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.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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