December 14, 2011

David Leite's Rich Fish Soup

The first taste of this soup was so unexpectedly good that it startled an Mmm! from me.  The magic lies in the fish stock--or the lack of it, in my case.  Leite states that the fish stock will make or break the soup, so use a very light stock.  Anything too salty or overly fishy will overwhelm the other, more delicate flavors of the soup.  I never cared for it myself and used chicken broth instead.

And does anyone else get into a dither buying seafood, specifically, fish?  I live near Chinatown, and every block has a fish market or three.  My trouble is that the fish are all too often unlabeled, and I can tell salmon from flounder, but that's the extent of it.  I almost wimped out and bought a bag of frozen cod filets from Whole Foods, but at nearly $12/pound, I told myself to stop being an idiot.

Still, I visited six or seven markets before settling on an unidentified fish, which I got for a dollar and change, praying that it wasn't something with a million tiny bones--Baltic herring from that one memorable lunch in Turku, I'm looking at you.  I ended up dropping the whole fish into the soup and cooked one side with the heat still on before flipping it and cooking the rest with the residual heat.  It ended up great, but I think I'll still work myself into a lather the next time I visit a fish market.

December 6, 2011

Roasted Aubergine with Saffron Yogurt

This was not an easy dish to photograph.  My admiration to the food stylists who can make unwieldy chunks of fruit look palatable.  I actually decided to reshoot this a second time since I wasn't happy with the ones I did the previous day, which wasn't a pain at all since I got to eat and enjoy the salad again.

The geniuses at Ottolenghi have included some creative recipes in their cookbook, especially their salads.  I made a fennel, feta, and blood orange salad inspired by one of their recipes earlier this year, and this salad is just as bold in flavor.  Who would've thought that eggplants, pomegranates, and basil would equal magic?  The eggplant develops a rich, complex flavor whilst roasting that goes well with the garlicky yogurt and the explosions of sweet/tart from the pomegranate seeds.  The original recipe actually includes pine nuts, but I've decided to omit them because let's be honest: who can afford them these days?