Saturday, July 24, 2010

Seafood to Die For

Until recently I held the view that one of the great ironies of living in Hobart was that world class fish, including our own, was unobtainable here. I was wrong. This weekend Iki- jime Southern Blue Fin Tuna Toro sashimi with Momofuku pickles and Tataki style with Togarashi, salt and spice green Kuruma prawns with grits, bacon and slow poached egg and duck egg tagliatelle with green spanner crab meat.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fresher Than Fish

If you dig deep among Tasmanian fishermen and suppliers it is perfectly possible to find here in Hobart the same live Rock Lobster and live Stripey Trumpeter that grace the Tokyo Fish Market and the tables of Australia's handful of world class restaurants. But dig a little deeper and you can find sashimi fresh fish that would not normally be considered as available in Tasmania. This plate of Coral Trout, Moreton Bay Bug Tails, King Prawns and Spanner Crab came to my table recently at about 6.30pm on the same day as it was landed in Queensland. And it can be done every week, along with the likes of line caught Rock Cod, Pike and Bluefin Tuna.

With fish so fresh there is little you need to do to prepare a banquet. The prawns were eaten with brown bread and a Spanish Chardonnay vinegar. The crab was picked and served with a Chinese dipping sauce made up of finely chopped ginger and spring onion mixed with sugar and brown vinegar and soy sauce, all stirred together and simmered then allowed to cool.

The Coral trout was treated to equally simple treatment, stuffed with handfuls of coriander and spring onions and partly squeezed lime, topped with diced chilli rubbed with oil and salt and pepper and then roasted for an hour at 180C. It was served with steamed snow peas and plain rice.

The Bugs, so fresh and green, cook beautifully in minutes, pan fried in butter mashed with lashings of crushed garlic and flamed off with a good slug of Pernod. This is food anyone can cook with no fuss. The Bug tails mix beautifully with lightly sautéed Oyster mushrooms from the Huon Valley.

Washed down with ? Well for lunch try a bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro the world's largest selling sparkling white at $14 a bottle. It works a treat.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

World Cup Rabbit

Not being able to put my hands immediately on the Octopus, I settled on rabbit for a dish to accompany the World Cup final. Rooting for Spain I decided to cook a Catalan dish where the rabbit is braised in a tomato based sauce thickened with a "picada" made from chocolate, nuts, saffron and parsley. Here is the method.

In the blender whiz up a tablespoon of parsley, 2 cloves of garlic, a dozen each of blanched almonds and hazelnuts, a pinch of saffron strands and 15g of good chocolate (xocolata or la pedra if you can get it).

Cut the rabbit into serving size pieces and brown in olive oil and set aside. In the same large frying pan saute an onion until golden and then add a bay leaf, a 400g tin of tomatoes, 300ml of chicken stock, a tablespoon of parsley, 2 sprigs of rosemary and salt and pepper and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

After simmering, return the rabbit to the pan and cover and simmer for another 20 mins. Turn the rabbit pieces 2 or 3 times and add more stock or water if needed. It shouldn't be.

While it simmers, first soak 40g of raisins in water or sherry and second work about 6 tablespoons of the liquid from the rabbit pan into the dry picada mix. Then spoon the picada over the rabbit and add the raisins and simmer again, covered, for a final 10 minutes to thicken.

Believe me it works a treat and the recipe is probably the quickest I have used for rabbit. The result is well worth while assembling the ingredients, the rabbit is tender and moist and the sauce a perfect consistency and a flavor sensation. I serve it with saffron or biryani rice. Try it with a Spanish sherry - a dry Amontillado or a Palo Cortado