Cooking by Way of Uri Buri
Uri Buri, Fish and Seafood – I got this book as a Christmas gift from a very dear friend and I have to say it’s so much more than a cookbook. Uri Buri cooks and eats with enormous pleasure and this you can see in his smile, in his words.
The legendary Israeli restaurateur starts the journey by explaining how to choose fresh fish and continues with lovely and simple dishes that can be cooked at home, finishing off with wine recommendations for different types of fish. I think that if you’re as much into fish and seafood as I am, you should definitely get this book. Apparently, it’s also great for those that have been “traumatized by fish and seafood, due to unsuccesfull experiences or general apprehension”, Uri Buri says.
As dinner stories almost always go for me, the choice for these specific dishes was more circumstance than chance. The artichokes I had from the day before and since I’m a cheese afficionado, my fridge was stocked with those. As for the wonderful flavors and tastes, that is the magic of great ingredients, as Uri Buri puts it: “the most important aspect: The quality of the ingredients”.
For the appetizer I decided to make leek and cheese crostini, since they’re delicious and really easy to make. The only thing I would do differently is double the quantity, two per capita would have been much better, since they’re so incredibly indulgent and tasty. For the main course it’s important to take time for boiling the artichokes, especially if they’re not very ripe. You should also reserve time to shell and devein the shrimp. Other than that, it’s basically a one-pot meal that has this great quality to it: it looks very impressive, but it’s insanely easy to make.
For dessert, I made this key lime pie. Since I like to end a fishy meal with a citrus dessert, it’s usually key lime pie or a nice tarte citron meringuée.
Oh, and don’t forget to NOT waste a damn thing: put your shrimp shells in a pot of boiling water to make shrimp stock. If you’re not using it right away, freeze it (once it’s chilled) for up to three months.
Leek and Cheddar Crostini
15 gr/1Tblsp unsalted butter
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
A couple of sprigs of thyme
45gr/3 Tblsp heavy cream
100gr/1 cup strong Cheddar, grated
4 slices of sourdough bread or any type of dense bread (I get my sourdough bread here)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the leeks and cook until soft, about 10 minutes; be careful to turn the heat down when they start to sizzle. Stir in the thyme and heavy cream and cook for a minute or two, until the cream starts to bubble. Take of the heat, stir in 75gr/2/3 cup of the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Slightly toast the bread. Divide the leek and cheese mixture evenly between the 4 slices, top with remaining cheese and pop under the grill until bubbling and golden-brown. Serve immediately.
Shrimp with Artichokes and Lemon
1kg/2 pounds fresh crystal shrimp, peeled
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fresh thyme
Salt to taste
8 artichokes, cooked in salted water with a quartered lemon, peeled to their hearts and still attached to their stems
1 lemon, seeded and finely sliced
Chopped mint to garnish
lightly fry the sliced lemon in the butter, lemon juice, turmeric and thyme and then add the shrimp and sauté for half a minute per side, until it turns red. Remove and set aside.
Add the artichoke “bowls” to the butter and herb blend left in the skillet, to heat through and to absorb the flavors.
Return the shrimp to the skillet mix. Garnish with chopped mint and serve immediately.