Saturday, January 10, 2009

Harissa Seared Beef Carpaccio, Kumara, Goji & Apricot Salsa

Carrying on the Middle Eastern theme, for this and the next few posts is this Beef Carpaccio, I love carpaccio as a gentle start, but find its always prepared the same way, don't get me wrong with some Parmigiano-Reggiano and rocket who wouldn't love it! Not all the time though and playing with the tastes of Africa, you need to trim a barrel of fillet, make sure you get the best aged fillet you can, I wasn't so fortunate for my dish, but sometimes you have to use the best you can get. If I had time I would choose Buccleuch I love the way it melts in the mouth, they have been producing for something like 300 years, another favourite being Glen Fyne brought to the market by Loch Fyne they also have the most fantastic oysters, I'll leave that for another day though.

Once the barrel is nicely trimmed, marinate in harissa paste for a good couple of hours, preferably overnight though. I like to make Harissa and keep it for when needed I use as a base dried red chili peppers, confit garlic, salt, rapeseed oil, ground coriander seed, ground caraway seed, ground cloves, ground cumin seed, cardamon powder, lemon juice and rose petal ghulkhand ground in pestle and mortar and keep in air tight container. When ready sear off the beef.
As said earlier, I am fed up of eating Carpaccio the same way, so I wanted to roll it and stuff it, its stuffed with an Apricots (fresh & dried) Kumara, Goji Berry, Thyme & Coriander Salsa. This is brought together with the flavours of ras el hanout mentioned last post, fantastic flavour, in fact add roasted peanuts and these ingredients make a fantastic vegetarian curry. Goji berries famed by the celebrity lot now as their favourite nibble etc are fantastic, as well as the Middle Eastern stuff, over the past year I have been working with superfoods and planning a diet around them with a selection of different dishes, they are reported to contain up to 21 trace minerals (the main ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus) and are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (more beta carotene than carrots), of all known foods or plants on earth! The Goji berry is a deep-red, dried fruit about the same size as a raisin. It's very sweet and tastes something like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. You find people using the normal ways in muesli etc, for the salsa I reconstitute them in some warm chai tea and the toasted ras el hanout spices.
When the beef is cooled the best way to get the thinest slices for the carpaccio is to freeze or semi freeze it. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and tie up sausage like. When its chilled down or frozen, on a sheet of plastic wrap, the thinly sliced and layered beef is topped with the salsa and rolled up again sausage like.

I have this shape in my head which if you look back over previous posts you will recognise in the plating long rectangles or batons or whatever you call them and circles, I find myself drawing these shapes all the time when doodling and thinking about plating my food, just the same shape over and over again, I think when I am happy with it I will move on, hopefully anyway! So back to the sweet potato (kumara) discs, to cut a long story short they go well with the barrel, there is the smallest amount of kumara in the salsa so it needs just a little more for the plate, I poached the discs in a court bouillion, just slight (you only need a drop) of rose water in there as well.
Dusting the plate with toasted and ground ras el hanout, just adds a little more spice.
I also like to add a little cardamon powder to the plate as and where the food eats with the few drops of coriander oil, I love cardamon its beautiful floral scent and mouth exciting taste, is something I have loved using recently reminding of old recipes of cardamon ice cream and fenugreek, I love spice and what it can do to the overall meal if planned correctly.

Thyme is the herb that features mainly throughout the dish, giving the earthy flavour it needs, bringing it all back together, its also a major ingredient in the mix Za'atar so finally finishing off the middle eastern tastes I have tried to achieve.


foodbin said...

man! these sure looks and taste good and good presentation

Heidi Leon Monges said...

congratulations,your recipes and pictures look amazing!!

grub said...

Thank you very much for the compliments, I had great fun making them and its great to be able to see your blogs as well, look forward to sharing with you

Anonymous said...

Hiya - it's Kirsty from Yum Scrumptious. Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by (Have commented back - dont know if you get notified) Aw man your food looks great, kind of like...ubergrub!
Great pics too!

Kimberly said...

oh my....thank you for leaving such a nice comment on my blog.

I came here and just had a eye/food porn overload. GOODNESS!!!

I'm so impressed.

Unknown said...

Wow! This looks great! And what great pictures.

Joie de vivre said...

Gorgeous colors!

Angelica said...

Thanks for the nice comment :D Your dishes look fantastic!!

grub said...

Thanks again everyone, my favourite pictures recently are from the lamb dish and it eats really well together, its acually light and zesty, great for lunch.. Food Porn I love that description, thanks Tia