Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Once a week here on the Mad Chef's blog I will put up one of my favorite dishes that I have recently put together. Some may be a bit technical, but I guarantee that each and every one of them can be made within the comforts of your own home. It just takes a little know-how and lots of love.

Being that Halibut is one of my absolute favorite fish, I will use that one this week. How does a parsnip puree with a vanilla-saffron sauce sound? Hope it sounds as good as it sells when I put it on a plate here at Sea Catch!!

First we will start with the sauce. Now I make this as an emulsion (emulsion sauces are basically two liquids that don't naturally blend with each other, such as vinegar and oil...think mayonnaise) when I am here at the restaurant and that is a bit on the technical side for a lot of people, so here I will cheat just a tad and help you come out with a great product.

The sauce is really simple, you will need 1/2 quart of heavy cream and 1/2 quart of chicken stock, 1 vanilla bean, and just a pinch of saffron. Split the vanilla bean in half to let the goody goody flavors out and place it in a pot with the liquids, bring the liquids up to a boil, but be careful not to let the cream boil over. Once the sauce is at a low boil let it reduce for about 30 minutes and then add the saffron. I always season my sauces as I go so be sure to have some kosher salt ready to go. Yes, kosher salt is way better then the "iodized table salt" you see at the store. The kosher is right next to it and tastes that much better.

For the parsnip puree, take 2 lbs of parsnip, peel and cut into thin slices. Cook them like you would cook potatoes, its fairly similar, only I tend to use half cream, half water. Fat is taste, no matter what you think, so don't short yourself that extra bit of flavor. Once the parsnips are soft I throw 'em in a blender, add just a touch of butter, some of my cooking liquid and....hold on did I mention that I will add salt to this dish? Cant forget that one, but what about another ingredient called nutmeg? Yes, nutmeg, only a pinch, will give the puree life that it never had before.

Finally for my Halibut, I love searing items, although grilling is always healthier and perfect for summer....but its not the season for using the grill just yet. I have a cast iron pan in every kitchen I have ever worked in and thank goodness, because there is a huge difference in flavor between that and every other teflon pan on the market. Salt and pepper, always a plus, a little extra virgin olive oil, let the pan get hot and simply sear the fish on both sides and stick it in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 and enjoy!!

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