Oren Ambarchi’s 2 x sumptuous fish recipes from the Ambarchi kitchen both derived from traditional Sephardic recipes that go way back
POISSON SAUCE ROUGE
3 Red Peppers
2-3 Cloves of garlic, peeled
1kg (2lb) of white fish fillets such as Flathead or Snapper
4 tablespoons of Peanut Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt & Pepper
1. Roast the red peppers in a hot oven (about 200-220 degrees) – make sure
they’re fleshy – put them on a baking tray in the oven until their skins are
blistered & black. Turn them over once so the skins are blistered on both
sides. Take them out and leave for 10-15mins.
Once they are cool enough to handle, peel them and remove the seeds & stem. Keep
the juice but make sure there are no seeds in it.
2. Blend the peppers and the juice of the peppers to a cream together with the
garlic + the salt & pepper in a food processor
3. Pour the sauce into a pan & heat through being careful not to burn it. Heat
it through gently until it begins to bubble.
4. Lightly flour the fish & then saute in the oil turning over once
5. Take the fish out & add a little salt & pepper + the lemon juice
6. Serve with the sauce poured over the fish and the chopped parsley sprinkled
Best served with cous cous & a Mediterranean green salad (tomatoes, cucumbers,
parsley, a little mint, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper).
POISSON AUX CITRONS CONFITS
1.5kgs (3lb) of White FIsh Steaks or Fillets such as Flathead or Snapper
3 Preserved Lemons (these are lemons that have been preserved in salt – easy to
make but even easier to buy readymade in a jar from a store)
4 Tablespoons of Peanut Oil
175ml of Water
1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika (or regular paprika, however the smoked version is
1/4 Teaspoon of Turmeric
Salt + Pepper
4 Tablespoons of chopped Coriander
1. Mix and beat the oil and water with the paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper and
chopped coriander and marinate the fish in it for 30mins
2. Rinse the preserved lemons under cold water & remove the pulp (important!).
Once the skins are rinsed cut them into small pieces & spread half of them on
the bottom of a baking dish
3. Lay the fish on top and pour the marinade over it
4. Cover with the remaining lemon skins
5. Bake in the oven at 220 degrees for 20mins
As per the previous dish this one is best served with cous cous & a
Mediterranean green salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, a little mint, lemon
juice, olive oil, salt & pepper).
(Saumon Tchernakova – but as yet untasted (here at least) by the dedicatee!)
Need: salmon tail, or thinnish (not too) pieces;
vinegar and/or lemon juice;
clove of garlic;
vodka (optional but very good);
salt/pepper; to serve: dill;
sour cream/creme fraiche
Boil the beetroots whole and then mash them down in the cooking water, which should have a drop of vinegar, chopped shallot, smashed garlic, vodka, half the dill (or just the stalks) 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper added.
Strain the juice off, taste and add lemon/salt/pepper to taste.
Then when still warm but not hot, immerse the salmon tail or pieces in.
Refrigerate when cool for two hours.
To serve: remove and drain, then slice through each piece at an acute angle, revealing pink centre and red exterior.
Serve with sour cream, chopped dill, raw red onion or shallot; frisee salad
Need: fillets of salmon (NOT darnes on the bone) or trout;
olive oil or flavoured oil (lemon/chili);
bunch of tarragon, or dill, salt, lemon juice;
thermometer or guesswork
Put all the tarragon and plenty oil in a blender and whiz till fine.
Meantime, lightly salt the salmon pieces (still with skin on bottom) and sprinkle them with lemon juice.
Then, while salmon sits, strain the oil, ideally through a bit of muslin or fine sieve.
Shake excess salt and lemon juice from each piece of salmon and immerse in strained oil for two hours, or a bit more.
When ready, take out salmon and WARM oil to 43 C.
When temperature reached put salmon back in oil and keep temperature steady for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Take out, drain on paper and serve as required; fish is neither ‘raw’ nor ‘cooked’ – looks the former, but tastes closer to the latter, and it should have the aroma of the oil in it.
ALTERNATIVELY, if no kitchen thermometer, warm the oil in a pan till you can feel it with a finger tip get hotter than blood heat.
Then pour over the fish in a bowl which is standing in larger bowl of boiling water, but off the heat – works just as well.
If the fish goes opaque very quickly, it’s too hot. It should ideally look ‘different’ but not cooked – the marinade makes the connective tissue break down and changes the texture, which is soft AND flaky.
We’re addicted to it at the moment, which given that Loch Striven salmon is cheaper than mince, is a mercy.
(I once made it ‘three ways’, with a portion of confit, a portion of minced raw salmon and a little piece deep fried in tempura batter, plus trimmings)
Use wild salmon fillets, ideally from the Pacific (there are frozen Alaskan wild salmon easily available in UK). In Canada I would use fresh Spring, Pink, Coho or Sockeye – it works well with the darker kinds of salmon. Scottish or Atlantic salmon is also fine but this is more usually farmed. Allow one good-sized fillet per person or a couple of smaller ones.
Pour some olive oil (extra virgin organic is best…) into a pan, enough to coat the bottom of the pan at least. Place the salmon fillets, whether fresh or frozen (and cooking direct from frozen is fine), skin side down in the pan. Sprinkle with roughly chopped garlic (as much as you like, I usually add at least four cloves), roughly chopped dry ginger and pour organic tamari or other soya sauce over the fish. Optionally dribble a good size spoon of clear honey over the fish.
Cover the pan and cook on a low flame until the liquid is bubbling vigorously. Turn off the flame, always leaving the pan covered with the lid. Leave to stand for around twenty minutes or longer. Prepare other food in this time and only go back to the salmon when everything else is more or less done. At this point light the flame again and bring to the bubbling state. Turn off the flame and the salmon is ready. It will have poached and steamed during the time it was left, and there will be a rich sauce in the pan too.
I would serve with baby new potatoes, dwarf French beans and salad. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of cooking salmon fillets or steaks.
[Bamfield, in a remote part of the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island]
Turbot fillets for four
Large bunch of parsley
Bunch of basil
1 small tin of anchovies
3 tablespoons of capers
2 cloves of garlic
1 small shallot (or tablespoon of chopped onion)
25g white breadcrumbs
3-4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
100ml of olive oil
Maris Piper potatoes
Peel the potatoes and cut into pieces that have large flat surfaces (cutting almost triangular shapes from the centre of the potato will help). Soak in a bowl of running water for a few minutes until the water is clear. Boil the potatoes in unsalted water for 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, then shake around the potatoes to break them up a little. Leave to cool and dry for a few minutes.
Place a roasting tray containing about 1 cm depth of olive oil into a 225˚C oven. When the oil is hot, put the tray onto the top of a hot stove and carefully add potatoes. Stir until they are well coated with the oil. Put the tray back into the oven for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown, turning the potatoes in the oil after 25 minutes.
When cooked, remove the potatoes from the oil and drain on kitchen paper, then add salt.
While the potatoes are in the oven, make the salsa verde.
Chop the shallot, parsley and basil, crush garlic and add to a blender with anchovies, capers breadcrumbs and wine vinegar. Blend, then slowly add the oil to make a smooth, thick sauce.
Poach the turbot in water kept at a constant 57˚C until the temperature at the centre of the fish reaches 55˚C.
Lift the turbot, drain and serve on a warm plate with generous helping of salsa verde on the side, a green salad and a few roast potatoes.
In a large pan heat 3 cups of water, ½ cup of salt and 1 cup of vinegar (we go for white wine vinegar). When it comes to the boil, add the fish, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes.
for 4 persons
2 Big onions
2 tins of anchovies (100g each)
How to make:
put on the oven to 225°C
cut the potatoes in the shape of fries
chop the onions in rings
smear a pan suitable for the oven with butter
place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the form, mix onions and anchovies in the middle and then place a final layer of potatoes on top
pour in half of the cream
spread a thin layer of breadcrumbs over the top
after 30min pour in the rest of the cream
the temptation is ready when goldenbrown and the potatoes are soft.
add salt and pepper after your own taste
Gratinate for 30-45 min 225°C
This is mainly served on a smorgasbord but can be enjoyed at any time. Should be eaten with a cold beer and a few shots of brännvin.