Tag Archives: Light

Smoked Salmon, Parmesan Filo Wafers

Photo by Joanna Sellick

Photo by Joanna Sellick

Not many words to say here really!

In Adelaide, summer is in full flight and eating gets a little harder!

No one wants “difficult” especially when it’s hot out, people just want “easy” and this recipe is simple, tasty and appetising on a hot Australian summer day.

The use of the filo here is add texture and flavour of parmesan wafers, slightly cramelised and crispy with a slight salty flavour.  The honey counter balances the salt nicely and the cucumber cleans the palate so you can experience the next mouthful cleanly.

This filo wafer can also be used on cheese boards, just add an extra layer or two.  If you change the filo to puff pastry, cut it in long strips and twist it for bread sticks and eat it it with Parma ham and rock melon for a nice summer snack.

Smoked Salmon, Parmesan Filo, Cucumber & Cress Salad, Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 6

720gr Smoked Salmon

15 Sheets of Filo Pastry

150gr Melted Butter

150gr Parmesan Cheese

1tspn Aniseed – toasted on dry pan, slightly ground

1tsp Fennel Seeds – toasted on dry pan, slightly ground

1tsp Cumin Seed – toasted on dry pan, slightly ground

250ml Greek Yoghurt

100ml Creme Fraiche

1tbsp Honey

250gr Watercress – washed, long stems picked off

1 Cucumber

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Method

For the filo wafers

  1. Turn the oven on at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. On a clean bench, spread out the one layer of filo pastry
  3. Brush the pastry completely with melted butter using a pastry brush
  4. Micro plane the parmesan cheese until a thin layer completely covers the surface of the filo
  5. Place another layer of filo on top of this, comepltely covering the first layer
  6. Repeat this process on the new layer of filo
  7. On the top of the third layer, brush with melted butter until completely covered, then sprinkle a little of each of the aniseed, fennel seed and cumin seed, evenly
  8. Place on a buttered roasting pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  It should come out in sheets, break it into smaller wafers ready for service

For the Dressing

  1. Place the yogurt, creme fraiche and honey in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula
  2. Taste for balance and see if needs extra honey.  Should be honey sweet, no sweeter!

For the Cucumber

  1. Cut the ends off the cucumber the cut it in half so you end up with two even lengths
  2. Using a mandolin, slice the cucumber lengthways until you hit the seeds, then stop slicing (do not slice into the seeds, it juices out to much and does not hold it’s shape)
  3. Stack the cucumber neatly, one on top of each other as they come out of the mandolin
  4. Finely slice the cucumber across the length, ending up with match stick like batons of cucumber

Plate up

  1. You are going to layer the ingredients starting with a layer of filo wafer on the bottom
  2. Followed by a layer of slightly folded salmon (for height)
  3. Then some water cress
  4. Then a dollop of dressing
  5. Then another layer of filo wafer
  6. Another layer of salmon
  7. Then dressing and finally, the cucumber match sticks for garnish
  8. EVOO around the plate
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Kingfish Ceviche Salad

Photo by Jun Pang

I think that most people think cooking is too hard.  Well here is a recipe to prove that theory wrong.

Most people think that cooking needs heat.  Well, that’s not necessarily true either.

Ceviche is a dish made popular in the Americas, specifically in the South America.  Traditionally, it uses the juices of citrus fruits to “cook” the proteins.  Much like the science experiments you once performed in your high school science classes, when you poured acid on raw egg white and it turned opaque white and hardened.  In this case, the the citric acid from the citrus fruits is slightly acidic enough to cure or cook the proteins of the fish.

In coastal places in Mexico where the seafood is abundant, this type of cooking method is much used and is often sold in plastic cups with ice as street food.  Flavoured mainly by lime juice, it is also spiced with a myriad of chillies, tomato juice, coriander and sliced red onion.  I tasted this genious of a dish a few years ago, not in Mexico unfortunately but in Sydney at a food and cooking expo.  This version had heaps of different seafood like oysters, clams, fish and mussels to name a few and they were all cooked ceviche style using limes and many types of exotic chillies.  Never have I tasted such wonderful, refreshing and interesting flavours.  The Peruvians are experts at this type of food preparation too and so are the Ecuadorians but as mentioned before, the South Americans are generally pros at this type of cooking.

In saying that, I picked up this recipe from a house keeper at work.  She is from Fiji and missed her home country tremendously and wanted me to desperately learn her food so I can cook it for my knowledge and as a trade off, for her to eat.  She told me that in Fiji, she also adds a little coconut milk at the end.  When I tried this, I found it quite nice but I left this recipe quite plain to get punters to get used to this unusual type of cooking.  But what this has done is show me that many countries adopt this type of cooking.  The Japanese use ponzu as the agent to cook protiens in some dishes, Filipinos use a lot of vinegars, tropical countries use limes, lemons and other citrus juices.  This isn’t a new cooking phase, it’s been around for centuries it seems.

So try it out, it’s super healthy with great, robust flavours that explode in your mouth.  As summer hopefully gets nearer, you will realize that it is the perfect dish for summer.  It requires little time, cost effective and it does not require you to use any pans to cook with or clean.

So, for those of you who don’t like to make their kitchens to smell like fish, try this one out.  Try it with other fish, like salmon, experiment as you get used to the flavours and perhaps you will also save on your gas bill!!

Photo by Jun Pang

King Fish Ceviche Salad with Toasted Garlic Bread

Serves 4

For the Ceviche Salad

750gr Fresh Kingfish

1 Cucumber – Quartered lengthways and deseed and thinly sliced

1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes – halved

½ Red Onion – sliced paper thin

200gr Baby Rocket

2 Bunches Water Cress

1 Bunch Basil

6 Fresh Limes

For the Garlic Bread

2 Freshly Baked Baguette

100gr Brie – leave at room temperature until really soft

100gr Butter – leave at room temperature until really soft

5 Cloves garlic – finely pureed

1 Bunch Parsley – finely chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Method

For the Salad

  1. If it hasn’t been done by the fish monger, cut out the blood line that runs along the length of the fish, where the spine usually is.  If you do not remove this, the dish will become bitter.
  2. Take the fish and place it flat on the board.  Using a sharp knife, run the knife along the length of skin until you totally remove the skin.  Make sure the knife is “tight” or flush on the board so as not to get too much flesh.
  3. Finely slice the fish into thin slices across the fillet, no more than 1mm thick and place it into a bowl.
  4. Squeeze the lime juice all over the fish, season with sea salt and pepper and mix through with extra virgin olive oil and allow it so sit for about 8-10 minutes in the fridge or until it starts to turn colour turning the surface slightly white
  5. Place the cherry tomatoes, red onion, baby rocket, watercress and basil in the bowl and mix through until evenly mixed

For the Garlic Bread

  1. Place the brie in a mixer and mix in the bowl with a paddle until it’s a smooth paste
  2. Add the butter on low until the brie is well mixed through then take the butter out of the mixer
  3. Using a rubber spatula, mix the garlic and parsley through until thoroughly mixed through
  4. Cut the baguettes in half lengthways, spread the butter through on both sides, well lathered
  5. Toast under the griller until well toasted

Salsa Verde

It is such an amazingly versatile sauce.  One of the first sauce I learned in a kitchen were salsas.  Not much skill needed here but the skill you learn here is how to balance flavours. In this case acidity.  You don’t want this to be over powering in acidity, just enough sharpness to get the palate “excited”.  You should be able to taste all the ingredients in the salad of what ever it is you are using the salsa verde for.

Salsa verde comes in many versions.  This version is some what close to the Italian version but there other “green sauces” like chimichurri in Argentina and sauce verte in France.

I have used this sauce in a salad but you can easily use in a pasta dish.  For example, cook your pasta, strain and toss through the salsa in a bowl, off the heat to retain it’s freshness and vibrant clean colour.  It’s also great with grilled fish.  Simply grill the fish then drizzle this salsa verde on top.  It does give the fish a certain freshness and it doesn’t take over the dish.

I have used a blender here but try chopping all your ingredients then mixing it all together in a bowl if you have time to do so, I mean, this how people used to do it before blenders right? – plus it keeps longer if you use this method.

Photo by Jun Pang

Grilled Prawns with Salsa Verde, Rocket and Cherry Tomatoes

Makes 1 litre

For the salsa 

1 Bunch Parsley

1 Bunch Mint

1 Bunch Coriander

1 Small Red Onion                             peeled, quartered

2 Cloves Garlic                                   peeled

¼ Cup Capers

5 fillets of Anchovies

1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the salad

1 kg Prawns

2 Cups Rocket

1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes

2 Lemons

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Method

For the salsa

  1. Place the parsley, mint, coriander, red onion, garlic, capers, anchovies, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a blender and blend to paste.  Season with sea salt and black pepper
For the salad
  1. Place the prawns in a mixing bowl and add about1/4 cup of the salsa verde in the bowl.  Mix well until the prawns are well covered
  2. Grill the prawns on a BBQ or sauté them in a really hot pan until cooked through
  3. Halve the tomatoes, place them in a bowl, along with the rocket and the grilled prawns.  Dress with salsa verde and toss until well mixed together.
  4. Serve in a bowl and drizzle with a little more salsa verde
  5. Squeeze lemons over the salad for a little freshness

Photo by Jun Pang