Dorade

The Gilt-Head (Sea) Bream, better known as Daurade, Dorade (Royale) or Orata is a popular fish in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and many other Mediterranean countries. Delicious when stuffed with herbs such as thyme, rosemary or marjoram, grilled and served with a slice of lemon. The firm, juicy meat is aromatic and a culinary treat.
Serving a whole fish can be a bit uncomfortable. You must remove the head, dissect the fish and look carefully for hidden bones. Serving a fillet makes enjoying fish much easier. The downside is that a fillet is less tasty and perhaps a touch dry. When you buy a fillet, make sure it’s fresh and enjoy it the same day.
We combine the Dorade with typical Mediterranean ingredients. A combination that is both light and tasty.

Wine Pairing

The dish is full of flavours, so we would suggest a glass of Spanish Verdejo or Italian Custoza. In general you’re looking for a full, fragrant dry white wine with a fruity aroma and a round, long, full and dry taste.

What You Need

  • 200 grams of Dorade Fillet
  • 2 ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Capers (in brine)
  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Remove the pits from the tomato and dice. Chop the garlic. Coarsely slice the capers. Add olive oil to the pan, heat the garlic for a few seconds, add tomatoes. Leave for a few minutes, add the capers. Taste and adjust. One minute before serving add half of the basil. Add black pepper.
In parallel fry the dorade until golden. Serve on a hot plate and add the remaining basil.
PS When you use salted capers, wash these thoroughly to remove the salt. You need lemon juice to get the right acidity.

Dorade ©cadwu
Dorade ©cadwu

Your Favourites in 2022

We have been baking our own bread for several years, based on the method of no-knead bread (see Jim Lahey’s book My Bread for more detail) and using the ingredients of the French Talmière. The technique is a bit challenging, so we were very pleased to test the simplified method described by Le Creuset. You were also pleased to learn about this easier method for No-Knead Bread, because it’s our number one post this year!

Kimizu is the classic, golden sauce from Japan, made from Egg Yolks, Rice Vinegar, Water and Mirin. The recipes for Kimizu and Kimizu with Tarragon continue to be very popular. Although this is a classic sauce, we use a microwave to prepare it. A great tool to be in control of temperature and consistency.

If you’ve been following this blog for a few months, perhaps years, then you’ll know we love mushrooms. We are especially interested in the seasonal ones, such as Morels, St. George’s mushroom, and Caesar’s Mushroom. We combine these with Japanese Udon, creating a very tasty starter, full of flavours and texture. Also one of our personal favourites.
Another favorite is the Bay Bolete. Actually a fairly common mushroom, as tasty as Cèpes, but much more affordable.
During the season we saw lots of interests in Bay Boletes and Caeser’s Mushroom, so next season we will publish new recipes with these two delicious mushrooms.

The classic Cèpes à la Bordelaise was also amongst your favourites. You can also use more available mushrooms for this great combination. Always a pleasure to serve, with eggs, with meat, with more present fish.

Ajerkoniak was a dish we looked into when we were exploring dishes/drinks based on egg yolks, such as caudle, eggnog and advocaat. Perhaps not our personal favourite, but why nog give it a try?

We wish you a happy and inspiring 2023!

Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu
Your Favourites in 2022 ©cadwu

Crostini

You don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen when serving drinks and you want to enjoy a warm appetizer (snack, finger food, quick nibble)? What to do? Of course: serve crostini! You can prepare them in advance and the only thing you need to do is put them under the grill for 3-5 minutes. A nice crunchy appetizer with a rich taste and intense aroma.

We use taleggio, a semi-soft cheese from Italy with a mild taste. It melts easily, so you need to keep an eye on your oven! If you can’t get hold of taleggio, then use mozzarella instead and add a bit more flavour to the mushroom topping.

What You Need

  • For the Mushroom Topping
    • Button Mushrooms and Shiitake
    • Garlic Cloves
    • Olive Oil
    • Thyme and Rosemary
    • Black Pepper
    • (Excellent) Olive Oil
  • For the Crostini
    • Old, stale Bread (Baguette preferred)
    • Garlic (optional)
    • Excellent Olive Oil
  • Taleggio

What You Do

One day before serving the crostini: clean and chop the mushrooms. Finely chop the rosemary, the thyme and the garlic. Fry the mushroom in olive oil in a heavy iron skillet. Reduce heat, add herbs and garlic. Continue on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mix to a plate and let cool. Transfer to a kitchen aid and on low speed add some olive oil. Taste and add some black pepper. You’re looking for a coarsely chopped mixture, one that you can easily distribute over the crostini. Store in the refrigerator.

Also one day before serving the crostini: slice the bread and toast it. Halve a garlic clove, very gently rub the top of the toasted bread with the garlic and then brush with olive oil. An alternative is to preheat your oven to 180 °C or 350 °F, brush both sides with olive oil and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Perhaps you need to turn the slices over once. Store in a plastic container.

A few hours before serving the crostini: slice the taleggio (with crust!), top the bread with the mushroom mixture and then with a slice of cheese.

Set your oven to grill, transfer the crostini to the top of your oven, wait for a few minutes and serve immediately.

Crostini with Mushrooms and Taleggio ©cadwu
Crostini with Mushrooms and Taleggio ©cadwu

Salad of Small Artichokes

The season of artichokes varies depending on the variety and where you are based. In Italy it’s from mid-winter until early spring, in other countries from March to June, or September and October. And in other countries they peak in August. Best is to decide based on quality and price. An artichoke should feel heavy, look fresh and the leaves should be closed. If the leaves are wide open, the artichoke is older and it could be dry with lots of choke (the hairs) and dry inner leaves.

Don’t cook artichokes in boiling water. They must cook for 45+ minutes and during the long cooking process they will lose most of their flavour. Best is to steam artichokes.

Serve large artichokes as a relaxing starter or use them to make Artichoke Barigoule or a Pie. We use smaller ones to make a salad.  You can serve it to accompany an aperitif, or with some bread as a starter. Make sure you have plenty of dressing!

Wine Pairing

It’s not straightforward to pair artichokes with wine. According to various researchers this is due to cynarin, a chemical especially found in the leaves of the artichoke. When the wine and the cynarin meet in your mouth, the natural sweetness of the wine is enhanced, making it taste too sweet. So you have to pair freshly cooked or steamed artichokes with a bone-dry, crisp, unoaked white wine with clear, present acidity. For instance, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or Albariño.
We enjoyed a glass of Château Pajzos Tokaj Furmint 2019. This dry, white wine made from the well-known Hungarian Furmint grape is fresh, clean and slightly floral. It supports the Salad of Artichokes beautifully.

What You Need

  • 6 small Artichokes
  • Olive Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Remove the stem of the artichokes and steam the artichokes for 45 – 60 minutes, depending on the size. Remove and let cool. Peel of the first layers of the outer leaves. Make the dressing by turning the mustard and the crushed garlic into a smooth paste. Then gently add the other ingredients and whisk well to make it really smooth, thick dressing. Cut the artichokes in 6 or 8 parts. Add to the dressing, mix well, coating all artichokes. Sprinkle lots of thyme and mix again. Put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Mix again, taste, add some more thyme and serve!

Potato and Truffle Purée

The combination of potatoes and truffle is an interesting one. Because one is the opposite of the other in terms of price and availability? Because both grow underground?

Dutch chef John Halvemaan (also winner of the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize) created a no doubt delicious combination, using butter, veal stock, parsley and cooked bacon. Also very tasty: a recipe for a gratin with crème fraîche and eggs and a recipe by chef Claude Deligne (Le Taillevent in Paris) with foie gras. All far too complex for us, so we prepared a very rich and tasty potato purée with lots of truffle.

If you look for recipes with potatoes and truffle, you will find suggestions using truffle oil. It’s not the real thing, however, if you find quality truffle oil and use only a little bit, your purée will be yummy. The sad news is that some (most?) truffle oil comes with 2,4-dithiapentane, a synthetically produced, aromatic molecule. Producers add this because it gives the impression that the oil contains truffle. Unfortunately, the flavours of 2,4-dithiapentane are not even close to the aromas and taste of a real truffle.

In this case you have to spend some money on both the truffle and the potatoes.

We combined our purée with an excellent rib eye and served it with its own jus and the purée.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Garnacha Tintorera-Monastrell 2020. An organic red wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s a full-bodied wine with soft tannins and a hint of vanilla and chocolate. In general, you’re looking for a smooth wine with notes of red fruit and oak, medium acidity and with a long, dry finish. One that goes very well with for instance red meat and game (hare, deer).

What You Need

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Egg Yolk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Winter Truffle

What You Do

Make your favourite purée! Cook the potatoes until ready (meaning: until the blade of a knife inserted in the potato goes easily through it). Drain. Mash with a fork, add cold butter, combine, add warm milk and/or cream and use a spatula to get the right consistency. You could add a beaten egg yolk (also because eggs and truffle work together wonderfully). Add salt to taste. Perhaps some white pepper. Grate the truffle and add half of it to the purée. The taste of a winter truffle benefits from the warmth of the purée. Just before serving add the remaining truffle.

Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu
Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu

Tiramisù

Such a simple, tasty, fairly easy to make dessert. No oven needed and the result is always a pleasure to serve. We rely on the recipe of an expert, in our case Dutch pastry chef Cees Holtkamp. Renowned for his excellent patisserie and his truly delicious croquettes. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the shop in Amsterdam, please do so.

After his retirement he started working on his book Dutch Pastry (De Banketbakker in Dutch). The recipes are very clearly written and easy to follow. One of the remarkable aspects of this book is that he prepared all pies, cookies, doughs etcetera in his own home kitchen with basic home cook utensils.

If you want to see his amazing technique and his gently style of creating wonderful patisserie, then visit FoodTube and enjoy how chef Cees Holtkamp and his granddaughter Stella Meijles prepare Pavlova, Black Forest Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, Saint Honoré, Cheese Butterflies, Tiramisù and many more.

Dutch Pastry is available via the usual channels or via the publisher for 20 euro.

Liqueur

Let’s go back to the Tiramisù. It’s all about eggs, mascarpone, sugar, ladyfingers (savoiarde, sponge fingers or boudoirs) coffee and cocoa powder. Most recipes suggest adding a liqueur to the coffee, for instance rum, cognac, amaretto or marsala. Obviously, we want to add an Italian liqueur to our Tiramisù, so perhaps marsala? This is a fortified wine from Sicily, dry or sweet. A good choice but for some reason the idea of an almond based liqueur is tempting, perhaps because of its slight bitterness in combination with the coffee and the cocoa?

Unfortunately, most amaretto’s taste nasty and artificial. We decided to spend a bit more money and bought a bottle of amaretto produced by Lorenzo Inga. The distillery is located near Gavi, a city known for its amaretti cookies. They produce grappa, bitters and liqueurs such as sambuca and limoncello. Their amaretto is all about almonds. It has a soft structure with a sweet and full mouth feeling. We added it to our Tiramisù and the result was delicious.

Leftovers

The next day we noticed that we had some leftover ladyfingers and also some coffee-amaretto mixture. Why not combine them with whipped double cream and perhaps some vanilla sugar? Would that work? We followed the same approach and stored it in the refrigerator for half a day. We were pleasantly surprised!

  • Tiramisù ©cadwu
  • Amaretto Originale Lorenzo Inga
  • Cees Holtkamp

Saffron Milk Cap with Squid and Tomatoes

It’s nearly the end of the season for this delicious mushroom. And what better idea than to close the season with a new recipe! Normally we would combine Saffron Milk Cap with Chorizo and roasted Bell Pepper. Thinking more about Spain and its markets (the one in Valencia is our all-time favourite) we came up with the idea of combining the mushroom with fish? Or gambas? Or perhaps squid?

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of Domaine Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet 2021. Picpoul de Pinet (Son terroir c’est la mer) is a white wine from the South of France between Narbonne and Montpellier. The terroir (think calcareous soil) is influenced by the sea, which is reflected in the mineral taste of the wine. The story is that Picpoul could be read as pique poul which translates into something like ‘stings the lip’; a nice reflection of the high acidity of the grapes. This acidity guarantees a refreshing white wine, which is exceptional given the warm climate. The wine is bright yellow with a very subtle touch of green. It’s aromatic, floral and fruity. The taste has notes of citrus and apple.
In general we suggest drinking a refreshing, unoaked white wine that goes well with seafood.

What You Need

  • For the Squid
    • 150 grams of Squid
    • 4 Tomatoes
    • One Garlic Clove
    • Red Wine
    • Thyme
    • Olive Oil
  • 150 grams of Saffron Milk Cap
  • Parsley and or Celery Leaves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

The day before serving: clean the squid. Slice (not too thin). Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes, use a strainer to get as much tomato juice as possible. Chop the garlic finely. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced squid. Fry for a few minutes, add the garlic and the tomatoes. Reduce the heat. After a few minutes add the tomato juice, half a glass of red wine and thyme. Leave to simmer for 2 hours or until the squid is ready both in flavours and texture. Cool and transfer to the refrigerator.

The next day clean the mushroom and slice (not too thin). Chop the parsley and or celery leaves. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced mushroom. Fry for one minute, then reduce heat. Add the squid mixture and cook for a few minutes. Taste and add cayenne pepper. You’re looking for a fairly sharp, spicy taste. Add half of the chopped parsley/celery. After a few minutes serve the mixture and garnish with parsley/celery. The idea is to have a mixture (not a sauce) of squid and mushrooms, coated with tomatoes. 

Ragù Napoletano

Ragù Napoletano is all about beef and tomatoes. Combining these two creates umami, one of the five tastes, because the tomatoes contain amino acid glutamate and the beef inosinate
Whereas Ragù Bolognese is made with finely chopped meat, Ragù Napoletano is prepared with whole cuts of beef, seasoned and rolled up. Best is to use Blade Steak (or Top Blade), Rump Cap or Top Rump. Our butcher suggested using Knuckle Side Roast (or Knuckle Plate Muscle) which is rather lean so a touch dry after simmering for many hours. On the other hand, it kept its structure and flavours very well. Best is to ask your butcher for advice.
Many recipes suggest adding pork ribs to the dish, but we wanted to focus on the combination of beef and tomato. We did however add a bit of fatty bacon.
Tomato-wise you need lots of tomatoes: fresh ones, passata, puree and/or canned.
Best to prepare one day ahead.

Wine Pairing

A red, full bodied wine from Italy made with Sangiovese grapes will be a great accompaniment for both the starter and the main dish. We opened a bottle of Les Petits Rigolos, a red wine from the Tolosan region in south western France made with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A round wine with notes of strawberry and blackcurrant. A touch spicy, which worked very well with the rich flavours of the Ragù Napoletano.

What You Need

  • For the Beef
    • 2 slices of Beef
    • Parmesan Cheese
    • Raisins
    • Fresh Parsley
    • Fresh Oregano
    • 1 small Garlic Clove
    • Optional: Pine Nuts
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Sauce
    • Small Onion or Shallot
    • Olive Oil
    • Bacon (or better: Lardo)
    • 250 ml of White Wine
    • Fresh Tomatoes
    • Tomato puree
    • ½ can of Tomatoes
    • Passata
  • For the Starter
    • Rigatoni
    • Parmesan Cheese
  • For the Main Course
    • Vegetables

What You Do

Soak the raisins in water for an hour. Drain. Chop parsley, oregano, raisins and garlic. In a bowl, combine raisins, garlic, oregano, parsley and freshly grated cheese. Flatten the meat if it’s difficult to roll up. Scatter the mixture over the meat, roll the meat up and tie with two strings of kitchen twine.
If using fresh tomatoes, peel and seed them. Chop coarsely. Chop the onion and slice the bacon. Heat a large saucepan, add olive oil, add onion and bacon. Leave on low heat for some 10 minutes or until the onion is glazed. Add the two rolls and fry them on all sides until evenly golden brown. Take you time to do this. Add the wine, let the alcohol evaporate and reduce. Add the tomatoes, the passata and the puree. Leave the stew on low heat and turn the meat occasionally. This stage is about stewing the meat as gently as possible and reducing the sauce. If you feel it’s going too fast, then put a lid on the pan, but only partially.
Once the meat is ready (this may take 4+ hours) remove the meat from the sauce, keep it warm (an oven at 50 °C or 120 °F will be perfect) and allow the sauce to reduce even more, as slowly as possible. Wait for the sauce to become dark and shiny.
For the first course: serve the sauce with pasta and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (we used Rigatoni because of the ridges).
For the second course: warm the meat in the remaining sauce, slice it and serve with sauce and vegetables.

PS

We would probably be kicked out of Naples (and Italy) with our version of Ragù Napoletano (oregano? French wine?). It is, however, a very tasty two course meal with lots of umami, as expected.

Guineafowl and Bay Bolete

It seems to be a great year for the Bay Bolete! Earlier we wrote about this delicious mushroom and its name. The Bay Bolete is a fairly common mushroom and its flavour can be compared to that of the more expensive Cèpes or Porcini. It’s a bit more intense and especially when served with meat it is a culinary treat. We combined the Bay Bolete with guineafowl, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pancetta. Lots of flavours and aromas. An intense and great way to celebrate autumn.

Guineafowl meat is leaner, somewhat darker and more flavourful compared to chicken. It is not difficult to prepare, but due to the low-fat content you must be careful not to overcook. In this recipe we use guineafowl supreme (the breast fillet with the skin on plus the wing bone) which is perhaps the tastiest part of the guineafowl. 

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of Chiroubles, a cru from the Beaujolais, produced by Domaine Montangeron. The wine has floral notes and aromas of cherries and strawberries. Its colour is pale ruby. Rich, elegant and long. It brings freshness and fruitiness to the dish and is sufficiently complex to remain present when enjoying the guineafowl and the Bay Bolete.
In general you’re looking for a red wine with freshness, fruity aromas and complexity. Perhaps a Pinot Noir?

What You Need

  • 2 Guineafowl Supremes
  • Pancetta
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • 150 grams of Bay Bolete
  • One Garlic Clove

What You Do

Pre-heat your oven to 180 °C or 355 °F. Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Put a sprig of thyme and rosemary on the meat side of the fillet and close it with two strings of red/white kitchen twine. Add some olive oil to an iron oven dish, add the guineafowl, meat side up, and cover with strips of pancetta (or bacon). Leave in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size. Transfer the pancetta to the side of the pan, turn the meat and leave for another 10-15 minutes until done (and golden). The temperature of the meat should be minimum 70 °C or 160 °F. When the guineafowl is done, transfer from the oven, remove the kitchen twine and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Halve or quarter the mushrooms, chop the garlic very fine, fry the mushrooms in olive oil and add the garlic seconds before the mushrooms are ready. Add the mushroom mixture to the sizzling guineafowl juices in the pan and stir. Serve the guineafowl with the bay bolete on a warm plate.

Classic Cèpes

What better way to start the mushroom season than serving Classic Cèpes? The recipe is very simple and the result is about cèpes and cèpes alone. The stems a bit firm, the caps moist, the flavours intense and the taste rich and earthy, with a touch of freshness from the parsley. It’s a classic in Germany (Steinpilze auf klassische Art), France (similar to Cèpes a la Bordelaise), Italy and many other countries. 

Wine Pairing

If you want to enjoy the cèpes with a glass of white wine, then we suggest drinking one that is fresh, fruity, round and balanced, for instance of a glass of Bodegas Mocén Selección Especial made from verdejo grapes. A glass of rosé with similar flavours is also a good idea. The idea is to support the cèpes by adding fruitiness and freshness to the dish.

When you decide to drink a glass of red wine, then we suggest a full-bodied red wine with gently fruit and present tannins. 

What You Need

  • 200 gram Cèpes
  • Butter
  • One small Shallot
  • Parsley
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Clean the mushrooms and slice lengthwise. Finely chop the shallot and the parsley. Add butter to a relatively hot heavy iron skillet. Reduce the heat and fry the cèpes for a few minutes. Add the shallot. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add chopped parsley, add more butter, black pepper and stir. Serve on a warm plate.