Baked Arctic Char with Ginger Lemon Tomato Relish and Rich Risotto is The Sophisticated Choice You’ve Been Looking For.

Main Course / March 17, 2021

Slaving over a hot stove is usually a reference saved for those bound to tortured servitude; a permanent underclass of kitchen help that rarely sees the light of day:  A statement I disagree with on almost every level. I personally find it incredibly soothing to stand before a steaming pan of food. And I have the gall to do it in front of my guests, wearing blingly bracelets, and sipping an embarrassingly expensive glass of wine.

So, when there is a creamy, cheesy, classic risotto on my stove in front of me, I’m almost giddy. Yes, it is about 40 minutes from heating the oil to spooning the mixture into your mouth. And it asks patience, but the rest of the technical acumen needed for this classic rice dish includes how to wield a large ladle, and knowing how to say “yum.” That’s about it.

Forty minutes may seem like a long time for you to be vigilant, slowly adding stock to a simmering saucepan of Arborio rice until it bursts into a white cloud of perfection, but the end result is a thick, soft, and beautiful side dish. It is also versatile. If you can follow the process of heating, and add aromatics, toast the rice, deglaze with wine, and then ladle in the liquid, you can add anything to change the theme. I’ve created risottos using mushrooms, apples, raisins, even salami to create an endless series of variations. In this case I added preserved lemons, and fresh ginger along with the cream, parmigiana reggiano cheese, and sweet onion. This gave the finished dish so much depth and mystery that’s it is almost hard to think it needed anything else to go with it. Trust me though. It gets better.

Arctic char is a fish that has the color and sweetness of salmon and the fresh flavor of trout. It is hearty yet luxurious. And so easy to make. When cooked it is turns into a gorgeous saffron orange. The hue is vibrant, sassy, and honest. I needed that kind of sophistication to go along with my risotto.

I used heirloom tomatoes for the relish because I wanted the deep red of those whose colors are more like brick than fire engine red. It made a beautiful dish in the end. You can use any tomato but the trick with this relish is to remove all the seeds. After halving and then quartering them, a sharp knife run along the inside to quickly remove the liquid and seeds gives you the result you desire. I added jalapeño for a bit of heat that pushes against the heady ginger and lemon, and makes the earthy sweet fish pop on your palette. The entire dish is balanced, and classy. The best way known to eliminate any underclass or torture from any sector you are a part of.


 

Mushroom, Apple, and Sage Puff Pastry Tart with Honey Mustard Cream Sauce

Serves 4


INGREDIENTS:

12 oz. sliced baby bells mushrooms
1 large, sweet apple like Fuji or Gala, peeled and small diced
4 T OliveThis! Mushroom Sage oil divided
1+ t kosher salt and more for sprinkling before baking (A also used a coarse pink sea salt for garnishing the tart before cooking.)
1 T thinly sliced (julienned) fresh sage leaves
6 large fresh sage leaves
5 T butter divided
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

SAUCE

Mix all well with whisk and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
2 T yellow mustard
4 T mayonnaise
1 T OliveThis! Mushroom Sage oil
3 t white wine vinegar
2 t heavy cream
2 T honey
1 heaping T fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley


METHOD:

  • Heat a large saucepan to high. Add 2 T butter and 2 T mushroom sage oil. When oil is hot add the mushroom. Let them sit for a bit and sauté and begin to brown. You need a pan large enough that the mushrooms can almost sit in a single layer. Once they start to brown add the apple. Toss and move around in the pan until apples are soft and mushrooms are brown. Remove, put in a bowl, set aside to cool about 20 minutes. You can do this up to 3 hours ahead if you like.
  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Roll out the puff pastry to a large square than can fit on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. About 11” by 11”. Score around the outside of the pastry so there is a ½” border. Don’t cut all the way through. Just enough so that you have a nice crust. This indentation is important for the look of the tart. Arrange apples and mushrooms even over tart but keeping inside edge you just scored. Drizzle with the rest of the sage oil; about 2 T. Top with the sliced sage leaves.
  • Add about one teaspoon of the pink sea salt dusted on top of the tart. While oven is preheating put the tart in the freezer for 5 MINUTES. NO MORE. Then put in preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until edges are very brown. Let the tart edges get brown so the middle pieces aren’t soggy. While tart is cooking melt the rest of the butter, about 3 T butter to a small saucepan. When hot add the sage leaves. Let sizzle on each side in the butter for about 20 seconds. Remove. Set aside. And use to garnish the tart.
  • Serve with honey mustard sage cream sauce on the side or drizzled over the tart pieces!


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