When Megan called to chat, I was surprised. “Pardon? Megan?“, I answered when I picked up the phone and mentally scanned the Megans I knew. I could only think of one and when hearing this foreign voice on the line, I already knew that it was not her. She carried on to tell me that she had seen a mention of my blog in the Boston Globe a few weeks before, had casually talked about it with her chiropractor on her last visit to see him, to which he had responded:
“Really? Béa? I know her! She is one of my friend and patients’!”
Imagine the surprise.
Therefore, one thing lead to another and before I knew what was happening, I found myself fully embarked on a cooking adventure. Megan asked if I would like to come to her place to teach a cooking class, for a group of women about to leave for a cooking trip to Paris.
“Euh…..sure, why not!” I replied, taken aback and uncertain as to what else to respond. In fact, I was too surprised to think about anything else to say. Of course, I thought about the teaching part which I knew I would feel comfortable with, after teaching French and skiing for so many years. But, the cooking part. I had never run cooking classes before. And, more importantly, what was I going to cook?
Oddly enough, it did not take me long to decide. I wanted the food to look springy, colorful and surprising, yet not too complex and technical. More than anything, I wanted to cook things that I enjoy eating and preparing. I set my mind on a fish and a dessert.
When I arrived at Megan’s house by 9 am on the following Thursday, I felt somewhat intimidated and nervous, but the group of seven women was so friendly that my shyness only lasted for a few min. Dieu merci ! Thank God! When I asked them how much they wanted to be involved in the food preparation, most of my newly found students responded that they preferred to watch me demonstrate the recipes. So for the course of one morning, with them sitting in front of me, I felt like I was starring in a TV cooking show. And, do you know what? I really enjoyed the game!
As I was curious to introduce them to the concept of a verrine — seen a lot in the current French cuisine — I chose to create an all pink Strawberry Tiramisu. I started by making it first so that the flavors would develop while I was preparing the fish.
As to the fish dish, I followed my strong inclination to play with vibrant colors. You will not be surprised then to hear that I used vegetables and fruit like carrots, orange, lemon and ginger for the sauce, ingredients such as scallions and peanuts for the topping, and a bright ocean pink salmon to match the soft orange shade of the sauce. I prepared a Gingered Salmon and Carrot Sauce. Even if I usually find salmon far from being original, in this recipe however, the bite-sized salmon pieces make for a very different experience as they are cooked rosé (pink rare) — which is how I most of the time cook fish, much preferring to keep it undercooked than overcooked.
“When do you add salt?”, “Why do you fold one Tbsp of egg whites first?”, “How much do you reduce the sauce?”, “How hot is the stove?”, “Why does the butter have to be cold?” I heard them ask here and there while I was busy demonstrating. I was indeed the one learning from them, realizing that I had to explain details that I would always have taken for granted otherwise. They were teaching me what to explain better!
When we finally sat at the table to taste the food around 1 pm, my cheeks had turned red and I was hot. I was eager to observe their reaction after they tasted the first bite.
“Yum” is all I remember.
I am ready to do it again!
- 1.5 lb salmon fillet skinned and without bones
- 1 + 1/4 cups fresh carrot juice*
- 1/2 cup (minus 1 Tbsp) freshly squeezed orange juice
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup butter, cold
- 3 inch fresh ginger root
- 3 scallions
- 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- A dash of cayenne pepper
- Fleur de sel
- 2 cups cleaned snow peas, or sugar snap peas and rice to accompany
*I advice that you make your own fresh carrot juice if you have a juicer (mine is the Juiceman Juicer), it is so much better. I would never go back to store-bought carrot juice!
- To prepare the sauce, start by slicing half of the ginger in small pieces.
- Pour the carrot juice in a small pot with the slices of ginger.
- Bring to a light boil, then simmer and cook until the juice is reduced by half.
- Add the orange juice and repeat the process.
- Remove from the heat and take out the ginger slices.
- Add the cold butter in small pieces mixing with a whip and add the lemon juice. Keep warm on the side.
- To prepare the garnish, start by cleaning the scallions. Cut them in diagonal. Blanch them in salted boiling water for 2 min. Remove and strain on paper towels.
- Chop the nuts coarsely and chop the ginger thinly.
- Mix all ingredients with 1 Tbsp canola oil and keep on the side.
- To prepare the fish, dice the salmon in one inch squares.
- Heat 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the pieces of fish and cook lightly for 1 min on one side, then on the other. Do not overcook the fish as it should actually stay rosé, that is a little undercooked.
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- To assemble your dish, take warm plates and place some fish pieces in the middle. Pour some orange sauce around.
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel and add the peanut/scallions mixture on top.
- Serve with jasmine rice and steamed snow (or sugar snap) peas.
- 700 g de filet de saumon, sans peau et arêtes
- 300 ml de jus de carottes frais*
- 100 ml de jus d’orange
- Jus d’1/2 citron
- 60 g de beurre coupé en dés, froid
- 8 cm de racine de gingembre
- 3 oignons tiges
- 60 g de cacaouètes non salées, hachées grossièrement
- 1 càs d’huile végétale
- 1 càs d’huile d’olive
- Une pincée de poivre de cayenne
- Fleur de sel
- 200 g de petits pois mange-tout, nettoyés et du riz comme accompagnement
*Je conseille d’utiliser du jus de carotte frais si vous avez une centrifugeuse, c’est tellement meilleur !
- Pour préparer la sauce, commencez par couper la moitié du gingembre pelé en tranches.
- Versez le jus de carotte dans une petite casserole avec les tranches de gingembre.
- Amenez à ébullition et faites réduire de moitié.
- Ajoutez le jus d’orange frais et faites réduire à nouveau.
- Retirez du feu et filtrez cette sauce.
- Ajoutez les morceauz de beurre froid et mélangez bien sur feu doux. Ajoutez le jus de citron. Gardez au chaud.
- Pour préparer la garniture, commencez par nettoyer les oignons tiges. Coupez-les en diagonale. Blanchissez-les dans de l’eau bouillante salée pendant 2 min. Mettez-les sur du papier absorbant pour retirer l’excès d’eau.
- Hachez les cacaouètes grossièrement, et hachez le gigembre.
- Mélangez ces ingrédients avec 1 càs d’huile végétale et gardez de côté.
- Pour le poisson, coupez le saumon en gros dés.
- Faites chauffer 1 à 2 càs d’huile d’olive dans une poêle anti-adhésive. Une fois chaude, ajoutez les dés de poisson et faites-les revenir pendant 1 min. Retournez-les et cuisez de l’autre côté pendant 1 min. Ils doivent rester rosé.
- Ajoutez une pincée de piment de cayenne.
- Pour composer votre plat, prenez des assiettes chaudes et mettez le saumon au milieu. Versez la sauce tout autour.
- Saupoudrez de fleur de sel et garnissez du mélange de cacaouète/oignon/gingembre.
- Servez avec du riz jasmine et des petits pois mange-tout cuits à la vapeur.