I’ve decided that I’d like to mix up Family Dinner and make some finer offerings. That means taking more risks and cooking foods that are a bit more difficult to make. I decided to start by taking a swing at seafood and trying some rarities that few people have ever eaten before.
This week’s meal is also the first three-course meal I’ve tried. Normally Family Dinner is just a main course and maybe some salad or soup. But because this is seafood, I want to try making a little bit more. The serving sizes probably won’t be enormous anyways. Note that I’m also trying to incorporate a lot more vegetables. I’m trying to eat a bit healthier. Also note the limited cooking time, which is nice and convenient. On the menu is salmon miso soup, sea bass in lemon sauce, and king crab legs (no recipe, it’s just boiling).
Dessert is molten chocolate cake. So much for eating healthy.
Salmon Miso Soup
Yield: 4 servings (8 cups)
Preparation time: 7 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
1 waxy potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 shiitake mushroom, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch slice
1 small onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
1/8 head Napa cabbage, bottom trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 3 cups)
1/2-3/4 cup white miso
2 to 3 tablespoons sake
8 oz skinless, boneless salmon filet, rinsed and cut into bite sizes
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
• Place the potatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots, cabbage and miso into a large pot and add 6 cups of cold water. Add the sake and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the miso.
• Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatos and carrots are tender, 6 to 8 more minutes.
• Divide salmon between four bowls, ladle the hot soup and vegetables over the salmon (the heat of the soup cooks the salmon) and top with chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
Sea Bass With Lemon Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 (4 to 5 ounces each) boneless black sea bass filets, skin on
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
16 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, large ones cut into quarters
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
• Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. While the pan is heating, rub the fish with garlic, then season with salt and pepper on both sides.
• Place filets into the pan, skin side down, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until the skin is golden on the first side and the fish has turned opaque halfway up the sides. Turn the filets over and continue to cook until lightly golden on the second side. Transfer fish to a plate and keep warm.
• Add the tomatoes and capers to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sake, soy sauce and lemon juice and stir to combine. Cook until reduced. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter.
• To serve, divide the fish, skin side up, between four warm plates and spoon the tomatoes, capers and sauce on top. Serve immediately.
Molten Chocolate Cake Served With Cilantro Crème Chantilly
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
1 cup plus 6 teaspoons (about 6 ounces) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, divided
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease six 8-ounce ramekins with some butter, arrange on a baking sheet, and set aside.
• Melt the remaining butter and 1 cup of the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth, remove from heat and set aside.
• Beat the eggs, egg yolks and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl on high speed until very thick and fluffy and peaks form when the beater is removed from the mixture, 8 to 10 minutes. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Sift the flour over the batter and gently fold in.
• Spoon the batter into ramekins until half full. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of chopped chocolate into each ramekin, then top each evenly with the remaining batter. Bake for 15 minutes (cakes will still be slightly jiggly) and then let cool slightly.
For the crème:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
• While the cakes are baking, whip the cream in a medium bowl on high speed until soft peaks just form, about 1 minute. Add the cilantro and confectioners’ sugar and stir gently until just combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve.
• To serve: Dust cakes with confectioners’ sugar and put each ramekin on a separate plate. Serve with the bowl of crème.