Saturday, October 27, 2007

Julia Child: Sole Meunière

This recipe almost seems too simple to be true.  The fish is just quickly fried in butter with some lemon and parsley at the end.  And this is also the dish transcendental dish that gave us the Julia Child we all know and love.  Is it truly perfection?  For all of its simplicity, I'm going to have to say yes.  Everything is so perfectly balanced: just slightly crisp fish, rich butter, tart lemon.

Sole Meunière
Adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child

4 to 6 skinless, boneless fillets Dover sole
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
About 4 tablespoons clarified butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dry the fish, trim and flatten it. Lay it out on a sheet of wax paper.

Dust the fillets lightly on each side with salt and pepper. The moment before sauteing, rapidly drop each into the flour to coat both sides, and shake off the excess. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 16-inch of clarified butter. When the butter is very hot, but not browning, rapidly lay in as many fillets as will fit easily, leaving a little space between each. Sauté a minute or two on one side, turn carefully so as not to break the fillet, and sauté a minute or two on the other side. The fish is done when just springy rather than squashy to the touch of your finger. Immediately remove from the pan to warm plates or a platter. (Or, if you are sauteing in 2 batches, keep the first warm for the few minutes necessary in a 200ºF oven.

Sprinkle each fillet with parsley. Wipe the frying pan clean, set over high heat, and add the fresh butter, heat until bubbling and pour over fillets - the parsley will bubble up nicely. Decorate with lemon wedges, and serve at once.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Simply Recipes: Bayerisches Sauerkraut (Bavarian Sauerkraut) and Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat (Swabian-Style German Potato Salad)

Since the local Oktoberfest celebration is a little bit expensive, and a lot unappetizing, I decided that this year we should celebrate at home with better food and less money out of pocket. The traditional fare was a must, so I scoured the internet for some decent recipes, mostly trying to find a replica of the amazing sauerkraut I've had at this little German restaurant down near Ft. Hood, TX. I think the main difference is cooking the sauerkraut with juniper berries, so that's what I concentrated on. I also managed to dig up a pretty decent recipe for hot potato salad that turned out rather scrumptious, so two thumbs up. I visited Kuby's down near Southern Methodist University to get some fresh sausages, both weisswurst and bratwurst, along with a jar of cooked red cabbage and German mustard.

Bayerisches Sauerkraut (Bavarian Sauerkraut)
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 (16-ounce) jar sauerkraut
1 cup white wine (Riesling is good)
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup peeled and chopped apple
10 juniper berries
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place sauerkraut in a pot.  Add wine, onion, apple, juniper berries, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, and oil. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until the onions are soft.

Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat (Swabian-Style German Potato Salad)

4 large potatoes
4 slices of applewood smoked bacon
½ cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons sugar
⅓ cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (whole grain may be used)

Slice potatoes thinly, leaving peel on for rustic look. Boil in a large pot of water until nearly tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain.

Chop bacon into small pieces. In a large skillet, cook bacon until nearly done. Add onions, and sauté until soft. Sprinkle flour in skillet, and stir to incorporate flour into fat. Sprinkle with sugar, and add water, vinegar, and mustard. Cook until sauce thickens. You may need to adjust the levels of vinegar, mustard, and sugar until the right taste is achieved. Add potatoes and heat just until warm. Serve hot.