Happy New Year!
I spent the days leading up to 2013 devising recipes and preparing a shot list for the next couple of months. When it comes to the blog, I rarely plan what I’m going to prepare, leaving it up to inspiration to decide what to post about. Now that I’ve been blogging close to four years, I find that this has left me with a recipe bank that is a bit unbalanced. I’ve been taking a look at how I can fill the gaps out for a repertoire that reflects my tastes but is more varied. I’ve bookmarked some dishes to try in my favourite cooking magazines and am hard at work developing some of my own simple yet flavourful recipes.
I’m kicking off the new year with a recipe for crostini smeared with Boursin cheese spread and topped with prawn, smoked salmon, capers, and a sprinkling of chives. Smoked salmon and chives are not a unique combination; rather, it’s the cheese that gives the crostini a real kick. If you are unfamiliar with Boursin, it is a soft, spreadable cheese from France, rich with garlic and herbs, and is one of my all-time favourites. It can be found in practically any supermarket and places like Costco.
Crostini with Prawn, Smoked Salmon, Boursin Cheese, Capers and Chives
baguette, sliced diagonally into pieces
garlic and fine herb Boursin cheese
cooked prawns, sliced in half lengthwise, tail on
red onion, sliced very thinly
freshly ground pepper
Toast baguette slices until lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before spreading liberally with the cheese. Press slices of red onion into the cheese and top with smoked salmon and prawn. Garnish with capers and chopped chives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
The other recipe I have for you today is for Bouillabaisse with Lemon Pepper Rouille and Garlic Toasts, the former from the October 2012 issue of Bon Appetit. The recipe for a traditional rouille was included alongside the bouillabaisse; however, it contained roasted red pepper which I’m not a huge fan off, so I am presenting a variation using lemon zest and Salish Sea Salt, which I discovered at a craft fair when I was visiting my brother on Vancouver Island. I love a good quality salt, and this salt is harvested locally and sustainably, and sold in small batches. I bought the smashed peppercorn but they offer a variety of flavours. (By the way, I’m not being paid to promote them, but from time to time I like to tell readers about ingredients I really like; this is one of them.)
Bouillabaisse with Lemon Pepper Rouille and Garlic Toasts
for the bouillabaisse broth:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced (about 2 cups)
1 large red tomato, peeled, seeded, diced (about 1 cup)
12 sprigs thyme, tied in a bundle
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups fish stock or low sodium chicken broth
for the rouille:
1 large egg yolk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
/1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavoured liquer
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1) For the broth, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and light golden brown, about ten minutes.
2) Add leeks, tomato, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, and saffron and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and gently simmer for 15 minutes.
3) Season broth to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. DO AHEAD: Broth can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool slightly; chill, uncovered, until cold. Cover; keep chilled until needed.
To assemble the bouillabaisse, place oil in pot large enough to hold broth and mussels; heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until sizzling but not brown, 10-15 seconds. Add mussels, increase heat to high, and stir until evenly coated. Add Pernod; cover pot.
Steam mussels, stirring once or twice, until they open, 7-10 minutes, depending on size of pot; discard any mussels that do not open. Stir in parsley and hot bouillabaisse broth (reheat prior to this step if made ahead). Serve with rouille and garlic toast; the rouille can be added to broth and spread on toast.
For garlic toasts, toast slices of French baguette drizzled with olive oil; rub with a large clove of garlic.