Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cooking Class At The NC Aquarium With Chef Nate Bean From Black Pelican.

I love our cooking classes at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

Mr. Hawthorne and I have been attending the Seafood Series
each winter/spring at the aquarium for the past several years.

Monday, April 14, we enjoyed a class
presented by Chef Nate Bean of the Black Pelican.

First on the menu was Chef Bean's 
Pecan Encrusted Rockfish with Brandy Scallion Butter
over Wild Rice
with a Spinach, Grape Tomato, and Red Onion Sauté.

When I saw this on the menu, I was excited.
I've made a wonderful Pistachio Encrusted Mahi Mahi,
so I was really looking forward to Pecan Encrusted Rockfish.

The rockfish (striped bass) filets
were bathed in a little olive oil,
then dredged through a breading of
crushed pecans, panko, brown sugar, and salt and pepper.

The filets were sautéed in olive oil and finished in the oven,
if I remember correctly, and I might not.

Chef Bean also made a Brandy Scallion Butter with
 scallions and garlic sautéed in butter,
then brown sugar was added,
and then the brandy.
The brandy was flambéed.
This was then poured over the filets.

Gotta tell ya,
I love a flambé!!!!!!
 And this one was superb.
 I even got a little worried.
That's what makes for a great flambé.
The flames were shooting up 2 feet
and the exhaust system at the aquarium kitchen
is not the most efficient.
I was fully expecting the sprinklers to come on at any moment.
That's great flambéing!
Nice job, Chef Bean!!

Next, the sauce was seasoned with salt and pepper
and enriched with pats of butter.

Wild rice and white rice were combined
and cooked in chicken stock.

The dish was completed by spinach, cherry tomatoes,
 chopped red onion, and minced garlic
sautéed in olive oil.

As always, I go visit the turtles.
As usual, they were exquisitely happy to see me.
This alligator was just chillin'.
I had to check to see if he was breathing.

I love the otters.
I noticed the male had a shaved patch on his head.
When I asked the wonderful Beth Wilcox of the Aquarium
about the otter,
she told me he'd been having seizures
and had been under the care of NC State Vets.
This little otter is 16-17 years old.
He's monitored throughout the day
and kept out of the water at night to prevent drowning.

Our next dish was pan seared rockfish
served with a Bacon Shallot Jelly,
 Blue Corn Polenta, and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts.

For the Bacon Shallot Jelly -
green onion
salt and pepper
chicken stock
brown sugar
corn starch

Blue Corn Polenta
chicken stock
blue corn meal

Sautéed Brussel Sprouts
halved blanched brussel sprouts
caramelized onion (slow cooked for 1-2 hours)
salt and pepper

Sorry, but I am not a fan of the blue corn.
Why blue?
This is not appetizing to me at all.
However, sunny yellow polenta is appetizing.

I know.
I know.
They taste the same.

But they don't.
Not to me.

One tastes yellow.
The other tastes ...  off color.

And that's not really blue.
It's not a pretty color.
I wouldn't know what to call that color.
Except ugly.

Imagine if that polenta was yellow  ...  NOT the color it is.
Wouldn't that be more appetizing?
Or is it just me?

I should tell you right here and now -
I don't like refried beans either.

It's the visual.

And I get the same visual with "blue" polenta.

All in all, outside of my "Whoa Moment!"
what with the blue stuff, this was a terrific meal.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

The fish recipes look good and I have to agree with you about the blue corn polenta. It has been proven that blue, or rather grey, is not an appetizing color.