully coloured in greens or browns, but a number are brighter, more boldly patterned fishes. Some, such as the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), are noted for their ability to change from one to any of a number of other colour patterns. Also, in many species, such as the blackfin and yellowfin groupers (Mycteroperca bonaci and M. venenosa), individuals inhabiting deeper waters are much redder than those living near shore. Groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites; that is, they first function as females and later transform into males. Groupers are prime food fishes and also provide sport for anglers and spearfishers…” –Encyclopedia Britannica
The classic Austrian dish, not the American fast food chain.
Free-raised Limousin veal leg pieces are uniformly pounded into to 1/4-inch-thick cutlets, seasoned and breaded in freshly-made bread crumbs before being gently fried in pure beef lard, drained and served hot with freshly-squeezed lemon, parsley and mustard potato salad. Totally old school, totally delicious..
4 4-oz veal cutlets
sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 pastured eggs
4 thick slices fresh bread
1/4 cup fresh parsley
gluten-free multi-purpose flour for dredging
pure beef lard for frying
Trim veal of any remaining fat or sinew, then place between slices of wax paper and pound with a meat mallet until of uniform thickness between 3/8 and 1/2 inch. Pat dry and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper (add a pinch of granulated garlic if you like) and let stand.
Lightly toast the bread, trim the off crust and add to the bowl of a food processor along with the parsley. Pulse until crumbs are approximately 1/8 inch across. Set aside.
Beat the cream with a wire whisk until thickened, then add the eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Meanwhile, melt pure beef lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat to a depth of about 1/2 inch (the veal should float rather than stick to the bottom of the pan. It actually absorbs less fat that way) and hold at no more than 350 degrees.
Lightly dredge the veal in the flour, patting it between you hands to shake off any excess.
Using one hand, dip the floured veal into the egg wash and hold aloft for a moment to let the excess drain off. Drop the veal into bread crumbs and coat on all sides without packing the bread on too tight.
Carefully slide the breaded veal into the hot lard and fry until cooked through and golden brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes total, depending on thickness. Don’t overcook). Transfer cook veal to a paper plate to drain for a minute, then dress with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and serve hot with a side of mustard potato salad.
Bits and pieces of leftover smoked pheasant with onions, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, Arborio rice, pheasant stock, French vermouth, fresh herbs and lots of cracked pepper..
Smoked Pheasant Risotto with Field Mushrooms and Baby Asparagus
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 cup French dry vermouth
1 bunch fresh herbs
5 cups pheasant stock, divided
2/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound smoked pheasant, torn into small pieces
1 cup Arborio or Bomba rice
pieces of pheasant skin
Toast the onions in a dry skillet over medium heat until nicely browned. Add the butter, olive oil and garlic, stir to combine and cook 1 minute. Add the vermouth and scrape loose any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the mixture to cook down until the liquid has been reduced to about 1/3 cup.
Add the rice, stir to combine and cook 2 minutes. Add 3 cups stock and reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, toast the pieces of skin in a heavy skillet until the fat has rendered and the skin has begun to darken and crisp. Transfer the skin to a cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle. Chop the skin into small pieces, add to the rendered fat (add a little butter if there isn’t enough) along with the mushrooms and saute until golden. Set aside.
Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add another 1-1/2 cups of stock and simmer, stirring constantly, until half the liquid is absorbed. Add the pheasant, mushroom mixture and asparagus and cook (again stirring constantly) until the asparagus is tender and the pheasant is warmed through. Use the last 1/2 cup of stock if needed to prevent the pan from getting dry. Season liberally with freshly-cracked pink pepper and taste for salt (although it usually doesn’t need any).
Turn the finished risotto out onto pre-warmed plates and finish with a little aged parmesan if desired. Properly made risotto has a creamy texture and is wet enough to slide around the plate a little.
In Texas, most pheasant hunting takes place in the 3 dozen or so northernmost counties (the Panhandle), where the next season runs December 3rd through January 1st. Playa lake bottoms are a consistently productive location for both ducks and Ring-necked pheasant.
Imagine the iconic New England lobster roll on a late summer evening. Delicious, right? Now re-imagine that as a Texican creation with homemade Key lime-ancho mayonnaise, fresh avocado and heirloom tomatoes served on a top-split, oven-toasted bolillo..
Butter-Poached Lobster on a Salt-Crusted Bolillo
For the Aioli (adapted from multiple recipes by Michael Ruhlman)
1 large, pastured egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon filtered water
2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup avocado oil
2 teaspooons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Key lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Whisk the yolk, salt and lemon juice together in a large, non-reactive bowl. While whisking, drizzle in a few drops of oil, then a few more to establish the emulsion. Whisking continuously, add the remaining oil in a thin stream. The mixture should be thick enough to cling to your whisk (i.e., not pourable).
Whisk in the remaining ingredients (except the salt & pepper), then season to taste with the salt and pepper. Cover tightly and refrigerate 1 hour before using. If the avocado oil has begun to solidify, simple allow the mayonnaise to come to room temperature and give it a quick whisk.
To Prepare the Lobster
1/2 pound Canadian or Maine lobster knuckle and claw meat
6 oz pastured butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 fresh bay leaves
Put the wine and bay leaves into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a quick boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the wine has reduced in volume by half. Add the butter and cook until you hear the milk solids begin to sizzle on the bottom of the pan. Skim and discard the foam from the top, then regulate the heat until bubbles are barely breaking the surface.
Add the lobster and poach until just done, maybe 10 minutes. Don’t let the butter boil and don’t let the lobster cook too long or it will be rubbery. Transfer the lobster to a side dish to cool, reserving the butter for another recipe.
To make the Lobster Salad
1/2 pound poached lobster meat, coarsley chopped
1/4 cup key lime-ancho mayonnaise (more or less)
1/2 cup ripe, red heirloom tomato, coarsley chopped
1/2 cup fresh avocado, coarsley chopped
Lightly fold all ingredients together in a bowl, taking care not to let things get mashed up. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Bolillos
Use a bread knife to split fresh bolillos from the top, taking care not to cut all the way through. Brush the split bolillos all over with lots of the leftover lobster poaching butter, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place in a 400 degree oven until nicely toasted, then remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
Mound the still warm, split bolillos with the chilled lobster salad. Dress with a squeeze of lime and garnish with a grind of chili and a little fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
Homemade flatbread, ghee-fried spiced lamb, roasted peppers, onions, heirloom tomatoes and garlic, with fresh goat cheese and Neapolitan parsley..
Naan Pizza with Spiced Lamb, Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Goat Cheese
For the Vegetables
1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped.
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup assorted fresh peppers (I like to use both hot and sweet peppers), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon cracked coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Toss the vegetables together then lay out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the tray in a 500 degree oven until slightly charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the Lamb
1/2 pound freshly-ground, pastured lamb
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon spice blend such as Penzeys Vindaloo, containing a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, brown mustard, red pepper, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper and cloves. Reserve a tablespoon or two of the butter, spice and lamb juices to spread on the naan.
Gently form the lamb into 1-1/2 inch balls, taking care not to press too tightly. Sprinkle with the salt and set aside. Heat the ghee in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the spices and whisk to incorporate. Carefully add the lamb to the ghee and shallow fry until nicely seared on the outside but still rare in the middle. Transfer to a side plate and allow to drain.
For the Naan(adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)
8 ounces organic all-purpose flour (can use sprouted or soaked flour)
6 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted and mashed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
1/3 cup fresh whole milk, hand-hot
1 tablespoon ghee, melted, plus a little extra
1/3 cup plain yoghurt, lightly beaten
1 small pastured egg, lightly beaten
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour in the hand-hot milk, ghee, garlic, yoghurt and the beaten egg and mix it all together to form a ball of dough. Place the dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until smooth.
Pour about 1/4 tsp ghee into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven and a heavy baking sheet to 500 degrees.
Punch down the dough and knead it again and divide into 9 equal balls. While working on 1 ball, keep the remaining balls covered. Flatten the ball using your hands (or rolling pin) into a tear-shaped naan, about 6 inches in length and about 4 inches at its widest. Brush the top with melted ghee.
Remove the hot baking tray from the oven, grease it well with ghee and place the naan on to it.
Put the pan into the oven on the top rack for 2-3 minutes. It should puff up and brown slightly. It will go from browned to burnt quickly, so keep an eye on it.
Once puffed up and browned on one side, flip the naan and place back into the oven until browned, about 1 minute.
Lightly brush the naan with the reserved butter mixture. Scatter the roasted vegetables around the naan, then position the lamb around and about. Tuck in a few wedges of fresh goat cheese here and there, then place the naan directly on the center rack of a 500 degree oven and bake until the cheese is soft and the edges of the naan have begun to char. Remove from oven, dress with torn parsley and a light squeeze of fresh lemon and serve immediately.