Lesson 22: Fishes o' the Sea

Going from this...
to THIS:
...takes some work! But it means some fresh and delicious fish once you get the hang of it.

Fortunately, this week we got to practice our skillz with some fish of the sea! 

Step 1: Remove guts
- To remove the a fish's intestines etc., you make a cut along the ventral (belly) side of the fish
- The cut should stretch from the middle toward the head as shown here.
- Then you have to scrape out the guts w/ your knife or the handle of a spoon (warning: GROSS!).
Step 2: Remove fins
- Use kitchen shears to snip off all the fins except those on the tail
Step 3: Scale the fish
- The least messy way to do this is inside a plastic bag over the sink.
- Holding the fish by the tail w/ one hand, use a spoon to scrape the scales from tail to head (here they use a knife, but using a spoon makes it easier to avoid damaging the fish if you're, uh, less than graceful).
Step 4: Fillet the fish
- This is a great guide for both big and small.
- Use a SHARP knife!
- Cut through the skin first.
- Don't press too hard.
- Your strokes should be small and quick rather than long and slow.

Then use your beautiful fillets to make the dish above- red snapper wrapped in prosciutto and spinach with polenta and shitake mushrooms- that cancels out the health benefits of eating some lean protein...


Lesson 21: Mom's Favorites

This week's pastry class was a belated Mother's Day present for my mom: pate a choux.

Pate a choux- a salty puff pastry that can be combined with either sweet or savory flavors- is the basis for two of her favorite desserts: eclairs and profiteroles.

Though we didn't make these in class, this infinitely adaptable dough is the basis for a few other addictive pastries: beignets, that delightful New Orleans morning treat, and gougeres (recipe here or here), which I first tasted at Tartine in SF.


Lesson 20: Finger Foods

Fancy schmancy!

Appetizers to delight. Just imagine them being carried around by your servants at your next soiree...

Blinis w/ dill butter, homemade creme fraiche and smoked salmon:

CAVIAR up close and personal:

Puff pastry stuffed w/ mushroom cream:

Shrimp and leak skewers with coconut milk foam and crawfish cream- oh, the drama of dunking things in shotglasses!

Lesson 19: Baked Goods

There comes a time in Argentine cooking school when they decide to teach you how to make "American" baked goods. 

The Argentine word for brownie? Brownie. The recipe used melted chocolate, similar to this one for Triple Chocolate Brownies, which is earth-shatteringly good.

The Argentine word for muffin? Muffin. These had "red fruits" in them.

These were delicious: Marbled and Lemon pound cake w/ chocolate and lemon glazes.


Between Meals: Regatta!

Ships that pass in the night?

No, gallant gents steering remote control boats around a pond in a park.


Lesson 18: Bunnies

I think if this week's butchering task had come with the ears on, it would have been the end of me....

Fortunately, this bunny was somewhat unrecognizable:

Thank god rabbits reproduce like...rabbits, because it is really popular here- like veal, I've seen it on almost every restaurant menu, including at the delicious Tegui, where they have a dish they describe as "compressed rabbit." Unappetizing translations aside, our rabbit dishes were pretty delicious... I made rabbit two ways: a creamy, anise liqueur-spiked rabbit stew with ravioli and a rabbit leg/paw stuffed w/ herbs and cheese.

The mise en place for the rabbit stew. Note pretty diamond-shaped veggies:

Bunny two ways: tasty but guaranteed to cause a coronary.

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