Thursday 1 December 2011

Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Crème Fraîche and Parmesan Crisp

From Biró: European-Inspired Cuisine, Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró, Gibbs Smith, 2005.

This is not a book for vegetarians but on glancing through the pages I felt that there were adequate recipes to make it worthwhile.

Marcel Biró being an acclaimed chef and opening his own restaurant, Biró, in the United States, the recipes should be reasonable. The book is a collection of recipes from the SBS Series The Kitchens of BIRÓ.

The first part of the book consists of amuse-bouches. These are supposed to be bite-sized portions served before the meal and generally not ordered but served at the discretion of the chef.

The name for the one I tried was basically longer than the titbit, although mine did not turn out to be anywhere near a titbit.

There were two parts. The first was to make Parmesan crips. This was not difficult. A dough was prepared with water, oil and salt. It was rolled out as thin as possible—thin enough to read through—sprinkled with parmesan and baked.

This worked out reasonably but, even though I halved the quantity, I ended up with heaps too much. However it did serve as nibbles later.

I followed the ingredients list carefully and made sure all the portions were correct. It was basically fennel and carrot grated and mixed in with orange juice and olive oil which had been whipped until emulsified. Crème fraîche was added and seasonings.

It was then supposed to be shaped into a quenelle and served with a Parmesan crisp. There was no way I could turn mine into a quenelle as the crème fraîche seemed to lose its texture as soon as it was added to the other ingredients and became very watery. I put it into a mould to see if it could gain at least some shape. When turned out it just flopped into a runny lump.

It was all right to eat—especially the Parmesan crisp—but it was a most unpleasant sight on the dish.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔

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