Monday, November 22, 2010

Plenty O Fish in the Sea

Except those two that met their end in our salt domes, of course.  Melanie scoped out this gem of a recipe courtesy of Alton Brown.  She really deserves the gold medal on spearheading (ba dum bum bing) the fish-tastic evening!

Disclosure:  Melanie & I laughed out loud when were realized a 5-6 pound whole fish would never fit in the oven so a pair of fine two-and-a-half-pounders were substituted.  OK, so the 5-6 pound fish was also elusive in St. Louis, but then, two fish are twice as nice as one.


1 striped bass, 5 to 6 pounds, gills removed, fins trimmed
4 egg whites
1/2 cup water
2 (3 pound) boxes of kosher salt
1 handful parsley
1 fennel bulb, (with stem) quartered
Several sprigs thyme
1 lemon, sliced thin
1/2 orange, sliced thin
Olive oil


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet large enough to hold the fish with parchment paper.

Rinse fish inside and out with cold water and drain. Dry with paper towels. Stuff body cavity with herbs and citrus, saving a few lemon slices for garnish. Set aside.

Pour 1 box of salt into a large bowl, add egg whites and water, then the second box of salt. Use your hands to work mixture to a mortar-like consistency. Lay down a 1/2-inch thick bed for the fish to lay on with a 1-inch clearance on all sides. Lay the fish on this bed and pile the remainder of the salt mortar on top. Work into a smooth dome completely encasing the fish. (Don't worry if the head or tail poke out a little.)

Cook approximately 35 minutes. Check for doneness by pushing the probe of an instant read thermometer through the salt into the fish. When temperature reaches 130 degrees, remove from oven, and rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Open the fish at the table by hitting the dome several times with a small hammer and lifting off the slabs of salt. Brush away any stray salt. Gently pull out dorsal (back) fin. Using a fish knife or serrated pie server, make a single incision all the way down the back of the fish and around the gill plate. Then lift the skin off working from the head to the tail. Remove meat from top side of fish, going down one side of the spine then the other. Grasp the tail and remove the skeleton, (it should come up intact). The meat revealed below will slide right off the skin.

Sprinkle meat with a little virgin oil and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 4, 2010


This gougere recipe is the best, most versatile one I've found. For example, instead of the Cheddar and pecans you can use blue cheese, rosemary and walnuts (this is the variation I brought to Jill's party), or simply go with a traditional Gruyere without nuts at all.

I always brush the tops of the gruyeres with a beaten egg before I sprinkle on the Paremsan. Also, the recipe notes that you can use a stand mixer but I never have. It's a bit of a workout by hand, but I think it keeps the dough from getting tough.

The recipe makes a bunch, but that's a good thing because these freeze really well -- just heat them in a 350-degree oven for a couple of minutes or let them thaw an hour at room temperature.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Filled Acorn Squash Rings with Curry Butter

Here is the recipe for the acorn rings from Saturday night...(BTW - great party, great food, great start to Fall - WTG Jill). I modified this a little - I used 1/2 the butter in the second part and brushed it onto the rings (I did not drizzle any on the stuffing). I used the hot curry spice blend from Penzy, I didn't have dried currants so I used dried sour cherries, and I threw on several chopped pecans during the baking process. Also, I probably cut my rings a little thinner than 1 inch. The recipe said to cover with foil - I didn't, but I did line the pans with foil as I'm lazy and wanted an easy clean-up.

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, diced (about 2 1/3 cups)
2/3 cup apple juice
1/2 cup dried currants
8 1-inch-thick unpeeled acorn squash rings (from 2 medium), seeded

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon curry powder; stir 1 minute. Add apples, apple juice, and currants. Sauté until liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer curry butter to bowl. Brush 2 large rimmed baking sheets with some curry butter. Arrange squash in single layer on sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scoop filling into center of rings. Drizzle remaining curry butter over squash and filling (mostly on squash). Bake squash rings until squash is tender when pierced with skewer, about 40 minutes. Using spatula, transfer squash rings with filling to plates.