Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Hawthornes Attend Another Cooking Class At The NC Aquarium.

  Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne attended another cooking class
at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
with Chef Nate Bean of Black Pelican Restaurant in Kitty Hawk.
Our featured seafood is dolphin fish - not Flipper - but mahi mahi.

 Our first dish was a salad of mixed spring greens,
Roma tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, peppers, and julienned carrot
with a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
1/2 pint strawberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TB honey
1 TB Dijon mustard
2 cups olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Herbes de Provence.
Mix all in blender.

Pretty colors.

 To the left of my salad is the mahi mahi cooked in parchment.
I love fish en papillote.
This method of cooking results in an intensely flavored dish.
When food is sealed in parchment, it cooks in its own juices
and the steam concentrates the flavors..
As the package heats up, air inside expands,
and the flavors of all the ingredients swirl and mingle together.
The food is cooked with flavored air.
This method of cooking produces its own sauce
from the juices released by whatever you're cooking.
The sauce is intensified flavors from all the ingredients.
Cooking en papillote infuses the entire package
with all the flavors of your additions -
herbs, wine, broth, vegetables.
The flavors in the package are concentrated.
Fragrant, aromatic steam is released when you open the little packets.
By the way, the parchment used was clear parchment,
which I had no idea existed.

 This is the brand of parchment used - Carta Fata, available at Amazon.
Pricey stuff.
One 50m x 50cm roll is $89.90.
100 50x50cm sheets are $104.90.
I want some.
You can see the liquids boiling inside!

Here's the mahi mahi.
That broth is delicious.
Vegetables included were julienned carrot, pepper,
zucchini, squash, and onion.
Butter and lemon.
Salt and pepper.

Packets were placed in a 400° oven for 10-12 minutes.
 Here's our second dish.
Pan-seared mahi mahi.
Green beans with tomatoes and wine-poached pears.
Sautéed polenta cakes.
Chive oil.
Blood orange juice.

The chive oil and the blood orange juxtaposition
was a perfect pairing.

The polenta inspired haikus:

I love polenta.
So creamy on the inside.
Crisp on the outside.

I swirled polenta.
In chive oil and blood orange.
Died.  Gone to heaven.

 Sage Boursin Polenta
1 cup corn meal
3 cups chicken stock
4 oz cream
2 oz Parmesan cheese
1 oz sage
1/2 pack Boursin cheese
Cook the polenta, then add in the cream, sage, and cheeses.
Spread in a sheet pan.
Cut into rounds and sauté in butter until browned on each side.

Poached Pears
2 pears
2 cups red wine
2 oz honey
2 oz brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp coriander
Simmer about 30 minutes.

Chive Oil
olive oil
salt and pepper

And take a cooking course.
You'll learn something every time!

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