Saturday 27 December 2008

Cook's Alphabet 'T'

Cook's Alphabet 'T'

This is the twentieth in my series of 28 postings going through the entire alphabet, as it relates to cooks and cooking. As you can see, today I'm dealing with the letter 'T'.

The letter 'T' is, of course the twentieth letter in the English alphabet, and today's recipe is for a classic Thai-inspired chicken salad (also a great way of using-up left-over Turkey:

Thai Chicken Salad

6 chicken breasts, skinned
750g Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 bunch spring onions, white part only, cut into thin rings
80g red onion, diced
75g coriander leaves, shredded
100ml rice wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
60m extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tbsl soy sauce
1/2 tbsp crushed chilli flakes

Pre-heat your grill and brush the chicken breasts with a little groundnut oil. Place on the grill rack and grill about 8cm from the heat source for about 4 minutes a side, or until the chicken breasts are completely cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine the lettuce, spring onions, red onion and the coriander in a large bowl. Combine the wine vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice and chilli flakes and whisk to combine. Pour half over the salad mix and toss to combine.

Now slice the chicken at an angle. Plate-out the salad and arrange the sliced chicken breasts over the top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Thai Chicken Salad Recipe page, which is presented as part of the site's South-east Asian recipes collection. )

Today's cooking term is Tagine: Tagine iis a meat and vegetable stew that stands at the core of Moroccan cuisine. The tagine is also the dish that the meal is cooked in. This is an earthenware dish with a conical-shaped lid that has a hole in the top. Tagines are cooked on a fire and the cooking ingredients are placed within and minimal liquid is used so that the resulting food is fairly dry. The conical shape of the lid is designed to act as a condenser so that little water is lost from the food by evapouaton — rather it condenses on the conical lid and drips back into the food.

Today's spice is Tasmanian Pepper Berry: Tasmanian Pepper Berry (also known as Mountain Pepper) is a native Australian spice that represents the dried fruit of the shrub, Tasmannia lanceolata which is part of the Winteraceae, a small family of shrubs from South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. The plant itself is mainly found on the Tasmanian Island, Australia; though it on the mainland in Victoria and New South Wales.

In Australia they are used as part of the growing trend for bush food where pepperberries are used to season emu burgers or kangaroo steaks. The berries are also crushed and mixed in vegetable oil before being used to marinate meat. In addition, the berries are used in flavored breads, pastas and pat├ęs, mustards and cheeses. In stews or sauces the pepperberries impart a vibrant red colour which can be very attractive.

Though largely known only in Australia Tasmanian Pepperberry is becoming available through a small number of on-line spice suppliers. Please note that if you are intrested in using this spice for your own cooking, then employ a light hand as they are ten times as hot as ordinary black pepper! The recipe below is for a traditional Australian pepperberry-flavoured dish:

Salmon with Acacia Seed and Tasmanian Pepper Berry Rub

4 salmon fillets
2 tsp roasted acacia seeds, ground (substitute carob)
4 Tasmanian pepper berries (or use long pepper)
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp hot dried chillies, ground
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp flour
oil for frying

Combine all the spices together and mix into the flour. Dredge the fish in this then set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Heal a little oil in a pan and when almost smoking dredge the fish in the flour once again and place in the pan. Fry on the sking side first and cook for 3 minutes then turn over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side until just done through. Serve immediately.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Salmon with Acacia Seed and Tasmanian Pepper Berry Rub Recipe page. )

For more information on cookery-associated terms and information beginning with the letter 'T' here are various links that may well be of interest:

Recipes beginning with 'T'
Spices beginning with 'T'
Herbs beginning with 'T'
Wild foods beginning with 'T'
Cook's glossary 'T'

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