The fresher the better
Go for a Continental fare with élan
GO CONTI Try out some mushroom and cheese delights
Continental cuisine has always been savoured by diners all over the globe due to the simple method that is involved . The freshness of ingredients is always something that you may not find in the other cuisines.
Stuffed aubergines with feta
Large aubergines (eggplants): 2
Olive oil: A little
Peanut oil: 2 tbsp
Large onion, chopped: 1
Lean minced beef: 225g/8oz
Red capsicum (sweet pepper) deseeded and chopped: 1
Sweet basil, dried: 1tsp
Chilli powder: 1tsp
Feta cheese, crumbled: 175g/6oz
Mozzarella cheese, 2.5cm/1-inch wide: 8 slices
Salt and pepper
Method: Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.
Cut the aubergines in half (vertical) , score the flesh in a crisscross pattern and brush liberally with olive oil. Place the aubergine halves in a shallow baking dish and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
After the cooking time, remove the aubergine from the oven and scoop out most of the cooked flesh, leaving a sturdy shell. Chop the flesh and set the flesh and shells aside. Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, beef and pepper, season well and cook for five minutes, stirring.
Add the basil and chilli powder, mix well and continue to cook for a further five minutes over a medium heat. Add the chopped aubergine flesh to the pan, mix well and continue cooking for a further five minutes, stirring from time to time. Preheat the grill to hot.
Add the Feta cheese and cook stirring, until melted. Spoon filling into aubergine shells and top with the slices of Mozzarella cheese, place in a lined grill pan and grill until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Chicken, wing tips removed: 1 5-6lb
Lemon, halved: 1
Whole garlic cloves: 4
Unsalted butter (optional): 4 tbsp
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Homemade or canned chicken broth: 1 cup
Water, fruit juice or wine, for deglazing
Place oven rack on second level from bottom. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
Remove the fat from the tail and crop end of the chicken. Discard the neck and giblets or freeze for making chicken stock later. Reserve chicken livers for another use. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon, garlic and butter, if using. Season the cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a 12-by-8-by-1 1/2-inch roasting pan, breast-side up. Put in the oven legs first and roast 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear. After the first 10 minutes, move the chicken with a wooden spatula to keep it from sticking. Remove the chicken to a platter by placing a large wooden spoon into the tail end and balancing the chicken with a kitchen spoon pressed against the crop end.
As you lift the chicken, tilt it over the roasting pan so that all the juices run out of the cavity and into the pan. Pour off excess fat from the pan and put the pan on top of the stove.
Add the stock or other liquid and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom vigorously with a wooden spoon. Let it reduce by half. Serve the sauce over the chicken or, for crisp skin, in a sauceboat.
Cream of mushroom soup
Fresh mushrooms: 1 lb.
Onions, chopped: 2 cups
Sugar: 1 1/2 tsp
Flour: 3 tbsp
Cold water: 1 cup
Chicken soup: 1 can
All purpose cream: 1 cup
Salt & pepper to taste
Butter: 2 tbsp
Method: Grate mushrooms and onions. Melt butter and sauté onions and sugar until brown.
Add mushrooms and saute for three minutes. Stir in flour until smooth.
Add cold water and stir until blended. Add can of soup and simmer for 15 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in cream.
Pan-fried fish fillets
Serves 4 to 6
Firm, white-fleshed fish fillets, such as flounder or catfish: 2 pounds
All-purpose flour: 1 cup
Salt and pepper to taste
Eggs, beaten with 2 tbsp water: 2
Homemade dried breadcrumbs: 1- 1/2 cups
Oil for frying, such as vegetable or canola
Method: Place flour on plate or wax paper. Season with salt and pepper; mix well. Place bread crumbs on large plate or wax paper. Coat fish lightly with flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg wash and let excess drip off.
Coat thoroughly with breadcrumbs, again shaking off excess. Place on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help ensure that the coating will adhere to the fish when frying. Meanwhile, heat large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add oil, about 1/2-inch thick, or thick enough to come about halfway up the sides of the fish. Heat oil until hot. Remove fish from refrigerator and fry, in batches as needed, until golden brown, about three minutes per side depending on thickness.
Remove to a clean wire rack to drain. Season with additional salt, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce and potato wedges.
(The writer is Executive Chef, Hotel ITC Kakatiya Sheraton and Towers)
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