Recipe Category: Issue 202
Apart from the squid, all the ingredients for this fun little snack can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. If puffed fish skin isn’t your thing, slices of grilled focaccia make a simple, tasty alternative.
Fresh New Zealand arrow squid is one of the unheralded delights of the NZ seafood scene. If your fishmonger is unable to source fresh squid for you, frozen squid will also work very well; just make sure to drain it well before cooking.
Puffed fish skin adds a great texture and flavour to a dish. In a kitchen such as Bistronomy, where we are focussed on as little waste as possible, it is also a way to take a product that is often thrown away and add value. In this recipe I have used salmon skin but most varieties of fish work well. You can prepare the skins in bulk ahead of time as, once dried, they will keep for up to two weeks, in fact their ‘puffability’ will improve a few days after drying as they re-hydrate slightly.
Serve with Hawke's Martini
This is a lovely fresh bite that is super-easy to make. If you are in a hurry you can skip the fennel water cracker and use any good-quality shop-bought cracker or bread.
Both Andrea and I are avid foragers and fennel is perhaps one of the most identifiable leaves out there. As always, when foraging be aware of where you are picking to ensure there are no possible contaminants like spray or doggie doo. For those slightly less adventurous you can easily substitute the foraged fennel component of these dishes with dill from your local vege store.
I developed this recipe to use up any fish trimmings or excess fish, though it’s so good that you could just buy good-quality smoked fish specifically to make it.
We lightly cure our excess fish then smoke it before freezing it with the other ingredients in a Pacojet container. For those that do not have $10k to spend on a fancy ice-cream machine, this recipe works just as well with a good food processor and a sieve!
FENNEL WATER CRACKERS
This recipe makes enough to fill five oven trays. You can either cut the recipe down, or bake all the crackers and keep in an airtight container, or make the dough and keep it in the fridge to bake when required.
Serve with Fennelicious
Like other countries, the origin of Mexican flan comes from the classic French crème caramel. I have eaten flans from South America and even Asia and it’s incredible to see just how similar they all are in flavour and texture, even though the ingredients might be quite different. Thankfully, Mexican flan uses easy-to-find ingredients and is quicker to make than other styles. Just let it cool and it’s ready to serve. Cajeta is a type of dulce de leche. You will find it at Latin American supermarkets.
Chipotle chillies have long been loved in Mexico, but today they are hugely popular the world over. Chipotle chillies are dried jalapenos and their fragrant aroma and smoky taste make a wonderful addition to any number of dishes. It’s definitely my favourite chilli and a must-have in my pantry. This salsa recipe is very simple and goes well with tacos, as a marinade for meats or as a base for more complex dishes.
Beer and chilli might just be the perfect match, so what better than to combine them in a delicious salsa! This recipe takes me back to my teenage days when my friend ‘el Grande’ started his own taco business and salsa borracha was his signature taco topping. Enjoy!
When I was a child, I remember my dad loved to eat guacamole and chicharron rolled up in a taco. Now, of course, guacamole is everywhere, most commonly eaten as a dip with tortilla chips. It’s actually extremely easy to make; it just depends on the avocados you use. In Mexico, we are lucky enough to have a huge variety of avocados at our disposal, but outside of the country there is less choice. I recommend using hass or fuerte avocados, as they are large, creamy and easy to peel.
There is no doubt that handmade tortillas are far superior to store-bought versions, plus they are fun to make. They also enable you to use yellow, white or blue masa flour. Even though nixtamal (the process of soaking and cooking corn in limewater) is the traditional and most authentic way to make masa, it’s very labour-intensive. Store-bought masa is absolutely fine to use and the results are pretty much the same. You will need a tortilla press to make tortillas. You can easily pick one up at your local Latin American supermarket or online. Don’t pre-roll the masa dough into balls, as they will dry up, causing the tortillas to crack. If you are not eating the tortillas straight away, make sure you place them in a tortilla warmer. Keep in mind that handmade tortillas are meant to be eaten as you make them.
Salsa roja can be served fresh or cooked. I prefer the fresh version, but I recommend eating it on the day it’s made, as the tomatoes are delicate and start to collapse into a liquidy mess after a few hours. Chillies de árbol and pequin chillies are very hot, but you can add more if you prefer an even spicier salsa.