Ticklish Salmon & Sauce Bercy:

Ticklish Salmon & Sauce Bercy:

 

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      25 mins, plus stripping the skin & flaking afterwards

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Buffet

Serves:        As many as…..

Rating:         1:  Piscatorially easy

Find:

  • Salmon pieces
  • Butter
  • White wine if you haven’t drunk it all last night
  • Oil
  • Seasoning (including a twist of a chilli seed mill if poss)
  • Shallots
  • Chicken stock
  • Slices of lemon
  • Lemon juice
  • Oven dish
  • Foil?
  • Platter
  • Salad garnish as desired

Method:

  • Find an oven dish/tin/ big enough to take the salmon (or use two).
  • Take as many salmon pieces as you have (I had 8), place them skin side down in an oiled roasting tin or singly ‘en papillote’ (individually in foil packets). Add sea salt, ground black pepper and a few twists of the chilli pepper seed mill.
  • Pour in some white wine, drizzle (I HATE THAT CHEFY WORD – but I have to use it because it says it as it is, dammit!) extra virgin olive oil all over and then throw fresh thyme on top. Then put a thick slice of lemon on the top of each piece.
  • Close the oven tin with foil or close the foil packet.
  • Bake for half an hour on 180 C.
  • Sauce Bercy is a traditional French sauce. (Look it up on the net.)
  • My version is: Put just about too many roughly cut shallots (some almost whole) in a pan with olive oil, fry them off for a few mins, then add about three or four finely chopped cloves of garlic (how big is a clove of garlic….?……got any long bits o’string?) and white wine.
  • Also, add chicken stock. It’s up to you how you get your chicken stock – see Tricks’n’Tips for mine.
  • Salt and pepper can go in when the cauldron has been boiling for 5 mins, after the alcohol has burnt off (cos it’ll taste bitter till then) and cook for 20 mins on a rolling boil (in other words, just slightly bubbling away).
  • Serve the salmon next to a bunch of rocket, water cress & salad bits, with boiled new spuds and the Corbieres tomato salad that you know about, and the Sauce Bercy spooned over the top.

Yummy or what?

Yup….. YUMMY!

Caramelised shallot sauce:

Caramelised shallot sauce:

This very cosmopolitan sauce can be used in all sorts of ways, with a great many different ingredients. It’s not difficult to make, but you do need to keep an eye on it as it will catch and burn if you are not careful.

Shallots are of the onion family but grow in bunches or clumps, rather than individually as we normally see onions growing.  There are round-ish ones and there are the more elongated ones, called échalote in France.  You can use either in this sauce, but I have to say that I prefer the more elongated échalote version for this purpose.

Find:

  • 8 or 10 shallots (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (whatever sugar you have – don’t use a sweetener)
  • 2 + glasses of white wine
  • Tomato puree (a squeeze or a dollop)
  • 1 mug of veg/chicken stock (probably made with 2 veg/chicken stock cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • Butter
  • Oil
  • Frying pan

Method:

  • Top, tail and peel the shallots – the paper-like skin will come away easily, the next layer may be tough and it needs to go – and slice them along their length rather than chop them.
  • Fry them over a medium heat in a little butter and oil for a few minutes and then add the sugar to the frying pan. Keep it all moving for a couple of minutes to melt together.  Don’t allow it to burn at all or you’ll have to start all over again.  It should colour up quite quickly.
  • Add the wine and the stock, stirring all the time. Turn the heat up.
  • Add the tomato puree. Keep stirring.
  • Gently boil to reduce the sauce by one-third, then mix the cornflour with a little water in a mug and add that to the pan, stirring all the time. This will need to cook out for about 8 to 10 minutes, gently simmering, stirring frequently.  If the sauce is too thick, add more stock or wine but don’t thin it too much as it is not supposed to be too runny.
  • Taste, then season as necessary.
  • A good ground black pepper will lift the flavour beyond belief.

Really Red Sweet Pepper Sauce:

Really Red Sweet Pepper Sauce:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      15-20 mins.

Course:        Sauce

Serves:

Rating:         2:  Not difficult.

Find:

  • 2 long, sweet red peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • Olive oil
  • A little stock – meat or veg
  • A little water
  • Paprika
  • Redcurrant jelly/ blackcurrant jam
  • Saucepan

Method:

A very sharp cook’s knife is definitely required for the preparation of this sauce.

  • Take a couple of the long red sweet peppers, not a normal capsicum pepper if you can help it – though this will do at a push – skin them (see Tricks’n’Tips) and cut it into slivers of 2 or 3mm width, perhaps 30mm long. Cut a red onion into the thinnest slivers that you can manage without incliding finger nails and put red pepper and red onion into a frying pan on a very low heat for 10 or 15 minutes.  They need to sweat, rather than fry or even sauté.  As they cook they should produce a little liquid – conserve it, don’t let it evaporate, as this is really flavoursome.
  • Add some tasty meaty stock or stock jelly (see ‘Tricks & Tips’) and just enough water to make the quantity you require. Remember that this is a sauce, not gravy – you really do not need much of this as it is there for flavour, rather than to have the food to swim in it.
  • Add some paprika. Now, how much paprika is up to you, but remember that paprika pepper is not a particularly hot pepper (not like cayenne pepper or chilli – WOW!) Paprika is mild and flavoursome, almost a sweet addition and will alter the colour of the sauce more than the spiciness of it.  Give the paprika jar a bit of a stir with a skewer first, as if has been stored it will probably have settled and be a bit difficult to get out of the container.
  • Put in about a levelled out teaspoonful, mix thoroughly and then taste. Use more if you would like.  It does need to give a kick, but not a blow to the head!
  • Season as you consider necessary, just leaving the sauce needing a tiny bit more salt for your taste – as when it is served, the first thing some people do is to add salt & pepper before they taste it! Add further paprika until the ‘weight’ of the sauce is about right.  By ‘weight’ I mean the effectiveness of the sauce to add to the flavour of the meat/general meal.
  • Please don’t put the spoon you’ve used to taste the sauce back into the sauce, use a clean one. Hygiene rules!
  • Ok now, this is where you’ll have to be brave. If the sauce is to accompany duck, pigeon or any other gamy, strongly flavoured meat, you’ll require a bit of a fruit bite.  Redcurrant jelly is a favourite for this and is very safe.  Blackcurrant jam is also a notable alternative.  A couple of tablespoons of redcurrant jelly really makes a sauce pop up like a jack-in-the-box!  It’s a lovely addition to all sorts of gamey foods, but it’s also really nice with good quality sausages.  Sausage & mash (see Cheap’n’cheerful) with Red’n’redcurrant sauce (what we can call this sauce with the addition of redcurrant jelly) is just lovely.
  • Just simmer this sauce on the lowest heat possible, uncovered, so that the flavours mingle & enhance. Taste it as much as you like but leave enough in the pan for the original purpose – the meal that you are cooking. (There is a danger of not leaving enough in the pan because you’ll like it so much!).
  • When it is served, just spoon all of the onions, peppers & liquid over the meat.   If there is any over, you made too much.  Save it for next time.

Mary Rose Sauce:

Mary Rose Sauce: 

This is a version of the seafood sauce for things like prawn cocktail – but it’s not only for prawn cocktail…..

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      0 mins.

Course:        Sauce

Serves:

Rating:         2: Easy

Find:

  • 4 dollops of mayonnaise
  • 1 dollop of tomato ketchup
  • Half a dollop of double cream
  • Grated zest of a lemon
  • The juice of a lemon
  • Optional – A splash or two of Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional – a splash of brandy.
  • STOP PRESS! A tiny amount of Tabasco, Worcester Sauce and horseradish really gives the sauce a kick that is so needed to make it interesting; see the post STOP PRESS!

Method:

Using the proportions of the above, rather than the actual quantities (after all, how big is half a dollop……. about as big as half a hole?), make up your sauce to your taste.