The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A copy of my crusted seabass?

I normally read and trust film reviews (well except that time everyone was praising "The Dark Knight" which frankly was a complete scam as it was damn rabbish). This time I am glad I decided to ignore what I read and go to see Copie Conforme (or as it has been translated "Certified Copy" - the translation already gives reason for debate as conforme and certified are not at all the same. Anyway.).

I thought it was a really clever, melanchonic, mellow, and gentle film. I feel that I have to rivendicate it and give it justice - and encourage my readers to go to see it. Maybe it is because I had very low expectations but I am glad we went. What is original and what is a copy? Does it matter to know that a work is not original or fake? Or what matters is how we relate to it? Or the original carries its authenticity which has intrinsic value as otherwise all copies would be on the same level? I liked the thought that the first wedding night has such a value that cannot be reproduced.

Juliette Binoche gives another of her outstanding performances, with a palette of expressions that few actresses and actors are able to put on their faces. I liked the idea that often objects of discussions, for example at some point a statue in the middle of a leafy Tuscan piazza, is never seen, only glimpsed in the mirror of a motorbike.

And I even discovered something from my home land which I had never heard before. In Lucignano, a village just outside of Arezzo, there is a golden tree which is supposed to bring luck and eternal happiness to newly married couples. I must go and see it - not because I am in need of luck. But you never know!

Anyway, I thought the philosophical discussion on authenticity and fakeness was interesting (Monna Lisa's smile was original or asked by Leonardo?). For sure my recipes are original as even if I try to copy them from recipe books I always manage to forget an ingredient or do not have enough of one and so decide to replace it with something else. It works though!

On Friday I decided to make a main course taken from Sale & Pepe, an Italian cooking magazine which is reasonably reliable even though I would suggest your warning sign switches on every time it says easy.....

So what did I make?
Pesce in crosta with sformato di carote (a.k.a. Fish with crunchy crust and carrot flan).

For 4 people


For the fish: 4 sea bass fillets (the original recipe wants angler, but where the hell are you going to find angler??); 1 carrot; 1 courgette; 1 potato; parsley; 2 handfuls of grated parmisan; a couple of spoons of olive oil.

For the flan: 400g carrots (the recipe wants only 300g but frankly you won't even taste the carrots otherwise); 1/2 litre of milk; 150g butter (this is a lot, I know, but for this time!); 80g flour; 3 eggs (I would suggest 2 if you want); 50g grated parmisan.


Make the flan first as it takes 50 minutes to cook.
> Boil the carrots with some salt in water until very tender.
> In the meantime make the besciamelle sauce by melting the butter in a pan, then add the flour and incorporate it well. Once that is done, pour the milk and cook slowly making sure you don't have lumps - these horrible lumps...inevitably you will get them! So secret: whizz everything at the very end, they'll go and nobody will know).
> Drain the carrots and blend them well to make a pure'.
> Add the carrot pure' to the besciamelle. Then add the eggs and the parmisan. Stir well to make sure the egg whites are mixed with the rest.
> Pour the composte into a plum cake tin (previously greased and floured).
> Place the tin in a tray with hot water and put in the oven (previsouly warmed up) at 180C for 50 minutes.

For the fish
> Dry the fish with kitchen paper.
> Chop finely the carrot, potato and courgette, parsley and parmisan. I added some generous doses of breadcrumbs, and oil.
> Spread the mix on one side of the fish and finish with some more grated parmisan.
> Cook the fillets (with the mix facing up) in the oven for 15 minutes at C200 - on cooking paper.

Serve the fillet with a slice of the flan (which you have removed from the tin of course).

I liked it very much. And so my in-laws.

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