Monday, October 29, 2012

Eggs Hussarde (Classic New Orleans Breakfast)

I attended the Louisiana Book Festival this past weekend, which was coupled with gorgeous, brisk weather. I got to spend the day running into friends and exploring the State Capitol.

In addition to all that, I picked up a copy of Brennan's New Orleans Cookbook, published in 1961 and jam-packed with recipes from the historic New Orleans restaurant. I love old cookbooks, even if I frequently find myself gaping at the amounts of butter called for and clucking, "Okay, Mrs. Antoine Deshotels, maybe not THAT much."

This recipe I chose for this morning is essentially Eggs Benedict with the addition of marchand de vin sauce and a tomato slice.

The key here was timing, with making the sauces from scratch and poaching the eggs. I started with the marchand de vin sauce. My dad used to make this for beef tenderloin, and it's a rich, silky beaut of a sauce.

First I melted the butter (so much butter, so I cut down on it slightly), and then added the chopped mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, and ham.

I sauteed these for about 7 minutes, until the onions were golden-brown, and then I added in the two tablespoons of flour and Tony Chachere's seasoning (if this isn't available in your area, add salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne).

I let the mixture cook for another 8 or so, minutes, then added in the red wine and beef stock. I brought the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Normally this would be the time when I'd enjoy a glass of wine or watch something on TV, but it was 11:30 in the morning and I also had to get moving on the other components of the dish.

First the hollandaise sauce. I made a double boiler by filling a medium saucepan with water, and heating it up to medium. Then I fitted a stainless steel bowl over the top of the pan and added the four separated egg yolks and lemon juice and beat them together lightly. I didn't want the water to come to a boil and cook the sauce too quickly, so I monitored the heat and kept it fairly low.

Then I added the butter (diced up so it would melt more easily) and stirred the sauce almost-constantly with a wooden spoon, adding the butter in chunks.

Once the butter was stirred in, I added salt and pepper and let it cook on low until the sauce had thickened.

Meanwhile, I heated up two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium skillet and added the Canadian bacon slices and asparagus, sprinkling them with Tony Chachere's.

I also filled a large saucepan with water and a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar, then brought it to boil for the poached eggs.

The ham cooked for about three minutes on each side, and the asparagus cooked for about a minute longer than that. I set those aside and added in the tomato slices.

As the tomatoes cooked (about 3 - 4 minutes on each side), I took both the sauces off heat and set them to the side.

Then I began poaching the eggs, taking them one at a time. I cracked each egg into a measuring cup (1/2-cup size would be best), then brought the cup close to the surface of the water and poured the egg gently into the pan. Each egg took about 4 - 5 minutes to poach.

As each egg cooked, I compiled my ingredients into the final product, creating a little bed for the poached egg to nestle in once it was done.

First I placed a toasted English muffin (and a side of asparagus) on each plate.

Then I added the Canadian bacon.

Next came the marchand de vin sauce.

Then the browned tomato slice.

Then I carefully removed the poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon and placed it on top of the tomato.

Finally, I spooned hollandaise sauce over the egg.

Then I died of happiness.

Eggs Hussarde (Classic New Orleans Breakfast)
(ingredients listed serve 2, though each sauce creates more than enough for additional eggs, tomatoes, etc.)

2 English muffins, toasted
2 slices Canadian bacon
2 tomato slices
Tony Chachere's seasoning (or substitute mixture of salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder)
Marchand de vin sauce
Hollandaise sauce
1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Marchand de vin sauce
1 stick butter
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
1/3 cup cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup minced ham
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's seasoning
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup beef stock

Hollandaise sauce 
4 egg yolks, separated
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 sticks butter

Monday, October 8, 2012

Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

Ooooh, boy. What a mix of deliciously tangy catfish with fresh vegetables and sweet coconut milk. Each bite was impressively flavorful.

It was so nice out today that I didn't get started cooking till it was dark out, just because I wanted to sit outside and bask in the sun I rarely get to enjoy at work.

Then I got to chop up vegetables, drink wine, listen to The Mountain Goats, and hang out with my lovely boyfriend--so I didn't necessarily neeeed the fish stew to make my day, but I welcomed it anyhow. I have a generous spirit.

Once those on Dice/Slice Row had been dispensed of, I tossed the fish pieces with lime juice, olive oil, half the minced garlic, salt and pepper, then set them aside.

I heated up two tablespoons of olive oil in my Dutch oven, setting it over medium-high heat. Once the oil was heated, I added the remaining garlic, the large diced onion, and half the diced green pepper. I cooked these until they were tender and translucent (about four minutes.)

Then I added the diced tomato, cooking it down for five minutes. As it began to mush, I poured in the coconut milk, wine, and vegetable oil. The mixture came to a boil, at which point I added the fish and cooked it for about six to eight minutes.

I then added remaining veggies (sliced tomato, sliced onion, and other half of the green pepper) and stirred to combine. I covered the oven and let it cook for another five minutes--don't reduce the heat!

I then removed the lid, stirred in the cilantro and basil, and seasoned the dish (after tasting) with salt and pepper.

Ladled it over rice, snapped some pretty pictures, and then sat down to enjoy the stew with the latest episode of Homeland. Perfect.

Brazilian Fish Stew
Serves 3 - 4.

1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless catfish fillets, cut into 2-in. pieces
2 large tomatoes, one diced and one thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil (one for fish, two for cooking)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 cup basil, minced
2 cups white rice, cooked