The Friday Feast | 1 June 2024

Whitefish w/ roast garlic mash & salsa verde, cotechino w/ roast parsnips & braised leeks, easy-as truffle risotto.

Is it just us, or does Friday roll around quicker and quicker each week? It seems like only yesterday we were tapping out the Friday Feast, but here we are again! Like the butter of which we are so fond, these ideas are here to smooth and enrich your cooking week.

Cotechino w/ roast parsnips & braised leeks

Breaking out of our routine can sometimes be a challenge, but the rewards are worth it. Cotechino is not a routine sausage. This week, with one foist upon us for sampling, fresh cotechino was on hand, so we were contractually obligated to create a dish. Start by pricking the cotechino sausage all over with a fork, then place it in a pot of simmering water with half an onion, two cloves of garlic, two sprigs of thyme and two bay leaves. Poach gently for about 30 minutes to render out some of the fat, cook the sausage and infuse some flavour.

While the cotechino is simmering, preheat your oven to 200°C. Peel and chop the parsnips into batons, then toss them in olive oil, salt, and a touch of ground cumin for some subtle spice. Spread them out on a baking tray and roast for about 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are golden and caramelised at the edges.

For the braised leeks, trim the dark green tops and root ends, then slice the leeks finely. Heat a heavy-based pan over medium heat and melt an obnoxiously-sized knob of butter. Add the leeks, and cook gently until they’re softening, about 5 minutes. Add a generous dash of dry white wine, and reduce by half. Follow this with about 200 ml of chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Braise the mix on a simmer, so it is reducing, for about 20 minutes. The leeks will be tender, and you should be able to crush them between your fingers. The resulting thickened sauce forms a silky smooth, buttery coating.

To assemble, remove the cotechino from the pot and slice it into thick rounds. Hit it under a hot grill with a drizz of olive oil to give it some colour and caramelisation. Place the roasted parsnips on a warm serving platter, nestling the braised leeks alongside them. Arrange the cotechino slices on top, letting the juices mingle with the vegetables. Drizzle with a bit of the braising liquid and garnish with fresh thyme leaves and a sprinkling of sea salt.

It’s great with a mid-robust red like Barbera or Sangiovese. For a brewski, a well-aged porter or dark ale will complement the cotechino’s fatty, savoury notes.

Whitefish w/ roast garlic mash & salsa verde

Sometimes, the simple elegance of fish and potatoes is all you need for a satisfying meal, especially as the weather cools. With our boy Chris and Georgetown Seafoods back on deck after a distressing extended hiatus, we simply had to write this one up. Start by patting the whitefish fillets dry with a paper towel, then season generously with salt. Let them sit for 10 minutes, allowing the seasoning to penetrate the flesh. Pat dry again.

For the roast garlic mash, preheat your oven to 180°C. Cut the tops off a few heads of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap them in foil. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until soft and caramelised. Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes into even chunks. Boil in salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain well, then return to the pot. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and mash them into the potatoes. Add an artery-hardening amount of butter and a splash of cream, and check the seasoning. Pro-tip: heat this mixture up before adding to the mash, don’t add cold things to hot starches, they’ll go gluggy.

For the salsa verde, finely chop a bunch of fresh parsley, a handful of basil leaves, and a few mint leaves. Mince a garlic clove and combine it with the herbs. Add a tablespoon of capers, a few finely chopped anchovy fillets, and the zest of a lemon. Blend smooth with a big splash of extra virgin olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a dash of lemon immediately before serving, but not before, or your verde will lose its brightness. No one wants salsa marrón.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Place the whitefish fillets skin-side down and cook until the skin is crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the fillets and reduce the heat to medium. Add more butter (anyone detecting a theme here?). Let it melt until foaming, then spoon the butter over the fish repeatedly to baste, a technique known as “buerre monté.” Cook until the fish is just cooked through and opaque, about 2-3 minutes more.

To serve, spread a generous scoop of roast garlic mash on a warm plate. Place the whitefish fillet on top, skin-side up, to showcase its crispiness. Drizzle with the pan juices and spoon the salsa verde alongside. Match it up to a crisp white wine like Riesling, or an aromatic like Grüner Veltliner.

Easy-as truffle risotto

There are few things quite like the luxurious comfort of a well-made risotto. Thus, with truffle season upon us, now is the time to indulge. For this, we turn to Mr. Brown and Towns Mushrooms’ risotto pack. We told you it was easy-as. Plus, Truffles of Tasmania are about to release some of their finest fresh truffles into the market, so this one is another no-brainer for a write up this week.

Start by prepping your fresh ingredients. All two of them. Finely dice a shallot and mince two cloves of garlic. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Avoid colouration, not a desirable flavour here. Add the risotto pack, then stir to coat with rice with the oil.

Pour yourself a glass of dry white wine, and add one to the risotto too. Stirring constantly until the wine has mostly evaporated. Begin adding stock (chicken or vegetable, dealer’s choice), one ladle at a time, stirring continuously. Allow each ladle of stock to be absorbed before adding the next. This process should take about 20-25 minutes, resulting in creamy, perfectly cooked rice.

As the risotto cooks, finely grate a small amount of fresh truffle to infuse into the rice. Reserve the remaining truffle for finishing. When the risotto is nearly done, stir in a generous knob of butter (again, you ask? Yes, again) and a handful of freshly grated parmesan. Add a sploosh of mascarpone for extra richness, if your heart desires.

To serve, spoon the risotto onto warm plates. Using a truffle shaver or a fine grater, shave fresh truffle over the top of each serving. Be generous here, there is nothing sadder than 3 limp slices of truffle wilting with the heat of the risotto. Not cool. Truffles are all about lavishness and lasciviousness. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives for that sweet sweet black/green contrast.

There are three options for a booze pairing; we will accept no others: sparkling, pinot noir, or, for a really sophisticated touch guaranteed to make the hipsters lose their minds, Brady’s Lookout vintage methode traditionelle cider.

That’s the Friday Feast done and dusted for another week! We’re certain the next one will come around before we know it. We’re also certain, though, that we’ll have three more delicious, local, hearty and impressive dishes for you to wrap the old noodles around then, too.

Thanks for reading! Remember to buy butter; you’ll need a lot of it if you follow all three of these recipes!

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