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Breton Fish Stew (Cotriade)


(serves 6)
This is my version of a classic from Brittany, the fish stew that Breton fishermen enjoy after a hard day at sea, the Cotriade. Unlike the more popular French bouillabaisse which relies on tomatoes and crustaceans for a base flavour, the Bretons prefer their fish stew au natural. Its harder to achieve a flavourful seafood stew that is white but when you do it right, the pure unadulterated flavour of fish makes a world of difference.  

IngredientsContriade

  1. White Fish Fillets (500g)
  2. Black Mussels (500g)
  3. Canned Sardines in oil (2 x 120g wet weight)
  4. Canned Anchovies in oil (50g wet weight)
  5. White Wine (1 cup)
  6. Minced Garlic (3T)
  7. Onions (2)
  8. Celery (2 cups chopped)
  9. Carrot (1)
  10. Bread (3 slices)
  11. Thyme
  12. Dill Weed

Preparation Part I

  1. Leave 3 slices of bread in the open to dry overnight.
  2. Cut the crust off the bread and cube the bread into 1cm pieces. Cut the crust into small pieces as well, but separately. Toast the bread cubes till they are brown and then crush in a zip loc bag with a mallet.
  3. Dice one onion. Place the onion bits into a large pot. Partially open one of the sardine tins and pour its oil into the pot. Turn on the heat and occasionally stir fry the onions.
  4. In the meanwhile, spoon all the sardines and anchovies including their oil into a bowl with 3T of minced garlic. Mash everything up with a spoon.
  5. When the onions are soft, turn up the heat and add the fish and garlic mash. Stir fry for a minute, continuing to mash up the fish. Next, add 1 cup of white wine, wait a further minute and then add 4 cups of water and 2T of chopped thyme. This is the stock for your stew.
  6. While the stock is simmering on low heat, cut an onion into 6 wedges, dice 2 cups of celerey and 3/4 cups of carrot. Add this to the stock together with the bread crumbs.
  7. While the veggies are cooking, soak your mussels in water for a few minutes. Also, cut your white fish into chicken nugget sized pieces. You can leave the skin on. Marinate with 2T of oil and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Do not put either the mussels or fish into the pot yet.
  8. Continue the simmer until the onion wedges turn into soft individual petals. Then turn off the heat.

Preparation Part II

  1. This is the part you do about fifteen minutes before serving your stew.
  2. Bring the pot up to a full boil.
  3. Add the clams and continue boiling for 1 minute.
  4. Next add the marinated fish making sure all the pieces are submergedand. Continue boiling for 1 minute (less if you fish pieces are not thick, but never more).
  5. Turn off the heat but leave the pot covered for 10 minutes while the fish continues to cook .
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper to bring out the full flavour of the stew. Garnish with a sprinkle of dill weed or chopped parsley.

 Notes

  • When I first decided to come up with my own cotriade recipe, I was confronted with a typical dilemma. Fish gets hard and then flakes up if it is boiled for more than a short while. But, any kind of stew needs to be simmered for a long time for it to develop its full flavour. Many fish stew recipes get around this by using tomatoes (or worse bacon) for the base flavour, but that is the easy way out. The solution was to use canned fish and wine to form the base flavour.
  • The next challenge was to get rid of the fishy smell and taste of the canned sardines. After some experimentation, I found that the combination of onions, garlic and deglazing with wine at a high temperature did the trick. When you see the stew frothing up a bit after adding the wine, don’t worry, this is normal. Its just the fishiness going away.
  • The sardine stock in turn allows us to just par boil the fresh fish right at the end, so it remains intact and tender. A fish stew is supposed to have 3 types of fish for variety so I recommend you use 2 types of fresh fish. Cod I find is one of the best choices, and I also like pomfret and sole, but basically any kind of fish white fish would do. The most important thing is to not overcook the fish.
  • Besides tomatoes, the other ingredient I didn’t want to use was potatoes, which would make it more like a chowder (or worse, like beef stew). This presented another problem: how do I give the stew some body? Then I got to thinking, well you eat French stews with bread, so why not just have the bread already boiled into the stew? That worked out well.
  • For the white wine, the oaky tones of a chardonnay is a perfect fit with the stew.
  • If you want a North Sea taste don’t use olive oil as it imparts a Mediterranean feel. I use sardines in sunflower seed oil for this stew.
  • Instead of using salt at the end, consider ‘cheating’ and using Hon Dashi pellets instead. It will bring out the best in your fish stew.
  • If you like French seafood stews, check out my bouillabaisse recipe.  
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in A Kobi Original, French, Recipe, Seafood, Soups

 

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Two Colour Seafood Terrine


(serves 6 to 9)
This is a recipe for a cold semi-firm seafood terrine that is half red and half green. The use of canned lobster bisque and Nori (dried seaweed) sheets makes it much easier to get a full spectrum of seafood flavours while using just fish and prawn as you base ingredients. The lobster bisque is also used to make a lobster-shallot sauce that goes superbly with the terrine. Another nice touch is the use of brioche, which gives your terrine a nice buttery tone. The result, a juicy flavourful seafood terrine that everyone will enjoy.
 
Ingredients
  1. Sole Fillet (500g)
  2. Prawns (150g)
  3. Scallops (150g)
  4. Brioche (cubed, 2 cups)
  5. Cream (200ml)
  6. Lobster Bisque (1×400 ml can)
  7. Nori = Dried Seaweed (2 large sheets)
  8. Eggs (2)
  9. Shallots (9)
  10. Mayonnaise
  11. Butter
  12. Brandy
  13. Liquid Smoke
  14. Basil
  15. Dill Weed

Knife Work

  1. Spoon one heaping T of mayonnaise into a bowl so that it will be at room temperature by the time you need it.
  2. Cut each of your 9 shallots in half, peel them, then slice finely.
  3. Cut as much brioche as you need into small cubes until you get 2 cups full.
  4. Cut with scissors 2 large (like A4 paper sized) Nori sheets into confetti.
  5. Shell your prawns and dice them together with the sole fillet into pieces about the size of half a finger. Dust your seafood with salt and pepper from a shaker as if you were going to pan fry them.

Blending the Terrine

  1. In a pan, stir fry one third of the shallots in a dash of oil till they begin to brown. With the pan sizzling hot, add half the can of lobster bisque, 2T brandy and 1t basil. Let the mixture boil for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Mix in 1 cup of brioche cubes. Allow to cool in a bowl.
  2. In the same pan(after washing it), stir fry another third of the shallots in the same way. This time add 200ml of cream, the Nori confetti, 2T liquid smoke. Let the mixture boil for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Mix in 1 cup of brioche. Allow to cool in a second bowl.
  3. Place half the fish, half the prawns and an egg in a blender, then add the contents of the first bowl. It must be cool enough such that the egg doesn’t start cooking. Don’t liquidize it completely, just blend till you get a lumpy paste. Spoon the paste back into the bowl.
  4. Blend the rest of the fish and prawns with a second egg with the contents of the second bowl, using the same procedure.

Cooking the Terrine

  1. Line the inside of 6 ramekins with oversized pieces of clear cling film. Spoon the seafood paste from the two bowls into 6 ramekins as shown. Poke with the small end of a spoon to compact the paste and get rid of air pockets.
  2. When you are done, cover each ramekin with a second piece of smaller cling film and tuck the loose bits under the ramekin to seal everything up. The terrine will expand while it is cooking (although it will shrink back after that) so do not fill the ramekins too close to the brim.
  3. Set up your steaming rack in a pot with an inch of water and set it to boil. When the water is boiling. Arrange 3 ramekins within (see the picture below) and steam for half an hour on a low simmer. You can stack the other 3 ramekins on in an overlapping fashion if your pot is tall enough. If not, repeat with the second 3 ramekins.
  4. Allow the ramekins to cool and then chill them in the fridge with the clear film still attached. You can leave them in the fridge overnight.

Sauce 

  1. In the same pan(after washing it again), stir fry the remaining one third of the shallots in a few T of oil. This time you want to stir-fry on low heat until they are a nice deep brown.
  2. Pour in the remaining lobster bisque while the pan is sizzling, add 2T brandy, the warm mayonnaise, 1t dill weed and 1t sugar. Let it boil for 10 seconds and then set aside to cool. When it has cooled enough, spoon into a bowl and  chill this in the fridge as well.

Scallops

  1. Cut each scallop into half from the flat side, then slice them into thin semi-circular pieces.
  2. Melt a large knob of butter in the same pan (after washing it yet again) and then allow the pan to cool. Arrange the scallop pieces in the pan and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Turn the heat on and cook without touching the scallops at all. The moment you see the scallops get opaque, which is very fast, turn off the fire. They cook fast and this is the best way to ensure each piece is cooked the same and done just right.

Putting It Together

  1. Remove the chilled terrine blocks from the ramekins and clear film and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  2. Slice any uneven bits (like a rounded bottom) off the biggest blocks and mash them up (in their separate colours) so you can use them as fillers later.
  3. Slice each circular block into 2 thinner blocks.
  4. Arrange on plates with the clean cut surface facing up. Fill in any gaps with your mashed bits.
  5. Spoon the sauce onto the plate, around but not on the terrine.
  6. Finally, arrange the scallop petals on the plate on top of the sauce.
  • The structure of seafood terrines
    Fish Terrine 1000

    Another terrine I made on another occasion.

    varies widely. Mine is a simple one with no solid bits but you can put chunks of any kind of seafood you like in yours. Just make sure they cut easily (i.e. nothing chewy like clams)

  • You can make the colours more vibrant if you wish. One option is to use salmon as the fish for the red part and add some blanched chopped spinach to the green part (see picture).
  • I used a stainless steel round form to divide the terrine into inner and outer layers. If you don’t have these in your kitchen, one option is to make a Swiss-roll by spreading a thick layer of fish paste on a suitably sized sheet of Nori, rolling it up and standing it up in the ramekin as the centre. You’ll get a nice spiral pattern as your core (see picture). You can also just dispense with appearances and use a simple left-right arrangement.
  • Traditionally terrine is made in one large loaf shaped block (see picture) but I found that it is much easier to steam ramekins. If you want to make a one loaf terrine, you’ll have to cook the terrine on a pan of water in the oven, and replace the cling film with the more cumbersome parchment paper or perhaps blanched spinach leaves.
 
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Posted by on August 3, 2013 in Appetizers, French, Japanese, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Toaster Oven Baked Salmon


(serves 2)
Baked Salmon is one of those dishes that is a good fit for the unique qualities of the toaster oven, allowing it to be cooked to tender perfection every time.
 This recipe is fuss free and fast, you can manage it in under 15 minutes if you are versed in the ways of the kitchen. The dish also comes complete with pasta and veggies cooked in the juices of the salmon, making it a complete meal in of itself. This recipe is for 2 servings but can easily be scaled down to 1.

Ingredients

  1. Salmon Fillet (2 belly fillets = 450g)
  2. Pasta (140g)
  3. Garlic (9 cloves = 3/4 bulb)
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Coriander Seed Powder
  6. Butter (30g)
  7. Misc Vegetables (optional)

Preparation 

  1. Put a few cups of water with 1t salt and a knob of butter to boil in a pan. You can also use a pot, but a pan means one less thing to wash up later. Also preheat the toaster oven, after you remove the baking tray.
  2. Peel the garlic and mince it through a garlic press. Wet the garlic with a touch of olive oil. I normally use bottled garlic (see notes), a great time saver.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the salmon fillets, including the sides and wait 20 minutes for the par-curing to complete. Rinse the salt off, pad dry with paper towels and dust with black pepper and coriander seed powder.
  4. If you plan to have veggies, you can use practically any type, par boil them in the pan at this stage.
  5. Arrange the garlic on the tray in the shape of the fillets. Place the fillets on the garlic in the position shown in the picture below. Cover the fish with thin slices of butter.
  6. Put the tray into the (hot) toaster oven and readjust the dial to 5 minutes. When the toaster goes ding! leave the fish in for a further 5 minutes to slow cook.
  7. In the mean while, fish out the veggies and throw the pasta into the same boiling water. When the pasta is semi soft, drain the water away and turn off the heat, leaving the pasta in the pan.
  8. When the 10 minutes is up, temperarily place the salmon onto a plate. Mix 1T of mayo into the hot drippings of salmon oil, butter and garlic. Pour the mixture over the pasta in the pan. Fire up the pan and add the veggies.
  9. Put the salmon back on the now empty tray and use a kitchen torch or cigar lighter to crisp the skin evenly. Then put the whole thing back into the toaster to keep it warm.
  10. When the pan is searing hot, add 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry till the pasta is al dente and then plate the pasta together with the salmon.

Notes

  • THIS IS POST NO. 100.
  • Salmon comes in three cuts. Tail fillets, Darne cross sections, and Supreme thick boneless fillet. Use only Supreme cuts for this recipe and preferably don’t use salmon that has been frozen before.
  • Salmon is one of those special fish which you don’t have to fully cook, like beef steak. My 5+5 timing results in nice pink tender meat which sloughs off easily in layers that melt in your mouth. If you want it more well done, set the dial to 6 minutes.  
  • To ensure even cooking, position the salmon with the thin ends touching to the side, and the fish slightly towards the back of the tray. This is because the center and back of the toaster oven is always hotter.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen torch (and I strongly recommend you get one) your other alternative is to peel away the skin since it will not be cooked sufficiently on the thinner parts of the fish that are further from the heating element.
  • I keep a bottle of store bought minced garlic in oil in the fridge for recipes where minced garlic is cooked. Its perfect for this recipe. Or you can just make some of your own ahead of time.
 
 

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Steamed Snapper in Soya Sauce


(serves 2)
Steamed fish is a relatively healthy way of cooking fish, and when done in the ‘Cantonese’ style is much more tastey then you might imagine. My technique is a fusion method which incorporates the ease of Western cooking, and you won’t even need a steamer or any form of steaming cookware. You also won’t have to worry about over or under cooking your fish.  
 
Ingredients
  1. Snapper Fillet (2 x 160g)
  2. Chives (6 stalks)
  3. Corriander (2 bunches)
  4. Garlic (6 cloves = 1/2 bulb)
  5. Light Soya Sauce
  6. Sesame Oil
  7. Chinese Wine

Preparation

  1. The type and quality of fish is important when steaming. You can use fish which has been chilled but never fish that has been frozen. Besides Snapper, other species of fish with meat of the same smooth crisp texture and consistency, such as Garoupa, are also suitable. Start by bringing your fish fillets to room temperature by soaking them in luke-warm water.
  2. Julienne the chives (also called spring onion in some places) into 1/4 inch bits keeping the solid/white bits seperate from the leafy/green bits. Cut the root portion off the corriander but otherwise leave the sprigs as they are. When you are done you should have something like what is shown in the picture.
  3. Peel and put through a garlic press 6 cloves of garlic.
  4. Mix 3T of light soya sauce, 2T of Chinese Wine, 1T sesame oil, 1t sugar and 1/4 cup water in a bowl .
  5. Fry the white portion of chives with a spot of oil in a frying pan till they begin to brown. Make sure you use a pan which has a cover.
  6. When your chives are ready, let the pan cool a bit and then pour the soya mixture into the pan with the green portion of the chives. Set the heat to produce a low simmer and when the soya mixture begins to boil, place your fish fillets in. If your fish still has the skin attached, put it in skin-down so the skin has a chance to interact with the wine before it boils off.
  7. After one minute, flip the fish pieces over and place the corriander on top of the fish (see picture below). Cover and continue to simmer for one minute. After the minute is up, turn the heat off and allow the fish to ‘steam’ for a further 15 minutes with the cover on.
  8. In the meanwhile, fry the garlic in a spot of oil in a seperate pan. When the garlic begins to get darker, turn off the heat and let the residual heat of the pan continue to darken the garlic till it reaches a gloden brown.
  9. When the fish has finished ‘steaming’, put aside the corriander. Plate the fish and spoon the soya liquid over it. Next spoon the garlic together with its oil on the fish and finally garnish with the corriander.

Notes

  • This type of steamed fish is of the ‘Cantonese’ style and is best served with rice. You can of course use staples such as (unsalted) mashed potatoes or polenta instead.
  • If your fish fillets are thin, you can reduce the 2 boiling phases to 30 seconds each to prevent over cooking.
  • There are two main types of soya sauce, make sure you use the Light soya sauce (as opposed to Dark or Aged soya sauce).
 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Mayonnaise Glazed Sole di Italia


(serves 3)
This is not an Italian recipe. It only says ‘di Italia’ because I used the same colours as the Italian flag. As you may have guessed, this fish dish comes in three flavours. Its popular with kids and is easier to cook than you think. Its also quite a flexible recipe and other than the mayonnaise you can change the ingredients to whatever you have on hand. You can also make this in smaller portions of a single colour if you want to serve this as an appetizer.
 
Ingredients
  1. Sole Fillets (3)
  2. Mayonnaise (150g)
  3. New Potato (1)
  4. Grana Padano 
  5. Pesto (4t)
  6. Tomato Ragu (3t)
  7. Crushed Garlic (3t)
  8. Chinese Wine
  9. Honey
  10. Paprika

Preparation

  1. Start by boiling your new potato in a small pot of water for about fifteen minutes. As shown in the picture, I’ll usually boil some side vegies of the same colour and then coat them in some butter and tarragon. If you plan to do this, boil them with the potato since the fish should be served immediately after its done.
  2. Peel and put some garlic through a garlic press until you get 3t of crushed garlic.
  3. Flush you sole fillets with tap water and then pad them dry with kitchen towels. Marinate them in a mixture of 3T of Chinese Wine, 0.5t salt and 0.5t pepper. Chinese wine is best for freshening up fish, but if you don’t have any, use sake or vodka. Set aside the fillets while you take care of the glazing.
  4. Spoon your mayonaise into a bowl and grate in one inch cube of Grana Padano. Skin your potato and mix that in as well after mashing it with a fork. Follow up with a sprinkle of salt (or Hon Dashi if you have any) and 1t of honey. Finally, divide the mayonnaise mix into three portions.
  5. For the first portion, mix in 4t of pesto. This becomes the green mayo.
  6. For the second portion, mix in 3t of crushed garlic. This is the white mayo.
  7. For the third portion, mix in 3t of (meatless) tomato ragu. If you don’t have any home-made ragu in reserve, just use the kind that comes in a bottle. Sprinkle in 1t of paprika to get the colour to a deeper red.
  8. Turn on your grill and oil a suitably sized baking tray with olive oil. After placing the sole fillets in the tray, spoon the mayonnaise on in sections until all the fish is covered.
  9. Grill for about 13 minutes, or until the mayonnaise starts to brown. If you don’t have a grill, you can just use a regular oven on high heat, or even a toaster oven.

Notes

  • As mentioned in the introduction, this is a flexible recipe. If you want to use salmon or some other fish fillet, go ahead.
  • The colour of the mayonnaise is entirely up to you. For example if you need black for a German flag, you can use black olive tapenade for black and mustard for yellow. You can basically create any colour you want except for blue, unless you like blue berry flavoured fish..yuck!
  • Why does my recipe have mashed potatoes? They help the mayonnaise stay on the fish instead of sloughing off .
  • A new potato is the small type that is white inside. I don’t mean a potato you just bought.
 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Appetizers, Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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