Things that make you go “Hmmm”.

A white foam box arrives with holes punctured through the lid.

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The box is heavy, and I can feel movement inside… that signifies…. freshness… Hmmm…

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Live eels. Nice. :biggrin:

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I´ve always enjoyed eels, they have a firm and tasty flesh. Pots of Jellied Eels are always enjoyed for lunch when I visit my family in the UK. Buying them cooked or smoked is easy, the challenge is to prepare them fresh, and I do enjoy a challenge!

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No photos of the filleting process as it took three of us to do it! One to hold down the head, another to hold the tail and me in the middle passing a short blade through its back from its head to its tail, without cutting through the stomach.

Videos are abound on the web showing deft Japanese cooks doing what took three of us to achieve, and finishing their job within a matter of seconds!

You see, the eels don’t know when to die :blink: . Well, that’s not correctly true, they are dead but their bodies keep on moving, or in my case, thrashing around, curling around my arm and generally being a nuisance. That’s why it took three of us! Job done anyway.

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The heads and bones are used for a stock, the innards are used for staff dinner! The Lao never waste food, especially if it tastes this nice!

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Cooked eel, fatty, salty and sweet.

Eel and Foie Gras have a culinary partnership. Spanish chef Martin Berasategui can be credited with one of the most copied dishes involving this unlikely pairing. His original  “Milhoja de Foie, Anguila Ahumada y Manzana Verde Caramelizada” goes by many names and variations. Essentially its a “mille-feuille” of layered foie gras, smoked eel, more foie gras and green apple slices, caramelized by adding some sugar and a few seconds under a blow torch. I have eaten it at more than four different restaurants, some cooks add thin pineapple slices between the foie gras and eel, some substitute the eel for smoked mackerel, some add mango and one cook added goats cheese, the latter tasting very good indeed, a great combination.

Now its my turn. :biggrin:

Staying away from the “Milhojas” presentation, mine is rolled up in sushi rice with a slice of cucumber to give it a slight crunch.

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An army of Foie Gras & Eel Makis are prepared for the Amuse Bouche.

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A dab of sweet sauce made from mirin, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and the eel stock is added at the final moment to give the rolls a sweet kick. Its the same sauce that the eels are brushed with whilst being cooked. Its also served with nuggets of goats cheese because I like the contrast in flavours having tried it before.

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The cook responsible for rolling the makis is Leon.

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Laotian born Leon is here from across the Atlantic as an intern. As a sushi cook from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Leon has been in contact with me for a few years and was interested in an internship since 2009. Now he is here, he has quickly made friends and (hopefully) enjoying his time in the kitchens.

Leon is not the only new face in my team.

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Former intern Reka is from Hungary. Last year she completed an internship through her college and fell in love with the kitchen. She impressed us all and was offered a full time job after she completed her studies.

It wasnt only live eels that arrived last week. One of my favourite ingredients of all time landed on my stainless steel table.

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Two tins of 650g Caviar. Hmmm.

Ecologic Spanish Caviar from Granada.

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Before any dish is prepared using the caviar, it has to go through a taste test (wink, wink).

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It took a few “tests” to convince me (wink, wink, wink)!!

The two tins of caviar where ordered for a special tasting menu featuring various dishes from my kitchen and from my sous chefs kitchen. An expensive meal, but well worth it. :biggrin:

Dishes served included:

  • “Royal Oyster”, sour cream and shallots served under a semi-jellied oyster, topped with caviar.
  • Pomme Moscovite“, originally a Russian dish made from pototes and caviar.
  • “Regal egg”, creamy sous vide scrambled egg topped with caviar served in the egg shell.
  • “Smoked Sturgeon”, smoked fillet of sturgeon with lime dressing and caviar.
  • “Sturgeon Confit”, slow cooked sturgeon in olive oil with caviar and herb vinaigrette.

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Though I enjoyed making and tasting these sublime dishes, my favourite is Caviar served as is.

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I´d think you´d agree. :biggrin:

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3 thoughts on “Things that make you go “Hmmm”.

  1. Hi from Argentina

    Congratulations your post is wonderfull as allways it is nice to read and watch your fotos. I would love to make an internship with you if you would allow me to be part of your teem.

    Saludos

    Marta

  2. Hola Marta, thanks for your kind words.
    I will contact you soon, also, many thanks for including one of my dishes on your Lao menu, I love the way that you incorporate asian cuisine on your menu in Argentina. I am honoured.
    Hola Elgin,
    Make that TWO spoons, one for me and one for you…….
     
     
     

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