White fish is a fisheries term used for most fish with white flesh like cod and halibut. Usually more common than fish like salmon, because it freezes better and can thus hold longer. Fish and chips is an obnoxiously popular way to cook white fish here in the United States. I like fish and chips, but do nt limit yourself to that.
A nice benefit of most white fish like halibut and flounder is the lack of trouble any bones will give you. Flat white fish have no bones that go into the fillet, so you just cut off your fillet, skin it and you’re good to go. Most of the time in super markets it’s already fillet and portioned ready for you to cook.
I said earlier about how it freezes better, however fish doesn’t freeze well. This is why most of the time, especially with fish and chips, the fish itself offers almost no flavor. White fish is delicate in flavor to begin with, so when you freeze it a lot of the flavor it does have is lost. It freezes better in the sense that it doesn’t fall apart on you as much as say salmon or trout would. When buying White fish look for non previously frozen. It should also be bright white and not grey.
When I cook white fish I cook it with a gentler method that imparts more flavor and aromatics to help it along. I like to poach mine in olive oil with herbs, sear it in a pan, or bake it with lemons and herbs packed on top. White fish is a little more dense so it will take a bit to cook so lower on the tempature is better to cook it through evenly.
Everyone’s impressed by the massive several hundred pound halibut that are pulled from the ocean floor. In reality those don’t taste good. Halibut over around 80 pounds start to loose flavor and a proper texture. Around 50 pounds is the perfect size halibut for eating.
I lived in Alaska on and off for years and one of the best ingredients there was the incredible salmon and crab. Almost everyday, all summer long I would come into work and fillet at least 2 big king or sockeye salmon. Fish can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be.
Salmon is great, it has it’s own distinct flavor, yet it’s light and takes on other flavors well too. Stay away from pink or chum salmon. I used chum salmon for bait and pink salmon for smoking. They don’t have the most pleasant and clean flavor you want out of a salmon. King salmon, or Chinook depending on what you call them where you live, are nice and large. King salmon to me has a little bit of a generic flavor compared to sockeye. Chinook is so popular, because of their large size. Sockeye is flavorsome and contains the least amount of mercury. The fillets that come off of a sockeye salmon have a very bright and distinct color. Coho salmon is also pretty nice. It’s similar to the taste of a king salmon, just a bit smaller.
I always prefer fillets over steaks. I think steaks don’t look as nice and they’re more of a pain to eat. Usually in super markets salmon comes fillet and with the pin bones already removed. Also I find salmon cooks more evenly cut into fillet portions rather than steaks.
Look at the label in the case. Wild caught is always better. Farmed fish isn’t good. They feed it corn pellets and something to make the flesh look kind of how it’s supposed to. The flesh should look bright, not washed out or faded. Look for salmon that hasn’t been frozen. Previously frozen salmon will almost always end up being dry and it makes it harder to cook, because it’ll be falling apart more. This will also drain it of a lot of its flavor.
Try cooking it skin on. A nice crispy skin can be nice on A salmon. I prefer it myself. If you don’t like the skin and don’t want to ruin your fillet by trying to skin it, cook it skin on and it’ll just come right off with your fingers.
When it comes to cooking your salmon I prefer to pan sear, bake or eat it raw. Salmon is nice on sushi and in poke if it’s fresh and fatty. When I sear mine I just heat a pan up with some oil in it and put it skin side down in the pan. Let it cook about 70 percent the way on the skin and flip it. It will finish soon after. You can see it when you cook your salmon in a pan how cooked it is by looking at the side. Salmon is nice medium rare. When you bake it just season it and put it skin side down in a oven around 350 degrees until it’s done. It really is that simple.
Beef Wellington was an intimidating dish for me to cook at first. It seemed difficult, but making a few for dinner is really an easy thing to do. A beautiful fillet mignon in puff pastry. What you’ll need:
Stone ground mustard
First of all you’ll cut your fillet into about 4 inch long rounds. This makes them look nicer and cook more quickly. Sear your fillet until nice and brown on all sides. While still hot rub your mustard on it. Lightly coast it. The beef will absorb a lot more mustard flavor while it’s hot.
Blitz your mushrooms and herbs in a blender. Add this to a sautee pan with no oil and cook out all the moisture from the mushrooms.
Set your prosciutto out on plastic wrap. Enough that it’ll wrap all the way around the beef. Place your mushroom mixture on top of the prosciutto in a thin even layer. Place your fillet down now and wrap around tight.
Now you can wrap it in your puff pastry coated in eggwash. Pinch the seems tight and score the top of the puff pastry. Place on your baking sheet seem down and bake until your desired tempature is reached. I reccomend using a digital thermometer. You won’t be able to feel the beef for doneness so this takes the guess work out of It.
When it’s done, rest it for around 8 minutes and slice into thick slices. I like to slice mine around 1 inch thick.
Pizza is one of the most popular food items in the United States and other places in the world. So many kinds, so many variations. The debates they create like does pineapple belong on a Pizza, thick vs thin crust and how much sauce and cheese is too much? I’m here to give you some tips for making and ordering a better pizza.
First of all my number 1 pizza tip especially when your making it is this. Make every component equal. Make a decent crust, make a tomato sauce like the one i wrote a recipe for in a previous blog and don’t go overboard on the toppings. You want a pizza where every component comes together to make it a great pie, not just a little crust with toms of sauce and cheese and toppings.
The crust is very important. I like to go with a medium thickness. Too thin and it will lack that texture you want. You want a little crunch a little bite. Too thick and it’s too bready and the pizza will just be unbalanced. Also a medium crust is good for cook time.
The sauce is important. I have a recipe for a good tomato sauce in a previous blog post that can be easily modified for the purpose of a pizza. I never reccomend using a pasta tomato sauce. It never tastes right. You can also use a white sauce, pesto, or even just olive oil with some salt and pepper. Choose what sauce you’re going to select by what toppings and cheese is going on top of it. Be careful not to oversauce your pizza. This is very common and it will overpower the other components and make your crust soggy faster.
Most of the cheese used for pizzas are mozzarella or provolone. I suggest using a mix. Mozzarella and provolone melt easy and have a nice mild flavor, this is why I always add parmesan or Asiago to give it some salty sharpness. Smoked cheeses are also a nice touch. Baratta is a stuffed mozzarella that’s nice to finish a pizza with as a topping too.
This is where most of the debates begin. I personally really dislike pineapple on a pizza, but if that’s what you like go for it. As far as toppings go, keep it simple. Don’t just throw things on. Pick 3 or 4 things that go really well together and put those on proportionally. Try mixing some different textured ingredients. A little crunch, smooth and soft go well together. Maybe try something salty, something mildly spicy and something creamy. Maybe pancetta, pickled peppers and baratta. Balance is key when making a pizza.
This is one of my favorite things to eat. A simple mushrooms on toast with an egg. It’s so easy to do, delisuous and fast. Some tips before we get going, use good bread, herbs and determine how you want your egg. I prefer a nice rustic sourdough bread myself. The sour does really well with the egg and mushrooms rather than over power it or not add anything to it. Make sure your herbs are fresh and when chopping herbs always roll your knife through it rather than smash it down on them. Be gentle with your herbs. I prefer my egg soft poached or Sunnyside up. I love how the yolk tastes when it mixes with the mushrooms a bit. Sunnyside up is nice, because you can more easily season it and the buttery element is nice. What you’ll need:
Slice of rustic bread
First of all get your bread toasting. What up your pan and add a generous amount of butter. When this is hot and melted. Add your mixed mushrooms and sautee. You should season at this point. Mushrooms will soak up all the fat and then release it again after they’ve cooked more. Be careful not to add anymore butter even though it’ll look like it needs it you want it delisuous and buttery, but not dripping with butter.
At this point you can add your chopped garlic. Let this toast. It’ll take the bitterness out of the garlic and make it much more pleasant. Add a dash of white wine and let reduce to almost nothing. Take your mushrooms off the heat and finish with your chopped herbs.
Now we assemble. Get your rustic toast and add a generous amount of the mushroom mix. Place your egg, cooked how you choose, on top and serve.
The chicken is a staple of most kitchens. Everyone has their preference, dark meat vs white meat. The chicken is separated into the breast, tenders, chicken wings, thighs, drumsticks and the gizzards. Every part has a cooking method that best suites it for a moist and flavorsome meal.
The breast is simple in cooking method as it is in flavor. The best way to cook a chicken breast is to grill it or bake it. The chicken breast in of itself has the least amount of flavor of any of the chicken cuts. It’s better cooked with a method that will cook it quickly, or it will become dry faster. Also a cooking method that directly let’s you control it’s flavor. Grilled chicken is nice over a salad or on a sandwich. Baked chicken breast like cordon bleu is also a nice way to prepare it. The breast needs a little help in the flavor department.
The tenders are also not very flavorsome, but like in the name, they’re very tender. I like to make my chicken strips with this. They’re usually already a nice size for that. This will cook them quickly so they shouldn’t be dry. They’re small so grilling them can be a little tricky.
The chicken wings are simple. Flavorsome and bite sized. I always just do mine fried. They should come out moist and delisuous. The wings have much more flavor, because it has so much more connective tissue. Dark meat is more flavorsome. There’s not a lot of meat on most chicken wings so frying them is just the easiest. If you bone them out there’s not really much left.
The thighs are my personal favorite cut of the chicken. It’s dark meat and flavorsome. They stay moist a long time with or without the bone in. The thighs are very nice braised or sauteed. I like to braised them. The connective tissue breaks down and they’re very flavorsome and tender. It also allows them to absorb a lot of flavor from the braising liquid. Thighs baked skim on is also nice.
The drumsticks are kind of tricky in a way. They can be cooked many ways. Grilled, braised, sauteed, baked or fried. I like to keep them on the bone it keeps them the most moist. I like to bake or fry mine. They’re dark meat, but already pretty tender. My advice for the drumstick is to remove the tendons and the cartilage on the bottom of the drum stick. You wouldn’t eat that and it makes it nicer to eat.
The gizzards are usually pretty tough. I like to sous vide mine for at least 24 hours and fry them. Tender, packed with flavor and nutrients. I never let my gizzards go to waste.
As much as I like challenging myself with dishes that take multiple components and hours to cook, sometimes I like to make something easy. This is a really easy and delicious dish to make. Braised Lamb shank. You can do it in a Dutch oven or in a crock pot. Get it going and let it do it’s thing for a few hours and make a side and there’s your easy dinner. What you’ll need:
Chicken or beef stock
First of all you’ll sweat your onion, fennel and celery until cooked and translucent. Add your Madera and deglaze. In a separate pan sear off your lamb shank. Then rub with curry powder.
Add your lamb shanks and chopped herbs to the Dutch oven or crock pot with your onion mixture. Add your stock and a little more madera. Simmer for several hours until meat is falling off the bone.
Remove lamb from your Dutch oven or crock pot and set aside. Pour the left over liquid in a blender and puree. Pour this mixture through a fine strainer. Pour this into a pan and reduce, when only a little liquid remains finish with butter and mix vigorously. Pour this sauce over your lamb and serves.
This dish goes well with an aromatic cous cous or rice pilaf. This is a very flavorsome and rich dish in flavor.
Alfredo by nature is an incredibly easy thing to cook. Your basic Alfredo consists of just butter, garlic, cream, pasta and salt. This makes for an easy great dish, however it is pretty boring that way. Prawns with a relatively strong, mildly sweet flavor does well with the richness of the cream. What you’ll need:
First of all you’ll heat your butter and add your garlic. Let this toast for a second and add your shrimp. Add a little white wine and simmer. Season and add your Italian seasoning.
When the white wine is almost gone add your pasta and heavy cream and reduce. Once your cream has reduced add your shaved Asiago cheese and stir off the heat. Never stir in your cheese on the heat, it’ll give it an off texture and become gummy. Finish with parsley and stir.
I use linguini pasta for my shrimp Alfredo. It’s relatively thick and stands up to the heavy cream sauce better than a thinner pasta.
Polenta is one of the most versatile sides I’ve come across. It’s not even limited to side dishes, I’ve made it into an appetizer and a dessert as well. Easy to cook and inexpensive. Polenta is a ground corn meal that’s usually cooked with water, or cream. Simmered until it’s cooked and finished with cheese and butter. Creamy polenta can be served with almost any protein.
As an appetizer polenta is nice, because it can take on so many forms. I like to make polenta cakes. I make my polenta and put it in a dish and chill it. Then I can cut shapes out of It once it solidifies and toast them. Toasted polenta cake with a bell pepper, onion and mushroom gravy is a breakfast dish I made for myself all the time in the past. A good appetizer is toasted polenta cakes with sauteed mushrooms and a sunny side up egg, finished with basil and oregano.
As a side polenta cakes are nice too. With a chicken dish try using chicken stock. With shrimp use a shrimp stock. Asiago cheese is very nice inside a polenta cake and creamy polenta. Asiago goes well with all sorts of stock too. Creamy polenta is a nice side too. It’s smooth and creamy with a nice neutral texture. Try it with maybe a braised lamb shank or ox tail.
Dessert polenta was an idea I had in culinary school. We had to make a dish out of polenta, but that wasn’t really challenging enough for me so I decided to make a dessert polenta. I used orange juice and heavy cream as my liquid. I chilled it and cut it into rounds. I toasted it and cut orange Supremes. Fanning them out over top of the cake and dusting it with sugar and took a blow torch to it like a creme brulee. It came out pretty nice and I’ve been meaning to do it again with lemons.