Nov 19, 2015

PIQUANT

The Golden Lime
The Filipino Golden Lime (calamansi), grown here on Moloka'i,
came from the Moloka'i Saturday farmer's market.
Click on photo to view larger
What a great word. The dictionary says that piquant means having a pleasantly sharp flavor. It brings to mind the passion fruit (lilikoi), or the golden lime here in Hawaii, or a sharp mustard, sour cream, etc.  

There's even a beautiful piquant website, that I subscribe to, it's an online journal with writers nationwide, that showcases the crossroads of the food and design industry.




Here are a few of my recipes that have that sharp piquant flavor:

Oysters on the Half Shell with 
Passion Fruit Mignonette Sauce
Mignonette sauce is a condiment usually made with minced shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar. 
It is traditionally served with raw oysters. This is the Hawaiian version. 

Ingredients:
1 lemon, juice only
1 lime, juice only
1/2 cup olive oil
2 passion fruit, cut in half, pulp scraped out with seeds
3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped

36 oysters on the half shell
crushed ice for presentation
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve

Procedure:
Place all the ingredients, except the oysters, lime wedges and ice, into a small bowl and mix well, cover and refrigerate. Carefully open the oysters using an oyster shucker by loosening the muscle from bottom shell, removing top shell. Arrange oysters on a large, deep serving plate filled with crushed ice. To serve, spoon a teaspoon of the passion fruit mignonette sauce over each oyster and garnish with lime wedges. Makes 6 servings of 6 oysters, or 36 appetizers.


Golden Lime Ceviche
(Kinilaw)
If you have been to Mexico, then you know about ceviche. Actually this dish is believed to have originated in Peru. Raw seafood cooked by the acid in lime juice. The Filipino style of ceviche is called "Kinilaw", and uses Golden Limes with tuna. You can use almost any type of raw fish, such as sea bass, as long as it's really fresh. The exception are certain types of fishes in the mackerel family, such as mackerel, or sardines. Other oily fishes like bluefish or jack don't make the best ceviche either, nor do freshwater fish like trout or catfish. Personally I like a combination of raw shrimp and squid or octopus. Normally ceviche is made with Mexican key limes, but the Peruvians used bitter orange or lime juice similar to the Golden Lime, which adds even more acid and a nice golden color. Pucker-up, this tart, bright, and refreshing appetizer makes a wonderful addition to any tropical meal.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 pound of fresh squid or octopus, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
10 to 15 Golden Limes
2 roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 green onions, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeƱo peppers, or to taste, seeds and ribs removed

Procedure:
Place the chopped shrimp and squid in a medium sized bowl. Pour Golden Lime juice over the raw fish so that the fish is fully immersed in the lime juice. Chill the mixture anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, no longer! Then mix in the rest of the ingredients and immediately serve in chilled martini glasses garnished with slices of lime. Makes 6 servings.

Note: See two other golden lime recipes on this site. Chick here.


Hot & Sour Lemongrass Shrimp Soup
Ingredients:
1 pound sweet shrimp, with peelings
4 cups chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice (remove the rind of one of them, see below)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
5 strips of lime rind, green part only
1/2 cup re-hydrated, dried black tree ear mushrooms, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili oil, or to taste
2 green onions, chopped for garnish

Procedure:
Shell and devein the prawns, reserving the shells. Rinse the shells and place them in a large saucepan with the chicken stock. Remove the hard end and outer layer of the lemongrass stalk. Bruise the white ends of your stalks with the blunt edge of a large knife (it helps release the lemongrass “juices”), then add them to the broth along with the strips of lime rind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until the lemon grass changes color, and the stock becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the saucepan. Discard the solids.

Return the stock to a simmer, and add the mushrooms and prawns. Cook until the prawns are pink. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons green onion, cilantro, and chili oil. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. The soup should be sour, salty, spicy and hot. Garnish with remaining green onions. Serve with white rice on the side. Makes 4 servings.


Leek Salad with Tomato-mustard Vinaigrette
Tomatoes and leeks from Moloka'i farmer's market
This is a wonderful, and very different salad with a piquant mustard vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
4 medium sized leeks (about 1 1/4 pounds), washed, white and tender green parts cut into 2-inch lengths
4 ripe roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:
In a saute pan bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the leeks, bring back to a boil and simmer gently, covered, for 5 or 6 minutes, or until the leeks are tender.

Drain, cool, then gently squeeze the leeks to extract most of the remaining liquid.

Arrange the pieces in a serving dish combining the white and green parts of the leeks.

Mix together the tomato, oil, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and spoon the mixture over the leeks. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.


Spicy Thai Beef Salad
Ingredients:
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
cooking spray
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, trimmed if necessary, cut into thin strips
4 cups torn mixed salad greens

Procedure:
Mix bell pepper and cucumbers in large bowl; set aside. 

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, basil, mint and ground ginger in small bowl; set aside.

Spray large skillet or wok with cooking spray; heat over medium heat 1 minute. Add jalapeno peppers, grated ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in steak; cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring frequently. Add to bell pepper mixture; mix lightly. Set aside.

Add lime juice mixture to same skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 30 seconds.

Divide greens among 4 salad plates; top evenly with the steak mixture. Drizzle with the lime juice mixture. Makes 4 servings.


Cornish Game Hen Piccata
This dish originated in Italy using veal (veal piccata). In the United States, the most well-known variant is chicken piccata. My recipe uses a cornish game hen, which is the perfect size for 2 servings, and is more tender than chicken, and the caper/butter sauce is piquant and delicious.

Ingredients:
1 cornish game hen, butterflied and then cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup brined capers
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Procedure:
Season cornish game hen halves with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the cornish game hen halves and cook for 3 minutes. When they are browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Into the same pan add the lemon juice, wine or stock, garlic and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the cornish game hen halves to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, spooning sauce over them. Remove game hen halves to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley. Serve with Fresh Corn Pudding. Makes 2 servings.


Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon 
with Garlic and Dijon Mustard
This is my go-to baked salmon recipe for any kind of salmon, not just Sockeye.

Ingredients:
1.5 pounds salmon
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
lemon or lime slices
1 tablespoon capers for garnish (optional)

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a rimmed baking dish with foil. In a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic, Old Bay Seasoning, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Mix well. Cut salmon into even portions and lay them onto your lined baking dish skin side down. Generously brush all sides of your salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices. Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Don't over-cook or your fish will be dry. Garnish with capers. Serve with rosemary parsley potatoes and lemon-dill green beans. Makes 4 servings.


Lemon Dill Rice with Mustard Seeds
Ingredients:
2 cups long grain cooked rice (make sure it is fluffy and grains are separated)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves (stems removed)
1 green chili (finely chopped)
3/4 cup edamame (frozen soy beans) or lima beans
2-3 garlic pods (grated)
juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
salt
oil

Procedure:
Boil the soy beans or lima beans separately in little water and salt for about 8 minutes. Drain the water and set the beans aside. Take a big plate and spread out the cooked rice making sure there are no lumps. Add turmeric, chopped dill leaves, a little oil, mix well and set aside. Note: This step is important, mixing the dill to the rice and then adding the combination to the cooked onions. Adding dill directly to heat, removes its flavor. Hence it is best to combine with rice and cook it as this retains its texture and imparts good flavor to the rice. Take a heavy bottom pan or wok, add a little oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter, add the grated garlic and stir until it turns light brown. Now add the green chili and the chopped onions and fry until it gets transparent. Add the rice mixture and stir it thoroughly. Cover with lid and let it sit for a 5 minutes. Finally add the juice of a lemon. Mix well. Serve hot. Note: Make sure to add the lemon juice when the prepared rice has cooled down a little, or else it tends to add sourness to the rice. Makes 4 servings.


Cilantro Garlic Sauce
This simple cilantro garlic sauce recipe is very popular in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a delicious condiment used over grilled meats, hamburgers, as a salad dressing, a dip for french fries, or over steamed vegetables. Once you have tried it once, you'll definitely be craving more!

Ingredients:
10 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Procedure:
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Turn blender on and slowly drizzle the olive oil so that the mixture emulsifies and resembles a light mayonnaise. Add the chopped cilantro leaves and pulse gently until green flecks are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Makes about 2 cups.


Pineapple with Li Hing Mui
Originally from China, the name "li hing mui" means "traveling plum". My guess is that it is called "traveling" because this salty dried plum is preserved, making it portable and easy to use in many recipes. It has a strong, distinctive flavor, and is often said to be an acquired taste, as it has a combination of sweet, sour, salty, tart, and even tangy taste. 

Ingredients:
1 ripe pineapple
1-2 tablespoons Li hing mui powder

Procedure:
Peel pineapple and cut into chunks and put in a bowl. Sprinkle li hing mui powder over pineapple. Stir well, adding li hing mui powder to taste. I like it when the pineapple is quite reddish colored. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Liliko'i-Pineapple Ice
Ingredients:
2 cups fresh liliko'i juice (about 28 liliko'i)
1/4 cup fresh liliko'i seeds left whole (about 4 liliko'i)
2 cups pineapple pulp
3/4 cups sugar
2 egg whites

Procedure:
To juice the liliko'i remove all pulp from all the fruit. Place in blender and pulse for 5 to 10 seconds. Pour in a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl and with the back of a spoon push the pulp around until you are left with just the seeds in the strainer. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into a metal or plastic bowl and freeze. When frozen, break up the ice and place a small amount at a time into the food processor. When whipped and frothy, return to the bowl and freeze again. This mixture will not freeze hard and solid, so it will be easy to scoop out to serve. Sprinkle a few of the reserved seeds over the top of the ice when it is served or they may be added when the ice is returned to the freezer for the second time. Makes about 5 cups.
Note: Liliko'i juice can be made in advance and frozen in ice trays then transferred to freezer bags for future use.


Pineapple Lemongrass Sourtini
Set up your tastebuds with this piquant sourtini before your next tropical dinner.

Ingredients:
2 cups pineapple juice
8 stalks fresh lemongrass, 6 coarsely chopped and 2 halved crosswise
4 small fresh pineapple wedges
Crushed ice
1 cup Absolut Citron vodka
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Procedure:
In a medium saucepan, simmer the pineapple juice with the chopped lemongrass over moderate heat for 15 minutes; let cool. Strain the pineapple juice into a jar and chill.

Spear the pineapple wedges with the lemongrass stalks. Fill a pitcher with ice and add the pineapple juice, vodka and lime juice. Strain into chilled martini glasses and garnish with the pineapple. Makes 4 drinks.

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