Wow! It is the hundredth post in the blog. Quite a big number, isn’t it? Initially I was thinking of cooking something special for this occasion but then decided to dedicate the “anniversary post” to the dish from which everything basically started.
It was a late August weekend and we were waiting for our friends to come for dinner. I literally cooked my heart out that day: prepared a range of salads and hors d'oeuvres, and took all the pains to make an amazing main course – fish ballotine (quite a challenge for any home cook, isn’t it?) I was very happy with the results of my work in the kitchen and was looking forward to entertaining in the evening when – suddenly – our friends called to cancel their visit. On top of that, my husband rearranged his plans for the rest of the day and decided to meet an old friend of his for a drink. So, I was left all alone, with my overwhelming disappointment and a range of prepared dishes. It was Saturday (which meant there was no Masterchef show on TV) and it was raining heavily outside (which perfectly corresponded to my gloomy mood) and I started to think of the ways of spending the evening. A sudden idea crossed my mind – taking the pictures of the food that I’d cooked…
It was a great surprise for me to discover that I actually enjoy styling food! Then there was an album on the Facebook with the pictures of my dishes and I was pleased to get a very warm and emotional feedback from my friends. When a number of people who kept asking me to hold culinary master classes became too high, I found a solution – I started this blog. It was – and still is! – a great way to put not only the photos but the recipes of the dishes, together with some stories that hide behind them.
So, today I told you one of these stories. And the photo of the fish ballotine, mentioned in it, always reminds me of that great day when I expanded the borders of my “hobby sphere”: from pure cooking to food photography and blogging. Ironically, now I’m grateful to the friends who didn’t manage to come that day: if it were not for that fact, I wouldn’t be writing this post now!
Recipe adapted from “Recipe collection” magazine
500 gm white fish fillets
250 gm salmon
250 gm barramudi
2 tbsp ketchup
1 egg, separated
150 ml milk
2 tbsp flour
45 gm butter, melted
200 ml cream
1 celery stick
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Poach barramudi in salted water or court-boullion. Let it cool completely, and then puree in a blender with ketchup and egg white.
- Bring milk to a boil over medium heat. In a bowl, make a paste with the flour and the egg yolk, gradually add the hot milk and the melted butter. Return the mixture to the pan, season and cook, stirring, over low heat till it thickens. Let it cool, then mix with the barramudi puree. Put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours, then add the cream and return to the fridge till ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Cut the salmon into thick strips. Arrange the white fish fillets, overlapping on a large piece of lightly greased foil. Season the fillets. Take the barramudi mixture from the fridge and spread it over the white fish fillets. Arrange the strips of salmon in a single row, together with the celery stick. Use both hands to roll the white fish tightly around the filling. Wrap the ballotine in a few layers of foil, place on a baking tray and put in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Transfer the ballotine to a wire rack. Place a big plate underneath and make a few holes in the foil in order to release the excess moisture. Let the ballotine cool slightly, then unwrap it and cut into pieces. Serve with some grilled or steamed vegetables.