Spanish Surf & Turf

This is not your usual surf and turf- who says that is must be steak and prawns? Let me take you to Spain with my special twist: mussels and meatballs in saffron sauce!

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Plump, juicy mussels and moist, flavoursome pork meatballs are en-robed in a golden saffron sauce. The sauce is rich with the flavour of the sea and the meatiness of the pork juices, along with the aroma of fresh thyme and bay leaves. A sprinkling of a diced ripe tomato and some zesty lemon juice adds the final bright notes to the dish!

The key these tender and juicy meatballs is the addition of moistened bread and not to over-mix the mince mixture. Along with some fresh chives, thyme, garlic, dried oregano, wholegrain mustard, and grated Parmesan, they are little spheres of deliciousness that burst in your mouth!

I recommend that you serve this with plenty of crusty bread, rice or even pasta to savour that amazing sauce – you wouldn’t want to leave a drop behind!

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Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 25g fresh white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1-2 tbsp milk, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • approx. 15g Parmesan, grated
  • approx. 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 5g salt
  • 1-2 tsp wholegrain mustard, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1  egg yolk
  • some fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • some ground black pepper, to taste
  • some runny honey, to taste
  • 200g pork mince

For the broth:

  • 10 fresh mussels
  • 1 snapper head
  • some dry white wine
  • a few springs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small pinch of saffron
  • some sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • some runny honey, to taste
  • some fresh lemon juice or apple vinegar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp flour roux
  • 1 tomato, seeded and cut into small cubes
  • some fresh parsley, to garnish

Method

  1. Steam mussels until just opened. Remove the meat from the shell and reserve the mussel juices. Discard the shells.
  2. Heat some oil in a frying pan and pan-fry the snapper head until golden on both sides. De-glaze the pan with white wine and add in the bay leaves, some fresh thyme, saffron and a little water. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Reserve the stock and discard the snapper head and aromatics.
  3. In a bowl combine bread with 1 tablespoon of the milk and let stand until bread is completely moist, about 10 minutes. Mash with a spoon to make sure there are no dry spots; if there are dry spots add the rest of the milk.
  4. In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine together all of the meatball ingredients until thoroughly combined. Avoid mixing any more than necessary.
  5. Using wet hands. shape meatball mixture into 8-10 balls.
  6. Over medium-high heat, pan-fry meatballs until golden on all sides. De-glaze the pan with white wine. Add in fresh thyme and simmer until reduced and meatballs are cooked.
  7. Transfer the meatballs onto a plate. Add to the frying pan the reserved fish stock and mussel juices. Taste and adjust seasoning with some salt, black pepper, lemon juice/ apple vinegar and honey as necessary.
  8. Whisk in the flour roux cook gently until sauce is thickened. Return the meatballs and mussels to the pan to re-heat. Stir in the chopped tomato.
  9. Garnish with some fresh parsley and serve immediately.
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What To Do with Fresh Lemons Part II: Mediterranean Snapper

After making my Ultimate Lemon Chicken last night, I still had three huge lemons left. So here’s part two of what to do when life gives you lemons- Mediterranean Snapper! SONY DSC

Just take three fresh lemons, one whole snapper, some green olives, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, a bunch of flat Italian parsley and a bottle of crisp Sauvignon Blanc– there you have my delicious Mediterranean Snapper! Feel transported to Greece eating this dish…see for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 1 large whole snapper, cleaned, head removed and scored with a sharp knife three times on each side
  • flour for dredging
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
  • 3 large lemons (2 zested and segmented)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • sea salt and raw sugar, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Dredge snapper in flour on both sides and shake off excess. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan large enough to hold the snapper over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lay snapper carefully in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  2. Transfer the snapper into a ceramic casserole dish. To the frying pan, add olives, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and segments, juice from the remaining lemon, and wine. Bring to a boil and season with salt and sugar to taste. Mix in fresh parsley.
  3. Pour the sauce over snapper and bake in the oven until just cooked through, approximately 10-15 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish with extra parsley and serve immediately.