Most people would be familiar with 'Turbot au beurre blanc', a staple of French seafood cuisine. Some people might know of 'Raie au beurre noir'...
Turns out, I don't like skate, probably the only fish I won't eat, but I like that sauce usually seven with capers. So, as I found a beautiful turbot chez De Costi at the Sydney Fish Market, I decided to treat it like skate...
I prepared a salad of Red Cabbage, Pear, Fennel, Carrot and Persian Feta to put some colour back in the plate, just dressed with balsamic vinegar and EVOO from Alto Olives. So, here is the drill (ready to put your skates on?...)
As previously explained, use a frozen 60grams piece of Pepe Saya butterPrepare the salad first and plate right away, as the beurre noir and the cooking of the fish are very quick and will require all your attention...
You will need two pans, one for the fish that you will just grill int olive oil and some butter to give it more colour, and one to prepare the "beurre noir", literally "black butter", but not too black, that's the secret and the tricky bit!
As previously featured, use a 60 grams frozen piece of Pepe Saya butter (or any quality butter like Isigny, Lescure, Le Conquérant...) and melt it in the pan on top of some olive oil (I use Rosto Mellow evoo for cooking, available at Harris Farm Markets here). Use about 20 grams for the fish and reserve the balance for the beurre noir.
To prepare the beurre noir, melt 40 grams of butter with a small amount of olive oil to prevent the butter to burn to quickly. Then turn the heat up until it foams and almost separate. At that point you can either throw the capers with some of their vinegar in the pan, or, as I did use some raspberry vinegar for a touch more "five star" deliciousness. This will coagulate the butter. Turn the heat down, add the capers and turn the heat off after a few moments - don't burn the capers basically...
After wnndering through northern France and the coast of Normandy to end up in Le Havre, the Tour started stage 7 in Livarot. That in itself could be a story, but my dear subscribers would have read my story - 12 cheeses, 12 villages quite a while ago, so i will only give you a glimpse of it here.
This is another village in Normandy, not that far from Camembert or Pont l'Eveque.
The Livarot cheese is the oldest in Normandy and is a soft, pungent, washed rind cheese made from cow's milk. It is both beloved and reviled for its earthy aroma. It was also referred in the past as "the meat of the poor" for its good nutritional values and also because it kept itself up to six months. It is quite easy to recognise on a platter with its orange colour and the five rings of straw, which has given its nickname of "le colonel".
A rich red wine like a Pomerol or a Saint-Emilion would be an ideal match.
I believe that some of the Barossa Valley reds would be quite a good match as well.
SAINT-PIERRE AU BEURRE BLANC NANTAIS
My son Grégoire, who is rarely with us on Sundays these days, asked me to make him either turbot or John Dory, "with that butter sauce" for lunch. Lucky me, I found some big, beautiful Saint-Pierre, the French name for it at the Sydney Fish Market this morning, and only had to follow my Mum's recipe for the "beurre blanc" - that butter sauce...
It was also fitting with the passage of the Tour through Brittany where this fish is abundant and Nantes where "beurre blanc" originated, is just on the South bank of the Loire, and Vannes is just a little further North.
I did add a few twists to the recipe, as I wanted to try my new Himalayan Salt Block bought at the Bastille Day Market (don't ask...) from my neighbours Salt Lamp Store, and also prepare some oyster mushrooms - pleurottes - with garlic and basil, a recipe I usually make with Champignons de Paris. Add some miniature Roma tomatoes for flavour and colour and "le tour best joué"...
Ingredients per person:
200 grams of Turbot or John Dory
15-20 grams of rice - I used Randall Organic Long Grain Rice
4 miniature Roma tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 stalk of basil
25 grams of oyster mushrooms
25 grams of butter - I used a combination of Lurpak unsalted and Pepe Saya Truffle Butter
1 table spoon of white wine vinegar
1 table spoon of white dry wine - I used a Macon Villages Chardonnay
The first thing to do is to heat up your salt block, on a small flame first, until the top is warm to the touch, and then full on to reach the cooking temperature of about 500 degrees Celsius.
Then, boil some water for the rice and peel your shallots and garlic and prepare the mushrooms
The Himalayan Salt Block is been heated on the gas flame and gives us a great show of colours
Now, it is time to start the "beurre blanc". For those of you that can read French - and my Mum's handwriting - then you are on your way. For the others (what's the name of someone who speaks only one language...) then here is the quite simple method "en images"
James Viles the youngest Australian Chef to receive two hats for his locavore restaurant Biota Dining in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, was the guest of honoour at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont for this month. He was there (very...) early to start the fire and slow roast a whole 10kgs pig in time for the first demo at 8.30am. I was not there and almost missed the 10.00am session as I was recovering from two nights of debauchery, including first screening of son Grégoire first film as a director (Summer Nights) and another one as DoP (1919) , part of the Break program of Metroscreen, and family reunion with the Scottish side of the clan...
I made it just in time to catch some leftover bits of this deliciously slow cooked cochon
James Viles explains to us and host PoRkStar Marketing Manager Mitch Edwards how the pig was cooked
James went on to prepare blood sausages - boudin noir - to an attentive but somehow bewildered crowd who were told that they could make this at home... A lot of collateral damage, including the host Mardi Gras outfit, happened, as fresh blood ended up splattered every where on stage and beyond. All this happened as a very cool and collected James was crumbing bread into a bowl, adding various spices and plenty salt, while telling us the story of his (young...) life and the genesis of Biota Dining. I have already reported on this, so I will refer you to my restaurants review page.
Over time, James and myself have built a friendship based on a common passion for local produce and food. He has pushed the "locavore" concept to the hilt, as he grows his own herbs and vegetables on the 4-acre property and sources most other ingredients within a 25kms radius around Bowral. Exception are the selfish he brings from the South Coast and some wines, although most of them are from the region (Centennial Wines and Far Ago Hill, just to name the two I know personally). We have been foraging together and I have been gently threatened with an invitation to go hunting hare together... He is a passionate individual and very hard working Chef, who also treats his personnel very nicely, taking them in turn to such event, like Joel today, his Executive Chef. The boudin noir was absolutely stunning, one of the best I ever tasted, including the divine apple and boudin noir feuilleté at La Tassée in Lyon, a must go to place, and the black pudding experienced in Scotland, another outcome of the Auld Alliance...
Somebody asked about the recipe for boudin blanc instead, and nobody on stage had a real clue, so I was asked to step in...You will find a good recipe by clicking the image above. Let's just say that the blood is replaced by white meat (pork, veal or chicken), the finest result coming from using veal ( not yearling...) and add cream to gel the ingredients together. When well made, this is a delicacy usually enjoyed as a second course (after oysters) for Christmas. It was invented in Champagne. Find the complete story by clicking the image below. A fish version and a specialty of Lyon is called quenelle and is even finer in texture and taste, best if one can find brochet a carnivorous river fish.
I did find the time after tasting the roasted pig to have a quick run through the market andd say hello to my good friends Steph Gourmet Foods, roi du saucisson, the Ocellos and their beautiful cheeses, Grower2u and their fabulous vegetables next to the Leppington Valley Farm who still had beautiful figs, Pepe Saya butter, Gina from Sweetness The Patisserie, Gilles Bonin Monsieur Garlic and in the process met Jenny and Cathy from new stallholders Garlicious Grown, sharing with Gilles and Victoria. I am sure we will see more of these nice ladies and great products.
Next week, we will revisit the EQ (fox Studios) and Riverside Organic Markets, and we are also interviewing James Viles at Biota Dining over tapas tomorrow and Clément Chauvin at Les Bistronomes in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, and staying for dinner and a review...Busy week!
SYDNEY FOOD MARKETS - NORTH SYDNEY
I have not visited this monthly market in years! Organised by the Community Centre, it takes place every third Saturday of the month in the big open space behind the Council Chambers. Once a small affair of a dozen stalls, it is now comparable to Orange Grove or Everleigh in size and attendance.
Also, some of the big names are attending like Pepe Saya and Dessertmakers, Pastabilities, Willowbrae Cheese and a raft of French or French related products and people. Robinvale and Pukara Olive Oils and Ocello just to name a few. Plenty organic products and vegetables, as well as meat producers or wholesalers. Obviously there are also a good choice of coffee makers and goodies to eat on the spot!
Et tout finit par des chansons
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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