Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pasta with Smoked Trout in Dill & Cream Sauce

I threw a few things together on Sunday night for dinner and Richard really rated it so I thought I might post it here. Basically, smoked trout (which I absolutely adore) was on special so I loaded up on it. I'd planned to use it on a salad but not everyone in the household was enamored of the idea so I ende up doing the following...


2 fillets of smoked trout
handful flaked almonds
handful fresh dill
frozen peas (I would have used asparagus or french beans if I had any)
olive oil
lemon juice
white wine
double cream
salt & pepper
farfalle (bow-tie) pasta

First off, toast the almond flakes. I spread a handful in a single layer on a nonstick pan and popped them in the oven. It was a cold (not pre-heated) oven at 180C for 10 minutes but YMMV. I cooked them for 5 minutes the checked to determine how much more they needed. Be careful here as it doesn't take much for almonds to burn.

I'm afraid there are no firm measurements here because I was cooking "off-piste" but basically while the pasta was cooking I melted equal parts butter with olive oil (I would say about 4-5 Tbsp each) then added lemon juice, salt & pepper. When sizzling lightly I added my frozen peas (or whatever green veggie you plan to use). I then added a few ounces of white wine and cokked down a bit. If using fresh veg I would still add them at this point point because, while not frozen they will probably be bigger/thicker so the timing will still be ok.

WHEN THE veg seem cooked, the sauce should have reduced a bit. Swirl through some double cream (single is more likely to split) and freshly chopped dill. Let bubble lightly and then add the smoked trout.

Drain pasta, and serve straight away with a generous helping of the trout & sauce. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tomato Sauce

So, I figured to hell with it, I'd make it up as I went along. Check out what I did and see what you think, try your own vairents, etc.

1. 3-4 pounds tomatoes. Tomatoes are in season right now, so they're cheap as hell, so I bought the ones still on the vine. They are usually much much mroe expensive but because it's the season, they were only 50 cents more per pound than the cheap shit, so I said fuck it- I'm willing to pay an extra 2 dollars for the vast increase in quality.
2. 1 large sweet texas onion (it's texan so you know it's huge)
3. 1 little bushell of curly parsely (that's the kind with tiny leaves)
4. 3 sweet red bell peppers
5. ~1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressed, naturally)
6. 1 bay leaf
7. ~1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8. juice of 1 lime
9. ~1 tbsp cocoa powder
10. ~3 tbsp brown sugar (dark brown, none of that light brown crap)
11. ~4-5 cups cold water
12. 5 cloves garlic.
13. ~2 tbsp sherry.
14. 2 pinches dried dill (fresh is better, but I dind't have any)

Chop up two of the tomatoes. I removed the skin from one but it was too much damn work. Don't worry about the skin, honestly. Chop the tomatoes into rough cubes. Put these into the pot and drissle some olive oil over them. Set the heat on high. Continue chopping the tomatoes and adding them to the pot, stirring them in and adding more olive oil as you go. The tomatoes will heat fraster than you can chop (and I was chopping pretty fast). This is goign to be boiling for ages, so don't worry about getting rid of the juice- you want all of it, all the flavor everything, so dump everything into that pot. Once you've done that, add in the red peppers. Chop in the garlic. I would have liked to have added more but I only had 5 cloves on hand. Chop up that huge white onion- it'll seem lik the pot is half onion. The whole thing will be really thick by now, so add the water. I did this all eyeballed, so you have to add what seems appropriate. Bring the heat down to medium and let it simmer for abotu a half hour. Chop up the parsely and add it. I added balsamic vinegar to give the flavor some body. I rolled and squeezed one lime to give the flavor some highlight and let it continue to simmer another 10 minutes. On tasting it was okay but the lime was a little strong. To cut the sour of the lime, I added a little cocoa powder and some brown sugar (I dind't measure the brown sugar at all- just broke off a couple of chunks into the pot). Stir and let simmer a while longer. Add bay leaf. Add dill. It should taste good. Very good. But you need to add that sherry because the sherry acts to bring all the flavors together, to help them to meld into something different. Taste it and it'll be good. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for around an hour or so. Come back occasionally stirring and tasting. After an hour or so the liquid should be very red. To really get everything out, I like to take an old-fashioned potato masher, and mash within the pot to maximize the surface area. Let it simmer another half hour or so (if you do it longer, it doesn't do any harm.). Eventually you'll taste and judge it to be ready. At this point stick the whole thing into a blender and puree it in pulses until fiarly smooth. It'll be dark orange-red. It shoudl be tasty as hell too. You can freeze it for at least 6 months and it'll be garden fresh when you eat it. Probably longer. Oh, don't put it straight into the fridge/freezer, let it cool to room temp or a little warmer first.