Monday, December 7, 2009


The birthday dinner: bouillabaisse.

(recipe from Piera Gelardi)
Serves 10-12

3 live lobsters
1 bottle olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup celery with stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
sea salt
4 fresh sprigs thyme
8 cups water or seafood stock
2 bottles clam juice
1 bottle white wine
2 leeks
2 medium fennel bulbs
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (save shells)
1 pinch saffron
2 cans whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
2 pounds assorted shellfish: little neck clams, cockles, scallops
1 filet whitefish (cod or tillapia)

First cook lobster in hot olive oil in a large pot until bright red. Reserve oil. Seperate lobster meat and reserve.

For the broth, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in another pot, sautee onion, celery, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt thyme for 5 minutes. Add water or stock and clam juice, wine, leek greens (save whites for later) fennel ends (save bulbs for later) and shrimp shells (save shrimp meat). Simmer on a low heat for 60-90 minutes, strain.

Place strained stock back on heat, add 1 pinch saffron, 1 cup leek whites (thinly sliced), 1 cup fennel bulbs (thinly sliced), 1/2 cup lobster oil, tomatoes, orange juice, orange zest, 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, parsley. Simmer until vegetables are tender, then add clams and fish. 5 minutes later add cockles, then in another 5 add scallops. Lastly add shrimp and cooked lobster meat. Once clams are opening, serve with fresh parsley and slices of baguette with saffron aioli (see below).

Saffron Ailoli
(recipe from
Makes 1 cup

20 strands of saffron
1-1/2 tablespoons warm water
2 large egg yolks
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
fresh ground pepper

Soak saffron in warm water in a small bowl for 20 minutes. In a deep bowl, combine egg yolks, garlic, salt and whisk to combine. Very slowly, dribble the oil, whisking all continuously.

Add the saffron and its soaking water, then use the lemon juice to swirl around the saffron soaking bowl to catch any remaining essence. Whisk the lemon juice into the aioli. Add a few grinds of pepper. Make at least 4 hours before using, refrigerate until served.

Beet and Asian Pear Salad
(recipe from Piera Gelardi)
serves 10

2 bunches red beets
2 bunches golden beets
2/3 cup slivered almonds
9 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
2 large asain pears, sliced thinly
1 pound baby arugula leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Wrap bunches of beets in tinfoil and roast for 1-1/4 hours. Sautee slivered almonds in olive oil until golden brown, drain, reserve oil, and set aside to let cool. Season with salt.

Whisk shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, oil from the almonds, salt and pepper to taste together.

Once the beets have cooled down, mix them with the shallot dressing and pears, serve on a plate with portions of arugula.


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