M's Cooking Diary

Musing about food, wine and cooking.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Big dinner coming. Part III (The Fish Entrée).

Still no idea for the appetizers. But the fish course will be “Feuilleté de gravlax”. A feuilleté is a pastry made of flaky dough. The French “Mille-feuilles” is one of them. It literally means “thousand leaves”.

I can’t smoke salmon at home but it is a simple thing to make gravlax and it is almost as good. Plus I can say I did it myself. I use the method describe in The CIA’s Garde-Manger manual it comes out very tasty. I replace the aquavit by cachaca, the Brazilian sugar cane aguardente. I got a very nice “Flor de Limão” cachaca from the Carvalheira distillery .

I love cachaca that’s why I rarely indulge, too easy to abuse. Most people who have traveled to Brazil (the French’s in particular, but also the Germans and the Swiss) fall in love with the stuff, among other things. They taste it mostly in caipirinha” made with industrial cachaca but what the Brazilians call “cachaca de alembique” or artisanal, can be very good. It’s funny because in bar you’ll rarely see people drinking it unless they are tourist. Brazilians tend to stick to beer or Red Label whiskey..

I’ll prepare the gravlax early this weekend or early next week. I can also prepare the feuilleté well in advance. I’ll use filo dough. Preparing the dough myself is asking for trouble so that’s the one thing I won’t do. The method is simple:
Coat half a filo sheet with melted butter and fold. Do that three times until it’s the about size of the afore mentioned “mille-feuilles”

Put the folded filo on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Repeat until you have 3 per serving.
Put in the oven, at 375 until golden and crisp. About 10 minutes.
This can be done a few days before if kept dry in an airtight container.
I plan on putting fennel seeds on the last four sheets for the top layer.

Before dinner time:
Prepare sour cream with fresh dill or any other fresh herb that strike your fancy. Let it stand in the fridge for a few hours.
Briefly blanch spinach, or any other greens. I plan to use beet leaves.
I’ll also prepare a beet coulis.

To plate:
Put one filo on a plate, cover with nice slices of salmon.
Put a spoonful of sour cream.
Another filo
The blanched greens and a bit of cream.
The last sheet the one with the roasted seeds.
Use the coulis in a squeeze bottle to decorate the plate.

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