Monday, June 29, 2009

Spicy Pacific Tartares for Coronado Concerts in the Park - Challenge Chile Peppers

This week's Concert in the Park Culinary Challenge was Chile Peppers. Whew, we had the Scoville scale covered! Our chefs certainly spiced up my life for the evening, with creations featuring roasted red bell peppers, multi-colored jalapenos, smoked jalapenos (chipotle), serranos, habaneros, poblanos, chile de arbols, Thai, and New Mexico reds.

Mark Miller inspired me a second time this week, with his Spicy Pacific Tartares

Spicy Pacific Tartares - Ahi Tuna with Serrano-Cilantro Mayonnaise & Salmon with Smoked Chiles
From Mark Miller's Indian Market Cookbook, Recipes from Santa Fe's Famous Coyote Cafe

Tartare is a preparation of finely chopped raw meat or fish, optionally with seasonings and sauces. This recipe is prepared with 8 oz. fresh Ahi tuna and 8 oz. fresh salmon. The fish used must be extremely fresh and of the highest sashimi-quality. I found this beautiful Ahi and Salmon from the sushi chef at Bristol Farms.

It is also extremely important to keep the fish chilled. Mark recommends chilling your plastic chopping board prior to mincing the fish and then storing the Ahi and salmon, separately, in stainless steel bowls set over ice and water.

There are only a few ingredients for the Serrano-Cilantro and Smoked Chile Mayos...

Making preparation fairly simple.

For the Serrano-Cilantro Mayonnaise:

Roast 10 serrano chiles on a wire rack over a gas flame. Blister and blacken the skins evenly and then transfer to a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chiles to steam for 15 minutes. Scrape off all the skin from the chiles and cut off the stems, but keep the chiles whole with their seeds. Make sure the chiles are completely cooled before preparing the mayonnaise.

Transfer chiles to a blender and add: 1 egg, plus one egg yolk; 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice; 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves; and 1/2 tablespoon salt. Puree until smooth. With the blender running, add 1.5 cups peanut oil, in a slow, steady stream, until completely absorbed and thick. Transfer to a bowl and keep chilled.

Similarly, for the Smoked Chile Mayonnaise:

Place the following ingredients in the blender: 1 egg, plus one egg yolk; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 1/4 cup chipotle chile puree, and 1 clove garlic. Puree until smooth. With the blender running, add 1,5 cups peanut oil, in a slow, steady stream, until completely absorbed and thick. Transfer to a bowl and keep chilled.

The tartares are prepared by adding 1/4 cup of the Serrano-Cilantro Mayonnaise to the minced Ahi tuna, mixing well to combine, and 1/4 cup of the Smoked Chile Mayonnaise to the minced salmon, mixing well to combine. Again, be sure to keep the tartares well-chilled until serving.

The tartares are supposed to be served with toasted brioche. In my Martha Stewart's Hors d' Oeuvres Handbook, Martha cuts brioche rounds from 3/4 inch slices of bread with a 1.5 inch round cookie cutter, and then sautes the rounds in a little butter over medium heat. I was unable to find a loaf of brioche, and settled on the last 4 brioche rolls from the bakery counter. I sliced each roll into 3/4 inch thick slices, and did my best to cut out the little rounds (obviously, I recommend finding a loaf of brioche, or similar bread, rather than rolls, for ease of cutting and higher yield of rounds). You can also serve the tartares with crackers, such as Table Water Crackers.

These were fancy brioche rolls, but I was also able to manage one round from each nipple!

As I was sauteing the rounds, they reminded me of seared scallops and that's how I came up with my plating idea.

We have a collection of scallop shells for plating hors d'oeuvres, and they were perfect for my vision

In addition to my Spicy Pacific Tartares, our socks were knocked off by the following incredible dishes:

John's Cinnamon-Grilled Chicken with Spinach Couscous and Harissa Sauce

Kai's Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Kai's Stuffed out for that habanero!

Grilled Flank Steak with Chile Sauce, courtesy of Alec & Nina

Brad's version of Crunchy Jicama and Mango Salad with Chile and Lime, heightened by sauteed jalapenos and prosciutto.

Although I wasn't able to photograph everything, some of the other chile-inspired creations included: Pam's Spinach Salad with Chile Pepper Dressing; Jim's Margaritas, with a float of Jalapeno Syrup; Alec & Nina's Chile-Lime Butter with Crusty Bread; Chili served over Jalapeno Corn Bread; and Shrimp Salad. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your Sunday and all your wonderful food!

We're all looking forward to next weekend and Coronado's Fourth of July festivities. We'll meet again for Concert in the Park on the 5th, with Challenge All-American Fare - God Bless America!


Beach Local said...

The grilled flank steak with chile sauce looks amazing. Sorry I didn't stop by yesterday. Crowds and kids were getting all my attention. Great post.


Kai said...

Having finished of all of the Ahi that had remained in the bowl I can honestly say it was fantastic!