Liquid +Temperature +Love. = Success. Really. Poaching is one of the easiest methods for cooking meat. It is a technique that once mastered makes so many recipes elegant and worry-free. EVEN FISH.
"Oh, sure, sure. You make it look so easy, Camine."
Because it is... When I arrived at the market, I had planned to make almond dusted baked cod, but the cod at the market smelled fishy. Which, fresh fish should have no smell at all. Do you understand? There should be no odor other than a briny freshness. (Yes, I should do a blog just on choosing fish. Stand by!) So, then I had to keep looking. And when I saw this exquisite trout in the case, which was firm, and perfect, and FRESH, I thought how lovely it would be to poach it. Plus I already had coconut milk in my cart.
Then I got all geeky and excited about flavors, (because coconut milk is such a great flavor vehicle.) So I decided I would add some mint and basil, and the perfect curry. And then sear some orange peppers with shallots, and... boy that butter lettuce or gorgeous! (By the way, found these filets and more at Sprouts in Ballantyne in Charlotte NC. Awesome place!)
Frequently, when I "experiment," I summon friends over to help sample my first-time creations. We just about fell off our chairs this was so astonishingly balanced and surprisingly complex. So much of that is because moist-heat cooking like poaching keeps dryness from entering the equation. The fat in the coconut milk holds on to the food, and emulsifies all the good stuff, offering a luxurious sensation of flavors you can't resist.
Just a couple inches below this gorgeous photo of simmering, steaming loveliness is your happy place to download or copy the whole shabang. Look good? Luckily all the "details" are in the recipe. Like the addition of the wilted shallots and orange pepper, and how starting with a little melted butter makes you a star. And why tri-color quinoa is as fun to say as it is to eat...and...and...
Mint, Curry, Coconut Poached Trout
Serves 4 / Click Here to Download Printable Version
4 fresh trout filets, with skin on. About 1.25 to 1.5 lbs
4 T each finely chopped fresh basil, and fresh mint leaves
1 13.5 oz. can full fat coconut milk. (Lite can be used but it won’t work as well.)
¾ t high quality curry powder. I used Penzeys brand
Juice of ½ a lemon, or about 2 t
¾ orange pepper cut into thin strips
½ small shallot cut into thin slices
2 T grape seed oil, or other light, high-heat oil
3 T salted butter
Appx 2 t kosher salt and 1 t black cracked pepper
1 ½ C cooked tri-color quinoa
Prep the trout by cutting through the middle of the skin holding the two opposing filets together, if connected. Pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Empty the coconut milk into a mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate the fat and milk together if it has separated. Microwave for about 30 seconds to warm. Add about 2 T of the chopped basil, 2 T of the chopped mint leaves, the lemon juice, the curry powder, and a generous ½ t of salt and about ¼ t black pepper. Whisk well. Stir and set aside.
In a large metal sauté pan, heat the oil to shimmering. Add the shallots and orange pepper and then lower heat to medium high. Stir until shallots are wilted and barely begin to brown. Remove and set aside. While pan is hot add the butter. When melted add the trout, skin side down to sear. Starting with the skin side down will make it easier to flip the fish. When you see a slight bit of opacity on the outside edges of the flesh of the fish, after about 2 minutes, gently flip the fish over with a long and wide spatula so that each filet stays intact. Lower heat to medium high, and add all but about ¼ C of the coconut milk mixture. (That’s just how it worked out! I didn’t need more…If you are adding additional filets and cooking for 6, you can use all of the herb-curry-milk mixture.) Let the fish poach in the liquid for about 4 minutes.
To serve place a bit of the quinoa on the plate. I recommend a bit of a bowl-type plate like a bistro plate, because the sauce is thin and you don’t want it running away from the food. You want it floating there under the fish. Now place a filet on top of the quinoa, and then top with a serving of the peppers and shallots, dividing what you cooked evenly on all plates. Ladle the sauce that is in the pan over the fish letting it puddle at the bottom. Then garnish with the rest of the chopped mint and basil. -- Serve with a Pouilly-Fuissé, or dry Rosé.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2018. All rights reserved
As a young girl, my mother schooled me in the fine art of bow tying. "One should also be able to do it behind one's back." She cooed. A conquered talent which even today gives me great satisfaction. Now, when I'm leaning over the stove I'm confident those behind me view my neatly tied apron with a smile, insuring my wardrobe is in perfect harmony with my food. (Watch the video below, so you can learn, too!)
I know it doesn't matter. No one writes blogs about people who can't tie a perfect bow. Still, it's important to me. And it's important to this recipe.
But before I launch into my first culinary meme, let's talk about what we use to tie bows: The ribbon. A simple adornment, ribbon-weaving is known to have been established near St. Etienne, France in the Loire Valley as early as the 11th century. That means there have been mothers teaching bow-tying for almost a millenia. That makes mentioning it, and basing my recipe upon its sinuous and delicate form, that much more valid.
Enter the carrot. Simple, brightly colored, and tuberously honest. Now, enter the vegetable peeler. Why, beautiful ribbons can now be found everywhere! Their ability to adorn transcending the parlor and dress shop to arrive upon your plate. That's some serious harmony.
You can see the colorful nature of this dish. And because the ribbons of carrots are so thin, it cooks evenly along with the asparagus and the tomatoes, gently yielding to the increasing "poof" of the puff pastry. The result is simply gorgeous. And very, very tasty!
I have a thing about hearing a gasp from guests when I first show them my food, and again when they bite into it. Clearly, dazzling with ribbons is just in my nature. Thanks, Mom. <3
Carrot Ribbon and Asparagus Savory Tart
Serves 4 to 6 / Click here to download printable version.
2 large carrots. You want carrots with girth.
8-10 thin asparagus spears cut into 2” pieces, cut on the angle 8 - 10 small cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ C sweet white onion sliced very thin
½ C grated parmesan cheese
3 -4 T good olive oil
1 ½ t kosher salt
1 t black pepper
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped finely
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a vegetable peeler, create long, wide ribbons of trimmed and peeled carrots until you have about 2 C of ribbons. Add them to a bowl with the asparagus, onion, and tomato. Add 2 T good olive oil and the pepper. Toss.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the just barely thawed square of puff pastry to double its size. About 10” by 20”. Score a 1 inch border around the edge taking care not to cut all the way through. Arrange the vegetables on the puff pastry inside the scored area, evening out the vegetables so it all looks even. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden and good through. You want a good thin crust. When you remove drizzle the remaining 1-2 T of oil on top. Sprinkle with the kosher salt. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Cut and serve.
©Recipe and Photo Copyright Camine Pappas, 2018. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.