I am lucky enough to live in the same building (and on the same floor...) as Jon and Barbara, the gorgeous owners of Baska-Jon food emporium, and we (not...) often (enough...) cook each other lunch or dinner. They are great company and we are running a bit of cooking competitions across the hallway! Added bonus: we don't have to drive very far, so we can sample a few more bottles of wine that we probably should...It is all in the interest of research, bien sûr (and we are not killing any whales in the process, just ourselves laughing...).
Anyway, Jon and Barbara came for dinner last week-end and gave us some of their goodies as presents, including their fabulous organic "choucroute", so, I had to invent a recipe to use it!
My son was home for lunch, a rare occurrence these days, and he wanted me to get some sushi from the Sydney Fish Market, and doing so, I found a nice sushi and sashimi combo, with plenty of salmon sashimi. I had smoked salmon in the fridge, and bought some fresh salmon from the market: et voilà!
So, back home, I negotiated to share the sashimi with son number two - son number one lives in St Tropez, so no competition there - and daughter "unique" was away with her BF.
Then I started to enhance the already very good sauerkraut with a few of my own ingredients: cloves, pepper corns and leftover of daughter's cider which would have gone to waste otherwise - the cider, I mean, not my daughter, lol! Simmer for twenty minutes, during which time you boil some potatoes, cut the salmon, roll the smoked salmon, reheat leftovers of braised carrots for Madame in the steamer with her piece of salmon, eventually grill some pork belly and my own piece of salmon and plate!
Season the sashimi with a bit of soy sauce and ginger, the smoked damon with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar - from Baska-Jon as well - and open a nice bottle of Riesling - you are done! Enjoy!
Choucroute (sauerkraut) is a traditional alsacian/german way of conserving cabbage. It is traditionally served with pork belly, sausages and charcuterie.
Over the last 20 or 30 years, a new trend has emerged to replace the meat with seafood.
More recently, I had the chance to taste or make various implementations of this "choucroute de la mer" - literally "seafood sauerkraut".
And as people do "vertical tastings" of the same wine from different vintages, I propose we go on a "horizontal tasting" of these various avatars of one of my favourites dishes.
So, to go from the most amateurish to the most professional, I will start with my own implementation:
Sauerkraut (from a tin) - try Andre Laurent if you can find it.
Note: the photo above comes from their website
White fish, like turbot or snapper
Mussels, Scallops and Prawns
see photo underneath and recipe here - keeping it simple!
The second recipe comes from a restaurant in the island of Noirmoutier, where my sister took me, and where we used to go when we were kids (the island, not the restaurant...). I will have to find out their name later...
Again, choucroute, mash, mussels, white fish and small scallops (called petoncles) with a nice creamy sauce.
The presentation was certainly the messier of all, but it tasted very nice - although you can't beat the taste, freshness and crunchiness of Australian prawns...
Last but not least, Maitre Karl had his own choucroute de la mer last Friday. I usually have lunch there on a Friday, and I had my camera handy, so all was going to be all right.
It started even better with Karl pouring me a glass of German Pinot Gris, not what I would have chosen myself, but I know I can trust Karl and so I went along and was rewarded with a very good drop, certainly not as sweet as one would expect and a great match with the choucroute.
And again the sauerkraut and the mash were topped with a very nicely cooked piece of salmon, and surrounded with beautiful scallops and prawns. A light creamy sauce keeps everything moist and interesting!
None of these recipes contained a combination of fresh fish AND smoked fish, which might be a mistake, as a piece of haddock gives some flavour reminiscent of the smoked meats used in the traditional choucroute.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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