samedi, juillet 21, 2007

The Hunt for the Frigo Cantina (Stingray and Chitarra with Salted Butter Sauce)

We were off to Bologna again today. To a Mall. With Hubby.

Why was the guy with shopping phobia so enthusiastic about visiting a mall?

Because he is in a race against the clock, trying to find a Frigo Cantina (Wine Cellar/Refrigerator) to house all his hundred-odd bottles of wine probably spoiling away in the current hot Summer weather...

I found him one on Ebay, but of course it didn't suit Monsieur as it had to be with an opaque door (no light must filter in), vibration-proof etc etc. This is when we wish that we were back in France, where wine cellars are aplenty and much cheaper than over here in Italy.

Anyway, fruitless day at the Mall for the poor guy, though we consoled ourselves by shopping for food in Carrefour and managed to find some fresh stingray to make dinner with.

If you ask me, I still prefer to eat my stingray the Singaporean way i.e. BBQ with sambal chilli. But over the years I've been converted a little to the French way of eating it, which is finer and not too bad at all.

The usual way would be to serve it with a Butter and Capers Sauce. But I'm no fan of capers so it'll have to be a little different.

Still, we stick to the poaching method and we poach it in a delicately-perfumed broth (court-bouillon) that we make with celery, carrots, bay leaf, onion, cloves, garlic, lemon slice, anis seeds, herbs like thyme, parsley, estragon, dill etc. If you are lucky enough to find some fumet de poisson from your local fish monger, I would use it too. For a reasonal piece of clean and peeled stingray, it shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes. Boiling broth, put fish inside, cover pot, immediately lower heat to lowest. The meat of the fish should be cooked just enough to be able to leave its cartilage easily, but not overcooked so that it becomes dry and chewy. Actually I already have a similar recipe in my May 2006 archives.

For the sauce, happy to have finally found salted butter, I made a simple sauce with the butter, garlic, shallots, some white wine, the court bouillon (fish broth) and some herbs. OK, a touch of cream as well.

And I served the all with fresh Chitarra pasta that had been cooked in...the fish broth! And then mixed with salted butter, of course.

Actually, the poaching method would work just as well with more Asian ingredients like ginger, lemongrass etc. Depends on the fish and what you intend to serve it with. It's very mutually-benefitting : the broth adds flavour to the fish and vice versa.

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