Friday, April 15, 2011

Tea Infused Salmon with Skordalia

Not my best photo. It was taken late at night without much help
 from lighting and the composition was all wrong too. (I was eager to eat it)

Rick Moonen was my favourite Top Chef Master of all time.  I bought his book, Fish Without a Doubt when I was still in university.  Being a sociology student, I bought the book purely based on its premise: eating sustainable seafood. The book offered caters to everyone from beginner chefs who can't tell one fish to another to advance chefs who want to find new ways to cook fish head.

Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential CompanionPersonally, I really admire Chef Rick's innovative ways of flavouring food and incorporating very unconventional spices and cooking technical.   For example, he used lapsang souchong tea to marinate and flavour salmon.  Lapsang souchong is a black tea with strong nasty smell that reminds me of tobacco and burnt wood.  This tea is often consumed for medicinal use instead of pleasure. In fact, a whiff of this tea reminded me of acupuncture office in Taiwan.

For one of his recipe, Rick grounds up this tea in a spice grinder and rub it all over the salmon. Then, marinate it for an hour before sautéing it in butter.  The result was a delicious, subtle smoky flavour which bought out the natural sweetness of the fish.  It was phenomenal.  Who would have thought this pungent tea would turn into a magical spice?

Anyway, we don't like butter.  So after the first attempt, I replaced butter with grape seed oil, and it tasted just as good and without the grease and the guilt.  Then, I tried baking it with olive oil instead of sautéing.  It was just as tasty and even lower in calorie, but I lost the delicious crispy skin.

This opened up a new world of cooking for me.  I am now trying various tea : rose, matcha, red tea, and etc.  It's amazing!  I will definitely be posting more of these delicious discovery in the future.

Next post: Skordalia - the way Yaya used to make it.

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