Sunday, 2 June 2013

Fabulous Seafood Fondue

In an earlier post I promised to do the recipes for sauces etc, for seafood fondue. As mentioned in the post on meat fondue, fish is much more delicate, and so some things are different than with a meat fondue. Also, fondue forks are kind of useless with fish, as it falls apart too easily, so everything gets 'lost' in the pot. You need small strainers, or wire dippers, so you can lower into and raise out of the broth easily.  For sauces, I always have peanut sauce - also known as sate sauce, from the Indonesian recipes. It is Wil's favourite. There is also a homemade garlic mayonnaise, a lemon sauce which is indescribably delicious, dill sauce, onion sauce, and sometimes a tomato based spicy sauce. Sauce recipes will follow the basic fondue. I often make the sauces a day or two before the fondue. They benefit from some time to meld the flavours.  I would suggest you limit the people to about 8. With any more than that, the table is too busy, and you won't have a chance to really talk to everyone. (One time we had a large gathering for a fondue, and ended up splitting into 2 tables, with parents at one, and teenagers at the other. That worked very well for that group.) It is very important to ensure that fish is kept cold before cooking, and that all seafood is cooked once it is placed on the table. Do not put raw fish or shellfish on eating plates. Do NOT put left over fish or shell fish back into the fridge raw. After everyone has eaten all they can, pour the unused fish and shellfish into the large stock pot and add enough broth to cover. Makes a great base for Bouillabaisse!

What you need: 6 litres of a light chicken stock or fish stock; per person - 100 gr  of each of the following fish - salmon, cod, halibut, red snapper; 8 or 10 large prawns (31- 40 per pound), 8 - 10 medium large scallops; ½ pound of fresh mussels, or 1 package of frozen raw clams, thawed; crab or lobster meat if you can afford them, (usually we don't); 2 baby bok choy; 1 bunch of  very slender asparagus ( then they will not be woody); baby carrots cut into matchsticks; 2 ribs of celery cut into wedges about ½ inch thick; 2 dozen small mushrooms; 1 small package of bean sprouts; any other vegetable you like, cut into pieces that will cook quickly if desired, or that can be eaten raw. 3 or more different sauces for dipping, 2 loaves of french baguettes, sliced.

What you do:Prepare the stock- use either whole fish and add water, or purchased clam broth, or low sodium chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to minimum, and simmer for 3 or 4 hours.  Cut all the fish into 1 or 1½ inch cubes, and arrange them on platters or in small dishes that can be passed around the table. place scallops, clams or mussels, and prawns each into separate dishes, to avoid cross contamination of raw shellfish. Place all the prepared fish and shellfish in the fridge until time for guests to be seated. Prepare all the vegetables, by washing and cutting into serving size pieces, and arrange on a platter ( or 2) which can be placed on the table so every one can reach. A lazy Susan works very well for this. Of course, in my house, mushrooms get their own dish, and there is always one cooking pot which is mushroom free.
Place all the sauces in small dishes, and place around the table so they can easily be reached by your guests. Set the table with dinner plates, small plates or saucers, ordinary forks and knives, and a cooking strainer, and napkins, for each guest. (The saucer or small plate is for the strainer when it is not in the pot.) Also good to have a 'discard' dish, or 2, - to put bones, shrimp or prawn shells, and mussel shells on so they are off personal plates.
As with the meat fondue, each person chooses the things they want to cook, and cooks their own in the chosen pot. Remind everyone to keep raw and cooked seafood on different plates.
Garlic mayonnaise: 
What you need: 1 egg;  2 tsp crushed garlic - about 4 cloves; 1 cup of canola oil; 2 tbs lemon juice; salt and pepper to taste; and ¼ tsp of saffron. There is a spice available at some Chinese markets, called 'Poor man's Saffron'. It is the dried stamens of the safflower plant, and is MUCH cheaper than real saffron, but . tastes nice, and adds a lovely colour to the mayonnaise.
What you do:  In a blender, process the egg, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and saffron. Add oil in a slow stream and allow to emulsify. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Store in a jar or plastic container in the fridge. Keeps like any bought mayonnaise, but tastes much nicer. 
Lemon sauce:
What you need: ¼ cup peanut  or canola oil; 3-4 cloves of garlic; 3-4 shallots; 6 Tbs of lemon juice;  salt and pepper to taste; 1 tsp sambal oelek.
What you do: mince the shallots and garlic cloves, and place in a small saucepan with the oil. Heat on medium until onion and garlic are transparent. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper, and sambal oelek. Stir well. Store in a jar in the fridge. Keeps for 3 - 4 months. Shake well before each  use.
For the Onion sauce, and Dill sauce: I cheat and use  mixes from Epicure. Add several spoons of mix to 1 cup of a sauce base of  ½ mayonnaise and ½ plain yogurt. Store each sauce in a small container in the fridge.
Tomato spicy sauce: Almost based on a classic coctail sauce, this is made in a similar way.
What you need: ½ cup crushed tomatoes, 2 tsp onion powder, and 2 tsp garlic powder; salt and pepper to taste; 3 -4 Tbs water; 1- 2 tsp sambal oelek.  
What you do:  In a small saucepan, warm the tomatoes and whisk in seasonings. Add water in small amounts to make a nice consistancy, not quite runny, but not as thick as ketchup. Add sambal oelek and stir well. Chill before serving. Store in the fridge up to 2 months.
I hope you and your guests enjoy your fondue.

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