Market Fresh Cod Ceviche

Fresh Market Cod Ceviche
Fresh Market Cod Ceviche

Market Fresh Cod Ceviche

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4

• 350-400 grams cod fish —high quality, fresh, de-boned, filleted, skinned, and pin bones free
• 1 small-medium red pepper, deseeded and diced
• 1 small fennel with its fronds, sliced thinly, fronds picked
• 1 spring onion, sliced finely
• A few sprigs of coriander—leaves picked, stalks chopped
• 2 limes, juiced or 1 lime and 1 small orange, juiced
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon espelette pepper purée, sriracha sauce, or tabasco
• extra virgin olive oil, optional
 

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare your pepper, fennel, spring onions, and coriander.  Place it on the side.

Cut your filleted fish into small chunks and place it into a pyrex mixing bowl.

Add the salt, lime-orange juice, and the chili pepper to the fish and toss it around.

Place it in the refigerator for 15-30 minutes making sure to toss it around every so often.

When the sides are marinated, the color will turn opaque.  Take it out of the refigerator.

Add the pepper, fennel, and spring onion to the marinated fish and toss together.

If needed, add some more salt accordingly.

Then add the coriander leaves, a bit of the chopped sprigs and toss it together.

Garnish with the fennel fronds.

Divvy it up, drizzle a touch of olive oil and serve immediately!


NOTE
Spring onions or scallions as we call them in the U.S. are known as oignon nouveau, oignon frais, or cébettes in France.  The ones in France seem to have a larger bulb so I can easily slice them along a mandoline. 

Watercress Salad and Cilantro Dressing

A colorful diet is a healthful diet.  Orignally I was looking for jicama to add to this salad.  It was supposed to be a jicama watercress salad with mango slices except that I couldn't find it nearby.  My brain still thinks we are in San Diego but being back in Paris, this meant I'd have to find a specialty Mexican store (not near me).  Popular in Mexican cuisine, jicama has also spread to find itself cultivated in Asia.  Ding!  So off I went to my local Asian stores in search of jicama.  Well, I didn't quite find the jicama, nor was there a ripe mango ready for me, but I did wind up with a bunch of fresh nèfles (very similar to the loquats of Asia).  

Upon arriving at home I was greeted by Lady Jo and was handed a basket of organic veggies.  She was on duty call at her local organic co-op and got dibs on the veggies left behind.  Now, just so you know, I fully support the "No Veggies Left Behind" act and accepted the vegetables gracefully.  I eyed the big beetrootfor that would feed me for at least a weekand whipped out my mandoline to get working on it.  So this is how a dish begins to transforms itself, jicama replaced by beet root and mangos by nèfles.  Ooh, what else can I use on my mandoline since I have it out ahhh...yes, carrots... then a little bit of this, and a little bit of that...

Watercress Salad and Cilantro Dressing

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4-6

• 1 bunch watercress
• 2 carrots, julienned
• 1 medium beetroot, julienned
• 1 cup loquats (neflè), cut into bite-size pieces; mango is also a good substitution.
• Handful of sunflower seeds and linseeds (flaxseeds)

Dressing

• 1 bunch coriander (cilantro)
• 1 shallot
• 1/2 lime, juiced
• 1/2 inch of ginger, fresh and grated
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 Thai chili, cut a piece according to your spice level
• 1 1/2 tablespoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
• 1/2 teaspoon honey (optional)
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon vegetable or canonla oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Rinse the watercress and put it in your salad spinner.

Prepare a medium size bowl.  Separate and discard the stalks from the leaves, keeping just the thin, top bit of the stalks attached to the leaves.

With your mandoline, prepared your carrots and beetroot and set them aside.

Cut your fruit into bite size pieces.

Prepare your dressing by combing all the ingredients into a food processor.

Process until smooth.

In a salad bowl, add your watercress and pour in the dressing.

Toss together so that the watercress is drenched in the dressing, and then add in the rest of the ingredients.

Sprinkle some sunflower seeds and linseeds (flaxseeds) over your salad before serving.


 

Céleri Rave Crab Salad

Céleri Rave, Celery Root, Celeriac

Céleri Rave, Celery Root, Celeriac

There's a great quote by Diana Vreeland,  something along the lines about "accentuating a model's flaws".   There is superficial beauty but then there is all that other beauty:  that one offbeat mole, a freckle-filled face, scars, and lines between your eyebrows, on top of your forehead, and around the eyes from lifetime narratives.  

I guess that's what happened when I saw the celeriac—even its name sounds ill-favored (but not ill-flavored)—with all its warty exterior and bumpy bulges, it piqued my interest enough to wonder what was inside of it and what it tasted like. 

The celeriac is a root vegetable and is commonly served in France as a céleri rémoulade— sounds fancy, n'est-ce pas?  It's basically grated celery root mixed in with lemon juice to keep its color white, and mixed in with some mayonnaise.   The taste of it brought back memories of the Waldorf salad that I actually ate at the Waldorf Astoria back in the day.   Maybe the fancy name?  More likely, the celery based taste.  So I had to toss in the apple, the crab meat and the walnuts, making it a slight upgrade to the basic céleri rémoulade.  If you like the Waldorf salad, you'll enjoy this one.

Céleri Rave Crab Salad

INGREDIENTS//Serves 4-6

• 500 grams of céleri rave, grated
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• 2 carrots, grated
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger, fresh and grated
• 2/3 cup homemade mayonnaise or store bought mayo
• 170 grams crab meat, shredded (6 ounce tin), or 1/2 cup
• 1 red apple or granny smith depending on your taste, grated
• 70 grams walnuts, crushed
• 1 bunch dill
• 1 scallion


INSTRUCTIONS

Peel and rinse your céleri rave.

Cut into large chunks and grate your céleri rave using the large hole side of a grater box.

In a mixing bowl with the céleri rave, add the lemon juice.

Grate your carrots with the large hole side of a grater box.

Combine with the celery root, and add paprika and fresh ginger.

Mix in the mayonnaise.

Grate your apple with the large hole of the grater box, and add it to the combined ingredients.

Chop up your scallions and dill, crush your walnuts, and add them to the salad.  Stir in well and and then season with salt and pepper according to taste.

 

Homemade Mayo

INGREDIENTS//Yields 2/3 cup

• 1 egg, yellow
• 1 heaping teaspoon of Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup of oil, neutral
• 2 tablespoons vinegar, apple cider or white wine vinegar
• Pinch of salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small mixing bowl, add your egg yellow and whisk.  

Then whisk in the mustard.

When a creamy texture starts to form, gradually add in some oil (up to half) and continue to whisk at the same time.  The mayo will start to thicken.

When half the oil is used, add in a tablespoon of the vinegar and continue to whisk together.  The mayo will loosen up.

Then gradually add in the remaining oil, whisking, and finishing off the second tablespoon of vinegar, whisking it continuosly.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE

Since the homemade mayo is so easy to make, I haven't bothered trying the store bought mayo for this recipe. 

 

Glass Noodle Salad

GlassNoodleSalad.jpg

I recall visting Thai friends on lazy, sweltering afternoons in their homes and finding their extended family members under the influence of indolent heat, sprawled out on timeworn floors of the veranda supported by equally timeworn stilts, peacefully resting in the shade.  It made me want to do the same, and I was welcome to lay out my sarong and find a spot.  A comfortable position would soon be found; I would find myself sitting or laying there happy to have escaped the sun rays, dust billows from back country roads, and scooter vibrations, relishing the shade and tranquility until a platter of fresh herbs and vegetables would arrive with some nam phrik, a chili shrimp paste based sauce, to dip into.  Slowly, the family members would wake and sounds of squeaks and creaks from the wooden planks and shuffling would stir as they gathered around the platter to share this afternoon snack.  As I bit into this fresh, crisp combination of raw herb and vegetable dipped into nam phrik on this hot and lazy, sultry day my senses had been awakened.

While eating my way through Thailand in the early 90's, my palate received an education in appreciation of fresh herbs and raw vegetables.   A habit I picked up is adding fresh herbs (herbs! herbs! herbs!) to almost everything.  I love that it simply livens any plate up and adds subtle or bursts of flavor to it.   In this glass noodle dish, be very generous with your herbs. 

Glass Noodle Salad

INGREDIENTS//serves 8-10

• 500 grams cellophane noodles (a.k.a vermicelli bean thread, glass, and mung bean noodles)
• 7 whole carrots, raw and julienned
• 250 grams snowpeas, raw and julienned
• 2 celery branches (optional), raw and julienned
• 1-2 bunches of fresh coriander
• Bunch of fresh mint

Dressing

• 1 shallot, minced
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
• A thumb's length of lemongrass (optional), slit lengthwise and bruised slightly
• 2 tablespoons or 50 grams palm sugar or regular sugar
• 1/2 cup sushi vinegar
• 2 tablesoons soy sauce or tamari sauce (gluten-free)
• 1 tablespoon Sriracha
• 4 tablespoons sesame oil
• 2 whole lime
• 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce or Vietnamnese vegetarian fish sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

Bring a big pot of water to boil and then turn it off.  

Add the noodles in the boiled water for 5-10 minutes.  Drain.  Then run under cool water and drain again.  The noodles will look white and translucent.  Transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

Add some sesame oil to the noodles to keep them from sticking. 

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut through the noodles to shorten their length.  Leave on the side and begin to prepare the vegetables. 

Combine all your prepared raw vegetables in a medium mixing bowl and set it aside.

Rinse and dry your coriander and mint.  Tear the coriander leaves and the mint leaves off their stems or simply use your kitchen shears and trim the herbs into a bowl. 

Combine your noodles and vegetables.  Add the dressing. 

Toss together, add the herbs, and toss again.

This is a great dish to prepare in advance.  I find the longer the noodles and vegetables sit in the dressing, the more flavor it soaks up.

DRESSING

In a measuring cup add the shallot, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and palm sugar. 

Pour in the sushi vinegar, add the tamari (or soy sauce), the Sriracha, sesame oil and the juice of the whole limes.   Stir until all the ingredients are mixed in together.  (If you don't mind bits and pieces of the shallot, garlic and ginger—this is the way I do it by hand.  Otherwise, throw everything into a blender although you will have pulp from the ginger so you'll have to pass it through a strainer).

If you use lemongrass, let the dressing stand (the longer the better—for at least an hour) until the flavor of the lemongrass infuses into the dressing.  Then discard the lemongrass and mix the dressing in with the noodles in the mixing bowl.  Add the vegetables and herbs and toss until everything is coated with the dressing.

NOTE

You can switch your vegetables up between carrots, beansprouts, snow peas, celery and whatever other vegetable you imagine to go along with it.  My favorite combo is with carrots and snowpeas.  You can also top it off with some shrimp or morsels of chicken.
 

 

 

Scenes from Chinese New Year...bring on the Prosperity Toss Salad.

I have my own version of the Joy Luck Club going on in Paris.  The scenes are centered around food and drinks rather than playing mahjong, and we have a cast of Parisian born kids in place of ABC's—American born Chinese .  We sure do eat, drink, clink, and talk a lot.   Ali is a member of the "club" and she is the hostess with the mostess.  We rang in the new year with a traditional Singaporean dish, the Prosperity Toss Salad.  That's where her orgins lie, though she's a SoCal girl at heart.  We've created our own tradition for celebrating CNY which is a hodgepodge of favorite dishes made by each one of us.  Suddenly we have a long table abound with food from various cultural influences.   For starters of course, we had to start off with some oysters.  It's difficult to escape France's fresh shucked wintery oysters.

Prepping for the Prosperity Toss Salad, YúShēng (魚生)

Prepping for the Prosperity Toss Salad, YúShēng (魚生)

The Singaporean Prosperity Toss Salad or YúShēng (魚生)  is made up of several ingredients with meaning.  As a tradition, certain foods had to be served as they were symbolic based upon pronunciation or appearance of these foods.  Yú Shēng is literally translated as "raw fish".  The chinese character for fish (魚), pronounced sounds the same for the Chinese word "abundance" (餘), and shēng (生) which means raw and life also sounds the same as the character meaning to rise (升).  This all equates to wishing one abundance, vigour, prosperity, and long life.

Prosperity Toss Salad, YúShēng (魚生). 

Prosperity Toss Salad, YúShēng (魚生). 

Everyone gathers together to toss, toss, toss...the higher you toss, the more fortunate you may be.

CNY2016Orig6.jpg

Shout out "lo hei, lo hei" while tossing.  May your luck and fortune keep rising.

Then stuff yourself silly with everything else around you...

Laksa on the Stove

Laksa on the Stove

A Bowl of Laksa

A Bowl of Laksa

Jiao Zi

Jiao Zi

Pomelo Salad

Pomelo Salad

Sapodilla Fruit

Sapodilla Fruit

Litchis, Mangoes, and Starfruit

Litchis, Mangoes, and Starfruit

Growing up, we used to get pulled out of school for the day to celebrate Chinese New Year.   Lion dances, dragon dances, banging drums, clanging cymbals, crashing gongs, and firecrackers at the feet, hanging above or behind you filled the streets.  My sister and I would giggle watching the crowd of people milling about in Chinatown trying to catch a glimpse of all this with hands to their ears whilst jerking suddenly as a firecracker has just gone off in front of their next step.   This was way more exciting than sitting in the classroom for the day.  Everything on this day is colorful, exciting, and lively.  Happy to hear that it is an official holiday in NYC as of this year! 

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Chinese New Year of the Monkey!

Ali's Prosperity Toss Salad

INGREDIENTS//serves 6

• 300 grams salmon, sushi grade raw
•  1/2 pomelo, peeled and seperated into small segments
• 2 cups carrot, julienned
• 2 cups white radish, julienned
• 2 cups cucumber, julienned
• 1 cup jelly fish (optional—for the squeamish ones)
• 2 stalks spring onions, chopped
• 5 wonton wrap skins, deep fried
• 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed

Sauce

•  6 tablespoons Chinese plum sauce
•  2 tablespoons sesame oil
•  1 lime, juiced
•  3-4 tablespoons hot water


INSTRUCTIONS

Peel and julienne all your vegetables with a mandoline or a julienne peeler: carrots, white radish, cucumbers.
Arrange them on a large platter next to another.

Slice the salmon into thin slices and arrange them on the platter wtih the vegetables.

Chop your spring onions and sprinkle over the ingredients on the platter.

Prepare your crispy wonton peels.   Cut your wonton wrap skins in 1/4 inch strips.  

In a pan, heat enough oil to cover the wonton strips.   Once hot, add the wonton strips in and fry until golden brown and crispy. 

As you take them out of the pan, place them on a paper towel so that the excess oil is absorbed.  Once it's cooled down, add it to the salad.

Prepare your sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.  Add water tablespoon by tablespoon to dilute the sauce and mix well so that it spreads easily over the salad.

Once the salad is assembled, gather everyone around it with a pair of chopsticks.

Sprinkle the crushed peanuts and the sesame seeds over the salad, finally pouring the sauce all over the top of the salad.

Everyone digs in and tosses.  Don't forget to shout out "lo hei, lo hei"!