Friday, April 30, 2010

Asparagus is here

Brixton 1


Of course there’s not much better than just butter, lemon and maybe a scraping of parmesan, but this recipe from Le Caprice looks pretty good. Maybe one for the bank holiday.

Serves 4

400g sea trout fillet, skin off and kept aside
300g green asparagus
20ml olive oil
1 head dandelion
60ml vinaigrette
10g chervil
10g tarragon
10g chives
20g baby watercress
Rock salt and freshly ground pepper

Season the trout skin with sea salt and place between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and then between 2 baking sheets. Bake in a 90°C oven for 55 minutes, or until crispy.  Remove and leave to cool.  Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes until tender.  Season the trout fillet with salt and pepper and coat in the chopped herbs (chives, tarragon and chervil).  Fry the fillet in a pre heated non stick pan until golden brown, the centre of the trout should be pink.  Dress the asparagus with vinaigrette and serve with the flaked sea trout and crispy skin.  Finish with dandelion and baby watercress.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bloody Good Tofu

This came from a small book of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes that was free with a national newspaper this weekend.  L was making Vietnamese Salad and this was fantastic with it, especially with some spiced roast chicken pieces on the side.


Black pepper tofu. Photograph: Colin Campbell /

This tofu dish is a veggie version of a Chinese classic, best served with plain steamed white rice.  If you have an Asian grocer nearby, get the fresh tofu that's set in a tub. It has a wonderful silky, light texture. Serves four.

800g firm, fresh tofu
Cornflour, to dust the tofu
Vegetable oil, for frying
150g butter
12 small shallots (350g), peeled and thinly sliced
8 red chillies, thinly sliced
12 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped ginger
5 tbsp crushed black peppercorns
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce / Kecap Manis
3 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
16 small, thin spring onions, cut into segments 3cm long

Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft. While you wait, crush the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. They should be quite coarse.

When the shallots and chillies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the crushed pepper. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.

• Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/patron of Ottolenghi in London


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