Fish Tacos with a Chardonnay Parmesan Sauce

I used tortillas to make tacos in this recipe, does that mean that there is a Mexican influence in this dish? Living in Texas for 10 years, I never really got into Mexican food. Frankly, I don’t prefer it. When my friends and I would end the night out, we would always go to Kerbey Lane. They would always get queso to start with and ugh, I didn’t like it/I didn’t eat any of it. However, I do like guacamole and salsa. Anyway, when we would go to Trudy’s, I always ordered the club sandwich while everyone else would order tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.

What I’m saying is that, I found a new appreciation for tortillas. When I was interning at Oceana, one of the appetizers that I had to plate was fish tacos. It was topped with a lime-mayo sauce and served with pickled jalapeño peppers in a pink dipping sauce. I don’t like mayo so I made my own sauce.

[100% organic, wild hake]

For the Fish

  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 2 TBS ground coriander
  • 2 TBS cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ lb hake fillets or any other white fish

Cut fish fillets into thin strips and set aside.

In a ziplock bag, pour in the flour, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper. Shake it to mix well. Beat eggs in a bowl and set aside.

Work in batches, take a handful of sliced fish and drop them into the beaten eggs. Coat egg wash on each individual fish piece. Strain and give them a little shake before putting them into the ziplock bag. Close ziplock bag and shake to coat fish pieces. Take out of bag and place on a wire wrack with a sheet tray under it.

Freeze breaded fish until ready to use.

For the Sauce

  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS AP flour
  • ½ cup chardonnay
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper

In a small saucepan, melt the butter then add in the flour. Mix to combine well and cook for 1 minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Whisk in the cream and wine. Cook until slightly thickened and add in the parmesan cheese, mix well to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. Cool for 5 minutes and then place in a squeeze bottle.

Shake the bottle before using.

For the Tacos

  • White corn tortillas
  • 2 cups mesclun salad, packed

Scrunch up mesclun salad and slice thinly, set aside. Heat up tortillas according to package instructions.

For the Finish

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt & pepper

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350°F. Work in batches, fry fish pieces until golden brown. When fish are ready, let it cool for 2 minutes over a wire rack and season with salt & pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Take a pinch of the chopped salad and place in the center of the tortilla. Place fish pieces on top of salad, top with cilantro leaves, and drizzle sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

*I forgot to put the cilantro leaves on, under the sauce. Oops!

**Inspired from Oceana.

Anything can be made into a tiny serving: bite size!

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Stuffed Eggs, Chimay-Style

Oeufs Farcis Chimay

Before coming to Boston, I was already “hired” to make a multi-course meal for my close family friends and family. I didn’t want to make any amuse bouche / canapés that they’ve all had or seen before because we all travel quite a lot and have eaten quite a smorgasbord of food. I didn’t think that they’ve had those stuffed eggs we made in school during level 2. I’ve made it before for my brother during Thanksgiving in Los Angeles and he couldn’t stop talking about it. I also couldn’t stop babbling about it, when I first made it in class, because I don’t like hard boiled eggs but I will eat an unlimited number of these stuffed eggs.

And of course, these eggs were a hit. I used 18 eggs for a party of 30 people. The eggs I made during Thanksgiving had bacon bits in them but these are just mushrooms so 100% vegetarian.

I peeled these mushrooms because having mushroom trimmings would reinforce the braising liquid needed for the braised duck legs.

[100% organic]

For the Mushroom Duxelles

  • ½ cup shallots, finely minced
  • 2½ cups mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 TBS butter
  • Lemon juice, as needed

Sweat the shallots for 5 minutes in the butter, there should be no coloration. Add the chopped mushrooms, season, and add a few drops of lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until all moisture has evaporated. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and keep warm.

For the Bechamel Sauce

  • 6⅓ cups milk
  • 6 TBS butter
  • 6 TBS flour
  • Salt & pepper

Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Melt the butter and cook the flour in a separate pan. Cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes, to get that raw flour flavor out. Add the simmering milk to the butter-flour mixture. Place back on stove and bring to a simmer. After the mixture has thickened, whisk for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Continue to cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

For the Eggs

  • 18 eggs
  • 3 TBS parsley, finely chopped

Place eggs in pot with just enough water to cover. Once boiling, simmer eggs for 10 minutes and then shock eggs in iced water, to stop the cooking process. The ice water bath also ensures that the dark green outline doesn’t form around the cooked egg yolk. When cool, peel eggs and hold them in cold water until needed.

Slice the eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks. Pass the yolks through a fine sieve and combine with the mushroom mixture. Add a small amount of béchamel sauce to the egg-mushroom-bacon mixture until it has the the desired consistency – don’t make this too thin.

Add the chopped parsley, and season to taste. Put the stuffing in a bowl and cover until needed.

For the Mornay Sauce

  • Béchamel sauce
  • ⅔ cup Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 3 yolks
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg

Bring the remaining béchamel sauce to a boil and gently add the grated cheese. Whisk until the cheese melts and then remove from heat.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl and stir in several tablespoons of the béchamel sauce to temper yolk. Add the tempered mixture back to the sauce and season with salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Strain the sauce through a fine chinois and keep warm for later.

For the Finnish

  • 2 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • Gruyère cheese, as needed

Fill in hollowed egg whites with stuffing, via a piping bag, and make sure to top into a smooth mound. Place the eggs on an oven-proof dish.

TO ASSEMBLE

Nap eggs with the Mornay sauce, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place them in a preheated 300°F oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Then slide them under a broiler for 1-2 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

*Adapted from the French Culinary Institute.

Soba Noodles with Shimeji Mushrooms in Hollowed Cucumbers

You have no idea how happy I am to be posting on my blog again. I feel like I’m on a roll! Four posts today, two yesterday! June was an insane month and the last two weeks have been extra chaotic. My final exam went very well and I was very happy with the professional judges’ critiques.

It’s so hot in New York and the heat wave is intense. This is a nice refreshing bite-size (or two) party plate. It’s so simple to make too! Aren’t my plates just adorable?

[100% organic]

For the Mushrooms

  • 1 package shimeji mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil

Roughly break apart the shimeji mushrooms into small florets/clumps.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté the mushrooms briefly until they develop some color and add in the shallots and garlic. Reduce heat to low-medium and season with some salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until tender.

Remove from pan and set aside to cool. Discard garlic cloves.

For the Cucumbers & Noodles

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 oz. soba noodles
  • 2 TBS rice vinegar
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced on the bias (green parts only)
  • White sesame seeds, as needed
  • Salt

Do not remove all the green skin of the cucumber; peel roughly around the cucumber. Cut cucumber into rounds around 1-1.5 inch thick. Using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds from the middle to create a “cup”. Be careful not to scoop too much and then creating a hole in the “cup”.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, usually 6-8 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water, to stop the cooking process.

TO ASSEMBLE

Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour half the sauce over the noodles and save the rest for later. Add the scallions and mushrooms to the noodles and gently toss to mix everything together.

Pack each cucumber cup with noodles and mushrooms, drizzle ¼ tsp of remaining sauce over each cup, and garnish with white sesame seeds.

Optional: mandolin carrots to use as a place mat for the cucumbers to sit on and to give some more color. (I totally forgot to do this!!!)

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Mint Pistachio Fudge

I found some leftover peppermint extract in my kitchen and it was just barely enough for one batch of fudge! Mint and chocolate always recalls holiday flavors, like Christmas, but adding the mint gives the fudge an aroma of freshness. And frankly, it’s very soothing on a hot day like this in NYC.

[100% organic]

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chunks
  • 12 oz. can condensed milk
  • 1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp peppermint essence

Over a double boiler, melt the butter on low-medium heat. Add the chocolate and stir continuously until it melts completely. The mixture should be smooth and thick. Add the peppermint essence and condensed milk and whisk continuously. Take off the heat, fold in the pistachios and pour everything into a shallow pan.

Let pan sit at room temperature, until it cools down, and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Slice the fudge into whatever shape and store them in an airtight container lined with parchment paper in the fridge.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Mini Turkey Spring Rolls with Duo of Sauces

I wanted to try something new by using ground turkey and I still have been obsessed with making finger food/appetizers/amuse bouche/canapés. I have a lot of dumpling wrappers and I wasn’t in the mood to make pot-stickers so I decided to make spring rolls!! Because there is a deep fryer in my new apartment. OMG! How cool is that? I no longer need to make an oil bath in a saucepan to fry my things!

[100% organic]

For the Filling

  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, small cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the carrot and on a mandolin, julienne the carrot, then cut into 1-inch lengths and set aside. Remove the seeds from the bell pepper and cut them into small cubes (small macedoine).

In a sauté pan, heat some oil and sweat the carrots and bell peppers until tender. Season with some salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another sauté pan, heat some oil and sauté the ground turkey, making sure to break apart the clump of ground meat. Add the garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until almost done and then add in the carrots and bell peppers. Cook until meat is fully cooked and taste for seasoning and adjust.

Let the filling sit on a strainer to allow all the excess juices and oils to flow through, then cool on a sheet tray. The filling should not have too much moisture because that will make the spring rolls soggy.

*This can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in a quart container.

For the Duo of Sauces

  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • Sriracha
  • Peanut sauce
  • 1 TBS powdered sugar

Before mixing the coconut milk with the sauces, bring it to a simmer and stir in powdered sugar. Mix half of the coconut milk with sriracha and the other half with the peanut sauce.

For the Spring Rolls

  • Filling from above
  • 1 granny smith apple, tiny dice
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • Oil for frying

Mix the apple into the filling and wrap the wonton wrappers into spring rolls using a teaspoon of the filling for each wrapper. Set aside on a dusted surface or on plastic wrap. You may use water or egg wash to close the wrappers. You may freeze these as well before frying.

When the oil reaches 375°F, fry spring rolls for 2-3 minutes, just so that it’s golden brown and hot in the center. Serve with the sauces.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Fresh Pea Blinis with Smoked Salmon & Lemon Crème Fraîche

Yup, still can’t stop making tiny food!! I saw this post a couple of months ago and it’s perfect for spring/summer. In class, we were using lots of fresh peas and I wanted to give it a try at home. I also like making blinis.

[100% organic, Norwegian smoked salmon]

For the Lemon Crème Fraîche

  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche

Mix the lemon juice well in the crème fraîche and keep cold.

For the Pea Blinis

  • 1½ cup fresh/frozen+thawed peas
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 TBS AP flour, sifted
  • 1 TBS baking soda
  • Smoked salmon
  • 1 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Canola oil, as needed

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch peas until tender, 1-2 minutes, and shock in ice water. Do not allow peas to sit in the cold water for too long.

Set ½ cup peas aside and purée the rest of the peas with the egg. The mixture should be smooth, you may add 1-2 TBS of water to help the process. Place the purée in a bowl and whisk in the sifted flour, baking soda, salt and pepper, and the reserved whole peas. The mixture should be like thick pancake batter.

On a non-stick pan, heat 1 TBS of oil over medium heat and drop 1 TBS of batter to make mini pancakes. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for 3 minutes per side.

Top the warm pea blinis with smoked salmon and lemon crème fraiche. Garnish with parsley.

*Adapted from Zen Can Cook.

**I made this for my birthday get-together.

Mini Fruit Bites with Lemon Crème Chantilly, Strawberry Compote & Consommé

Like I wrote in the previous posts, I’m still obsessed with making finger food. I have leftover dumpling wrappers in my freezer and I’m trying to find a good way to use them. A couple of years ago, I made something similar but with mango, avocado, and tomato. I find them to be so cute.

I wish I could find/buy microbasil because the addition of a little green thingy would complete this dish.

[100% organic]

For the Fruit Bites

  • Dumpling/wonton wrappers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Butter @ room temperature

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray a mini muffin tray and place one dumpling wrapper in every space. Using a brush, butter each wrapper. Place muffin tray into oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. Take crispy dumpling wrappers out of the muffin tray and set on a cooling rack.

For the Lemon Crème Chantilly

  • ½ lemon, juiced & zested
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar, as needed

Whip cream until stiff peaks and add 1-2 TBS powdered sugar, or to your liking. I don’t like overly sweet things. Add in the lemon juice and zest and fold well. Place in a pastry bag with a small star tip and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Strawberry Compote & Consommé

  • 2 cups strawberry trimmings
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

In a saucepan, add whatever overripe strawberries and strawberry scraps/trimmings that you have, and all the other ingredients. Toss and bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and turn off heat. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area and let it infuse for as long as possible, 4 hours ideally.

Strain the liquid and place inside a clean saucepan, set aside the solids. Bring strawberry liquid to a small boil and whisk in cornstarch that has been mixed with a little water. Bring back to a boil and turn off heat. Place both liquid and compote in the fridge.

TO ASSEMBLE

For one serving: place 5 blueberry halves as the base and pipe a rosette of whipped cream in the center. Place the dumpling cup on top and pipe more whipped cream in it and decorate with strawberry compote, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries. Drizzle the strawberry sauce around the base at the end.

For party presentation: pipe a tiny amount of the whipped cream on the plate so that dumpling cups don’t move. Pipe more whipped cream in it and decorate with strawberry compote, sliced strawberries, and sliced blueberries. Serve with strawberry sauce.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.