Salt baked onions taste simply amazing, they are easy to prepare and it can be fun to serve something that is super cheap and still make it look good and taste great (with a little bit of help from truffles). It works with all sorts of onions but I think that a standard yellow one is the best since it´s usually the cheapest one and very rarely get to be the center of a dish.
If you´re not into truffles the onions is great served with most other seasoned butters, like herbs or cheese. Also it´s great to serve as a side to grilled meats and stews.
Salt baked onions with truffle butter
coarse sea salt
Without peeling the onions brush them with vegetable oil and sprinkle with loads of coarse sea salt. Roast in the oven whole on high heat until the onions are cooked through. Turn them a few times during the cooking. Check them by poking them with a thin knife to see if they are soft all the way through, it´s OK to let them cook a while after they are soft, just make sure you don´t let them under cook because then to much of the raw onion flavor will be left. Once completely soft remove from the oven and let cool for a while.
If you want to prepare this dish a little bit of time before serving it´s better to turn of the oven and let the onions stay in the oven until serving, the won´t overcook but they will keep their heat for quite some time.
Whip butter at room temperature with the truffle oil, chopped truffles and a little bit of black pepper. Peel the onions and serve with the butter and a few leafs of parsley. Make sure you taste onions before serving to check if they are salty enough, if not just add salt before serving. Good luck.
Sliders are my favourite way of serving hamburgers, you can eat many and you can put different toppings for each one. I´m starting with classic toppings so I have the opportunity to come back with more ideas for great sliders.
So this is home made buns, mayonnaise, lettuce, burger, cheese and tomato. I do know that a lot of hardcore burger eaters like their burgers with only cheese and bread but I think that gets to rich, the lettuce and tomato adds better texture and serving food with a great variety in textures and temperature almost always make it better.
For the buns I used a standard wheat dough and rolled small buns that I brushed with a little bit of egg yolk before baking them. Home made or store bought mayonnaise is up to you.
Combine the ground beef with a little bit of water, salt and pepper and shape hamburgers. If you´re making your own buns then make them before you shape your burgers so you can make them in the same size as the buns. Also remember that the burgers will shrink a little bit when you cook them so make the burgers a little bit bigger than the bun.
Cut the buns and roast in a dry pan, fry the burgers. Dress the burger with mayonnaise and lettuce, add the burger, cheese and tomato. Good luck.
Risotto is always a good choice and I really like to serve it on it´s own, you don´t have to serve that much because most risottos are very rich. This one is slightly lighter thanks to the lemon.
Lemon risotto with pickled lemon rinds & black pepper
Italian arborio rice
dry white wine
salt, black pepper
light chicken stock
Cut away the rind from the lemon, you´ll need all of the skin and let a little bit of the meat stay attached to the rind. Cut the rind in cubes, bring water to the boil and add the lemon rinds, let simmer for ten minutes. Then discard the water and repeat three times. This will remove most of the bitterness but will still keep a little bit of the lemon flavor. Also the remaining bitterness will give the dish great flavor and a little bit of contrast to the acidity of the lemon juice. Once the rind is cooked bring equal parts water and sugar to the boil and add the rinds together with a few drops of lemon juice. Let simmer for ten minutes and then leave to cool.
Dice garlic and shallots and add to a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Let the onions cook on low heat for five minutes, then add rice and let cook another five minutes on low heat. Turn up the heat a little bit and add a little bit of white wine and lemon juice and stir gently. Once the lemon and wine is almost gone add chicken stock a little at the time constantly stirring until the rice is almost done. You will want to keep a little bit of bite to it and the rice will keep cooking even after you remove it from the heat so be careful not to overcook it. Once the rice is almost done add a knob of butter and grated Parmesan cheese and a few drops of lemon juice.
Let the risotto rest for a few minutes and then adjust the flavors with salt, pepper, Parmesan and lemon juice if necessary. Plate the risotto and add some extra black pepper, olive oil, Parmesan and the pickled lemon rinds on top. Serve warm.
White polenta is just what it sounds like, white polenta. The taste and texture are the same but I think you can get really nice colors if you combine the white polenta with something colorful. I cooked the polenta in a light chicken stock and added some Parmesan before serving. Fried fresh chorizo and some peppers gives the dish some more flavor and using some of the fat from the chorizo when serving gives the polenta great contrast.
It´s very easy to start adding green herbs and other stuff to a dish like this and of course there is nothing wrong in doing so but I think it looks really nice to just use these two colors and keeping it very simple, your choice.
Chorizo with white polenta & roasted red peppers
fresh Spanish chorizo
light chicken stock
Bring the chicken stock to a boil together with some water and a few drops of olive oil, add the polenta and let it simmer for half an hour on low heat. Keep adding water and stock if necessary (it will be necessary because polenta seems to be able to hold an insane amount of water), season the polenta with salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.
Slice the chorizo and dice the red peppers in big chunks, fry them together on low heat until heavily roasted. Roasting them on low heat makes the chorizo release a lot of it´s fat and it will give the peppers a smoky very powerful chorizo flavor.
Serve the polenta in a small bowl, put the peppers and chorizo on top and add a few drops of the now dark red fat from the pan.
Good tasting roe on grilled bread with some lemon flavored crème fraiche and fresh cress to give it a bit of spice. Classic, simple, elegant and great tasting. This is very simple to make and is usually very appreciated, you can use any good tasting roe you like.
For these pictures I used lump roe wich is a really cheap one with a rough saltiness and hard pearls that pop in your mouth. It´s not the ideal roe but a great alternative when you´re on a budget. If you can afford it on your budget you can go way higher and usually the quality and taste will be adjusted with what you pay.
Roe on toast with cress and lemon crème fraiché
Cest the lemon and combine with the crème fraiché, season with salt and pepper and let sit for one hour to let the lemon taste develop. You can also add lemon juice if you want more acidity and lemon taste.
Slice the bread and grill, let the bread cool off and then spread the lemon crème fraiche on top, add a spoonful of roe on top and finish off with some fresh cut cress.
Bresaola is such a good product that there is no need to complicate things, thin slices served with fresh arugula, shaved Italian Parmigggiano Reggiano, some olive oil and a few roasted pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch and you are good to go.
Bresaola with Parmesan cheese, arugula & pumpkin seeds
salt, black pepper
lemon or vinegar (optional)
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan or the oven until they are getting a bit brown on each side. Arrange the Bresaola on a plate, combine the arugula with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice if you like a little bit of acidity. Shave the Parmesan cheese and then put the salad, cheese and pumpkin seeds on top of the Bresaola. Serve.
Tuna tartare is a great base for a tapas or appetizer and one of the great things is that it is goes really good with lots of different flavors so you can keep it interesting and still serve it often. Make sure you get some really fresh or high quality frozen tuna, it´s worth to spend a little extra on the fish since you won´t be serving that much anyway. If it´s still over your budget then skip it and make something else. There seems to be a lot of recipe blogs out there so I´m sure you can find loads of great alternatives ;).
Tuna tartare with avocado & chives
Finely dice the tuna and combine with olive oil, salt and pepper. Peel and dice the avocado and combine with a little bit of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Slice the chives as thin as you can. If you want to serve it looking like in my photos you´ll need a round cylinder, a cookie cutter is good. If you are serving something this way to a lot of people you can buy plastic pipes at a hardware store and saw it in smaller pieces. This may sound crazy but it will cost a fraction of for example going and buying ten cookie cutters. Just remember to clean it thoroughly before using them.
Onion rings is quite easy to make and even if you might not get them perfect the first time they will still beat the local burger place, so get going. For this batch I first tossed the rings in flour and then coated them in a mixture of eggs, flour, beer and a bit of baking soda and before deep frying I dipped in Asian bread crumbs, also known as Panko. You can find it in all Asian stores and usually in bigger supermarkets.
Don´t forget to add a bit of salt and pepper into the flour to give the rings a better flavor. You will salt them after frying but a lot of that salt tend to fall off.
I usually serve a dipping sauce for deep fried food but onion rings a more moist than french fries so I don´t think it´s necessary but I you prefer a dip then go ahead.
oil for frying
panko, Asian bread crumbs
Peel and slice the onion and separate the rings. Put them in a zip lock bag and add some flour and shake the bag to cover all the rings. Combine eggs, flour, beer, baking soda, salt and pepper. I used about half a cup of beer, half a cup of flour, one teaspoon and one egg for my batch. The thickness should be about the same as for pancakes.
Remove the rings from the bag and shake off the flour that is not stuck on the onion rings and them put them in the batter and cover them, lift the rings out of the batter and cover in the panko. Deep fry until golden, remove and let drip off on paper, salt the onion rings. Serve hot.
When it comes to lobster there is no need to complicate things, you divide it in pieces and serve it with a good sauce. I bought my lobster cooked so all I did was to split it up, if you are serving it for a lot of people you can put some different part on each plate for example each claw on seperate plates and each tail split in four pieces, that way you can serve each lobster in tasty bites to six people and have a bunch of shells that you can use for soup some other time.
Lobster tail with caper aioli
oil (neutral tasting, I usually use rapeseed)
Split the lobsters in bite size pieces. Blend garlic, chives and capers into a fine paste and put in a bowl together with a little bit of mustard, egg yolks and a dash of vinegar. You´re basically making a mayonnaise with some extra flavors so use the same proportions. Whisk the mix and add a little bit of oil at the time until it thickens. When it´s thick enough adjust the flavors with more capers and chives if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
When you are making a sauce with strong tasting flavors like capers and garlic then start by adding just a little bit, it´s much easier to add a little bit more than to end up with an overpowering sauce.
Making tuna carpaccio is not that hard, get some good fish, slice it thin and add whatever flavors you like. The important thing is that you get really fresh (or good frozen) fish and check with your guests before since not everybody is into eating raw fish. I serve the carpaccio with a little bit of home made mayonnaise that I think add great flavor and the extra little bit of fat goes great with the tuna. In the recipe it only says mayonnaise so either make your own or use any good bought one.
Tuna carpaccio with capers & cress
Slice the tuna as thin as you can and plate it, do this as close to serving as you can because it tends to dry out really quickly. However if have to prepare long before serving you can brush the plate with olive oil, slice and add the tuna and then wrap the plate with cling film until serving. Using this method it can be prepared maybe two or three hours before serving.
After the tuna is on the plate add capers, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and olive oil. Serve straight away, good luck.