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Flourless New England Clam Chowder


(serves 10)
New England or Boston Clam Chowder, the ultimate blending of seafood and vegetables in a hearty soup. When you are making 
America’s most famous soup there are a few things you want. Thicken the chowder without any taste of flour, make the chowder faster without having to wait an eternity for the potatoes to disintegrate, give the chowder rich layers of flavour. After a lot of trial and error, I think I have come up with just the right recipe to achieve all these things. 

Ingredientsclam chowder 1000

  1. Canned Clams in Brine (3 x 184g)
  2. Bacon (6 slices)
  3. Canned Anchovies in Oil (50g wet weight)
  4. White Wine (0.5 cup)
  5. Potatoes (5 large)
  6. Leek (1 stalk)
  7. Onions (2)
  8. Scallion (10 stalks)
  9. Mascarpone (125g)
  10. Bread (4 slices)
  11. Hon Dashi
  12. Sherry
  13. Dill Weed

Preparation Part I

  1. Cut the crust off 4 slices of bread and leave in the fridge to dry overnight.
  2. Peel the potatoes. Boil 3 (not all 5) of them in a large pot with 10 cups of water.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, cube the bread into 1cm pieces and crush them into crumbs in a plastic bag with a mallet. Toast the bread cubes lightly if they are not crispy enough to be smashed.
  4. Dice 5 slices of semi frozen bacon and allow them to thaw.
  5. Fish the potatoes from the pot after boiling them for 20 minutes. Keep the water on a low simmer and put the bread crumbs in.
  6. Julienne the onions. Partially open a tin of anchovies and pour its oil into a pan. Fry half of the onions on low heat in the pan, stirring occasionally.
  7. In the meanwhile dice the remaining 2 potatoes into 1cm cubes. Julienne the scallion and the leek. Don’t add them to the pot just yet; you can put the cut vegetables with the raw onion bits.
  8. When the onions have become limp and translucent, mash the anchovies in the tin itself and add to the pan. Stir fry for a minute to mix the anchovy into the onions, turn up the fire and then deglaze the pan with half a cup of white wine. Bring to a boil and after a minute pour the contents of the pan into the simmering pot.
  9. Next, stir fry the bacon bits in the same pan. When the bacon fat has rendered and the bacon begins to brown add the brine from the clams, reserving the meat for later use. After a minute after it reaches boiling, again pour the contents of the pan into the (still simmering) pot.
  10. When all the breadcrumbs have melted, mash the 3 cooked potatoes and add the mash to the pot followed by all the vegetable bits. Add 1T of Hon Dashi pellets, 1T dill weed and 1t sugar. Top up with water such that everything is submerged. Continue to simmer for another 40 minutes stirring occasionally, then leave the pot covered on the stove to cool.
  11. When you are about ready to serve your clam chowder, bring the pot back to a boil and add the clam meat. Place 125g of mascarpone in a bowl with some hot liquid from the pot. Mix until all the lumps are gone and pour back into the pot.
  12. Add 3T of sherry and 1t black pepper, simmer for a further 5 minutes and then add salt (and sugar) to taste. Serve with oyster or other similar type of unsalted crackers

 Notes

  • If you have fresh clam meat you can add that to the chowder in step 10, but you still need to use the canned clams, for the clam brine.
  • Yes I did not use any celery in my recipe, its not essential in my opinion. If you insist on adding some chopped celery, fry them with the onions in step 6.
  • If you are using waxy type potatoes, you can keep the skin on the diced potatoes if you prefer. Depending on the size of your potatoes you may need more than 5; I’ve assumed the use of large ones. For a thinner chowder, mash only 2 potatoes.
  • If you don’t have any Hon Dashi, you can substitute in any kind of seafood-type stock cube.
 
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Posted by on January 28, 2017 in Recipe, Seafood, Soups

 

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Japanese Wafu-Style Orzo


(serves 3)
How does one cook a light pasta that still tastes good? For the answer we have to look not to Italy, but to the Far East where the Japanese have developed Wafu Cuisine, a style incorporating the best of Japanese and Western cooking. Miraculously, my Wafu Pasta recipe is not based on cream, cheese or oil, yet it’s still delicious and satiating. You will find this Italy meets Japan recipe great for the formal dinner table but also perfect for those times when you just want to have dinner on the sofa.      
 

Ingredients Wafu Orzo

  1. Scallops (12=200g)
  2. Shaved Ham (100g)
  3. Mushrooms (100g)
  4. Corn (1 ear)
  5. Scallion (4 sprigs)
  6. Orzo a.k.a. Risoni (200g)
  7. Miso
  8. Butter
  9. Sesame Oil
  10. Sherry

Preparation 

  1. Slice each scallop into 3 discs. Marinate them in a mixture of 1T of sesame oil and a flat 0.5t of salt.
  2. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Any kind of brown or white mushrooms will do. If they are large, cut them in half before slicing.
  3. Julienne the bottom 1/4 (white) of the scallion into one bowl and the second 1/4 (green) into a separate bowl. Discard the remaining tips.
  4. Cut the ham into small pieces. Brine soaked pre-sliced ham, the type that is sold for sandwiches, has the texture best suited for the Wafu style.
  5. Shave the corn kernels into a bowl. Retail the cob.
  6. Fry the white scallion bits with1T of sesame oil in a pan. When the scallion begins to brown, add the shaved ham. Continue to stir fry for a minute. Mix 1 heaped t of miso with 1T sherry and add this to the pan followed by 1 cup of water. You now have a ham and scallion miso soup base.
  7. While the mixture is simmering, rinse 200g or orzo in boiling water and then add the orzo to the pan, followed by the corn kernels and mushroom. Scrape the cob with the back of a knife blade over the pan. Leave uncovered on a low simmer.
  8. In the meanwhile melt a large knob of butter in a second pan over high heat. When the butter browns add the scallops. Stir fry for thirty seconds and then turn off the heat. Immediately add a second large knob of butter to cool the pan.
  9. When the liquid in the first pan thickens, test the texture of the orzo. If it is still hard, add 1/4 cup of hot water and continue simmering. Repeat until the orzo is just right, then pour the scallops and butter into the pan and mix well.
  10. Spoon the orzo into your serving dishes. Dust with black pepper and garnish with the green scallion bits.

Notes

  • I suppose I should start off by explaining what the Japanese Wafu-style is. It translates as ‘Winds in Harmony’ and refers to the way the Japanese prepare Western dishes to suit local tastes. Its a style of cooking that developed gradually after WWII and has now become immensely popular in family restaurants in Japan. You could go as far as to say it is a type of fusion cuisine. Salad dressing containing soya sauce, yozu or sesame oil and mayonnaise containing wasabi are both examples of Wafu.   
  • One important aspect of Wafu cooking is it tends to be balanced with delicate flavours. If you want to stay true to the Wafu style, stay away from strong tasting ingredients like garlic, olive oil, bacon, blue cheese. A little cream is ok, but not too much. 
  • This is quite a flexible recipe and you can substitute a number of ingredients to create many different varieties of the pasta. You could for example swap the corn for baby asparagus (you might want to add a bit of sugar though), the shaved ham for smoked turkey or the scallop for clams.
  • The prime flavour for the sauce is Miso. For more information on Miso, refer to this page
 

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Tuna Tartare with Scallion


(serves 3, or 6 mini portions, or 9 canapes)
This tartare recipe using raw tuna and scallion is a nice fusion cuisine appetizer of my own creation. It merges the Western concept of marinated chopped raw meat with Japanese sushi where raw fish is sometimes served with scallion. I have 2 secrets to making raw tuna delicious.  Firstly, adding cooked tuna to your tartare gives it the right bite and texture. Secondly, a creamy frosting made with caramelized scallion and turmeric provides the right balance for the dish. 

Ingredients

  1. Fresh Tuna Fillet (160g)
  2. Chopped Scallion (1/3 cup)
  3. Mascarpone (60g)
  4. White Bread (2 slices)
  5. Turmeric 
  6. Hon Dashi Pellets
  7. Sesame Oil
  8. Port
  9. French Mustard

Preparation 

  1. Dissolve 0/5t of Hon Dashi Pellets in 5T of hot water to make some concentrated tuna stock. Allow to cool.
  2. Julienne your scallion (aka spring onion) into very fine rings. You are only using the bottom quarter of each scallion stalk, which is the fleshy light green to white part, so keep this in mind when you are buying the scallion. You can keep the leafy part for decoration if you like.
  3. Cut the tuna into small cubes and then proceed to chop it into a coarse mince. You want to get it down to the level where there are no large chunks but you can still make out individual pieces of fish instead of just mush. At this point reserve 1/4 of the tuna for cooking. Add 1/3 of the julienned scallion to the remaining tuna and finish off with one last round of chopping to mix them properly.
  4. In a bowl, stir together 2T sesame oil with 1t mustard, 1t port, 0.5t fined ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Marinate the tuna scallion mince in this and then keep it covered with cling film in the fridge.
  5. Stir the reserved portion of the tuna into the cold tuna stock. This will stop it from clumping together when it is cooked.
  6. Fire up a frying pan with a few T of oil. Use a high flame. When the pan is hot, add the ‘wet’ tuna and stir fry. Press down with a spatula to break up the clumps as much as possible. When all the liquid has dried up and the tuna starts to brown, scoop out the tuna and allow it to cool. Mix the cooked tuna into the raw tuna after it has cooled.
  7. In the same pan, fry the remaining scallion on low heat in a few T of oil. When the scallion starts to caramelize a bit, turn off the heat but leave the scallion in the pan for a further 3 minutes so it can continue to brown. Finally, add 60g of mascarpone (1/4 of a small tub) followed by 0.5t turmeric and a pinch of salt. Stir till everything is evenly mixed and allow to cool in the fridge, also covered with cling film.
  8. Cut each slice of bread into 3 pieces and grill them in the toaster oven till they are somewhat burnt. Use a knife to scrape away the burnt layer and corners. This will give you a thin hard toast that can support the wet tuna. The scrapings can also be used for decoration if you like.
  9. Plate the tartare, the scallion cream at the last possible moment so everything remains cold. You can either arrange everything on the toast as I have done above, or leave that to your guests. 

Notes

  • The most important thing to ensure is you have sushi grade tuna, you are after all eating this raw. The translucent bright red cut (Maguro) is sufficient, there is no need to splurge on the fatty belly fillet (Toro).
  • The proper way to hand-mince tuna: use a heavy un-serrated knife. Repeatedly hammer down lightly on the tuna with the blade from left to right and then fold the tuna over on itself. Repeat, but at right angles to the first round of chopping. Repeat a couple of times.
  • Bread does not cut well after it is toasted so you won’t be able to use a regular toaster. Use the grill in your regular oven if you don’t have a toaster oven. You could also use commercially sold Melba toast I suppose.
  • You may also consider layering the tatare and scallion cream in a small glass, with the toast plunged in like a straw.
  • If you don’t have Hon Dashi, just make the stock the hard way, by boiling tuna and the left over leafy part of the scallion in salted water.    
 
 

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