Savory wins today…enjoy!
If you’ve ever had skate wing with brown butter, lemon, and capers, you know that it is a stellar way to prepare this delicate fish. Sadly, like so many other fish in our waters these days, skate have become over-fished and their “stock” has diminished almost completely. Be weary if you see it on a menu somewhere. All is not lost, however, as Mark Bittman, in the NY Times, treats a lovely piece of halibut in “skate style“. Pan-seared to form a brown, caramelized crust and sauced lightly with the obligatory butter, lemon, and capers…there is no doubt in my mind this dish will be a stunner.
Fermented black bean sauce may not sound all that appealing but, trust me, it is a secret weapon in many Chinese dishes and it packs a ton of flavor. When people talk about adding “umami” to a dish, that savory, meaty taste we all love, fermented black beans can do just that. A Chinese pantry stable, they can easily be found at any Asian market and even most big grocery stores. A good hint from Andrea Nguyen, in this LA Times article, is to rinse and mash the beans first, avoiding the over saltiness that can be a pitfall. If you want to try them out, give these Pork Riblets Braised in Garlic and Black Bean Sauce a try.
Caramelized Onions…I could eat them in almost anything. A true caramelized onion should be golden brown, have no hint of bitterness, be naturally sweet, and melt in your mouth. This doesn’t happen fast and, as Tom Scocca suggests in his article for slate.com, many food writers would have you believe otherwise. My mantra for a perfect batch of caramelized onions is always “slow and low”…cook them for a long time over low heat, even when they feel like they’ll never brown, let them keep going. You don’t need to add sugar, onions are full of them anyways, just give ‘em time. I loved Tom’s article as he spent the time trying all the “cheat” methods to get around the normal 45 minutes it might take to do this the traditional way. The net-net? Slow and low, my friends….slow and low.
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking.