Monday 22 January 2007

Musing: Fish and Meat.....

The paucity of choice of images I could find to illustrate this topic says it all - rather than something succulent and mouth-watering, I've ended up with a picture that looks more like a refugee from the Natural History Museum than something destined to set the gastric juices flowing! Why is it that we instinctively appear to find the combination of meat with fish so awkward? Is it merely a hangover from the days when any self-respecting diner would expect both a fish course and a meat course, and thus an impenetrable cordon sanitaire sprang up between the two?

Examples to the contrary are legion. The first time I dined at Le Manoir I remember a splendid Lamb Mentonais and can even now picture the orange tones of the fish against the succulent pink of the meat. And what about Vitello Tonnato? Wonderful! Loubet has a recipe for Cod wrapped in Parma Ham, which has been an old favourite of mine for years, and I noticed the other day that Lindsay Bareham has included a version in her latest oeuvre, where Cod has been replaced with Snapper.

Perhaps the easiest one of all though, is the combination of a Lardon Sauce for grilled or seared fish, where the sauce can be made literally months in advance and re-heated just at the last minute during the time it takes for the fish to cook through, and its skin to broil to a delicious crispness! I think the version I use came originally from Alain Ducaisse, but I can't be certain - after a while, the provenence of old and favoured recipes tends to become lost in the mists of time!

Stop Press: Further to yesterday's moan about my problems sourcing Boyajian Oils in the UK, I've been reprieved! Lakeland carry a few from the range, it appears, but a wider choice - and at noticeably lower prices - can be found at an outfit called Blas ar Fwyd. I've put a link to their site in the side bar.

Today's Menu:

Chicken Liver Salad: Livers sauteed in garlic and butter, served over rocket and lamb's lettuce leaves, dressed in oil and lemon juice.

Salmon Steaks, seared and served with Lardon Sauce (See below, for recipe); accompanied by sliced endive and leek, thoroughly wilted in butter.

Pear and Chocolate Tart.

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