Sunday, March 30, 2014

Potato Salad

This is a simple and easy-to-do potato salad that packs flavour. Its great for pot luck gatherings and can be done a day in advance of the party.

One important note though, get the waxy skin potatoes as opposed to the rough skin kinds. Waxy potatoes have a lower starch content and will hold their shape better after cooking. They will retain more of a bite as opposed to the starchy variety. Among the potato varieties commonly found in our local markets, I use the "Bastragi Granola" or "New potatoes" (potatoes harvested young) for salads. The red potatoes are great as well. Basically, go for a potato that has a smooth slightly waxy exterior.

The most common starchy potato variety found here is the Russet etc. Starchy potatoes have a very rough exterior. They are great for fries, curries and baked whole. They have a higher starch content and has less of a bite when cooked. The russet potatoes are what I used for the crispy oven baked potatoes.

We do not get a large variety of potatoes being an Asian city state but I guess you are still able to find at least 1 type of waxy potato in the nearby market/supermarket.

Here is what you'll need for 4
500g potatoes.
4-6 Hard boiled eggs (optional) - quartered length-wise.
3 stalks spring onion - sliced
1/2 diced zucchini (optional)
1/2 smallish yellow onion - finely diced
1/2 Mayo (The Japanese mayo seems to garner a more positive response from my guests)
3-4 tablespoons Bacon Chips  - self made or store bought is fine. I do not recommend the artifical bacon chips though.
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook the potatoes. Place them in a pot with enough water to fully cover the potatoes. Cover and boil over the stove. When the water comes to a boil, lower heat and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Take out one potato and check whether its done by poking a fork into the potato. If it goes in without alot of strength required, your potato is done. Leave it to cool to room temperature. About an hour or so. Cut the potatoes into large bite sized chunks and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl add in all the spring onion, diced onion, zucchini, bacon, a small pinch of salt, sugar and a generous hit of black pepper. Mix well. Then add in the mayo and mix everything together. Doing it this way helps to ensure a uniform distribution of ingredients. (hopefully preventing your guests getting a spoonful of onion!).

3. Add in the potatoes and eggs in the large bowl with the mayo. Mix well. Best served after chilling for at least an hour or 2.

4. Garnish with spring onion and bacon and serve.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pan Fried Fish Fillet and Red Pepper Sauce

This is a simple and healthy dish to put together at home. The hardest part about the dish is the sauce, which is really not that hard.
Fish Fillet with Red pepper sauce and asparagus.
The sauce is sweet and slightly spicy, which I feel goes great with the fish. Great as a carb free meal but I will recommend complimenting the dish with oven roasted potatoes if you are looking for a more substantial meal.

As any pan fried fish dish, be careful not to overcook the fish. There is no special reason I used asparagus here. I like asparagus and just happened to have them in the fridge. I used a halibut fillet but you can use any white fish fillet you prefer.

Ingredients for 2:
2 pieces of white fish fillet. About 150-200 grams each.
180 grams asparagus
1 average sized red capsicum - diced
Half a yellow onion - diced
1 clove of garlic - sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular sweet paprika is fine too)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Light olive oil/cooking oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a sauté pan, heat some cooking oil over medium heat. When oil is heated, add in the capsicum, onions and garlic. Fry until soft. About 5-7 minutes or so. Then add in the paprika and fry for another minute, for the paprika to release its aroma.

2. Then deglaze the pan with the white wine and remove from heat and set aside to let it cool.

3. Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for a minute and a half. Remove and shock in cold water to prevent them cooking further.

4. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

5. Puree the sauteed capsicum in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

6. Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a saute pan, heat some cooking oil over medium high heat. When oil is heated, sear the fish fillets about a 1-2 minutes per side. Depending on the thickness of your fillet. 

7. Serve the fish with the asparagus and sauce immediately.  

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