Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Light Suppers

Sat 17 and Sun 18 May 2008

I've already made a brief mention of how we dealt with our Oakwood Farmers' Market purchases ... but since they were such light and easy meals, I thought I'd give them a little more air time.

Firstly, the asparagus. These were such hefty spears, that I was tempted to par-steam them before grilling them. I'm a big fan of lightly steamed asparagus, and Andy's a huge fan of grilling the stuff. Steaming is probably quicker, but a little more hassle, and while the spears will come out looking stunningly green, they won't have the attractive charred marks from the griddle pan.

Before getting your asparagus anywhere near the pan, get it good and hot and lightly grease it with either vegetable oil or light olive oil. If you've rinsed the spears, ensure they're dry: if they're not, as soon as they hit the pan you'll be attacked by tiny droplet of flying hot fat! Turn the spears after a minute or so, and keep on doing this until they're done. The spears are done when you can skewer the bottom end with a fork, but there's still some juicy resistance.

While the spears are grilling, you'll have plenty of time to melt some unsalted butter. When you're ready to serve, top the spears with the melted butter and a squeeze of lemon, and make sure you pass the salt and pepper, as well as some crusty bread to mop up the left over butter. Delicious! In our case, a quick supper, but would serve brilliantly as an easy starter at either lunch or dinner.

The fish received a similarly simple treatment. Andy made a very simple salad: lettuce, tomato and cucumber, and also bought some arancini from Jamon on Otley Road. While the arancini were warming in the oven I melted some unsalted butter and layered in some of the huge sage leaves, all left whole.

I was amazed that the plaice had pure white skin on one fillet (obviously the 'sand-side') while the upper side was a murky green decorated with orange dots ... I'd never thought about that before. General fish-amazement over and done with, the plaice went into a pan of hot melted butter, skin side down. Only the very middle of the fillet is fat, so I left it for long enough so that the skin could hold together. Then I turned over the fish and about a minute later, it was ready to serve. While all of this was happening, the sage leaves were busy crisping up and the butter was turning brown.

Fish on plate, sage leaves arranged decoratively, and then topped with the brown butter. Probably the most simple sauce, ever!

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Blogger Andrew said...

asparagus - its that time of year againt, aint it! Last night steamed with a little pecorino and some hollandaise.

It did NOT go with an oaked Chard I opened (the only white in the house) but never mind.

6:00 am  
Blogger Alex said...

Mmmm, hollandaise ... I think that might be on the cards for next time. We weren't very adventurous on the wine front - a Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc).

11:24 am  

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