Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dinner Menu for 10

Another dinner I catered for my grandmother and mom. I had to leave early and didn't get to say hello to the artist Sanso. The first and last time I saw him was at his apartment in Paris where he served me an exquisite sweet Spanish wine which he said was his favorite (I can't remeber what it was).

Puree of Red Pepper Soup
(adapted from Sun-Drenched Cuisine)

Red Snapper Fillet in Saffron Sauce
(from Time-Life Book of Hearty Home Cooking)

Boiled New Potatoes

Slow-Cooked Duck in Olive Sauce
(adapted from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen)

Gratin of Fresh Fruit Sabayon
(from my Cordon Bleu notebooks)

Puree of Red Pepper Soup

3 medium onions, chopped
9 cloves garlic, chopped
6 tbsp unsalted butter
10 medium sized red bell peppers, stems and pith removed and coarsely chopped
3 cups canned diced tomato
3 tbsp Pernod or to taste
6 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup sour cream

Lightly saute the onion and garlic in butter until softened, then add peppers and cook over medium heat until peppers are softened.

Add tomatoes, Pernod, paprika, herbs and broth, bring to a boil.

Puree soup in a blender. Heat the soup just before serving. Remove from heat and mix in the sour cream.

Red Snapper in Saffron Sauce

1 kilo red snapper (maya-maya) or grouper (lapu-lapu) fillets
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dry white wine
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme leaves or 2 sprigs fresh
2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
20 black peppercorns
2 tbsp butter
40 saffron threads, steeped in half cup hot water for 10 minutes
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cream, mixed with 1 tsp cornstarch

Gently rinse fillet under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fillets with salt and set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, combine the next 7 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Put the fish in the pan, lower the heat and poach, covered, for about 6 minutes or until fish is opaque and firm to the touch. Carefully transfer fish to a warm serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Incease the heat under the skillet and reduce poaching liquid to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Strain into a small saucepan, including any liquid that has accumulated in the serving dish. Stir in saffron and mustard, simmer for 2 minutes. Whisk inthe cornstarch-cream mixture and cook until sauce has thickened slightly. Pour the sauce on the fillets and serve.

Slow-Cooked Duck with Olives

2 duckilings (5-6 lbs each)
4 medium onions, coarsely chopped
16 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
3 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, including stems
4 bay leaves
4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp herbes de Provence

Preheat on oven to 475 degrees F. Halve the ducklings by cutting through both sides of the spine, set aside the the back bones, neck and wing tips for the sauce. In two roasting pans or one large enough to fit the ducklings side-by-side, make a bed of the onions, garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Prick ducks skin with a fork at 1/2-inch intevals. Rub the ducks with salt, pepper and herbs de Provence and set them on top of the vegetables, skin side up. Roast uncovered for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Cover pan with foil and cook duck for about 3 1/2 hours, or until very tender. Remove from oven and brush duck with the oil in the pan, set aside and make the Olive Sauce.

Carefully transfer ducks to a chopping board. Remove and discard any loose bones, chopped vegetables, and clumps of fat. Quarter or cut the duck in more pieces. Wrap in foil or brush with more duck oil to prevent drying out.

Place roasting pan on medium heat and deglaze with wine, scrapping bottom to loosen caramelized juices. Add water and reduce sauce to half its original amount. Add to finished Olive Sauce.

About 10 minutes before serving, preheat the broiler and set the rack about 10 inches from the heat source. Brush with more oil and crisp duck skin under the broiler.

Place duck pieces on a serving platter and pour sauce over. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Green Olive Sauce

neck, back and wing tips of the duck
1 medium onion, sliced
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
3 cups green olives
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence

Slowly brown bones in a skillet. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned. Pour off any excess fat.

Add tomato paste, mix well, and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine. Add stock and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain, degrease, and reduce to 2 cups. Add sauce from roasting pan.

Before serving, bring sauce to a boil, add olives, and simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Gratin of Fresh Fruit Sabayon
You can use any combination of fruits for this delicious gratin.

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored and eyes removed
3 large bananas, sliced and sprinkled with some lemon or calamansi juice
1/4 melon, peeled and sliced
1 pomelo (suha) segments, peeled and white membrane removed

for the sabayon
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup water
1 whipping cream
4 tbsp Cointreau

Combine fruits in a large baking pan.

Heat sugar and water until sugar has melted. Whip egg yolks. Gradually add hot syrup and continue whipping until cooled. Add Cointreau.

Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold into whipped egg mixture until well combined.

Pour sabayon over fruits. Place under a broiler until browned.

*the Fruits with Sabayon may be broiled a few minutes before serving, refrigerate in the meantime.