Le Cordon Bleu, Essential Cuisine Skills week 2…

week 2 week 2 b

Week 2 and I couldn’t be more excited to get back in the kitchen and back under the watchful, humourous eyes of Chef Anthony, our fantastic teacher for this course. On the menu tonight? Prawn Bouquet with lime, yoghurt mayonnaise and Salmon Escalope en Papilotte. Urgh…sounds horrible doesn’t it?! Looks awful doesn’t it?!

I am a colossal fan of mayonnaise. Classy I know. In my eyes, it’s the perfect condiment adding a creamy coolness to dishes lively with spices and a luscious, satiny textured cap to just about any food. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never made it myself though. Well, tonight I learnt not only how ridiculously easy it is to do but how much blow-your-mind better it is than anything bought off the shelves.

Seriously.

If you’ve never done it, I urge you to stop reading…well, at least make a note for later…and try it. With only 5 ingredients needed, it’s simply a case of mixing your egg yolks, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper together before steadily drizzling in sunflower oil, all the time vigorously whisking and then ending with the addition of white wine vinegar and in this case plain yoghurt and lime juice. I could douse everything in my fridge with this… in fact, everything in my fridge might simply act as a vehicle to get this sauce into my mouth. If you like mayonnaise, please, make this and then you too can be this ludicrously in love with it.

The perfect accompaniment to this much exalted mayonnaise was insanely large, plump and quickly pink tiger prawns which were blanched in court bouillon, a speedy stock made of mirepoix plus water, white wine and white wine vinegar with a star anise thrown in for good measure. It’s a common liquid to poach fish, shellfish and white meat in and this was exactly what we did here, resulting in these beauties…

week 2 c

And to go with them, the salmon which we were going to serve atop a sunset hued sauce Portugaise comprising of olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and basil and beside a darkly rich olive tapenade…

week 2 e

The salmon steaks needed nothing more than lemon zest, salt and pepper to enhance them and then they were baked in the oven in silicone paper parcels. This is such a wonderful way of cooking fish as it’s a) simple, b) healthy and c) quite showy. A touch of drama at dinner (of the fabulous food and not the hideous guest kind) is always welcome and there’s something rather nice about placing steaming parcels on the plates of your guests and allowing them to be individually unwrapped, oohing and aahing as they do.

week 2 d

There are times when the roast chicken and comfort food mash of last week is necessary, usually on a rainy Sunday afternoon and served alongside a glass of red. Then there are times when fresh, simply flavours and ingredients are craved and that’s when this dish delivers on every level. Crack open a Corona, drop a lime wedge in the top and enjoy this beautiful bounty of the sea and the Med…

week 2 f  

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