emulsions

I found some nice pompano at the store recently. They sold them whole, and the fishmonger asked me if I wanted him to clean it. Sure. 30 painstaking minutes later, they were done, and I had four nice fillets. I remember once at the beach having made a pompano dish that only had lime juice, cilantro and salt, and it was great, mostly because of the freshness. To not overdo it, I wanted to make an herb-based sauce that was intense but not overpowering. Have Vita-Mix, will emulsify.

Parsley emulsion

1 bunch of flat parsley
1/2 lime +/- zest of same lime
~2 cups of oil
water 1/4 to 1/2 cup
salt

I whole bunch of parsley blanched in a large pot until bright green, then shocked in a bowl of ice water.

Add the parsley (stalks and all) to the Vita-Mix. Add neutral (canola, grapeseed, vegetable) oil, salt to taste, juice from 1/2 lime and run on medium to high. I can’t give exact volumes of the oil or water here because it’s going to depend on how much water is in the parsley after blanching. Add enough oil to get the consistency you want. If you add too much, you’ll get green mayonnaise. If it gets too thick, add water or lime juice if it’s not already too acidic. Once you’ve got the consistency that you want, taste again, adjust seasoning, and strain to make it look nice and to get out any particles.

Sautee the fish and top with the sauce. Had I been serving this dish alone, it might have been better to put the sauce on the bottom. I just ran out of dishes.

From Drop Box

For the roasted veggies I cut up carrots and parsnips, coated in balsamic vinaigrette and roasted on 300 convection for about an hour or so, until fork tender.

Notes on emulsions:

  • Emulsions are two liquids that aren’t mixable and suspending one in another. Mayonnaise is an example of egg or egg yolk suspended in oil. Vinaigrettes can be an emulsion, or you might leave it a bit thinner going with the 3:1 ratio so that it’s easier to coat the greens.
  • Nothing does it faster than a blender, though you can easily make it with a wire whip in a bowl. In this case, though, the liquid was the ground parsley, so it needed to be pulverized.
  • Make your own mayonnaise. I was amazed watching one of these cooking contest shows with professional chefs, and someone didn’t know how to make mayonnaise. Take a couple of egg yolks, add some salt and lemon or lime juice and blend together with oil until it’s thick. No, really, it’s that easy. Good to know the next time a snow storm hits and you’re out.
  • I use the concept of emulsion to help when I’m making salsa. I don’t like to separate into water and tomato, so I add a little bit of olive oil as I’m blending. As the fat gets suspended in the liquid, it holds it together better (in my opinion) and prevents it from separating.
  • Hollandaise is just like mayonnaise except it uses melted butter for the fat instead of oil.
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One thought on “emulsions

  1. You are on fire! The 3 items on my culinary wish list: vitamix, Modernist Cuisine (the definitive text on food and cooking to be released in a few weeks at $625), and a proper immersion circulator. Would love to hear more about the vitamix and how you use it.

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