herb Tag

POMELO AND THAI HERBS SALAD

 

THE EXPERIENCE IS BETWEEN EATING A SALAD AND DRINKING A COLD GLASS OF GATORADE

I don’t eat salads.

I think that’s quite self-evident on this blog.  But even a non-salader like me feels a tinge of excitements as pomelo season approaches, the citrus giant with enormous and voluptuous pulps that burst with sweet, floral and faintly bitter juices resembling a lemony grapefruit.  For the record, I’m not a fan of grapefruit, which is why I’m not particularly excited about pomelo’s potential as a stand-alone fruit course.  But what gets my buzz going is its potential to be a fantastic savory treat.

Pomelo is rarely too sweet, and it carries an uniquely floral and bitter note that blends wonderfully with other more robust or rich-tasting ingredients that seek a refreshing medium.  Take herbs salad for example, flavorfully too sharp and aggressive most of the times to be a dish on its own, but together with pomelo, it becomes a juicy and rounded symphony tapping on all the right notes in a cascading, orchestrated tempo.  First thing that hits the senses is the pungent saltiness of the fish sauce and shallots anointed with olive oil, which escalates along the individually distinctive sharp bites from the assorted fresh herbs, too sharp, almost, if it isn’t immediately awash with sweet and quenching juices with the rupture of each pomelo pulps.  The experience is a marriage between eating a salad and drinking a cold glass of gatorade.

A refreshing and guilt-free lunch on an overheated autumn day, but I know that it cries to be an equal partner alongside heavy and rich pre-winter dishes like roast pork belly or braised short ribs.  And next year, you’ll be counting the days for its arrival.

 
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THAI SPICY BRINY COCKLE SALAD

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AS HAPPY AS A CLAM

It’s veterinarian-day for me again, how about you?  Whatever your day’s like, appetize it with this spicy, herby, briny and juicy cockle salad (you heard right), from one of Fatty Crab’s and Fatty Cue’s Zak Pelaccio.  It tastes like the ocean with an attitude, certainly one of my favourite, and most interesting and delicious treatment of shellfish yet.  And I promise it will kick-open your palette, get you ready for whatever that’s on your plate.  Wish you a day as happy as a clam.

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Serves:  4 as appetizer

Adapted from Zak Pelaccio’s Eat With Your Hands

I like to use an assortment of cockles and clams for this dish.  In this case, tiny cockles for their meats plus larger/prettier clams for their shells.  You can choose whatever variety you like.  The original recipe does not include the kaffir lime leaf, but I added it because I think it gave the dish a sharper edge.  Use if you have it available (they freeze really well in the freezer).


THAI SPICY BRINY COCKLE SALAD

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs assortment of cockles and clams
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine or white wine
  • 2 ~ 3 small red Thai chili
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime leaf (if available), with the stem removed
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 4 small Asian shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup of rice wine (or white wine if you prefer) to a boil. Add the clams and cover the lid. Cook for 2 min, then remove the lid and start picking out clams as they open (clams open at different speed so this way, you can avoid over-cooking them). Once all the clams have opened, continue to simmer the liquid until it's reduced to 1/4 cup.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the clams from the shells (you should have about 1 cup of clam-meats). Keeping a few shells that are bigger and prettier.
  3. In a stone-mortar, mash the red chili, the garlics and lime leaf until paste-like. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, light brown sugar, finely sliced Asian shallots, chopped mint leaves, chopped cilantro and the clam-meats. Mix to combine.
  4. Scatter the preserved shells over the serving platter, then spoon the clams to fill the shells. Pour the reduced clam-juice over. Serve with extra lime.
https://ladyandpups.com/2014/10/26/thai-spicy-briny-cockle-salad/
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LAMINATED POTATO CHIPS

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Yesterday, I spent a good deal of effort in the kitchen, not just on the usual manual labor I do driven by unknown impulses, but on trying to draw the very blurred line on practicality/doability when it comes to home-cooking, which I have slowly come to realize to having a very different definition than the general public.  Well, I suspect not having a day-job has something to do with it, but really though, what do people consider worth-the-effort when the grunt work is to be done by their own hands in their own kitchen?

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THE WEST LAKE HYBRID

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You know… as someone who’s been gutting dead animals… chopping things… hacking and hammering in the kitchen for the past 15 years, I pride myself for the fact that I seldom, and I mean rarely burn or hurt myself inside my ruling domain.  No, it isn’t because I’m more masterful at wielding heavy machineries, but because I have a deeply-rooted, intolerated fear for pain which led to a full spectrum of obsessive precautions before any hazardous conducts in the kitchen.  But… just before I sat down for a chat with you, I though, hey, maybe it was a good idea to first finish slicing those mathafuckin’ fibrous and tough galangals for easy freezing… just to check it off my list…

Well, just like that, there goes my left middle-finger now looking tragically like a tissue paper and tape-wrapped lollipop, summer strawberry flavour.  You see?  You see me waving my middle finger in 360º just so you can see clearly?  Especially at you, galangals.

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