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Monday, 21 July 2014

Flaked Salmon Pasta with a Mushroom and Asparagus Sauce

Wow, two recipes in a month, things are getting hectic. This was delicious, I made my own pasta here but store bought would be fine, if possible buy some freshly made pasta from a deli if you have the opportunity perhaps. The salmon was just as simple as shallow frying and really all the sauce was was some sautéed mushroom, asparagus pieces, pasta water and cream. One of the things I did do here actually (I cooked this a few days ago...) was make some basil chips. Basil what? Heaps simple, get half a bunch of basil and pick the leaves, lightly salt and toss in a little oil. Roast for 5-10 minutes, just don't let them burn. Very interesting flavour - initial beautiful basil hit then an after taste of green tea. I plan on doing more with this concept, very interesting.

3 salmon fillets, skin on
Two big handfuls and mushrooms sliced
1 bunch asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbs cream (or more if you're keen)
2 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Enough fresh pasta for 4
Handful of sage leaves
Parsley for garnish
Basil chips
Cherry tomatoes quartered
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper

Have all of your ingredients ready to go as was you start it all happens quite quickly. Have your water simmering and ready to cook the pasta. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Heat some extra virgin olive oil over a medium high heat, fry the sage leaves in the oil until crisp - remove and reserve. Place the salmon fillets in skin side down and cook until the fillet is cook about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the side - do not allow the skin to burn, this becomes part of the garnish. Turn when ready and when the fillet feels about medium rare to medium, remove to a clean plate. Cook your pasta.
Add the butter to the pan and when melted add in the mushrooms and some salt and pepper giving them some great colour. When mostly cooked add in the asparagus pieces and cook for a further minute. Squeeze in the lemon juice and give it a mix. Pour in the cream and a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Give the pan a good shake to emulsify the sauce, when combined turn off the heat. If the pasta is cooked, drain and toss through a little extra virgin olive oil.
Carefully remove the skin from each fillet and slice on the diagonal. Flake the flesh. Add a portion of pasta to each serving bowl, spoon over some sauce, some flaked salmon, garnish with some basil chips, fried sage leaves, parsley, cherry tomatoes, some freshly cracked pepper and a little drizzle of extra virgin.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dukkah Crusted Labne and Lamb Backstrap Pizza

An awesome ex-student of mine gave me some dukkah and lamb herbs for Christmas last year and I finally got around to using them. This was delicious and simple and I can thoroughly recommend giving it a go yourself. Labne is a cheese you make from yoghurt (seriously this only takes 10 minutes). The fiddliest part of this is rolling the cheese into balls and then dusting them but even then, that only takes 15 minutes. I made my own pizza bases here but I would imagine that using toasted Turkish bread or kebab bread would be just as great. The amount of oil used will seem terrifying but its only for marinating and can be re-used as part of a salad dressing, used in pesto (a nod to Tracey), or used in confit (a nod to JP). Next time I use dukkah, I think I am going to make my own. You will need to make the labne three days in advance.

1 kg natural yoghurt
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp salt for the labne
45g packet of dukkah (mine was lemon and herb)
1.5 litres of extra virgin olive oil
1 lamb backstrap
Lamb herbs
Individual pizza bases
Garlic oil
Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
A little red wine vinegar
Some fresh parsley

Combine the salt and crushed garlic for the labne into the yoghurt. Place a muslin wrap over a bowl doubled over, pour in the yoghurt. Bring the sides of the muslin wrap in and tie around a wooden spoon then hang in a bowl. Place in the fridge for three days re-adjusting the height of the bag if necessary so that the yoghurt is not sitting in the extracted liquid.

Remove the yoghurt from the hanging bag into a clean bowl. Pinch tablespoon sized quantities out and roll into a balls, place onto a clean plate. It helps if from time to time you rinse and dry your hands, the
yoghurt does become sticky. Roll each cheese ball in the labne then place carefully into another clean bowl, throw in a little fresh parsley then cover with the olive oil.

Pre-heat an oven to 180C. Paint the pizza bases with garlic oil, sprinkle on some chopped parsley, grate over some parmesan then top with a little mozzarella. Bake until they have great colour.

Season the lamb fillet with some lamb herbs, salt and pepper. Sear on a barbecue to your liking (mine were rare). Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes under some foil then slice very thinly. While this is happening dress the rocket in some garlic oil, some more grated parmesan and a little red wine vinegar.

Smear a labne ball on a pizza base, load up some lamb and rocket then tuck in.