Classic Cuisines – Simone Conti

This is a classic French dish, but we will use trout instead of sea bass or cod. In our local area we are blessed with some fantastic local trout. We can use salmon trout or rainbow trout, we can serve this as a starter for a special occasion to impress our guests or as a lunch on a sunny day with a fresh salad on the side and a chilled glass of white wine. Easy to prepare and rich in flavours, with a lovely balance between the smoked salmon and the delicate flavour of the trout.

Smoked Salmon and Trout Mousses Serves 6

450 Salmon trout, cleaned
300ml of milk
1 bay leaf and 6 peppercorns, to flavour
15g powder gelatine
25g butter
2 tbsp plain flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp tomato ketchup
225g thinly sliced smoked salmon
150ml double cream
150ml Mayonnaise
30ml lemon juice
Black olives and lemon slice, to garnish

1. Poach the trout in a saucepan in the milk with the bay leaf and the peppercorns for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain, reserving the milk. Discard the head, skin and bones. Flake the flesh.
2. Place 45 ml of very hot water in a bowl and sprinkle in the gelatine. Stir briskly.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook gently, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the re served milk. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then simmer for 3 minutes until thick and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the soaked gelatine until dissolved.
4. In a blender or food processor, blend the sauce, fish, mustard and ketchup to form a smooth puree, cool it for 30 minutes in the fridge.
5. Line six lightly oiled 6oz(175ml) ramekins dishes with the smoked salmon. Whip the cream until softly stiff. stir the mayonnaise, lemon juice and cream into the fish mixture. Adjust seasoning.
6. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, and refrigerate for 3-5 hours to set, we are now ready to plate. Carefully turn out the mouse from the ramekins and garnish with black olives and lemon slice. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Chablis (France)

This is one of the most popular, classic Italian recipes, any seaside town and village in Italy has is own version depending on the local fish, but be sure the squid and prawns are always present. Usually we will use small cod or small red mullets from the Mediterranean but because we can’t source the right size in UK, we will use some lovely vegetables instead. We will have a great balance between vegetable and seafood. The trick here is to fry them as light and crisp as possible. So always use clean sunflower oil and make sure to drain them well of any excess oil.

Italian Fritto Misto – Serves 4

Juice of 1/2 Lemon
3 violet artichoke with long steam
1 large aubergine
2 litres of sunflower oil, for deep-frying
6 small courgettes (if possible with their flowers attached)
2 medium-large cleaned squid (with tentacles) bodies cut into rings
12 large raw prawns peeled but tails left on
4 sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
For the batter
300g 00 flour
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
250ml of warm water
1 Egg white
To garnish
1 fresh red chilli chopped
2 spring of mint, chopped
Lemon wedge

1. Fill a large bowl with water and add the lemon juice (this will avoid oxidation), then prepare the artichoke one at the time. Re move the tough outer leaves to reveal the pale inner heart. Open the heart and , using a teaspoon, scoop out the hairy choke. Peel the steam to remove the tough outside, leaving the tender core. Slice the artichoke lengthways into quarters. Without delay, immerse in the lemon water solution to prevent them to turning brown.
2. Cut the aubergine lengthways in half, then cut across into 1cm thick half moon shapes.
3. Put a deep pan containing the sunflower oil on to the heat to 180c make sure to control the heat well. Once reached boiling point turn the heat down a bit, what we want is to keep the oil boiling but avoiding it to become too hot and burn all our vegetable.
4. To make the batter, put the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the oil into the well, then mix the olive oil and flour together while slowly adding the warm water. Mix until the batter is smooth with the consistency of double cream.
5. When the oil is nearly up to temperature in another bowl whisk the egg white to soft peaks, then carefully fold into the batter.
6. Fry the vegetables, squid and prawns separately in batches: dip into the batter and shake off any excess, then deep-fry in the hot oil until crisp and light brown all over. Fry the sage leaves last, just for a minute. As each batch is fried, drain on kitchen paper.
7. Serve hot, finished with chopped chilli and mint and lemon wedge, all done!

Recommended Drink: Pecorino (Italy)

I know the tiramisu is such a classic that everybody has their own favourite version. I tried to keep this classic recipe as close as possible to the original and to make it more interesting, we will do the sponge from scratch. So it will truly be 100% homemade.

Tiramisu – Serves 4

Chocolate sponge
100g dark chocolate (70% or above)
3 egg whites
40g caster sugar
25 butter
1 egg yolk
250ml espresso coffee
Tiramisu Mix
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
20ml water
25ml tia maria
700g mascarpone cheese
Chocolate shavings (to garnish)

1. Preheat the oven to 180c (mark 4), in a bowl over a pan of hot water melt the chocolate. Once melted whisk the egg whites and sugar to stiff meringue.
2. Remove the chocolate from the heat and whisk in the butter and egg yolk. Whisk in half the meringue until smooth, then fold in the remainder.
3. Pipe into a tray lined with greaseproof paper and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting, then soak the pieces in the espresso coffee.
4. Whisk the eggs till they light and fluffy. Boil the sugar with water, poor onto the eggs and whisk until cool. Fold in the Tia Maria followed by the mascarpone cheese, but don’t over mix as it will cause it to split.
5. Now assemble the tiramisu. Layer the tiramisu mix with the soaked sponge into a serving glass, let it set for 2 hours in the fridge. Once set use the chocolate shaving to decorate. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Asti Martini (Italy)

Simone Conti

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