Yes, I know, the Tour is finished...But I always planned to give you six recipes from places that would be on or near one of the Tour stages this year. The Tour didn't quite make it to the Cote d'Azur, but I thought some of you would still like a mediterranean fish recipe. So here it is!
And no, it is not a bouillabaisse, as you already got this one. Instead, I was inspired by a few dishes I had a chance to try at various restaurants this week as I had a visitor from overseas and also by Jeremy Strode John Dory recipe at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont yesterday.
So, over my weekly visit to the Sydney Fish Market, I found some beautiful flathead, a fish I have not cooked in a long time and one that suits my recipe just fine.
Roasted Flathead on a bed of polenta and rich tomato sauce
First up, you need to prepare the polenta, as it needs to cook for longer. I used five cups of water for one cup of polenta. I poured the water in a large and high saucepan and on high heat, then poured the polenta into it without waiting for it to boil. then when it boils, reduce the heat and stir from time to time (not constantly as many recipes suggest...). It will take about 20 minutes to cook.
Then, start the tomato sauce: Olive oil, shallots, tin tomatoes, salt, pepper and a bit of garlic and half a glass of wine towards the end, and you are done! You add some tomato purée as well.
Finally on to the fish: Cut big chunks of the fish, according to your number of guests. In an oven proof pan, sear the fish in enough olive oil. Once evenly cooked on the outside, move the pan into a pre heated oven to about 200 degrees and roasted for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Check every 5 minutes to make sure you are not overcooking it.
This year, Le Tour started in Flanders and wandered through Holland, Belgium and the North of France before moving further afield. Hence my inclination towards a staple of the local cuisine: Moules marinière, usually served with frites, or in English mussels with french fries. It is quite a simple recipe, but the skill is in mastering the broth and not overcooking the mussels, as well as cooking the frites properly, that is cooking them twice in very high temperature vegetable oil. By the way, olive oil is NOT to be used as it will degrade in the process and will not reach the proper temperature. I use canola oil for all my deep frying.
So,here is the recipe:
You will need per person:
500g of mussels
one shallot head
50 grs of crème fraiche
You could also use some coconut milk to give it an asian twist, with some fresh coriander
olive oil for the broth
one pack of good vegetable stock
one bay leaf, 1 clove, some garlic, optional
one glass of white wine (preferably French...lol), but we used a Californian one this time...
one good size potato
See the simple method "en images" below. As my camera is travelling in Europe with my daughter, all this photos have been taken with my new iPhone 6+. The results are quite amazing.
PRINCE WINE STORE - SYDNEY
Almost 30 Pinot Noir were on offer to taste at my first event of the day. Knowing that I had a second one to go to, I was very selective in what I was going to taste... So here is my list:
Kooyong Pinot Noir 2012 - Having visited nearby Montalto on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne, I was curious to find out about this reputable wine, and I was not disappointed!
Moorooduc Estate Garden Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 - Also from the Mornington, this was the first wine I tasted, and certainly one of the most interesting of the lot. I liked its pepperiness!
Savaterre Pinot Noir 2012 - Beechworth Victoria - Cold climate Aussie Pinot noir at its best. Dark, meaty, ashen, smoky as Campbell Mattinson puts in. I couldn't say it better myself...
Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 - Tasmania - apparently we were in luck, as only 18 bottles of this vintage were left, and the best restaurants here were fighting for them. Very good indeed!
Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011- This winery had their first planting in 1980 and were the pioneers of Pinot Noir in Martinborough, and that's why they could claim the name for themselves!
This was one of my top three favourites this morning, almost as good as the French!
Copain Wendling Pinot Noir 2014 - The Russian River Valley, just north of San Francisco, produces some of my favourite West Coast wines in the US. I am more familiar with the Chardonnays,, but this was a good enough example of Pinot Noir produced near the coast in the Anderson Valley. Still young, it was a tad on the flat side, but I think it will develop over time.
From Burgundy, France
Joseph Voillot Volnay Vieilles Vignes 2012 - Neil Martin (from Robert Parker team) sums it up for me: "there is a sense of nonchalance and harmony towards the finish"... Exactly, like a long lunch!
Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet Vosne Romanée 2012 - just the name would give you a winegasm, but the liquid itself was quite on another level. Citing Antonoio Galloni here: "A model of pure sensuality and finesse, the 2012 is drop dead gorgeous from the very first taste". I told you so...love at first sight, to be shared with somebody very special indeed...Not cheap though!
Jane Eyre Gevrey Chambertin 2013 - only 900 bottles produced, so lucky us to taste it for free! Not the most expensive in the line-up though and very much worth the asking price!
A big thank you to Alex Wilcox and Jon Osbeiston and their suppliers for this great tasting!
BELLEVUE HILL BOTTLE SHOP
Almost 90 Pinot Noir from around the World were on offer to taste here, a very expensive exercise for the shop owner and his partners, but also very taxing on your humble blogger...So again I had to make drastic choices and concentrated on French and US west Coast, and was eventually coerced (gently...) into tasting the Oakridge 864 from Victoria. More on this latter...
From Burgundy, France
Clos de la Marjolaine - Savigny les Beaune 2010
Blagny 1er Cru 2010
Volnay 1er Cru 2010
Domaine Roy - Savigny les Beaune 2010
Pierre Janny Volnay 1er Cru - 2010
Maybe I was suffering Pinot Noir fatigue, but I found it very hard to find clear differences between these French Pinot Noir. Classic Bourgogne Pinots, all very good, but maybe too much by the book
Faiveley Mercurey Le Clos du Roy 2012 - In the words of The Drink Shop in the UK: On the nose, scents of small red fruits mix pleasantly with spicy and woody aromas, which come from the wine being raised traditionally in oak. This wine is very nicely balanced on the palate.
Its rich aromas blend marvelously with its tannins, giving a wine which is greedy and full of body.
Henri de Villamont - Bourgogne 2012 - probably the best value of the line-up, outstanding for only A$32.00
Lucien Muzard & Fils - Bourgogne 2012 - in the same vein at an amazing A$36.00
Parent Bourgogne 2011 - Excellent at A$48.00, amazing value as well
Can I risk to say that maybe 2011 and 2012 were better vintages than 2010?
From Languedoc, France
Le Fou (The Madman) 2013 - In my youth (!) the wines from Languedoc were primarily "Vins de table", but then over the last 25 years, there has been a conscious effort from the regional authorities to push the quality up, invite New World winemakers to try their luck there - including a few Aussies - and this wine is certainly a good example of the high quality Languedoc wines can command. Certainly more fruity and full than the Bourgogne wines, this was very drinkable indeed and at A$22.00 was one of the most affordable of the line-up. You would be mad not to try it!
From the US West Coast
Bliss 2010 - Mendocino - California - The name sums it perfectly...
Mouton Noir - Lieu Dit 2011 - Oregon - At A$68.00, this was an amazing choice. I have said way back that Oregon was the perfect place to grow wines that could compete with the best of France, and although general more expensive, this is a fine example of a well priced Pinot Noir
Underwood 2013 - Oregon - Very good example of entry level Pinot at A$28.00. will buy some!
A big thank you to Dan, Mickey an Calvin for organising such a great event!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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