Jul
05
2011
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What goes best with crab?

What goes best with crab? Here is the answer.

Yesterday while out jogging in the forest, I noticed the first golden chantarelle of the season. As you know from my other writings, this is indeed a glorious moment: the first glimpse of those golden nuggets plugged into the green, mossy forest bed without anyone else having yet discovered them (if they had discovered them, they would be gone here in Sweden!).

The family didn’t believe me when I returned home, so I was forced to drag them all out to the very same spot with my mushroom-picking basket, to show them that I was not hallucinating.

I had planned to make crab cakes for dinner, in anticipation of the shellfish season later in the summer. It occurred to me that the mild flavor of chantarelle might fit just perfectly with the delicate flavor of crab. And what a combination it was. So delicious with a bit of sour cream dolloped on top and some new potatoes on the side. Does it get better than this? I am not sure.

Use my usual recipe suggestion for preparing and sautéing wild mushrooms and keep them warm in the oven while you prepare the following recipe for crab cakes.

Crab Cakes with Summer Chantarelle
Serves 4

340 grams or 12 ounces of crab meat
4 pieces white bread, crusts removed and broken into crumbs
2 eggs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cm or 0.8 inches ginger, grated
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for sautéing

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl until a batter forms. Form the batter into cakes that fit into the palm of your hand.  Warm oil in a pan over medium heat. Place the crab cakes in the pan and sauté for 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Place on a warmed serving dish and scatter the chantarelle on top. Serve with new potatoes and soured cream flavored with a herb such as chive or parseley.

Written by Admin in: Chantarelle,Crab,Mushrooms,Shellfish | Tags: ,
Jul
05
2011
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New discoveries with rhubarb

Full of new potential

Rhubarb season is past, but I cannot resist sharing with you a couple of excellent discoveries I made with rhubarb for a couple of early summer parties. You might still be in the mood for rhubarb, with its wonderful, tangy flavor, offering so much possibility but most often relegated to that good, but a little repetitive rhubarb crumble.

A good cheeseboard is always in need of a tangy, acidic fruit contrast. For a generous cheeseboard I laid out for an early evening cocktail party (in an outrageously beautiful setting – a green clearing on a cliff overlooking a lake), I offered a large, open jar of rhubarb and apple chutney. No one knew what it was but courageously dove in anyway and spooned dollops onto the top of the chunks of cheese on crisp bread. Rhubarb seemed logical to me with cheese and the apple was a little additive to reduce the sting of the rhubarb and make the chutney a bit smoother in texture – more comfortable, perhaps? My very own harvested honey made all of the difference – raw honey rather than sugar really makes this topping into the delight that it is.

Rhubarb Apple Chutney

Fistful of rhubarb, washed, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 medium-sweet, crisp apples, washed, peeled and chopped into large chunks
Juice of half a lemon
1.5 dl or 2/3 cup raw honey
4 tbsps water

Place all ingredients in a non-metallic pan (important to cook rhubarb safely in – read more!). Allow to cook for a half an hour over low heat, or until the rhubarb is soft enough for the blender. Place the mixture in a food processor and mix until smooth. Spoon into a clean jar and seal. Serve on a cheeseboard with celery that can also be dipped into this divine mix.

At one of my early summer dinner events, a number of the guests were vegetarians, and it struck me that making a curry with lots of wonderful fruits and nuts to scatter on top would be just the thing. The idea of making a curry with rhubarb as a base wouldn’t leave me and so I decided to make my guests guinea pigs and try it out. The outcome was striking – not sure I’ve ever enjoyed curry as much as I enjoyed this one.

Rhubarb Curry
Serves 4

Fistful of rhubarb, washed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
4 medium-sweet apples, washed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 stalks of celery, washed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 medium white onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 cm or 1-1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsps curry powder
6 tbsps olive oil
1/2 liter or 1/2 quart vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 tbsps raw honey

Sauté the onions, crushed garlic, grated ginger and curry for 2 minutes. Add the celery and the rhubarb and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Add the apples and pour over the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add raw honey and adjust seasoning. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Serve with bulgur, couscous or brown rice mixed with sunflower seeds. Provide a smorgasbord of condiments: banana sprinkled with lime, dessicated coconut, cashew nuts, slivered almonds and whatever else you can think of that might up the flavor and texture experience!

 

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