Claudia Roden’s Pan-Grilled Fish with Garlic, Vinegar and Chilli

Serves: 2

This Spanish dish is fabulous.

Read through the ingredients and you’ll immediately get a sense of the simplicity coming.

The lightly golden garlic with sherry vinegar. A beautifully pan-fried piece of fish. And the side of the cannellini beans.

Together with this salad of roasted carrots, it is ironically yet unironically a 1-hat meal.

An absolute joy.

I doubled the recipe and so baked the fish. The sauce doubled perfectly.

Ingredients

2 hake, bream or sea bas fillets, skin on
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, sliced
Good pinch of chilli pepper
2 – 3 tsp sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt

White Cannellini Beans

1 onion, chopped
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
400gm tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
A few fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. For the cannellini beans, fry the onion in 1 tbs of oil over a low heat, stirring until softened and beginning to colour. Add the cannellini beans. Season, add the thyme, add 100ml water and cook covered for 5 minutes. Set aside and serve with a drizzle of 1 – 2 tbs oil.
  2. Season the fish with salt. Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a heavy non-stick frying pan. Put the fillets in, skin-side down and press them down with a spatula to flatten them as the skin curls. Cook over a medium-heat until the skin is crisp and lightly browned. They will gradually cook through almost to the top. When ready, turn and cook the flesh side for a few seconds more.
  3. For the dressing, in a small pan, gently heat the remaining 3 tbs of oil with the garlic and chilli until the garlic is only just lightly golden and crunchy (do no let it get brown). Take off the heat and add the vinegar, to taste.
  4. Serve the fish very hot, with the dressing poured over, sprinkled with parsley.

Kathryne Taylor’s Cheater’s Aioli

Yields: 1/2 cup

Sure, nothing beats an original mayonnaise (and therefore, aioli).

Though surely, nothing beats avoiding egg yolks and salt and garlic and two oils and food processors (or god forbid, whisks) and sometimes, a null result.

This cheater’s aioli is the real deal.

Just make sure you have a great egg mayonnaise to start.

Ingredients

5 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
Sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 c good quality mayonnaise
Optional: 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  1. In a small, non-reactive bowl, combined minced garlic and lemon juice. Stir to combine and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Place a fine mesh strainer over another bowl. Using a spatula, strain the garlic mixture to get as much of the juice as possible. Discard the garlic.
  3. Stir the garlic juice into the mayonnaise, adding the Dijon optionally. Add a little more lemon juice to taste.

David Tanis’ Peppery Flank Steak Tagliata in the Oven

Serves: 4

One of Sydney’s best restaurants is Bistecca where they serve only one main: a medium-rare t-bone cooked over wood, beaten with bushes of rosemary and lashed with olive oil.

It is not only a brilliant cut of meat. The whole thing is a brilliant experience.

This dish by NY chef David Tanis is close, with the hints of rosemary that make Bistecca so good. And then that garlic.

With the side salad of rocket and Parmesan: this is simple, primal yet sophisticated Italian.

We also did a cracking Nigella Salad.

Just get that pan as hot as you can and seal it as best you can.

What a mid-week treat.

Ingredients

  1. Lay flank steak on a baking sheet and season on both sides with salt. Coarsely crush the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Measure 1 tbsp of crushed pepper and sprinkle on both sides of the steak. Strip leaves from the rosemary and sprinkle meat evenly on both sides with rosemary and garlic slices. Drizzle with 4 tbsp olive oil, then massage with your hands to distribute, pressings pepper, rosemary and garlic into the surface. Leave at room temperature for an hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 220c. Place a cast iron skillet large enough to hold the steak on the upper rack and heat for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully put the flank steak in open and close the oven. After 5 minutes flip the steak and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes until the juices appear on the surface of the steak. Remove the steak and rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Cut meat on a diagonal, against the grain into thin slices, Arrange sliced meat on a platter surrounded by rocket. Shave over Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with lemon wedges.

Method

1 flank steak, approximately 900gm
Sea Salt
Black peppercorns
1 small bunch rosemary
6 garlic cloves, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
150gm rocket
Parmesan or Pecorino for shaving
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Adam Liaw’s Chicken with Garlic & Crispy Lime Leaves

Serves: 2 – 4

Another cracking Adam Liaw dinner by Nat.

Very simple. Very elegant. Very garlic.Very Monday night. Very much an excuse to open a bottle of white.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs, skinless
8 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
10 kaffir lime leaves, veins removed and shredded
Vegetable oil for for deep frying (about 2 litres)
Lime wedges to serve

Marinade

1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Trim any visible fat from the chicken and cut each thigh across the grain into 1cm strips. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients and stir through the chicken strips. Set aside for at least 10 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, wok or open saucepan to 190c and deep-fry the chicken strips in small batches for 2 minutes, or until well browned and almost cooked. Set aside on a wire rack to drain and rest for a few minutes (the chicken will continue to cook through while resting.)
  3. Reduce the heat of the oil to 160c by adding a little cold oil and testing the temperature again with a thermometer. Fry the garlic until just browned and then scoop out with a wire-mesh strainer and set aside. Add the shredded lime leaves to the hot oil for just 1 – 2 seconds until they crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
  4. Place the chicken on a warmed plate and scatter the the crispy garlic and lime leaves on top. Serve with lime wedges.

Crispy Roast Potatoes

Serves: 4

Truth is, I am not that enamoured by roast potatoes.

Which puts me in the minority because so often I hear from people just how much they love roast potatoes: also, that they are a treat?

It could be because I had them so often at boarding school, though what is amazing about a dry piece of roasted potato?

Mash with cream and Parmesan. Of course.

Colcannon. Most definitely.

Hasselbacks. Any day.

So there we are a few months back and Nat proposes a Sunday night roast. With roast potatoes.

“Sounds great” I gulp. “Can’t wait.”

Though Nat being Nat, she does her research. Plain old boarding school roast potatoes these will not be.

If you’re into your cooking, you have possibly come across the website Serious Eats. It’s a great site and a great service, where they take different recipes, pull them apart and rebuild them – using science – to create the very best version of that recipe.

It’s very cool.

And so here is… as they put it… “The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe”.

And to their credit and Nat’s, these are the best I have ever eaten.

Cook them and tell me they’re not.

(The recipe specifically asks for two types of American potatoes that we cannot get in Australia. Through reading etc, the potatoes to use here in Australia are Dutch Cream, Desiree, Coliban or Sebago.)

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2kg potato (see note above), peeled and cut into large, 5cm chunks
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or duck fat
Small handful picked rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful fresh Italian parsley leaves, minced

Method

  1. Adjust the oven rack to be centred and heat oven to 230c.
  2. Heat 2 litres of water in a large pot over a high heat until boiling. Add 2 tbsp salt, baking soda and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil and then simmer until knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk: about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.
  3. Combine the olive oil (or duck fat) with rosemary, garlic and a few grinds of pepper in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden: about 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed “potato-like” paste has built up on the chunks.
  6. Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release and stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes.
  7. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking: around 30 – 40 minutes.
  8. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add the garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coast and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.