Along the Grapevine


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G&T Coriander Walleye

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This recipe was inspired by two recent events. First, I had just made the most delicious tonic water ever which I was keen to use in as many ways as possible. The other is that I was the lucky winner of a draw for a fabulous cookbook, Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona thanks to a lovely blogger, Anjana, author of At the Corner of Happy and Harried. She wrote a very compelling review in this post which will help explain my pure delight in receiving this collection of varied and inspirational recipes using every kind of rice I know of for sweet, savoury and everything in between.

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To add my own thoughts on this book, it appeals to me for two main reasons – its sheer diversity of origins and the use of what I consider to be really good ingredients and flavours. To wit, I have found some of my old favourites, like Indonesian gado gado, Portuguese piri piri and kedgeree from the British raj – all pimped in such a way it is like discovering these dishes for the first time. There are others not so familiar but which I look forward to trying such as Fig Anise Dribbled Pancakes, Hibiscus Lime Sherbet and Tea Steeped Chickpea Pot to name just a few.

As for the ingredients, I was particularly drawn to those I have in abundance in my garden but am still looking for ways to use  – lavender, rose, juniper berries, rhubarb and capers. Also lots of great spices and no shying away from using beer, wine or even the hard stuff for flavouring in a few recipes. Definitely my kind of cookbook!

My original intention was to follow her recipe for Gin and Tonic Coriander Salmon and follow it rigorously, using of course my own tonic water just because I can. However, at this time of year my freezer is pretty full and I try to limit myself to using what I already have, so the one thing I did differently was to use some local walleye (aka pickerel) which I had picked up at a gas station just a week ago. In the recipe I write, I will just refer to fish fillets, and as long as it is a good firm variety, you can pick your own, although the salmon is rather pretty!

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The other change I made in the recipe was to omit the ‘tenting’ in foil. Instead, I baked it in a shallow, covered casserole dish which worked just fine.

G&T Coriander Walley

  • Servings: 4
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1/2 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 juniper berries, crushed

grated zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp chopped coriander leaves, plus extra to serve

3 tbsp gin

5 tbsp tonic water

1 – 1.5 lbs fish fillets (original recipe calls for 4 x 4 oz salmon fillets)

1 lime, cut into wedges

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the oil, garlic, juniper berries, lime zest and juice, ground coriander and leaves and gin and tonic in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put the fillets, flesh side down, in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I did about 20)

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F/ or Gas 6.

Select a shallow heatproof casserole. Transfer the fish and the juices to the casserole and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Spoon the cooked basmati rice around the sides of this into the juices. Sprinkle with a few coriander leaves, grind a little black pepper over the top and dot with lime wedges to serve.

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Her recipe for the rice is exactly the way I make it. Rinse and drain 1 cup of rice and put it in a heavy based saucepan with 2 cups of water (a little salt is optional). Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the rice has absorbed almost all the water. Clamp a lid on the pan, remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes.

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Linked to Fiesta Friday #97


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Escabeche de Walleye

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I don’t fish myself, but luckily I do have a source of locally caught walleye or pickerel. As I have been craving an escabeche for some time, my most recent ‘catch’ was used to make this dish of Spanish origin but also very popular in Latin America since the days of the ‘conquista’.

Originally escabeche was a way to preserve fish. Marinated in a mixture of wine and vinegar along with vegetables and spices which were removed after cooking, the fish could be kept for several weeks. Nowadays the ingredients are much the same, but it is not used so much as a method of preserving. However, the wine and vinegar keep working their magic and the dish improves after resting a couple of days. It can be served hot or cold, so is an ideal dish for the hot summer months.

Some recipes call for frying the fish first. I broiled it after coating with a fine spray of oil. This was not so much to save on calories as it was to avoid the hassle of frying and the fish losing its integrity.

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Many vegetables would go well with this dish, but I limited it to carrots and red onions for their colour. I used one habanero, although when I took the photo I intended to use two. One was nicely spicy but if you like it hot …

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This dish has an acidic flavour from the vinegar, and is also spicy, although feel free to up or down the heat according to your preference. I added mustard, cumin and sumac which are not traditionally used but worked very well with the fish.

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Escabeche


Ingredients

olive oil for frying

1 kg walleye fillet or other white fish

2 red onions, sliced

4 carrots, cut in thick strips

1 or 2 hot peppers, seeded and chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 Tbsp sumac (optional)

1 tsp chili pepper

1 Tbsp Dijon style mustard

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

hard boiled eggs and black olives to garnish

Method

Place the fillets on a broiling tray, spray lightly with oil and broil about 8 inches from the broiler until cooked through. Set aside.

Fry the onions in oil until soft. Add the garlic and chopped chilis and fry another two minutes. Add the dry spices and fry another minute. Add the mustard, vinegar and wine and blend completely. Add the salt, pepper and olives, cover, turn the heat to low and continue to cook until the carrots are tender.

Pour the vegetables over the fish in a casserole. You may put it in the oven and reheat for about twenty minutes if serving hot, or let it cool and serve at room temperature. Place a few halves of boiled eggs on top.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and served cold the next day or three.

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I am bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday # 70, co-hosted by Dina @ Giramuk’s Kitchen and Molly @ Frugal Hausfrau. Hope everyone enjoys it!


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Fish Pate with Toasted Almonds

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The only local fish I have been able to acquire has been walleye, sometimes called pickerel, which is why all my fish recipes so far have been on this one particular species. It is a freshwater fish, very versatile, with a mild flavour. That is why whenever a kind fisherman offers me some of his catch, I gladly accept it and try and create a new recipe to do it justice. Since I have been making pates and potted meats lately, I decided to try a fish pate – something I could use for quick meals and for serving guests on short notice. It is also a perfect party recipe to bring to the fiftieth Fiesta Friday event. DSC01615

Most fish pates call for smoked fish. I have yet to take up smoking, although a smoker is on my wish list. For the time being, I did add a few drops of liquid smoke, but the recipe does not require it – just an afterthought for those of us who like the flavour. I did find a recipe which resembled what I had in mind to start with, except with toasted almond slivers added which seemed a good idea in terms both of flavour and augmenting the quantity of the final product. Here is the recipe I referred to for fresh trout and almond pate. DSC01616

And here is my own recipe I used combining my own idea and the toasted almonds.

Fish Pate with Toasted Almonds

Ingredients

1 lb walleye

1/2 cup slivered almonds

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp each of fresh dill and parsley

salt and pepper to taste

a few drops of liquid smoke to taste (optional)

Method

Poach the fish in a little water in a 350 degree oven until the fish is cooked right through. While this is cooking, brown the almond slices in a skillet with 2 Tbsp of the butter. Set aside. Once the fish is cooked, remove from the oven, pour off any liquid (and keep for some other use), cool and remove any skin and bones. Put the fish in a food processor along with the remaining Tbsp of butter, the toasted almonds in butter and all the other ingredients. Process until it everything is evenly blended. Pour into a serving dish and/or in jars to be frozen for later use. Serve at room temperature on crusty bread, crackers or with salad.

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Related articles:  https://alongthegrapevine.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/pickerel-in-grape-leaves-with-mushroom-zaatar-sauce/


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Pickerel in Grape Leaves with Mushroom Za’atar Sauce

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Pickerel, or walleye as it is often called here, is a fresh water fish common in North American lakes. It is the fish I might have caught had it been warm enough to go ice fishing, but given the small number of fishing huts in the area, I am not the only timid one. I did manage to find a good source of fresh, local fish which I’m sure is as good as any I would have caught. Besides, it came all cleaned and filleted. So this is my contribution to The Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday – seasonal, easy and wild.

This fish is a close relative of the pikeperch, so that could be substituted in this recipe, as well as any white freshwater fish. The other main ingredients are grape leaves and za’atar, and those are available in most areas. If you don’t have a stock of wild grape leaves in your freezer from last year, regular leaves are sold in jars in some supermarkets. Just be sure to rinse the brine off before using. If you don’t have za’atar, or the ingredients to make it, use any recipe for za’atar and replace the sumac with grated lemon zest.

Pickerel in Grape Leaves

1 1/2 lbs fish fillets

3 Tbsp finely chopped sweet onion

2 Tbsp za’atar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp olive oil

30 grape leaves, approximately

Remove the skin from the fillets if there is any. I used the skin to make stock which I used later in the sauce. Just cover with some water and allow to simmer until you are ready for it.

Cut the fillets into pieces – some will already be small from the skinning process, but others can be about 2 inches long. Place them in a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients, except for the leaves.

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Lay two or three leaves on a flat service overlapping slightly. If the leaves are very small, you might need four – two if they are very large. Place a large spoonful (1/4 cup) of the fish mixture at the base of your leaf arrangement. Fold upwards once, tuck in the sides and continue to roll up. If grilling, it might be wise to secure them with toothpicks which have been soaked in water.

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If using an oven, place them in a casserole dish, brush with a little olive oil and garnish with lemon slices. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for about 1/2 hour.

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These can be eaten hot or cold. I’m thinking of making some next time I pack a picnic. Meanwhile, I served these warm with saffron rice and a mushroom sauce. No need for a sauce really, or you can make whatever kind you like. This is how the sauce was made.

Mushroom Za’atar Sauce

Fry about a cup of sliced mushrooms in butter until lightly brown. Make a roux with 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp flour (I used chestnut flour to  make it gluten-free), and 1/2 cup of fish stock. When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked mushrooms, 1 tsp of za’atar and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through and it is ready. This is a small quantity for two people, so just multiply it to get the amount you need.

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The grape leaves keep the fish from drying out or getting scorched if being grilled. They also add flavour to the delicate fish, and provide good packaging for any leftovers to be eaten cold the next day. There doesn’t seem to be any difference in flavour that I can detect between wild and other grape leaves, so just use whichever is convenient.