Grilled Red Mullet with Basil and Pernod

There is something about small grilled whole fish that just conjures up memories of Mediterranean holidays. It is those moments that have inspired my cooking. If I could eat seafood, with a warm Greek sea breeze brushing my sun kissed cheeks every night, I would be a truly happy man.

Saturday morning at the Albert Cuypstraat market in Amsterdam, is a fish lovers dream. This morning I found some lovely red mullet.

To marinate the mullet, cut to slice in each side, and sprinkle generously with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, shredded basil leaves, and a dribble of Pernod. Cover and leave for an hour or 2.

Grill on a medium heat for about 3 minutes each side.

Some like it hot

Capsicum Chinense Peppers

These are not for the feint of heart, and I am not sure if I will make them again. My friend Sarah took about 30 minutes before she could feel her lips again after eating one. They are certainly not something to savor in the mouth for a long time.

The stuffing is easy to make. Cook the finely chopped mushrooms with some olive oil. When they are cooked, remove them from the heat and allow them to cool.

For the recipe you will need:

Capsicum chinense peppers
A tomato
Feta cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

While the mushrooms are cooling, chop tarragon, feta and tomato. Then mix the ingredients into the mushrooms once they are cool enough not to melt the cheese.

To prepare the peppers, chop the tops off, and wash them in running water. The washing process removes some of the heat (with the aroma coming of these little beast it can sometimes be hard to breath during the washing). Depending on how much heat you like, keep washing and soaking them to make sure all the seeds are gone. I spent about 30 minutes doing this, and they were still a bit to hot. If you can find an alternative bit sized pepper with less fire please let me know. Perhaps the chili man’s database of more than 3500 chili peppers is a good place to start.

Stuffed Capsicum Chinense Peppers

Once the peppers are washed, stuff them with the mushroom mixture, and bake them for about 20 minutes in a hot oven.

Once cooked, allow them to cool, and drizzle with more olive oil. I like them served cold with a very large icy cold beer.

Soaked and Smoked Green Tea Duck

Well the new Weber has been here for a week and a day (still no doors though). And I must admit I have spent more time playing with the new toy than worrying about blogging for both of my readers. Weber’s representative in The Netherlands has assured me the missing parts are on the way.

Green Tea Smoked Duck

Anyway, having experimented on 7 out of the last 8 evenings, at last I can share some food. It took some ‘getting used too’, the new grill is different. But as Weber promises, there have been no ‘Flare up’, and for the first time chicken from the grill has had a fantastic caramelized flavor with no smoky burnt bits, but with a real grilled flavor.

Speaking of smoky, tonight the only item in the refrigerator was a breast of duck. Now many moons ago, tea soaked duck was all the rage in the restaurant I worked in. It seams that tea breaks down the fats in the duck, and makes it extra tender.

So the duck breast was soaked in Green Tea for about an hour. In the mean time some apple wood chips were also soaked in some of the tea, and mixed with the tea leaves from the brew.

The wood chips and tealeaves were added to the new smoker unit. The duck skin was dried (with a paper towel) and salted with sea salt. Once the grill reached about 250 degrees C, the chips and leaves started to smoke, and the duck breast was placed skin side down on the grill. After 5 minutes, flip it over, and allow to smoke with the lid down for 3 more minutes.

The result… A smoky, tender, crispy skinned breast of duck to die for. Enjoy with a fruity red wine and some salad. Best duck I ever ate.