-Nut-, gluten-, egg, and corn-free, lactose-light-
Bonsoir des amis! Alas, it is that time, we get to eat again. What started in Los Angeles in 2009 as a blog from a girl just graduating from UCLA has now morphed into
still a blog a myriad of recipes from a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and a cook working in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, France. Well la tee da, looks like gluten-free is getting all gussied up.
But we won’t analyzed on our plating presentation, so let’s carry on with jolly haste.
I thought it’d be nice to start off with one of my cooking atelier dishes from what I guess you could call “exams” in culinary school. I somehow made it all gluten-free. Fancy that. ;) This fish is remarkably easy to prepare, and the herb pesto is a healthy, quick, and light way to add flavor. (Basil is also a natural serotonin booster, so with those omega-3’s from the sea bass and the leafy greens, get ready to smile inside and out.)
Feel free to use as many or little of the components of this dish as you’d like. It all goes really well together, but let’s face it, when you cook at home, sometimes rice is just an easier side dish at home than a purple potato basket. –>
Herb Pesto Sea Bass with a Purple Potato Purée, Purple Potato Latkes Basket, and Pickled Beet Ginger Salad
All recipes serve two.
-Ingredients- 2 sea bass filets, bones and skin removed; 1 bunch fresh basil; 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil + extra to cook with; sea salt; ground black pepper or paprika; (optional) aged parmesan cheese
1. On a clean cutting board, lay out your basil and drizzle with 1 tbs. olive oil and a generous pinch sea salt. Cut with the sea salt and olive oil into a mush. (You’ll notice that the leaves don’t turn brown or oxidize, and this is because they’re coated in both oil and salt. Magic!) If you fancy cheese, add parmesan cheese to taste right here. This is your pesto. Set it aside momentarily.
2. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil onto a sauté pan and top with parchment paper that fits to contact inside of the pan. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the paper. Season your fish filets with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread a layer of pesto on top of one side of the fish, and fold into three (like an envelope). Put your prepared pan on medium low heat. When oil is warm-hot, add the fish envelopes delicately in the pan. Let cook over medium low heat for about 1-2 minutes, until the cooking side is both opaque and gently golden brown. Flip delicately, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through with nothing left opaque, but not too cooked to be dry.
3. To serve, drizzle with any pesto that may have fallen out of the fish during cooking, and top with additional warmed pesto for something really fresh.
Purple Potato Purée:
-Ingredients- 2 purple potatoes (these are seasonal during early winter/late fall, so if you can’t find them 2 fingerling or smaller potatoes will do just fine); 1/2 cup your favorite milk (dairy or dairy-free); 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger; 1 1/2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil; splash lemon juice; sea salt; ground white or black pepper or paprika
1. Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot covered in lightly salted water. Bring to boil, and cook until al dente, aka a fork can be inserted with little effort. Should take around 25-30 minutes, depending upon the size of your taters. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Strain the water, keeping and place potatoes on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes to dry out any remaining moisture.
3. Meanwhile, lightly heat your milk so that it is not cold when blended with potatoes.
4. Remove potatoes from oven, and while warm, blend with warm milk and remaining seasonings until just combined. Do not overblend or the starches will start to make some funky textures. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If for some reason the purée tastes bitter to you, add a touch of sugar or honey and you’ll be good to go.
Purple Potato Latkes Basket:
-Ingredients- 1 purple potato (or another small potato); about 1-2 tbs. high heat oil; sea salt; ground pepper; (perhaps you will need water and potato starch, but that depends on the starch content of your potatoes)
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grate the potatoes into a bowl using a cheese grater. Toss with olive oil until all pieces are lightly covered. Add 1/4 tsp. sea salt and pepper to taste. Mixture should be sticky enough to hold together if placed against the edge of a muffin tin. If it’s not, combine some potato starch and cold water, and mix in with latkes mixture until it holds.
3. As you guessed it, gently grease a muffin tray and line two of the large muffin molds with the seasoned grated potatoes to make baskets. Bake for about 10 minutes, watching carefully after 5 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and crispy and until the baskets hold together and are solid, not mushy.
Pickled Roasted Beets (+salad):
-Ingredients- 1 large red beet*; sea salt; water; (optional) bay leaf, thyme, lemon slice; Pickling stuff: 1 cup water, 1 cup rice or cider vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar or honey, 1/2 tbs. juniper berries, 1 dried clove, 1 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, zest of 1/4 lemon
1. In a casserole dish, place washed uncooked red beets in a waterbath lightly salted that is a height of 3/4 the height of the beets. Add a bay leaf and a few sprigs of thyme and a slice of lemon for an extra zing (optional). Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and roast in an oven for about 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove beets from oven when a fork goes in easily (similar to testing the doneness of a baked potato). Remove from oven and let beets rest on a plate or pan until cool to touch. Peel the beets by rubbing them with the towel (that you will need to wash afterwards, no question.)
2. Cut the roasted beets into small cubes (brunois, to be technical). Keep in a medium metal bowl. Prepare your pickling liquid by heating up the water, sugar, vinegar, and spices to a gentle boil. Sugar should be dissolved. Remove from heat when just mixed and pour over the beets. For a mild pickle flavor, let rest 15 minutes. (We’re talking very mild.) For a proper pickled flavor, let rest at least a few hours. Better yet, let them cool to room temperature and keep in the fridge covered overnight or for several days.
3. To prepare the salad, toss the pickled beets in your favorite salad dressing and mix with arugula. Season with salt and pepper. Optional, add some thinly sliced strips of prosciutto and parmesan for a lactose-light salty kick. Serve either on the side or in your purple potato basket for snazzy time.
*To avoid any roasting of beets, feel free to buy pre-cooked beets that are available in air-tight plastic wrap in most supermarkets. Canned beets would be a last resort.
You can plate it like this if you’d like. Purée underneath the fish (skin-on if preferred), pesto on top, all the fixins inside the basket.