Friday, January 31, 2014

Pickled Herring

We had plenty of herring left from the SirenSeaSA drop this past week so after making the previous herring dish with pasta, I thought it would be a cool idea to pickle it. I cam across this recipe on the Cook It Simply web site and pretty much stuck to the script as I'm still new to pickling. It's not a terribly complicated process but the closer I stay with recipes for the time being the better.

Prepared herring fillets

Frying the floured fillets

Preparing the pickling solution

4 prepared fresh herrings
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons flour for coating
6 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3/4 pint white vinegar
3/4 pint water
3 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
2 allspice berries
1 medium onion sliced into 1/4" wide rings

Wash the herrings well inside and out in cold water and wipe dry. Sprinkle the fillets with lemon juice and salt. Leave the herrings to dry slightly, then dip them in the flour to cover, shaking off excess.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot add the herrings in batches for 3 minutes each side, turning carefully as the herrings will break easily. As you finish with each batch, transfer to a large shallow dish and leave to cool.

Combine the vinegar and water in a saucepan with the bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice and bring to a boil. Add the sliced onion to the pan and boil for 5 minutes. Leave the liquid to cool before pouring it over the herrings.

Cover the dish and leave to marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Linguine with Herring

Another bi-month, another SirenSeaSA drop, this time local whole herring! What to do, what to do? I'd never cooked with herring before. I found this neat Jamie Oliver recipe, Mediterranean-style herring linguine, on his web site and went with it. I've prepared pasta many times with fresh sardines but, although the herring we got looked a lot like sardines, once I started working with it I quickly realized the difference both in the anatomy as well as the taste.
Usually with sardines filleting is simply a matter of holding the head back then using my fingers to pull the meat apart from the spine to fillet them. These herring, however, were quite a bit larger so required a real filleting technique. I placed the fish down on the counter with the belly facing me. Then using a *sharp* knife, I cut diagonally below the head and horizontally down the belly to separate the meat from the spine, then turned the fish around to do the other side. It'll take me a bit more practice, I think, to get a better feel for it.

fillets, parsley, lemon, garlic, capers, tomatoes

1/2 pound dried linguine
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
pinch of pepperoncini (dried pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon capers
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, split between stalks and leaves, then chop separately
4 herring fillets, skin on, scaled and pin-boned, cut into 1" wide strips
1 cup of fresh or canned tomatoes, mashed into a paste
juice of 1 lemon

Boil the linguine in a large pot of salted boiling water to a minute shy of the package directions.
Meanwhile, put a large frying pan on a high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic, pepperoncini, capers, and the chopped parsley stalks. Cook for a couple of minutes until just starting to color. Add the herring strips to the pan and cook for 2 minutes and allow them to break down. Add the tomatoes and squeeze in the lemon juice.
Save off some of the pasta cooking water; drain the cooked linguine then add into the sauce in the pan, adding a little of the cooking water with it to moisten; toss everything together in the pan. Have a taste, season with salt and pepper, add most of the chopped parsley leaves and a bit more olive oil. Mix again then transfer to a large platter. Scatter over the remaining parsley leaves then serve.

Homemade Granola

I was just visiting my sister's family in Portland the past holiday weekend and had a chance to talk with my niece for a while. As she, like I am, is dismayed with the state of processed food these days, she's very much taken up the idea of making most of her food from scratch for herself, her husband, and her three amazing and quickly-growing three little boys. One of the foods she makes is granola and it got me thinking I should start making it for myself as well. I always have granola with Greek yogurt and fruit on the mornings I skate so it was really a no-brainer to finally get around to doing this.
In looking around for a recipe I quickly realized how many recipes there are out there. As I'll probably spend some time working on various approaches, I thought it best to start with a basic one, specifically this one that I got from Epicurious' web site. Apparently granola first started off during the cereal craze in the Midwest US back at the end of the nineteenth century but most of us are more familiar with the type that came from its resurrection during the early 70's at which time fruit and nuts were added to the mix.

Dry mix of oats, sugar, nuts, coconut, and seasonings

Heating the oil and honey

Prior to cooking...

.. and after cooking

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
healthy pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons grapeseed (or other vegetable) oil
1 cup assorted dried fruit - apricots, figs, dates, raisins, cranberries, et al

Preheat an oven to 300°F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Mix the oats, pecans, coconut, brown sugar, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.
Stir the honey and oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth.
Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture then toss to completely coat it.
Spread the mix on the prepared parchment.
Bake the mix until golden, stirring every 10 minutes until the mix is well-cooked. This will take 35 to 40 minutes.
Place the sheet on a cooling rack, stir the granola then allow to cool.
Once the granola is cool, mix in the dried fruit.

Final mix