I would like to start this article in a different way. This time I would like to turn the tables and ask you:
What is your most essential kitchen tool or gadget?” That ‘thing’ in the kitchen you couldn’t live without?
So….(I’m waiting)! Tell me? What could it be?
This question was presented to foodie dietitians like me and my other fellow dietitians as part of this month’s theme in the Redux Recipe Challenge. I had an immediate idea.
I know, it has to be that small grater thing that my mom gave me (that I use daily to grate cheese and make lemon zest)!
But I kept thinking, is this really the most essential kitchen I use?
I asked other foodies around France (from a food group I am in called Food Lovers in France-from Survive France) their thoughts on this interesting question.
There were a lot of great suggestions: a certain brand of knife, food processor, a spouse (cute) and voilà!
There it was-my runner-up:
A hand-held mixer. A ‘handy’ and very essential tool that does something so convenient. Mix things up right in the pot!
But one person who responded triggered my real answer: my favorite cookbook.
How could I imagine cooking, doing, creating without this? I have used it almost twenty years, (my goal is to eventually cook every recipe inside-I am about halfway there). The recipes are very European, (an American cookbook with roots from Europe) and there are many tips for cooks and notes on how to prepare just about everything. I just love it.
And here it is, my essential kitchen tool:
It is very used. See what I mean?
It is falling apart. But after each time it gets used I just put it back on the shelf to use again and again. It sits in the family of my other cookbooks.
This cookbook has high sentimental value. I received it dedicated for my birthday 19 years ago!
It is from this The New Basics Cookbook (that you can buy if you click on the colored link) that I took the recipe for this month’s challenge. (You didn’t think I would cheat you and leave you without a recipe?)
The recipe is on page 363 and it for Poached Trout.
The beauty of my essential cookbook is that when I have something that I need to cook, I open up the index and find a recipe. I have never cooked anything inedible from this book. (In my humble opinion, haha). What I mean is that every recipe usually comes out the way it should (delicious)!
Poached Trout With A Twist of Jurançon (adapted from New Basics Cookbook)
First open a bottle of dry white wine. I opened up a Jurançon sec. I love this variety which is a combination of gros and petit manseng grapes and is grown 15 minutes from chez moi (my house), in Jurançon. If you cannot find Jurançon where you live, use a dry wine like Sauvignon blanc.
Pour yourself a glass and get ready to cook!
1. In a large cooking pot add the following ingredients:
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup of Jurançon or dry white wine
- a good amount of fresh herbs: in this dish I used rosemary, thyme, parsley. You can also use basil, chives, tarragon, or dill.
- 1 tsp. of salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 strip of lemon zest, 2 inches by 1/2 inch
2. Bring water/herb mixture to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Get your trout ready to be poached. Use the full fish, rinsing it off first. Can you see the picture of ours, fished from the river in the Pyrenees mountains?
4. Gently lower each trout into the simmering herb water and let fish cook for about 10 minutes (or 10 minutes per inch of thickness). Do not over cook them but be sure that the skin is firm to the touch before the next step.
5. When they are done, (gently again with two spatulas), pick up each trout from the water and put on a plate.
6. Prepare the sauce:
Blend 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 4 tablespoons of fish cooking liquid.
A cookbook is only as good as its worst recipe.