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Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

Chef Terrien’s Lovely Baba Pie

According to Chef Terrien, who hosted this demonstration, Russian Babas apparently inspired this dish.  A peasant dish made up of what ever were at hand, leftovers in a pastry crust served with a butter sauce to cover up any tasteless sins.  How did this every come to France?  Well apparently the dish was so popular in Russia that Escoffier brought it to France and included in his famous cookbook “The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery”.  How is this modern if Baba’s are making it?

Following Chef Terrien requires a lot of espresso.  The demonstration table was littered with bowls and ingredients, which was a marked change from our mentor Chef Clergue.   Was that butter in the dessert, the main or the entrée?  Is that sauce for the entree or the main?   It’s no wonder everyone was a bit off the mark in the practical.

The recipe is for a “coulibiac”, which is a Russian dish consisting of a stuffing of sturgeon, salmon, rice, eggs, mushrooms and dill in a pastry shell according to Wikipedia.  Our recipe was pimped up with pink sea bass; quails eggs and parsley but followed the basic principles.  I’d never seen a pink sea bass before and it was a rather gorgeous fish (before I gutted and fileted it of course).

I decided to make two small fish “loaves” or “coulibiacs” rather than one large one as in the practical. I could easily give away a whole uncut version, and food that has been pre-plated is not that appetizing.   Not much redeeming for me in this recipe, but I made an excellent butter sauce to go along with my not so gorgeous fish “loaf”.   A yeast pastry filled with layers of sea bass, seasoned rice, salmon and quails eggs.   It is a lot of work for a fish pie if you ask me.  Babas must have a lot of time on their hands.

The best part of the recipe, cheese stuffed tomato garnish.  Some elements are timeless!   Continue for Stuffed Tomato Recipe

 

My version of fish pie

 

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There are some combinations of food that are unexpected yet work amazingly well together and others that fall a bit flat.  Today’s dish is the latter.  I am unclear how the recipe represents Pays Basque so I won’t advise you that it does.

The lesson today was that of creating a boudin, a cabbage form stuffed with escallops of salmon and brunoised vegetables and bacon, which are “hot poached” in plastic.  There are two techniques for poaching, a hot and a cold method.

With the hot method a large pot of water is brought to a boil, the item to be poached is placed in the water and then all is removed from the heat and a lid is placed on the pot.  Most fish or chicken will poach through in 10 minutes.

With the cold method the item to be poached is placed in the water and the liquid is brought to a simmer.  The item is left on the heat for 7 to 8 minutes once it comes to a boil.

Have you also considered poaching fish in a fish fumet or chicken in a chicken stock for additional flavor?  What about poaching in milk?  This is generally the technique called “a blanc” for artichokes.  But this could be used for fish, ½ milk and ½ water with a little seasoning.  The liquid can then be used to create a parsley or butter sauce.

I digress – back to the boudin.  To create the boudin the large exterior leaves of a savoy cabbage are cooked until pliable, around 4 minutes, chilled, seasoned with salt & pepper and then rolled out with a rolling pin beneath two pieces are parchment.

The cabbage is lined with escallops of salmon filet covered with a stuffing “farce” of brunoised bacon, carrots, onion, celery, white mushrooms and chiffonade savoy cabbage.  Another escallop of salmon to cover the farce then the large cabbage leaf is gently rolled around the mixture and all is sealed in a sausage like form in plastic wrap.

The small bundles are poached using the hot method for 10 minutes, and then the dish is plated with the farce, poached boudin and the red wine sauce.  The sauce is a reduction of shallots, red wine and veal stock.  It is tannic for the most part and seems out of place with the boudin.  I can only imagine the bacon was the only reason it was ever paired with the dish.

I asked Chef Patrick about wine pairings and he said we were only there to talk about cooking.  Perhaps the dish is so odd he could think of none?  🙂

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I recently read a short story that reminded me we need to celebrate life and living much more often.  The story goes a business woman met a new contact in a formal setting.  After their meeting he smiled and suggested it was time for a celebration.  With that, he promptly went to the trunk of his car and produced a bottle of champagne to toast their new acquaintance.  She laughed and exclaimed “Do you always carry champagne in your trunk?”    He, with a big grin exclaimed “Oh yes, life is full of opportunities to celebrate and I don’t want to miss any of them!”

Inspired, I decided to throw a barbeque to celebrate Canada Day with our fellow expats and new Dutch friends.  I was determined to create a Canadian themed menu which was difficult as Canadian food would generally be thought of as poultin, game, and maple syrup.  Not necessarily the easiest of starting points.   After some deliberation I landed on an ambitious, but delicious, menu.

For the appies, mini red and white salads of bocconcini and honey tomatoes laced with olive oil and a sprinkling of espelette pepper; mini gerkins; and beef carpaccio with a horseradish dijon dressing.  The main dish would be maple glazed Salmon and homemade sausage of venison, pork and chicken.  A nontraditional “potato salad” with basil pesto rather than mayo and ratatouille.  And for dessert – good ole rice crispie squares and a surprise addition of naniamo bars, made by my fellow Canadian friends Cheryl and Donna.

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