Beef, Brassicas, Vegetables

Duo.

Duos have been big and everyone does them with proteins. Duo of short rib with strip loin; duo of pork belly and shoulder. But I do feel that with meat, once is usually enough. Vegetable duos are more interesting.  Earlier this fall I paired a celeriac purée with a raw celery salad (leaves and thinly shaved stalk), and a little celery salt.  I’ll post that recipe shortly.  Recently, I produced a soup pairing raw carrot juice with a purée of cooked carrot (enriched with leek and butter), which not only lightened the soup but enhanced its carrot flavor. In the spring, I like to make a fresh pea soup and finish it with pea sprouts.

This time, I decided to pair a cauliflower purée with roasted cauliflower. Both elements showcase different qualities of the cauliflower. This is a very simple dish and can be prepared in 20 minutes, start to finish.

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Hanger steak, duo of cauliflower.

large head cauliflower, cleaned and coarsely cut, three florets reserved
2 leeks, julienned and confit in olive oil
6 cloves garlic confit
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 c unsalted butter
salt and white pepper
1/4 c crème fraîche
olive oil

 

1 hanger steak, trimmed
butter
coriander, coarsely ground
salt and pepper
espelette (or black pepper with a tiny pinch of cayenne)

Oven 425F

Season beef with salt and coriander, optimally several hours before service.

Slice the reserved florets thinly (1/8″) and place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and place in oven. Roast 20 minutes or until golden. Remove and season with sea salt and espelette.

Meanwhile, prepare purée. Bring stock to a simmer. Add cauliflower, leeks, garlic, and herbs, and cover pan. When cauliflower is tender, remove bay and thyme. Purée in blender with crème fraîche until smooth. Prepare a brown butter; add to purée while blender is running. Process through tamis, season with salt and pepper, and hold.

Set a pan over medium high heat. Add a knob of butter and cook beef, basting with butter, to medium rare. Season again with salt, pepper. Remove from heat and rest. Slice when rested.

Spoon purée in center of plate. Set several slices of hanger steak atop purée (overlapping). Place a slice of roasted cauliflower on each slice of steak.

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Chicken, East Asian

Poached chicken, ginger.

Here, ginger pairs with scallions and sesame oil to make a savory condiment for poached chicken.  Those of you who have eaten Hainanese chicken with rice will recognize its influence.  If you’re interested in making the whole Hainanese dish, check out the “optional” step.
1 whole chicken
kosher salt
dozen or so white peppercorns
3 scallions, white and green, sliced diagonally 2″
4″ ginger, sliced thinly and bruised
6 cloves garlic, smashed
* * * *
3 scallions, minced (white and green)
4 inches ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp white soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp peanut oil

Optional: 2c uncooked long-grain rice, jasmine is especially nice
Chilli-garlic sauce (sambal oelek or similar)
cucumber slices
ginger, peeled and julienned (1/16″)
Scallion, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Place the chicken, peppercorns, scallions, ginger, and garlic in a stockpot and cover with cold water. Add about 1 tbsp salt per 6c water. Bring to a simmer and skim foam continuously. Increase the heat; once the water just comes to the boil, cover and remove from heat. Do not disturb for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the oils in a measuring cup with a lip or a bottle. In a bowl, combine the soy and rice wine vinegar. Drop by drop at first, whisk in the oils until thick; then add more quickly. Stir in the scallions and ginger. Set aside.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and reserve the liquid. Do not attempt to remove by lifting the drumsticks as they will break – lift from the cavity. Remove any bits of ginger, garlic, or scallion clinging to the chicken and discard. When just cool enough to handle, remove the skin, and separate the meat from the bones. Slice large sections 1″ wide or use a meat cleaver to chop bone-in legs into 1″ segments. Alternatively, plunge the whole chicken into a stockpot filled with cold water and ice cubes and then cut up the skin-on chicken before dividing into 1″ sections.

Serve warm or cold with the scallion-ginger sauce.

Optional: For a more substantial dish.

Strain the poaching liquid through a chinois and defat. Season with additional salt if necessary and keep warm at a simmer.

Rinse rice and drain. Saute rice in about 1 tbsp of chicken fat from the poaching liquid; add 2 1/4 c defatted poaching liquid, stir well, and cover. Bring to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes until rice is fully cooked. Allow to sit off-heat another 5-10 minutes covered with a kitchen towel.

Serve chicken with rice, cups of hot chicken broth with scallion, cucumbers, chilli-garlic sauce, and scallion-ginger sauce, and julienned ginger.

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East Asian, Fish

Steamed Rockfish, Ginger.

I don’t cook or eat Chinese food all that often, but when I do, I want it to taste like ginger. Ginger is warm and spicy, sweet without being sugary, and hot without burning the mouth. It is refreshing and clean and pairs perfectly with steamed and poached proteins, which otherwise can be bland.

1 whole rockfish, cleaned and scaled (substitute striped or sea bass)
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, white and green, sliced diagonally 2″
2″ ginger, sliced thinly and bruised

* * * *
3 scallions, minced (white and green)
4 inches ginger, peeled and julienned (1/16″)
1/2 tsp white soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp peanut oil

Rub the soy on the inside and outside of the fish on both sides. Place on rack in a fish poacher or on a large, heat-safe ceramic plate atop an overturned bowl in an even larger saute pan with a lid, lined with 1/3 of the scallion and ginger slices. Combine Shaoxing and about 1/4 c water in the bottom of the fish poacher or the pan. Tuck another 1/3 of the scallion and ginger slices in the cavity and arrange the rest on top. Steam the fish.

Meanwhile, combine the minced scallions, ginger, and white soy; combine with the sesame oil. When the fish is completely cooked through, heat the peanut oil untl sizzling and remove the fillets from the bone to a serving plate. The cheeks and the chin – and the eyes – are a special treat. Spoon the scallion-ginger mix over the fish, and pour the sizzling peanut oil over the ginger.

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