RED WINE BRAISED LAMB SHANK with Semolina Cake

lambshank

RED WINE BRAISED LAMB SHANK with Semolina Cake

[Serving four]

4 braised lamb shanks and reduced lamb sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup of carrots, peeled and cut on the bias

½ cup of white pearl onions, peeled and blanched

½ cup of parsnip, peeled and small diced

½ cup of celery root, peeled and cut on the bias

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup onion, peeled and minced

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 cups of water

3/4 cup of Semolina flour

¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary

24 picked rosemary leaves

Salt and pepper

Every year in the spring the lamb in northern Iceland are moved to the mountain plains in order to graze on the wild herbs and greens. In September the lamb is herded and brought back down to the plains for butchering. The vegetation of the highland terrain gives the meat a strong and wild flavor.

To prepare the vegetable: Using 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté the carrots in a medium sauté pan on medium heat. Once the carrots are cooked half way add the pearl onions, parsnip, and celery root. Cook the vegetables until they are golden brown. In another pot combine the reduced lamb sauce and the sautéed vegetables, season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the Semolina cakes: In a medium size pot, over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once they are soft add the milk and water. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper until the mixture is heavily seasoned. While whisking, slowly pour in the semolina flour until the mixture is completely incorporated. Keep whisking for 3-5 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese, and rosemary. Remove the pan from the heat and using a wooden spoon, fold in the egg yolk until it is incorporated. Evenly pour out on to a parchment paper lined tray and refrigerate. Once it is completely chilled cut out four circles. Sauté the cakes in a nonstick pan until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides. Reserve warm until ready to serve.

Assembly: Place the crispy semolina cake in the middle of the plate. Lean the braised lamb shank on the semolina cake. Spoon the sautéed vegetables and sauce around and on top of the lamb. Garnish with picked rosemary leaves.

CREAMED SEA URCHIN SOUP with Braised Fennel

urchin

CREAMED SEA URCHIN SOUP with Braised Fennel

[Serving four]

4 sea urchins, (yielding approximately 20 sacs of roe)

2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and finely small diced, (save the tops for garnish)

1 onion, peeled and finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 table spoons butter

¼ cup Pernod

¼ cup dry white wine

½ liter fish stock 

½ liter heavy cream

Salt and pepper

2 table spoon olive oil

These dangerous looking spiked shells encase plump, meaty sacs of orange roe that when combined with the fennel and cream make a delicious soup.

For the soup: remove the sea urchin roe and rinse it gently in water. In a soup pot gently cook the onions, garlic and half of the fennel with 2 tablespoons butter. Cook until they are soft, then deglaze the pot with the Pernod and reduce by half. Add the wine and reduce by half. Next add the fish stock and heavy cream and reduce by half. Using a hand blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency. Pass through a chinois into another soup pot. Add half of the raw sea urchin roe to the soup and puree again. Season with salt and pepper. Froth the soup again before serving.

Place the diced fennel and olive oil in a small pot on low heat. Slowly cook the fennel until a golden color is achieved. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a mound of warm braised fennel in the middle of a soup bowl. Next, pour the freshly frothed sea urchin soup around the fennel. Place the remaining sea urchin on top of the fennel and garnish with the fennel fronds.

STEAMED SOLE with Sole and Shrimp Soufflé

sole

STEAMED SOLE with Sole and Shrimp Soufflé

[Serving four]

12 small fillets of sole

12 chives

2.1 pt fish stock 

3.5 oz butter, cold

2 cups dry white wine

½ lb of sole (use the ends and trimmings of the sole fillets)

½ lb Icelandic shrimps

2 tablespoons shallot onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons brandy

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ cup egg whites

¾ cup whipping cream

Salt and pepper

Sole is very abundant in Icelandic waters. For the most part it is eaten either boiled in water or sautéed in butter, but here is another idea off ering a bit of variety.

For the soufflé, first put the sole trimmings, the shrimps, the brandy and the tomato paste into a food processor and blend these ingredients until they have become a smooth paste. Now add the egg whites and blend on until they are thoroughly mixed in. When this is done, transfer the mixture into a bowl and chill it for about thirty minutes. When the chilling time is up, fold the chopped onions in with the mixture and then the cream until these are fully incorporated. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper and put it into a piping bag.

Now season the fillets of sole with salt and pepper. Roll up each fillet length-wise into a cylinder, leaving a hole about an inch in diameter in the center. Fill the hole with the soufflé, using the piping bag. Finally, tie a string of chive around the roll to hold it together. Finish rolling and filling all twelve rolls.

Now choose a very wide pot. Pour the white wine into the pot and then put a rack into it. The rack should be well above the surface of the white wine, and large enough to accommodate all the rolls. To get the required height for the rack, it can be put on top of, for example, some upended, small coffee cups. Place the rolls on the rack. They should not touch one another. The heat is turned on, the pot covered and the white wine let boil for about one minute and then the heat turned off. The pot is left on the stove for about five minutes, then the heat is turned on again and the wine let boil for about one minute more. After this the heat is again turned off, and the rolls left in the pot for about two minutes, after which time they should be ready.

For the sauce, put the fish stock in a saucepan and simmer it down to about half of its original volume. Cut the cold butter into pieces, and add them to the hot fish-stock reduction. While they melt, season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper and whisk it thoroughly with a hand blender until it becomes frothy. Finally, arrange the rolls on plates, three rolls to each of the four servings, and pour the sauce on top.

This is a course that is almost certain to please any lover of seafood. It has the fresh taste of fish and shrimps, enhanced by the fish-stock sauce.

LOBSTER CAKE with Lemon-Infused Cream Cheese (a la Emmanuel)

lobstercake

LOBSTER CAKE with Lemon-Infused Cream Cheese (a la Emmanuel)

[Six cakes]

1 lb lobster meat

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 teaspoons red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 teaspoons green scallions, chopped

½ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

2 egg yolks

½ cup plain bread crumbs

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup cream cheese

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Orange reduction 

Some purdie goosefoot.

For this recipe I am indebted to my good friend and coworker at the Sabor Restaurant in Grand Bahama, my Chef de Cuisine, Emmanuel Smith.

Place the meat of the lobster in a medium-sized saucepan along with one cup of orange juice, the cloves of garlic and the butter. Cover the saucepan with foil and cook the lobster for three minutes before removing the saucepan from the heat and leaving it to cool. Once cool, remove the lobster and chop it into medium-sized bits.

In a bowl make a paste of the garlic, red pepper, green scallions and the egg yolks. Mix the chopped lobster in with the paste along with the bread crumbs, which will firm up the mixture, and then spread it out onto a piece of plastic wrap forming a square about one half inch in thickness.

Put the cream cheese in a separate bowl along with the lemon juice and mix these ingredients completely until the mixture is thoroughly smooth. Put a string of the cream mixture on top of the layer of lobster mixture, reaching across it from side to side. Then wrap the lobster mixture around the string of cheese, covering it completely, so that only the ends of the string of cheese are visible. The plastic wrap is used to facilitate the roll-ing. Keep the roll in the plastic wrap, and, when ready, put it in a refrig-erator to cool and firm.The final stage in the preparation of this exquisite delicacy consists in cutting the cool and firm roll of lobster and cheese into bits about one and a half inches in length. If the roll has been cut while still in the wrap, remember to remove the plastic from each bit. The bits are put in an oven, cut end up, and baked for seven to ten minutes at about 400° F, or until they are softly golden in color.

For the arrangement on the plate, Chef de Cuisine Emmanuel recommends a pool of orange reduction. The baked lobster cake is placed in the middle of the pool and the arrangement decorated with some purdie goosefoot.

It was only around the middle of the last century that Icelanders came to appreciate lobster, but they are quick learners. I have tried Chef de Cuisine Emmanuel’s recipe for lobster cake on a few of my countrymen who have been guests at the Sabor Restaurant and I can truthfully say that they thought it marvelous – and then, why not you, too.

SAUTÉED WOLF FISH in Parma Ham and Spinach with Tomato and Scallion Risotto

 

wolffish

SAUTÉED WOLF FISH in Parma Ham and Spinach with Tomato and Scallion Risotto

[Serving four]

1.5 lb wolf fish fillet

1/2 lb Parma ham

8 oz spinach, preferably rather large leaves, blanched

Tomato and scallion risotto

1 tablespoon grape seed oil

2 tablespoons butter

4 sprigs of chives

Salt and pepper

Wolf fish is fished quite a lot in Icelandic waters. It certainly is not pretty to look at, and has to be handled with care when caught. Its jaws are fiercely strong and if for example a booted foot is caught between them when the fish has been brought into the boat, quite some injury to the wearer of the boot is well-nigh certain. In spite of this the wolf fish is a favored catch among fishermen, since it is a great delicacy, its meat being soft and pleasantly fat.

Blanch the spinach and then squeeze it a bit to remove excess water. Cut the fillet of wolf fish into strips about an inch or a bit more in diameter and about four inches in length and season them with salt and pepper. Spread thin slices of Parma ham out in a square about four inches in width and long enough to be rolled around the strip of wolf fish, with a bit to spare. Put a layer of spinach on top of the slices of ham, covering the width completely, but leaving uncovered about half an inch at the far edge. Place the strip of wolf fish across the width of spinach and wrap the ham and spinach around it covering the fish entirely. The edge of ham with no spinach is used to close up the roll.

When the roll of ham, spinach and wolf fish is ready, wrap aluminum foil, brushed with oil, around it, closing the foil wrapping at the ends by twisting them slightly. Then put the roll in a pan with the grape seed oil and roll it in the pan for a minute. This is done so that the ham does not curl off the roll. Next remove the aluminum foil, put the butter in a clean pan and sauté the roll of ham and wolf fsh for about four minutes. The roll should be rolled constantly in the pan while it is being sautéed.

To serve, cut the ham and wolf fish roll into pieces about an inch and a half to two inches in length, make a bed of tomato risotto in the center of a plate and arrange the cut pieces, one or more, on top of it. Finally, decorate the arrangement with some pieces of chives.

The taste of this dish is a most pleasant blend of the flavor of the ham, the spinach and the fish, which go most satisfyingly together. The tomato and scallion risotto, being mellow in taste, enhances the combination, so in its entirety here is a most savory dish.

MOTHER’S PAN-SAUTÉED HADDOCK

 

haddock

MOTHER’S PAN-SAUTÉED HADDOCK with Mashed Potatoes

[Serving four]

The Haddock

1.5 lb fillet of haddock, skinned

1 red onion, sliced

4 oz butter

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

2 limes

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt and pepper

The Mashed Potatoes

1 lb peeled potatoes

½ cup cream

2 oz butter

Salt and pepper

This course is dedicated to an excellent cook: my mother, Halla Loftsdóttir. It may seem somewhat simple and even primitive, and hence hardly fit to be included in a cookbook, but I can assure you that it is most splendid. Also, when one comes to think of it, where, really, is most of the world’s cooking done, but in mother’s kitchen, where she invariably and consistently works her wondrous everyday magic?

Trim the skinned fillet of haddock and cut it into pieces about two to three inches in width. Roll the pieces in flour seasoned with some salt and pepper, immerse in beaten eggs and finally coat the fillet pieces thoroughly in bread crumbs. Sauté the prepared pieces of fillet in butter in a medium hot pan until they are golden brown and the bread-crumb crust has become somewhat crispy. Sauté the slices of red onion in the pan along with the fillets. Cut the lime in half, dip it in sugar and sauté it in butter in a separate pan (cut side down) until the sugar has caramelized. Boil the potatoes in water until they are soft. Drain the water off and mash the potatoes in the pot with a potato masher, adding the cream and butter. Keep the pot on low heat to melt the butter. Mix thoroughly until the potatoes are completely smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange a bed of mashed potatoes on a plate, and place the fillet of haddock on top. Rest the caramelized lime on the fi llet. Its juice is to be squeezed on the fillet when it is eaten. Ladle some of the butter and sautéed onions from the pan the fi llets were sautéed in on top of the arrangement, keeping some on the side along with extra mashed potatoes.

There you have it, my mother’s recipe. The only thing added is the caramelized half of lime.

WHITE WINE-STEAMED MUSSELS

mussels

WHITE WINE-STEAMED MUSSELS in Herb and Lemon Grass Sauce

[Serving four]

24 mussels

3 oz butter

2 cups white wine

1 stem of lemon grass

½ red onion, diced

Juice from two lemons

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of grape seed oil

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

Salt and pepper

Mussels abound along the Icelandic coastline, where they thrive beautifully in the cold semi-arctic waters. They were used somewhat for food in former times in some areas of the country, and nowadays they have been universally accepted as an integral part of fine cuisine.

Begin by cutting the lemon grass in half and beating it with a meat mallet to bring out the flavor. Then put the beaten grass and the grape seed oil in a pot along with the onions and sauté these a bit with the garlic. Add the mussels, squeeze some lemon juice over them, add the two tablespoons of chopped chives and finally the white wine. Turn on the heat, cover the pot and steam the mussels until they open, at which time they should be removed from the pot and one of the shells removed, leaving the fish in the other. Next, remove the lemon grass from the broth, add the butter to it and stir until it has completely melted. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the shells with the fish in them in a long and narrow dish, six shells for each serving, and pour the sauce into each shell. It is excellent to served French baguettes with this course to soak up the extra sauce on the plate. In this course a great deal depends on the sauce. The fish should be almost floating in it in the shells. They are picked up between the fingers and the fish along with the sauce sucked out of them. This may sound a bit crude, but be assured; it is fun and most certainly very satisfying.