Lobster, Mushrooms, Corn – Haddock, Beans, Beurre Blanc

I knew that I was going to cook a dish with lobster and some fish. Possibly with some sort of corn. That’s about it. See, my neighborhood grocery store was having a massive sale on live lobsters and had an excellent selection of fresh fish. I noticed the Haddock right away, for a very good price as well. Then we went and saw Julie & Julia and I knew that some sort of a classic French preparation will be used for the fish. So, the one dish, morphed into two.

I partially “steamed” two lobsters following Thomas Keller’s method (put in a pot, pour boiling water on them, let them sit for 5 minutes and your done). This method makes the lobters very easy to peel but leaves the meat pretty much raw for further cooking. Also following Thomas Keller’s method, sort of (he actually filles an Immersion Circulator’s tub with melted butter!), I cooked the lobster tails and claws sous vide in a bag with butter at 59.5 C for about 20 minutes. The lobsters were served on top of diced sauteed mushrooms. Corn and lobsters are a perfect match. So, I made a sauce with corn juice and little else. I added a squeeze of lime juice, a tablespoon of cream and a little Lecithin to the sauce to give it a good emulsified texture.

For the classic French part of the dinner, I simply dusted the haddock with Wondra flour and pan fried it in butter. Served this on top of green beans tossed with almonds, shallots and some butter. The perfect sauce for this was straight from Julia Child’s seminal book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking“. A perfect Beurre Blanc. That wonderful creamy butter sauce that we hardly see anymore. To make it, a mixture of white wine vinegar, shallots and vermouth is reduced to a couple of tablespoons. Then cool butter is whisked in gradually. You can leave the shallots in there, but I strained it and threw the shallots into the green beans. The sauce was creamy (but had no cream), tart and oh so buttery. Absolute heaven. I did screw up when plating though. I should’ve put the sauces on the plate first before the mushrooms/beans as opposed to saucing all the way at the end. That would’ve made for a better presentation.


Sous Vide Salmon, Brown Rice Risotto and Parsley Sauce

Let me preface this post by admitting my mistake. I overcooked the salmon. Sous Vide fish is usually cooked around 120F and in the case of oily fish it can be even cooked at a lower temperature for a semi-raw effect. For some reason I got my temps confused and cooked this nice piece of fish at 130F. Still it was very well cooked and moist, but it could’ve been better.

I wanted to cook brown rice with it. The “risotto” idea was an afterthought. I had stirred in some chopped chives and a few spoons of olive oil in the finished rice and it looked so nice and creamy. It tasted a bit salty though. In comes the yogurt I had in the fridge. A few tablespoons not only made it delicious, they also made it seem very much like a rich risotto.

The sauce is made from blanched parsley that was pureed with a bit of water, lime juice and thickened with Ultratex-3. That is a hydrocolloid that makes thick luscious mixtures from a thin sauce without any heat and with no additional taste or fat. Fat can mask the delicate and fresh taste of parsley and heating this sauce would have ruined the green color.

This picture above is Diana’s plate. She prefers her proteins, especially fish, nicely browned. So, I coated her fillet piece with a bit of seasoning and very fine bread crumbs before searing for a few seconds. I served mine as is.


Basque Style Halibut with Clams in Salsa Verde – “Merluza” con Almejas en Salsa Verde

Merluzza en salsa verde is a traditional Spanish dish from the Basque region it consists of thick chunks of a fish called Merluzza, Hake in English, gently seared and simmered in a mixture of olive oil (lots of it), garlic (lots of that too) and parsley (yeap, also a healthy dose). It is also traditional to add some clams into the mix towards the end. The clams open up and release more of their aromatic liquor into the cazuela

Speaking of a cooking vessel for this dish, a Spanish cazuela is traditional. The one I have is actually made in Portugal and bought at Sur La Table. It is basically a clay deep dish not too different from a Terracotta dish. The dish is glazed on the inside only and cooks the fish evenly and gently so the firm white flesh flakes but is still very juicy and luscious. My dish looks very similar to this one in shape and size (about 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep)


The recipe I used comes from Anya Von Bremzen’s fantastic “The New Spanish Table”. I fell in love with Spanish culture and it’s food after a short visit to Barcelona-Roses in 2005 to dine at elbulli, and this book with it’s lovely pictures, fantastic collection of recipes and very well written prose is a gem that always takes me back to the week we spent in Catalonia.

In my recipe I used the much easier to find and equally good Halibut. Also the day I shopped for it, the Halibut was so pearly white and fresh, it would have been a crime to pass it and use anything else. However, any firm fleshed white fish fillet, preferably on the thick side (at least 0.5 inch/1.5cm thick) should work.

Merluzza con Almejas en Salsa Verde

(adapted from The New Spanish Table by Anya Von Bremzen)

  • 4 6-8 oz white fish fillets, at least ½ inch thick, 1 inch is even better                (Halibut, cod, hake or mahi mahi are good options)

  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp Flour, plus extra for dusting the fish

  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ Cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/4 Cup white wine or vermouth

  • 1 Cup fish stock, chicken stock or water

  • 12 -14 manila clams, in their shell

  • 1/2 Cup frozen green peas, thawed


– Pour the olive oil into the cazuela or pot and start heating it gently.

– Season the fish with salt and pepper, dust with a little flour.

– When the oil is hot, pan fry the fish for about five minutes on each side or till golden brown.  Remove the fish to a plate and keep warm.

– Add the garlic and most of the parsley to the cazuela (reserve about 2 Tbsp of parsley for later). Cook till nice and fragrant, but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook for about a minute, make sure there are no lumps. Now add the wine and stock and bring everything to a gentle simmer.

– Place the fish and any of their juices back in the cazuela, roll them around to get them coated with the juices. Add the clams and peas and cover the cazuela and let everything simmer till the fish flakes and the clams are open. Remove from heat sprinkle with the reserved parsley and serve with bread or any simple potato dish to soak up the lovely juices.