Saturday, May 18, 2013

Smoked Fennel and Cooked with Passion

Smoking is the process of flavoring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials, most often wood. Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses, vegetables, and ingredients used to make beverages such as beer, smoked beer, and lapsang souchong tea are also smoked.

In Europe, alder is the traditional smoking wood, but oak is more often used now, and beech to a lesser extent. In North America, hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan, alder, maple, and fruit-tree woods, such as apple, cherry, and plum, are commonly used for smoking. Other fuels besides wood can also be employed, sometimes with the addition of flavoring ingredients. Chinese tea-smoking uses a mixture of uncooked rice, sugar, and tea, heated at the base of a wok. Some North American ham and bacon makers smoke their products over burning corncobs. Peat is burned to dry and smoke the barley malt used to make whisky and some beers. In New Zealand, sawdust from the native manuka (tea tree) is commonly used for hot smoking fish. In Iceland, dried sheep dung is used to cold-smoke fish, lamb, mutton, and whale.

Historically, farms in the Western world included a small building termed the smokehouse, where meats could be smoked and stored. This was generally well-separated from other buildings both because of the fire danger and because of the smoke emanations.
Semi smoked fennel encrusted pork tenderloin with passion fruit gastrique with sweet potato wisps

1 Whole Rutabaga
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp. butter (for rutabaga)
1.2 tsp. of finely chopped chives
Pork Seasoning:
½ tsp. of crushed fennel seed
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of All Spice
Pinch of Fleur de Sel
2 cups Passion fruit juice

1. Add finely chopped rutabaga to boiling water, and poach for 15 minutes.

2. To make the gastrique, put a pot on high heat, and add sugar and water.

3. Place the beef tenderloin in a pan, and cover. Use a smoking gun, or smoker, filled with apple wood chips, and smoke the meat. Fill the pan with smoke and let it sit.

4. Use a Chinese mandolin, to create strands of sweet potato, and then drop them in oil at 365 degrees F.

5. As the water and sugar begin to caramelize, pour in your passion fruit juice. Reduce this mixture until it thickens.

6. Coat the tenderloin with your Pork Seasoning, and place them in a hot pan. Sear all sides, then place into the oven at 365 degree. F.

7. Drain the rutabaga, and press it through a ricer into a large stainless steel bowl. Add butter, and thinly sliced chives, and mix.

8. Drizzle your passion fruit gastrique on a plate. Make quenelles of the rutabaga mash, and place the pork tenderloin on top of the Rutabaga. To top it off, lay the deep fried sweet potato mash on top!

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