Fruits of the Sea

(NOTE: It looks like our server move has been successful (Thanks Darly!) and everything should be in its place, if it´s not please let us know.))

On common mistake that home-cooks and professional cooks make, is over cooking delicate ingredients such as fresh mussels and king prawns.

A bowl of steamed fresh mussels is a wonderful experience. Overcook the mollusks and you are left with a shriveled chewy piece of seafood. And that is dreadful, send them back to the kitchen!!…. :blink:

The best way to cook mussels is to steam them over a high flame, ever so briefly, just until they have opened, but not fully. The end result is a gelatinous morsel, exquisite, elegant and cheap. :biggrin:

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Mussels 2

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We cook ours in a covered hot wok with shallots, lemongrass and white wine. Once they have opened we turn off the flame.

A gentle toss is all that is needed to finish the cooking.

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Mussels

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Mussels 3

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We serve six or seven of them as a small starter.

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Mussels 4

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No lemon wedges needed here! The aroma of the lemongrass is released when the glass dome is removed at the table.

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King prawns have also been subjected to years of over cooking. Okay, frozen prawns should be cooked through, but if you can, try to get hold of fresh prawns.

A tell-tale sign the raw prawns have been frozen then defrosted (for selling) are black spots on the head and broken antennae, the latter break off when frozen. Cooked fresh prawns should have long antennae and the eyes should still be attached.

We blanch our prawns in salted water for a minute or so (no more, or they will overcook) then give them an ice bath to arrest the cooking. They are then shelled, cleaned and dressed.

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Dressed Prawns

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They are dressed with a light ginger, garlic and coriander dressing.

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Dressed Prawns 2

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Because the prawns are not cooked all the way through, they retain their natural sweetness and texture. Trout eggs are slightly crunchy as well as our “Crystal Shallots”.

Talking about fish eggs, we have also been using Salmon “Caviar”.

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Corn Cream

Chilled Cream of Corn with Salmon Caviar, Cashew Nuts, Chives and Smoked Oil.

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These roe “explode” in the mouth, releasing their depth and flavour, this goes well with the chilled corn soup, the cashew nuts add a welcome crunch, the chives add a slight pungent aroma which is brough all together buy the oil.

Now that the days are longer and hotter, we will be working with many more cold soups in the forth coming weeks.

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3 thoughts on “Fruits of the Sea

  1. monsieur
    i like your articles, your recipes … but sometimes your words sound weird to my ears, “elegant” for a plate of mussels, elegant plate of mussels sound like overcook mussels to me ………. think twice about it … thank you
     

  2. Hello gerard, and thanks for your comments.
    When I refer to Mussels being elegant, I mean the way that something simple and cheap can become something quite remarkable if cooked correctly.
    “The best way to cook mussels is to steam them over a high flame, ever so briefly, just until they have opened, but not fully. The end result is a gelatinous morsel, exquisite, elegant and cheap”
    Overcooked Mussels are rubbery and chewy. Cooking them to the point where they “have just opened” brings out the best flavour and texture, something that happens rarely in restaurants nowadays. Mussels “Mi-cuit” are hard to look after during a busy service, when we cook these, more than half of Mussels are not used because they haven’t opened in time.
    On our translated menu, in Spanish, we call them “en su punto” (at their point).
     
     
     

  3. monsieur
    thanks for the answer, my point was that words are double edge ………. about cooking the mussels i have a technique that work perfectly, you do the same as you do, but you cover the mussels, and puch with your hand on the top, you can feel the pressure comind, when it’s very hard under your hand, the mussels are cook …….. perfectly ……… try once …………………… i like your site a lot, maybe you know about jiaozi ? feelings, skin ? ………… thank you anyway for your work ……… take care … gerard

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