Continuing from the last post lets introduce 3 recipes from adventures in my kitchen that will brighten up any day or evening light. Citrus- the last post was originally only about the color orange but, how can you think of that color without thinking about the bulbuous, plump and fragrant fruits? Also included are 2 savory recipes.
Heres an introduction to a few ingredients; Baccalla, Mandarinquats, and Limequats, some otherworldly items that some of you might not have seen or even heard of before. Baccala is a magnificent piece of fileted cod that is heavily salted and preserved fully dried. It can be quite smelly however when soaked, the flavor is delicate and the flesh quite hearty. During the soaking process I completely submerge the fish in water and periodically change the water, and surprisingly the fishy aroma is close to nonexistent.
The mandarinquat is a hybrid of a mandarin and a kumquat and yes you can eat these whole! They look like a rotund little gourd, their skins resembling a satsuma and flavor resembling the kumquat and mandarin. The limequat is another miracle. It is a wonderous little yellow thin skinned kumquat shaped hybrid of a lime and a kumquat, it’s tart sweet with a hint of lime. Both crossbreeds have a super sour flesh, a sweetly lined and fragrant shell, and both are edible whole.
As a little girl my mother would saute up tomatoes, garlic and onions – simple, and delicious- sweet sugar and tangy vinegar tingled my nostrils as they simmered together. I remember whole fish coming out of the oven – still steaming with their skins still intact, the crispy brown and golden skin just looked so magical. Still hot, she then spooned this sauce over the fish. This sauce- this delicious well balanced sauce has wonderful layers of sweet and sour – the savory aromas that filled the air are still so hypnotizing. Here is my rendition of it. This dish translates to sweet and sour salt cod.
Sweet and sour doesn’t sound as appealing, but when I add a bit of european flair to the name it somewhat gives it more elegance. In my research I also found that this recipe is very similar to other Roman recipes which also include the sweet and sour elements.
And Salt cod – my beloved baccala- if you can get ahold of this pantry item be sure to adore it as much as I do. A friend of mine named Morgan Scholfield made the best croquettes while I was in New York. They were rich and creamy and salty -an addictive quality with its crisp fried exterior and ultra creamy interior. I am still salivating. Baccala is great when certain fresh white fleshed fish would not fare well to this type of stew, because of the cooking time.
Baccala in Agrodolce1/3 lb. Baccala (Salt Cod) soaked and rinsed about 2+ days 1 Medium Onion – Cut into Coins about 1/4 inch think 2 C. Yukon Gold Potatoes or German Butterball – Unevenly cut into large chunks about the same size as the Salt cod. (*as the potatoes break down in the sauce it is important that they are irregularly cut enough to cream the sauce yet some remaining intact.) 2 C. Diced Tomatoes 2 T. Garlic – Sliced 1 C. Orange Juice 1/8 C. Sugar 1/4 C. White Wine 1/4 C. Red Wine or Champagne Vinegar 2 T. Hungarian Paprika 1 T. Pimente D’espelette Salt Pepper *May I highly suggest a enameled cast iron pot for this dish or a beautiful earthenware pot because the dish needs to go from stove top to oven. Sweat onions and garlic with both spices, and 1 tsp. salt- sweat till onions are soft 8 minutes-add sugar. Add Potatoes, toss well. Add 1/2 the white wine, orange juice and vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375º. Cut baccala into 1 inch cubes. Lightly dredge your baccala in flour. Bring separate pan to temp and add olive oil- lightly brown. Add baccala to pot of simmering sauce. – DE-glaze pan with the rest of the white wine and add to pot. Season to taste. Simmer in oven covered for an additional 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and eat with crusty bread.
Fennel and Parsley Salad w/ Limequats and Red Onions.2 C. Shaved Fennel 1 C. Flat Leaf Parsley- picked- leaves and very little stem. 1 C. Red Onion – Thinly sliced 1/2 C. Limequats -de-seeded Sliced in coins – Scant 1/4 C. Champagne Vinegar Salt Olive Oil – Fresh pressed is best for this recipe Thinly slice and de-seed your Limequats. Thinly slice the red onion. Place ingredients into a bowl. Add Salt to taste, Champagne vinegar and 2 T. of Olive Oil. Add shaved fennel coat well and toss with more olive oil about 1/4 C. Add Parsley and toss. Goes well with EVERYTHING – would pair well with fresh mozzarella or fresh ricotta as well as most meats.
Mandarinquat Marmalade3 C. Mandarinquats – de-seeded, and sliced into thin coins 2 C. Cane Sugar 2 C. Water Combine water and Sugar till syrup dissolves. Place fruit into syrup and bring to boil reduce heat. Let sit overnight to cool. Cook – simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes occasionally stirring to make sure that the fruit does not stick at the bottom. Reduce and watch carefully. You can put a few spoons in the freezer to test if the batch will gel, but I usually eyeball my jams and make sure that the consistency is to a very well at a half reduced stage. There is so much pectin in the citrus that natural reduction will ensure a properly thick jam. Of course you can also put a spoon in the freezer and test if the gelling of your marmalade or jam is to your liking. For my home recipe I introduced 2 blood-red oranges sliced thinly which yielded me about 1.5 cups to my 2 Cups of Limequats. The result was beautiful the saturated red and orange were beautiful as the taste was explosive and bright, the flesh of the blood orange worked really well with the delicate mandarinquat. To keep he integrity and freshness of the fruit I do not fuss much with my jams and preserves.