Monday, January 16, 2012
The Family Meal: Meal 13 - Farfalle with Pesto, Japanese-style Bream, Mandarin Oranges with Cointreau
I remember the first time I cooked a whole fish for my family. I took my mom with me to the Chinese grocery store, and I had them pull a live tilapia out of the tank. The guy behind the counter then proceeded to beat it over the head several times before he started ripping its guts out. I thought my mom was going to lose it. Hey, at least it was fresh, right? My mom insisted that the head not make an appearance at the dinner table, or she wasn't going to be able to eat. I'm not quite that squeamish, so when I saw this menu, it didn't really faze me. The only thing I hate about whole fish is pulling all those teeny tiny little bones out of your mouth while you're chewing. So not ladylike.
I kinda skimped with the pesto. When I looked at how much basil, pine nuts, and cheese was required, and then I looked at how much of the final product I actually needed for this ONE recipe that actually uses pesto, I just couldn't do it. Maybe I'll come back and try again when I'm feeling flush, but for this trip, I just used a nice small jar of Alessi pesto sauce. Hey, it had the same ingredients! I checked the label. And yes, I know I cheated. As for the fish, it appears that Chef Adria likes to pick fish that only appear in the Mediterranean, off the coast of, well, Spain. Needless to say, there is no gilthead bream (read: brim) in the stores in Dallas. After a long conference with the fish guy at Central Market, I decided on a stripped sea bass that was big enough for two people. When I got home, I realized this was one of the suggested substitutions listed in the book, so I felt vindicated. The mandarin oranges came straight out of my bi-weekly produce share from the co-op. It was almost like I was meant to make this menu. I didn't have any Cointreau, although I will probably acquire some soon, so I used Grand Marnier. The ice cream was this fabulous vanilla bean ice cream that Haagen-Dazs makes with only five ingredients. No gums or artificial flavors for me and my organic oranges.