Quick Release Video

Here is a fun look at what a Jimi Hatt and I do on our spare time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v​=n9w6aPM8msM

–matt bolus

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Filed under Books, Brown Sugar, Butcher, Buthering, butter, Canning, Charleston, Cooking, Cream, Garden, Ideas, Matt Bolus, Pickling, pork, Potatoes, Radishes, Salt Curing, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Marrow vegetable

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This post came about in two ways. The first, was when my local farmer Joey Barnes form Barnes Produce at the Nashville Farmers Market brought me this gigantic zucchini looking vegetable. The only reason he brought it to the restaurant is because he had never seen anything like it and wanted to see what we could do with it. Neither of us knew what it was exactly (besides a zucchini on some NFL style vitamins) but he had been told that people cut out the seeds and stuff it with meat and then roast it. I of course thanked him for the unusual and told him that I would update him on what we did with it and how it tasted. Well it happened that we needed a large amount of roasted squash and zucchini for a party menu and thus it ended up in a nice medium dice roasted with bacon fat, shallots, thyme, and mint. Overall it tasted lovely but I was disappointed at the fait that it had met.

The second point comes with the annual review of the canning recipes and the desire to start making pickles, jams, and other various projects to put the summers bounty away for future use. My wife Kelly had been reading a canning book that sparked my interest. While looking through the index of the book, which I often start with, I noticed a recipe that I could not believe was possible. It was a canning recipe for “Pickled Marrow and Onions”. How could this be? You mean to tell me that you can pickle and can beef marrow with onions? That has to be delicious, or disgusting, depending on who you ask. Well the answer quickly came when I turned to the appropriate page. The recipe called for vegetable marrow, which I of course not only did not expect but was disappointed to see. I then realized that I had never heard of “vegetable marrow”.

Research on the web led me to discover that vegetable marrow, also known as a marrow vegetable, was a zucchini type vegetable. Originally cultivated in England, these vegetables can grow to be the size and weight of a large pumpkin. They are also notorious for having a bland flavor and are traditionally stuffed with meat of some sort and roasted whole. Then it dawned on me that I had not only seen this vegetable but had just recently turned it into a mere fast saute. What a shame. The next one I get will not experience such a meager fate I promise. The picture here includes a common power socket in an attempt to show the actual size of the marrow vegetable.

–matt bolus

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Filed under Books, Canning, Cooking, Flavor, Garden, Ideas, Marrow Vegetable, Matt Bolus, Pickling, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zuchinni

Finished Bottarga

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The bottarga came out of cure today. The scent is wonderful, salty, essence of the sea, citrus, and the slightest hint of coriander. The texture is firm, no give in any section. And the color as you can see is an orange yellow with a little rosy color through the center. With two large lobes of roe and two smaller lobes I decided to cut one of each in half to see inside. The uncut portions have been wrapped and returned to the walk in. The cut portions I decided to put in the dehydrator on 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason behind this is that all of my research into bottarga has mentioned the element of sun drying after the salt curing. I can only imagine what kind of bugs I might attract if I were to leave fish roe uncovered out in the summer sun. So the dehydrator is going to have to be the best substitute. I have to admit that I was to busy today to try any type of cooking with it today. I plan to try it out with a simple pasta and butter dish as soon as possible. I will of course compare both the dehydrated and the refrigerated side by side to see if there is any difference. I was also thinking that in the worst case scenario the dehydrated version could be ground to a powder for an unknown enriching agent in a sauce, soup, or pasta dish.

–matt bolus

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Filed under Bottarga, Cooking, Coriander, Eggs, Fish, Fish Eggs, Fish Roe, Flavor, Ideas, John Dory, Matt Bolus, Roe, Salt Curing, Uncategorized

Bottarga Half Way Finished

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Just a quick look at the bottarga that I am working on using the wonderful roe harvested from a John Dory fish. I originally cured the roe in a mix of salt, corriander seed (not toasted), and lemon zest. At this point the roe has been in the cure for two weeks. I brushed off all of the salt mix possible, but did not rinse it off. I am now going to cover it all again in just plain kosher salt and allow it to finish curing. The roe has a noticeable stiffness though I can still feel some softness in the center of the larger sacks. The smaller roe seems to be a bit stiffer but is still very flimsy, but that may be due to the size as opposed to the amount of time in cure. The smell is of the sea with hints of citrus.

–matt bolus

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Filed under Bottarga, Eggs, Fish, Fish Eggs, Fish Roe, Flavor, Ideas, John Dory, Matt Bolus, Roe, Salt Curing, Uncategorized

American Red Snapper

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Such a beautiful example of the American Red Snapper. There will be those that confuse this with any old red snapper and that is unfortunate. This fish is amazing. The flesh is flaky and white with the slightest taste of the sea. For the true seafood lover this is definitely a fish to seek out. In saying that I do not mean deep-fried. I like any good culinarian appreciate, devour a perfectly deep-fried filet of fish, but this is not the one to do that to. This fish needs to be pan seared or grilled on a well oiled grill. In the pan I have to suggest finishing with a small slice of butter, fresh thyme, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Just a quick baste and you will love it forever.

— matt bolus

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Filed under American Red Snapper, Butcher, Cooking, Fish, Flavor, Matt Bolus, Snapper, Uncategorized

Dory

 

Here is a beautiful example of a John Dory. Unfortunately this is a fish that is rarely seen in the States. Why, I am not certain. Living in Charleston where the seafood is more plentiful than Nashville we would see these from time to time but nothing on a regular basis. When I lived in London the John Dory was a regular at both the fish mongers as well as on menus. This fish has a wonderful flavor and is a great mix of soft white flesh that is not as flakey as snapper but is so buttery rich you can not pass it up. Even the skin when properly crisped in a pan is lovely.

One of the most interesting stories about the John Dory that has always caught my attention is a name that it is commonly known by, St. Pierre or San Pierre. One of the stories I have heard is that Saint Peter himself held the fish to remove a piece of money from its mouth which resulted in the dark spots on the side of the fish. The fish monger I worked for, Dave Blagden, explained it to me that Saint Peter left his thumb print on the side of the fish showing people how to handle the fish so they may learn to harvest the flesh for food. I tend to believe those who are master fishmongers, much less fourth generation master fishmongers. I also like the thought of Saint Peter teaching the masses how to handle such a defended fish.

This fish is one of the most difficult to learn how to filet. The entire perimeter of the fish is covered with small armor plates and thorns/spikes, however you want to describe them. I can easily remember the first time I tried to grab one of these. I remember it so vividly because of the cuts that it left on my fingers. From the eyes to the tail this fish is covered with spikes. So the story goes that Saint Peter picked the fish up from the center of the body, where there are no spikes, to show the people how to handle it. In order to filet the fish you have to cut under each and every plate, then run your finger or thumb back through the cut to release the meat. From there you can filet it as every other fish. The other wonderful part of this fish is the roe. Many of the John Dory you have the chance to filet will be filled with large sacks of eggs. These roe sacks can not be forgotten. I have featured them in other post and have had great success in turning them into a house version of Botarrga

–matt bolus

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Filed under Bottarga, Butcher, Buthering, Charleston, Cooking, Eggs, Fish, Fish Eggs, Fish Roe, Flavor, Ideas, John Dory, Matt Bolus, Roe, Uncategorized

Truffles

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This is picture from last year, but why not. This is a perfect example of what happens when chefs get excited about food. Fresh black winter truffles combined with the best black truffle juice creates perfection on the most simple of dishes.

–matt bolus

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Filed under Black Truffles, Canning, Charleston, Cooking, Cream, Heavy Cream, Ideas, Matt Bolus, Truffle Juice, Truffles, Uncategorized