Monday, 5 August 2013

Fish - Week 1: Pan Seared Tilapia with Olive Butter Sauce

All good things must come to an end. In mid July, I finished my BBQ class, which was one of my favourite classes so far. Without my major food supply from that class, all of sudden I had to plan out what to cook for dinner and what to pack for lunch. Then I started to look through GBC calendar, and decided to take another course to feed me for another 6 weeks in the summer. Since I have always loved seafood, I picked the course - Fish. Sometimes I find that seafood can be hard to cook. Once you over cook them, there's no turning back. The texture would become really chewy and unpleasant. So I was really eager to find out the tricks to make perfect seafood dishes! 

In the first week's class, we filleted a tilapia and prepared Pan Fried Tilapia with Olive Butter and Fennel/Potato Gratin. Tilapia is a type of round fish. Personally, I wouldn't recommend buying the whole fish, because the yield after filleting the fish is quite small. Usually you can find tilapia fillets in the stores at a very affordable price. 

Pan Friend Tilapia
1 tilapia, filleted, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
some black olives, chopped

1. clean the fish, fillet the meat
2. lightly season the fish with salt and pepper, then dip into flour (make sure you shake off excess flour before frying the fish)
3. take a pan, heat some oil to very high temperature, brown the floured fish both sides quickly (the presentation side down first) 
4. at the same time make the olive sauce. In a pot, melt some butter, stir fry some chopped olives, squeeze in half lemon juice, reduce the volume for a bit.                                                    5. transfer the fish to a baking sheet, pour the olive butter sauce on top of the fish. Bake at 450F for 10min, 

Fennel/Potato Gratin
1 kg Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 fennel bulb
1 onion slicded
2 cups of heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
parmesan cheese

1. in a pot, melt some butter, sweat the onion and fennel
2. add heavy cream to the pot, bring the liquid to a simmer for 10min, adjust salt/pepper
3. put sliced, uncooked potatoes to the liquid
4. transfer everything to a baking tray, layer the potato slices with parmesan cheese in between
5. put grated parmesan cheese on the top
6. bake with a lid on at 400F for 1.5-2hr, then with a lid off for another 10min at 450F to get a nice brown colour

Sunday, 4 August 2013

BBQ Cooking - Week 6: Slow Cooked Beef Chuck Ribs+Roasted Whole Piglet-Chinese Wedding Style!

This was the last class for the BBQ cooking course. We made Slow Cooked Beef Chuck Ribs, Grilled Back Ribs with Tunnel Style Sweet and Hot Sauce, Grilled Hot Banana PeppersMy group job was to remove the seeds from a couple hundred banana peppers and then stuff them with rice. My poor bare hands were coated with capsaicin and I could still feel the burning sensations even 3 days after the exposure. Believe me, I tried everything I can to remove those bugger capsaicin molecules, including washing my hands with olive oil and even a small amount of acetone from the lab. Nothing worked. So if you ever have to do the same task, make sure that you wear a pair of gloves! Over all, this is a great course and I enjoyed it a lot! I learned exactly what I came here for, new cooking techniques that involve a BBQ. 

As it was the final class, our chef also showed us something extra -- a crispy baby pig that is commonly served at Cantonese Chinese weddings. 

For the baby pig, the chef first roasted it slowly in the oven at 300F. Once it's fully cooked after about 3hr, he put it on the rack over a large wok, and poured really hot oil all over its body. Literally, the pig was burned and the skin just popped open to become crispy. (sorry about the graphic description)

Slow Cooked Beef Chuck Ribs
4 bone rack beef chuck ribs (chuck ribs are the first 4 ribs of the animal)
1 onion, chopped
12 shallots, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
6 garlic
500 mL red wine
1 L beef stock
1 L chicken stock
200 mL crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf

1. rub chuck ribs with general some rub mixture (basically you can make a dry rub using whatever spices you want, i.e. chilli powder, garlic powder, curry powder, peppercorn, etc)
2. in a pan, heat some oil to brown the ribs
3. add onion/celery/carrot/shallot/garlic
4. add red wine and stock, simmer for a few minutes
5. add crushed tomatoes, bring the braising pan to the oven
6. slow cook the meat at 325F for about 2 hrs, take the meat out to rest, keep cooking the liquid to reduce it to a thick sauce