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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Endless Riffability Defines This Seafood Stew

When I’m cooking at home, I almost never use a recipe since I don’t have one handy. I cook a lot by feel, just as I comfortably noodle on the piano without a printed music in front of me. But, of course, practise is required before you can improvise effectively.

This menu includes items that may be cooked in this manner, while no recipes are provided. Many home chefs are already accustomed with the idea of altering recipes or utilising them as a starting point for their own creations. However, there are situations when they are just not required. You can get there by relying on your memory and paying great attention to the characteristics of the elements.

Take, for example, this fennel and radicchio salad with arugula. It’s a meal that’s simple to play around with. Consider the following scenario: you’ve purchased two excellent fennel bulbs from the market, as well as a beautiful head of radicchio. Consider all of the options.

Simply sprinkling the sliced fennel with salt and pepper, adding some grated garlic and delicious olive oil, then tossing with ripped radicchio to coat is all that is required for this easy dish. (Alternatively, curly endive or speckly Castelfranco might be substituted with the radicchio.) In order to make a more complex version, you could start by preparing a zesty vinaigrette with lemon juice, garlic, and oil, then adding chopped anchovies (a small amount or a lot) and perhaps a dab or two of Dijon mustard, because the combination of sweet fennel and bitter radicchio works well with a punchy dressing.

A traditional fish stew, such as that served in the South of France, is another example of a meal with which you may be creative. It makes no difference what kind of seafood is available since the procedure is the same: Before adding the saffron, garlic, thyme, a dash of tomato, and a little speck of spicy pepper, the onion is cooked in olive oil until it is translucent. After that, everything blossoms together, concentrating the tastes. After that, fish stock or water is added to create a broth, which is then well-seasoned. Ideally, it should be bright and full-flavored before any fish or shellfish is added to it. Using clams and mussels, for example, adds a depth of brininess to the dish. A generous amount of sliced Yukon Gold potatoes gives the stew a considerable texture and flavour (and stretches it, if you are low on fish and have extra mouths to feed). The potatoes also absorb a lot of flavour, to the point that I’d hazard to suggest you could make this dish without the fish and call it a potato stew instead.

A granita is a delicious and refreshing dessert that may be made with any kind of fruit juice you like as a last meal or as a refreshing dessert. This recipe calls for ruby red grapefruit juice and pulp, which is a seasonally suitable choice, however any citrus fruit might be used in place of the ruby red grapefruit. Before adding sugar, taste the juice to see whether you need more or less than you think you need. Making the granita is enjoyable, and when served in glasses, it seems to be an exquisite take on the classic ice cream treat. I prefer to finish it with a few drops of orange blossom water or a splash of Champagne, depending on the occasion.

If you know where you’re going and how to prepare these foods, the recipes may not be necessary.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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