Posts Tagged ‘Metro Vancouver’

Basa Fillet in Wine Sauce: A French Recipe with a Peruvian Twist

October 6, 2010

 

A while ago (I’d rather exclude definite time references to avoid feeling old-er) I met with delight a simple yet delicious seafood dish. My friend in her  Coquitlam home made this salmon fillet in Pinot Noir sauce. I loved it so much that she made it a couple times more for me. Then one day I figured I would try a similar recipe changing ingredients, which is the best way to create new recipes and have a lot of fun. So I replaced the salmon for white fish, in this case, Basa, although I have used rockfish (aka snapper) and halibut also. It works out great with all of the above. I am not fond of precise recipes, just because that is the way I cook and also, I believe that every person has a different appreciation for each ingredient, so bare with me. I would suggest try to interpret the recipe in the way you would like the final product to taste like. Here it goes.

Grab a couple 200 gram Basa fillets. For those who don’t like grams or measurement units, grab a couple fillets, each enough to satisfy one person. That would be the average person. Which means nothing really, because the “average” is a figment of one’s imagination. Pretend the average person to be you then and grab those fillets.

The Salmon Pinot Noir recipe included shallots. In this case, just for fun I used red onions. I highly recommend Peruvian red onions from Arequipa province, with no doubt, the best ever. Since they are hard to find, I used Washington State red onions of medium size. They are phenomenally good. Chop one onion fairly fine. Put a dash of vegetable oil in bowl shaped frying pan, wok or similar. On low heat melt a couple spoonfuls of salted butter. Sautee the onions for 2 minutes. Here comes the tricky part. You need to find this product called AJI PANCA. Aji (a-hee) is the word for hot pepper or chili in Peru and in most of the South American Andes. This Panca one is a truly delicious condiment, a little bit like Chipotle but less pungent and not smoky at all. It doesn’t have that bit of bacon like aroma that the Chipotle does. You can buy this Panca pepper paste in Latino shops, there are a few in Metro Vancouver. If you google them up you will find them easy. Slather the fillets with this paste, you can use quite a bit of it. Do not be afraid, this aji is at most mildly spicy but oh, so flavorful. Place said fillets on frying pan or wok and add a quarter of a glass of white wine. This can be dry or off dry. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 6 minutes. I sometimes throw a few capers for that briny, zingy acidity that always seems to enhance fish and seafood flavors. Probe the fillets with a fork; they should flake nicely although Basa will not flake like salmon. It is firmer. You will have to learn this by experience. Serve on fresly cooked basmati rice. I have enjoyed this fish with Alsatian Gewurztraminer or a Torrontes with personality, like the Andeluna.

If you make this you will love it. Let me know what you think. Aji Panca paste is usually sold in little jars like the one shown above. It sells in Vancouver for about 5 dollars. You can also buy it in plastic sachets for a little less.

Causa with Pulpo (Octopus)

August 31, 2010

Although all dishes were very good and all attendees liked them at my last event Peruvian Food Tasting  & Wine Pairing, I think I got the best comments for the Causa de Pulpo. This uniquely Peruvian dish is delicious, tangy and mildly spicy and easy, easy to make. Here the recipe.

Please note this is right off my mind so amounts will not be exact. However, I have prepared this so many times that I am sure it will be pretty close.

Potato mash (Causa proper)

Boil two pounds of white or yellow potatoes. Peel and mash while still warm. Set aside in bowl. Squeeze one fat lime over mash, a 4 spoonfuls of olive oil (the entry level one not the xtra virgin) and IDEALLY 2 spoonfuls of Peruvian Yellow Aji Pepper paste. You can buy this at different Latino markets in Metro Vancouver. If don’t feel like going all the way there you can try a couple teaspoonfuls of turmeric for color and a pinch or more of chili flakes. Knead well until paste is uniform.

Sauce: blend half a small jar of mayonaisse with 10 pitted kalamata olives, a good dash of olive oil and the juice of a lime.

Octopus: Buy pre-cooked and then just thaw and cut in small pieces or buy baby octopus and steam them for 10 minuts until they turn red and tender. Cut in pieces.

You can make a small bun with the Causa paste or you can use a mold, like a small cup to make a cake. Set on dish and slather the mayo on top with very thin celery slivers. Put octopus on top and on the sides, together with a piece of avocado.

Bon appetit!