Echo Of Le Dome

June 16th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Le Dome, the vintage restaurant in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, serves the best sole dish in the world. It is a Dover Sole, gently sautéed in butter. Deftly filleted by a professional waitperson, doused with a butter/lemon sauce. Accompanied by a mashed potato pancake. The cost? Astronomical. Here on Prince Edward Island, the lovely ladies of By the Bay Fish Mart, supply HG/BSK with fresh Atlantic sole. No, the fish is not Dover Sole. But, thick and firm fillets with a nice taste of the sea. (The Pacific sole fillets HG/BSK buy at Whole Foods when residing in New Mexico, are too thin and have a tendency to disintegrate when steamed or sautéed). Last night, BSK pan steamed a pound of BTB sole, using a technique learned from chef/daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko (Visit her at the Oni Sauce stand at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg for superb Japanese fried chicken, beef tataki and other good things). BSK steamed the sole on a bed of bok choy, spinach, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Served it with bowls of rice. Wonderful. Next week, HG will give the sole the meuniere treatment. HG will dust the sole with flour. Quick saute the fish in canola oil and butter. Serve it with a sauce of melted butter, capers, lemon juice. Plate it with a boiled PEI potato. A faint echo of Le Dome at a modest price.


Treats From The Far East

July 31st, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

A pleasing collaboration last night by HG and Exquisite Maiko. Well, not exactly an equal collaboration since EM did most of the work and Lesley R. added to the effort. HG’s major contribution was a rich and spicy dish of Japanese eggplant. It started by HG peeling five small eggplants. Tactfully, EM took over and peeled the eggplants with precision. Better than HG’s clumsy work. The peeled eggplants were cut into cubes and browned in Canola oil. Removed from the pan and replaced with chopped garlic and thinly sliced onion (Lesley R. did this prep work. Once more, HG bypassed tedious labor saving himself to soar in the lofty climes of creativity). When the onion/garlic mix cooked down sufficiently, HG returned the eggplant to the pan and added judicious amounts of Chinese oyster sauce and fiery chile garlic sauce; soy sauce, sugar and water. Simmered for ten minutes and then received a gilding of sesame oil and smoked black pepper. Powerful flavors. Lots of leftover rice in the refrigerator. EM gently fried it with eggs, garlic, shitake mushrooms and carrot slivers. The parade dish was EM’s sole. This is the way EM brings the fish to heavenly heights. First, EM fries thin slices of garlic and Japanese seaweed in vegetable oil. The crisp brown chips of garlic and seaweed shreds are removed (They will reappear to top the cooked fish). EM gives the sole filets a quick sauté in the flavored oil. Then HG adds sake to the pan, covers it and allows the fish to steam to tender perfection. This is all done with EM’s characteristic swift dexterity. The happy diners were presented with a lovely platter of two and a half pounds of sole lightly dotted with the garlic chips and seaweed. Ample bowls of fried rice and spicy eggplant. Plus, baby spinach steamed by EM, Green salad followed. A perfect summer meal.


Sole a La Exquisite Maiko

July 30th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has enjoyed some of the world’s great fish dishes. Sole swimming in fragrant butter at Le Dome in Paris. Perfect grilled Dover sole at J.Sheekey in London. Crisp sauteed Long Island flounder at Esca in New York. Shad and shad roe at two New York landmarks of yesteryear–Christ Cella and Gage & Tollner. Sublime striped bass at the greatest of all seafood restaurants–New York’s Le Bernardin. As good or better than any of these dishes is the sole prepared by HG’s Japanese daughter-in-law, Exquisite Maiko, the talented chef/caterer. HG has enjoyed this EM creation with fish purchased from Whole Foods (Santa Fe); Fairway (Brooklyn) and By The Bay Fish Mart (Prince Edward Island). All splendid but the PEI version is the best since the fish is just hours out of the sea. Here’s how EM does it. First, garlic slices and then shredded, preserved kombu are gently browned to a crisp in canola oil and drained on a paper towel. EM then places the sole in the remaining oil — still fragrant from the garlic and seaweed. Adds sake. Covers the pan and steams over a medium/low flame. When done, the sole is placed on a warmed platter. EM adds soy sauce to the pan with the oil and sake mix. Swirled and reduced slightly, this sauce is poured over the sole. The final touch is topping the dish with the garlic chips and crisped seaweed. As interpreted by EM, this is Japanese cooking at its best. Light. Fragrant. Flavorful. HG/BSK will try to replicate this dish in EM’s absence. Are sure it will be tasty but will lack that special Maiko magic.


Searching For Sole

May 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG loves sole. But, like most romantics, HG is often disappointed. The filets at Whole Foods are usually cut too thin to be cooked. They lose firmness and turn to mush. However, HG is nothing if not persistent. Spotted some very fresh looking sole at Whole Foods a day ago. Filets looked reasonably thick. Had earnest discussion with young woman behind fish counter. Pick me a pound of the thickest, said HG (Firmly but courteously). Efficient woman held each filet up for HG’s approval. Bought six beauties. They were dusted with flour and sauteed in very hot grapeseed oil. No more than a minute or so a side. Served with cold soba noodles flavored with Vietnamese fish sauce, stir fried bok choy (with a dab of oyster sauce), bean sprouts (sesame oil and soy sauce). Cooked sole in two batches. Went straight from pan to plate. Very good. Of course, it wasn’t Dover Sole, that princely and pricey fish served at J. Sheekey and other great London seafood restaurants. The Dover Sole at Le Dome in Paris swims in lemony butter and is served with delectable potato puffs. Priced for Russian oligarchs. HG is watching out for Petrale Sole, that excellent fish from California’s Pacific waters. It appears sporadically at Whole Foods. Paragons of Petrale are served at the venerable Tadich Grill in San Francisco.

Summertime Maiko Magic

August 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s daughter-in-law, Exquisite Maiko, made summertime magic last night. Here were the dishes: Cucumber Salad (Maiko thinly sliced some seedless cucumbers. Salted them for 1/2 hour and then squeezed out all water. Marinated them briefly in vinegar and sugar and served them with a dressing of sesame oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Decorated with halved cherry tomatoes).

Chirashi Sushi (Vinegared Sushi Rice with nori, Japanese preserved vegetables and strips of egg crepe).

A Japanese Take on Gambas al Ajillo (Maiko did quick stir fry of tiger shrimp and garlic and finished it with a light dusting of Spanish smoked paprika and soy sauce. It’s all in the timing Maiko shrimp are juicy and bursting with flavor.).

Sauteed Sole with Kombu and Garlic Chips (Maiko slow cooks thin slices of garlic in vegetable oil. The key is slow cooking. Drains the brown chips on a paper towel. Maiko dusts sole fillets in salt and black pepper. Adds some soy sauce. Sautees gently. Tops with garlic chips and crisp pieces of kombu).

Don’t you wish you were dining Chez HG, BSK, SJ and Exquisite Maiko last night? Grandson Haru liked it as well.

More Soulful (BSK) Sole

July 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Here’s BSK’s new way of doing sole. As you discerning folk know, sole has a tendency to fall apart. HG typically solves this by dusting fillets in flour or Zatarain’s Fish Fry and giving them a quick (very quick) saute. Now BSK has come up with a method that is healthy, tasty and— best of all—preserves the integrity of sole.

BSK heats a bit of olive oil in a wok. Adds garlic, garlic scapes and a big bunch of fresh, wet spinach leaves (the spinach has to be wet so that it releases a lot of steam). Cooks until the spinach softens. BSK then adds a pound of sole fillets, resting them on top of the leaves. Covers the wok and lets the sole steam until ready — be careful as these fillets cook fast. BSK sprinkles the fish with some sesame oil, Thai fish sauce, a few hot pepper flakes. She accompanies the whole thing with a bowl of rice or cold soba noodles and wasabi.

Pass the chilled sake and India Pale Ale, please.

Souful Sole

July 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG and BSK are camping out at a very kind neighbor’s guest house while the interior of HG and BSK’s fire damaged ocean front home is being restored. Last night dinner was perfect. Radio was tuned to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting–the up North version of NPR). The usual civilized, thoughtful commentary. This time it was an irreverent and informed program on Canada and religion. HG sipped gin and Campari while BSK has some summer Rose’. A bit of Nova Scotia smoked salmon and sliced, sweet onion. BSK did a stir fry of local asparagus, garlic and red pepper flakes. Topped it with a pound of thick, flavorful sauteed sole fillets. Dessert was brie with Theresa of PEI’s Pumpkin and Apricot Chutney. Theresa is one of the many artisans on the Island turning out small batches of extraordinary food. As the cliche would have it, her Chow Chow is to die for.

More Fast Fish

March 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Fresh Sole is usually available at your local fish monger or supermarket. These are very thin fillets and can easily fall apart in the cooking. Here’s what HG does with this very fragile fish: Start by asking your fish purveyor to give you the fattest fillets. Like his mother, HG is demanding when purchasing food. HG rejects the skinnies. Once you have the pudgiest Sole in your hands, dust the fish with some flour (or my favorite Zattarain’s Fish Fry). Heat safflower oil or grapeseed oil until quite hot. Put a serving platter to warm in the oven. Saute the fish very quickly. Maybe 40 seconds per side. Don’t worry about them being under-done. You’ll pop the fillets into the serving platter and they’ll finish cooking in the slightly warm oven. You might want to put some paper towel on the platter to drain any excess oil.

HG likes to serve this Sole with Japanese Soba (buckwheat) noodles. The noodles cook rapidly, typically in five or six minutes. When done, put them in a colander and give them a rinse in cold water. These noodles are best at room temperature or cold. Put them in a bowl. Add sesame oil and a squirt of sriracha. Serve alongside your Sole with a mache salad and you’ve got yourself a nutritious, low calorie meal.

Like his mother, HG worries about your health.

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