Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

Lunch Date Saturday: East57

East57 AmsterdamHonest. I’m a good girl. I would never use the work ‘fuck’ on social media. Imagine if I offended my followers, or worse, came across as overly enthusiastic. Just imagine.
Well, that happened yesterday, on Instagram. Or more precisely, after my lunch at the recently opened East57 — part restaurant, part wine bar, part café and part ‘make-you-salivate’ delicatessen. The establishment is housed in Casa400, a complex that serves as both hotel and student residence.
Perhaps I should start off by saying that we were originally planning on visiting another new restaurant, also in the Dutch capital. But alas. Upon arrival we encountered an almost ghostly joint. Dead and dismal with chefs that were slightly deaf and not really interested in intruders like us. Here’s a tip, Graceland Bar-B-Q (although granted, I should’ve probably called beforehand), don’t announce on your website that you’re open for lunch, when in fact, you’re not. Yet, anyway. Very uncool to have us drive to you, full of delicious anticipation (and hungry as hell) for nothing.
Not really complaining though. East57 was on my ‘to-try’ list, so it was just a matter of typing a new address into the navigation system and on y va! The drive through Amsterdam (which took us nearly 45 minutes thanks to traffic) would be quickly forgotten if the meal was good and the service pleasant.
We arrived at a spacious, bright location with high ceilings, nonchalantly set tables and attractive counters displaying crates of wine, stacked plates, bowls and cutting boards, and a little further on (on the delicatessen side) wooden vats of seasoned olives, oils, Dutch gourmet cheeses, breads, various charcuterie, fine chocolate and more. Products by respectable food companies such as Brandt & Levie, Vlaamsch Broodhuys, De Gouden Ton, and Tony’s Chocolonely, to name a few.
The menu included fashionable appetizers; soups; trendy salads (quinoa with fennel and roast vegetables; Peking duck with mushrooms, sesame, bean sprouts and goji berries; and sweet potato with olives, chorizo and caramelized onions, to give you an idea); sandwiches (pulled pork is their specialty); hearty mains such as sea bream with lemon, thyme and pearl barley; twelve different kinds of ‘bites’ to pair with your drinks; and five ‘platter’ dishes served on sturdy, wooden chopping boards. There was an equally interesting wine list, all from De Gouden Ton (a.k.a. “the best wine retailer in the Netherlands”), to satisfy the oenophiles among us.
Tempted by the variety of their enticing components, both of us decided on a platter. For hubby the meat and for me for the fish. While waiting we enjoyed a robust Malbec. Normally speaking, not exactly what I would order before a meal, but I needed something to warm me up (I get cold when I’m hungry).
Luckily, the platters arrived quickly, handsomely presented, and with a proper explanation of everything included. Even the wine and champagne were served with the same kind of courtesy and expertise as the food.
East57 AmsterdamHans had a platter with items such as a wedge of chunky pâté, pulled pork and black pudding (the only thing he wasn’t too thrilled about as he is simply not a fan of eating blood).
East57 AmsterdamThe seafood platter had a selection of classics and some of my personal favorites including perfectly grilled slices of tuna served on a bed of wakame, zesty and succulent giant prawns, a seared coquille in a shell lined with a sweet and sour cucumber salad, and an oyster which I bathed in shallots and red wine and gulped down with shamelessly primal pleasure.
East57 AmsterdamMy only complaint was a lack of a bowl of lemon water, or at least a wet cloth to clean my fingers. A must if you’re serving prawns, in my opinion.
After our traditional espresso, we walked around the establishment and chatted with some of the personnel. First we went to the wine bar, located on the top floor and serving nearly one hundred wines that can be paired with a variety of bites. Then the deli where we purchased the makings of an easy dinner (pâté, blue goat’s cheese, a loaf of bread and for dessert, a bar of licorice flavored chocolate). And finally the caffeine corner where you can also get your daily sugar in the form of cakes, pies, muffins and brownies.
Needless to say, I was so impressed with East57 that I used the ‘F’ word (in capital letters and after the word ‘holy’) in one of my Instagrammed photos. I should point out that the Palmer & Co Brut Réserve  that accompanied my meal was equally worthy of using a profanity or two. Hats off to East57 for a kitchen and service that managed to bring out the sailor in me.


Pain de Poisson

A few summers ago, I had a lovely fish terrine as a starter at Restaurant Le Cabri in Duras. One of the many memorable dishes I ate there. The terrine was served with a dollop of garlicky mayonnaise which gave it a refreshing ‘kick’.
I never forgot that terrine. In fact, I kept thinking about making it myself but didn’t dare fearing that it might not turn out quite as good. But because fears are made to be overcome (and because I simply had a mad craving for that terrine), I decided to be brave and try my luck at making it.
Cooking from memory can be challenging. Especially if you’re trying to recreate something you positively adored.
I decided to use a mix of three different fish in my terrine: salmon, cod and smoked mackerel. The mackerel’s deep, smokey flavor certainly helped to achieve the taste I so much remembered. I had a slice of the terrine for lunch and I am happy to tell you that the very first bite transported me back to that summer evening at Le Cabri. Mission accomplished.

Pain de Poisson
Pain de Poisson
The recipe makes about twelve slices and keeps for about three days. You’ll want to serve the slices with a salad, a lemon wedge and a spoonful of good, garlicky mayonnaise.

For the bouillon:
950ml water
1 bay leaf
small handful of parsley
small packet of finely chopped soup vegetables (150g)
salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
50ml dry white wine
juice of ½ a lemon

Bring everything except the wine and lemon juice to the boil, immediately reduce the heat and allow to gently simmer in a closed pan for 15 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and allow to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the bouillon. Taste and add more salt if needed. You’ll want the bouillon to be tangy and salty. Return to the pan.

For the pain de poisson:
400g cod fillet
250g salmon fillet
200g smoked mackerel
70g tomato puree
5 eggs
small bunch of chives, plus extra, to serve
200ml cream
salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Once your bouillon is ready, add the fish fillets. Allow everything to come to the boil and immediately reduce the heat. Simmer the fish in a closed pan for 5 minutes. Remove the fish and flake in a large bowl. Flake the mackerel and add to the bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, chives, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the flaked fish and mix well. In the meantime, bring a full kettle of water to the boil.
Line a cake pan with baking paper, place it in a large baking tray and pour the mixture into the lined cake pan. Place the tray in the oven and carefully (!) pour the boiling water into the baking tray (you will be baking the pain de poisson au bain marie).
Allow to cook for one hour and 15 minutes. You might want to cover the terrine with a sheet of foil 20-30 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Carefully remove the cake pan from the water and leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place in a sinkful of cold water and allow to cool for a further 20-30 minutes before refrigerating. Serve cold with a simple green salad, sliced lemon, a scattering of fresh chives and garlic mayonnaise.
Cooking From Memory Menu Le Cabri


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