It was one of those rare occasions when a young chef dazzles with the refinement and skills one would expect from someone older and more experienced. Chef Cara Davis, a young Filipino-Canadian chef shared her recipes of select dishes from all over Europe, inspired by her trips and her forays in the kitchens of premier restaurants under the tutelage of renowned chefs.
Try your hands with some of these recipes and go on a culinary journey right in your very own kitchen.
St. Peter’s Fish with Beurre Blanc
This fish is easy to cook because it is not easily overcooked. It is perfect with the velvety and tangy sauce.
Beurre Blanc Sauce:
1 pound cold unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
calamansi juice, to taste
1 piece St. Peter’s fish fillet, skin removed
salt, to taste
Prepare beurre blanc sauce. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and chill. Heat the wine, vinegar and shallots in a saucepan until the liquid boils, then simmer until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Once mixture has reduced to 2 tablespoons, lower the heat, and add the chilled cubes of butter, one or two at a time, while whisking rapidly. Remove pan from the heat while whisking in the last few cubes of butter. The finished sauce should be thick and smooth. Add calamansi juice for acidity, if desired. Season with salt. Keep warm. Strain the shallots, if desired.
Dry fish with paper towel. Season with salt on both sides. In a sauté pan, sear fish on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Serve with the beurre blanc sauce. Serves 2.
Cavatelli Pasta with Pistachio Pesto
The shape of this pasta is often compared to a small hot dog bun. Its ridges help to hold in the flavour of the sauce.
2 cups double zero (00) flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Roasted Tomato Topping:
thyme or rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, coarsely chopped
2 bunches fresh basil
1 bunch parsley
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare cavatelli pasta. Sift flours together and form a mound. Make a well in the center. Pour 1/4 cup water into the well then add the salt. Using a fork or your fingers, slowly work the flour into the water, beginning with the inner rim of the well. Continue adding water by the tablespoon until dough comes together and a rounded mass is formed. Knead with the heels of your hand, lightly dusting the surface with flour to prevent sticking. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour or more.
Portion dough and roll dough to 1/4-inch thick. Pass through the cavatelli pasta shape maker.
Prepare roasted tomato topping. Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C. In a bowl, toss tomatoes with thyme or rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a lined sheet tray and roast for 30 minutes.
Prepare pesto. While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the pesto. Add garlic, pistachios and parmesan cheese to a food processor. Process until finely ground. Add in basil and parsley and pulse a couple of times until combined. Add water if desired to add creaminess in consistency.
Drizzle in olive oil until mixture forms a paste. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To assemble. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cavatelli to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Toss pasta in pesto and add in roasted tomatoes and serve.
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