How to Cook Well with Rory O'Connell s01e08 Episode Script

Episode 8

I've been doing both for 30 years.
To cook well, it helps if you love and value food as that is where it all starts.
My approach to cooking is simple and not new.
Use the best ingredients you can, get organised and follow the recipe.
That way you'll be sure to get wonderful results.
There are several different methods for baking fish.
You can bake fillets in a foil parcel, on baking parchment or au gratin, with a bubbling sauce and a golden topping.
Today I'm going to bake a whole fish on the bone and this is a technique that's particularly suitable for flat fish such as plaice, turbot, brill or black sole.
The resulting flesh is moist, tender and flavoursome, benefiting greatly from the skin and bone of the fish as it's cooking.
To serve with it, I'm going to make a Breton sauce.
Somewhat similar to the classic hollandaise.
Easier to make but no less delicious.
I've got a lovely black sole or Dover sole for this particular technique for baking a flat fish in this way.
Another day it might be a plaice which would be beautiful, particularly during the summer months.
Or a turbot or brill.
They're all prepared and cooked in exactly the same way.
The advantage of this technique is you're looking the fish on the bone with the skin intact so you're getting maximum flavour and it gives you a really beautiful texture.
I'm going to start by cutting off the head.
Turn the board whatever way it feels comfortable for you.
Put in my knife just being the gills.
The head we discard.
We're going to score it through the tough skin.
The skin on black Dover sole is really tough.
There are stories of the skin of these soles being made into shoes.
Go as close as you can to the frill of the fish, but still cutting into the flesh.
Then just cut in and you're not just marking the flesh.
You're cutting in.
Then I'm going to turn the fish and do the same thing on the other side.
I like to run my knife through it to make sure I've loosened it all the way around.
Perfect.
I'm going to give that a good rinse to make sure there's no trace of blood left.
Now our fish is spotlessly clean.
No trace of blood.
Before I put it into the oven to cook, I'm just going to add a little water to the tray.
About 4 mls.
It prevents the fish from sticking.
A pinch of salt and then into a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
It will depend on the size of the fish and the thickness.
What that's cooking I can make the Breton sauce.
I have my butter melting.
It needs to be slightly bubbling when we're pouring it in on top of the egg yolks.
If you've ever been nervous about making a hollandaise type sauce, this is a version of hollandaise but easier to achieve and less nerve-wracking for many cooks.
A couple of lovely free range egg yolks.
A little mustard.
I'm using a lovely green mustard.
If you can only get yellow or Dijon mustard, that will work perfectly.
A pinch of that goes in and then a squeeze of lemon juice.
Whisk those up a little bit.
Then start to add in the barely simmering butter a little at a time.
Don't rush away madly.
If you add it in too quickly it can curdle on you.
If it does curdle, get a teaspoon of water into it straight away and whisk and that usually solves the problem.
Gradually the sauce will start to thicken up.
When you get down to the last addition of butter and you get to notice the little salty bits in the bottom of the pan, you'll be inclined to think they don't look so great.
But actually, a lot of the flavour lies in there.
Every last little bit of the melted butter and the bits at the bottom get whisked in.
Now that's the consistency.
Turn that off.
Now I'll decant it.
That will sit there quite happily until the fish is ready or even for up to half an hour.
The fish should be cooked.
Let's have a look.
To check to see that the fish is cooked, the simplest thing to do is to check the thickest part of the fish.
Up where the head has been removed from.
If the flesh starts to lift away easily like that, you know then it's cooked.
Then just lift off the skin.
Sometimes it comes away very easily, all in one piece.
Sometimes it comes away in several pieces.
It's not the end of the world.
Last little bits.
A couple of lemons on there.
A sprig of an appropriate herb.
Lovely fennel.
I'm going to show you how to take a fillet of fish off the bone because that also is very useful to know.
Now my sauce which has been sitting just keeping warm.
You can see it's thickened up every so slightly.
I'm going to add in a little cooking water.
This is going to add flavour and it's going to mean that the sauce is going to end up not being too rich.
That's the consistency I want.
I'm going to add in the herbs.
Get that last minute green hit.
Colour-wise and flavour-wise.
Okay.
Perfect.
A hot plate again.
We've got a line running down along the centre of the fish.
Just cut down along that line like that.
Cut the fillet in half.
Rather than lifting off the whole piece and it breaking up on you, just take half of the fish and turn it.
A little of the sauce.
Just enough to coat the fish.
It's rich so you don't need too much.
You can do a little arty dribble if you feel like it.
A little garnish.
A little lemon wedge just to finish it off and then straight to the table.
A great simple technique which completely captures the flavour of the fish.
Because you cooked it with the skin, on the bone it should be really lovely to eat.
Sirloin of beef on the bone is a lovely cut.
Best ordered from your butcher a little in advance, to give him time to put aside a piece of properly hung beef for you.
Like most cuts of meat, especially the larger ones, this will sit quite happily after cooking for at least half an hour before you serve it.
You can make a simple gravy or you can pull out all of the stops and make a very grown-up sauce with red wine, tomatoes and gherkins.
This is serious cooking.
Not difficult but serious.
When you pull off this sauce you should clap yourself on the back, as indeed should your guests.
We're going to roast this beautiful piece of beef.
Sirloin of beef on the bone which has come from my local butcher in Middletown, Frank Murphy.
A lovely piece of quality assured Irish beef.
Dry aged as you can see.
The fat is lovely and dry and note the amount of fat.
Quite a bit of fat.
You can take off some of the excess fat before you roast it if you want.
But if you don't have a decent bit of fat on the beef to start off, chances are it's not going to be juicy, succulent and full of flavour.
The preparation of the beef at this point is extremely simple.
I'm going to score the fat.
I'm just going in a millimetre with the blade of the knife.
Just a cross hatch pattern.
All it needs then is some salt and pepper.
A reasonably generous amount of salt.
Black pepper.
No need for any oil or butter here.
You've got the fat that the animal has produced itself.
Oven preheated.
Quite hot to start off with.
240 degrees for 15 minutes and then we'll turn the heat down.
We're going to cook this until it's medium-rare in the centre.
That way you'll have it a little well done on either side for somebody at the table who prefers the meat more cooked.
When you've a good bit of beef it couldn't be easier.
Great.
The beef is in the oven cooking.
I'm going to get the sauce on the go.
Starting off by sweating the shallots in a little butter.
Just finely diced shallot.
Lid on.
A low heat and a tightly fitting lid.
The shallots should be ready.
Look at the lovely steam coming up.
The port and the Grand Marnier can go in.
Straight in like that.
You get a lovely aroma.
It's like being in a cellar.
Lovely.
The Grand Marnier and port has reduced.
I'm going to add in the wine.
Pour it all in.
This must come back up to a simmer and again reduce down until it looks like just a red wine shallot puree in the bottom of the pan.
Then the stock goes in.
Quite a bit of chicken stock.
When you put in the chicken stock, it looks pretty alarming.
It looks like something which will never really be beautiful and taste beautiful, but you've got to keep the faith.
The beef certainly looks cooked.
See the way the fat has become lovely and crispy.
That should be delicious to eat.
To test that my beef is cooked I'm going to use a skewer.
Put it into the thickest part of the meat.
Count 2, 3, 4, 5.
I take that and you can test it there or you can test it between your thumb and your first finger.
The heat of the skewer tells you how cooked the beef is.
This is just nicely warm so the beef should be just medium to medium-rare inside.
I'm going to put that to rest.
The sauce is pretty much ready.
It's reduced down.
It's starting to thicken very slightly.
All I'm going to do now is strain out the shallots.
You end up with not very much sauce.
It's so intense in flavour that you serve very little of it.
A little of it goes a long way.
Press on the shallots to extract any extra flavour.
Allow the sauce to simmer for another few minutes.
With the beef resting, the final thing to make is a delicious cabbage puree.
Absolutely magnificent enough to accompany the sirloin of beef.
Also after the break, I'll show you a refreshing and tangy blood orange jelly.
The ideal dessert after such a rich main course.
Before the break we left our sirloin of beef resting in the oven.
Every last drop of flavour was extracted from the shallots and the sauce left to reduce.
Not it's time for something unexpectedly good.
Cabbage puree.
Or if you think it sounds better, a puree of cabbage.
Making the cabbage puree is simplicity itself.
Cut the cabbage in half and then into quarters and remove the hard core in the centre.
Slice each quarter into fine slices against the grain.
Don't throw away the dark outer leaves.
There's so much flavour and goodness in these.
Give it a good rinse just in case there's grit trapped between the leaves and add to a large pot of boiling water into which you've put a generous pinch of salt.
Simmer the cabbage uncovered for about 4 minutes until the leaves are tender and reserve some of the cooking water.
Strain the cabbage and place in a food processor.
Give it a quick blitz and then add a few knobs of butter, some cream and some of the reserved cooking water.
Just experiment until you've reached the desired flavour and consistency.
Season generously.
This is the sort of texture I like.
A little firmer than dropping consistency.
The flavour is superb, fresh and vibrant.
The beef is resting and is ready to carve.
The cabbage puree is ready to go.
I just need to finish my sauce.
The final additions to the sauce are the tomato and the diced gherkin.
Then finally, a few lumps of butter.
When you add in the butter you can either stir it in or you can just shake the pan.
That's called making waves in restaurant kitchens and it's a way of getting the butter to blend in or emulsify with the other ingredients.
It's just going to come back up to a gentle simmer.
The sauce is perfect.
I'm going to put a little into the sauce boat and serve it on the carving dish with the beef.
Let's just carve a little of the beef.
Cut straight down the outside slice.
Note when I carve it, the juice isn't running out.
It's all just sitting together in one place.
That's just about enough to get us going.
A little of the cabbage puree alongside the beef.
Then finally, a little drizzle of the sauce.
Not too much.
Remember it's quite rich.
A couple of spoons of that.
A little sprig of rosemary.
And then straight to the table with that.
That should be really feast-like to eat.
If you've always yearned to create quivering jellies and delicate and gently set chilled mousses or souffles, there's one technique you have the master and that is the use of gelatine.
For some cooks the word gelatine in a recipe is enough to have them flicking over the page as it has an unjustified reputation for being difficult.
That's a pity because when you know the rules involved which are both few and simple, you'll find that gelatine is really easy to use.
Once mastered, it opens up a huge range of recipes that otherwise can't even be considered.
I want to show you a jelly that will delight everyone, especially those who last had jelly when they were children.
I love when blood oranges are in season.
I try to make this jelly recipe particularly at that time of year.
Though you can make it at any time of the year, just using normal oranges.
The lovely sanguine nature of the blood oranges is beautiful.
I'm going to zest one of my normal oranges first.
This zesting of citrus fruit is an absolute fast track to citrus flavour.
When you're doing this, you feel your hands getting oily and that is the orange oil.
That's exactly what you're after.
Lovely.
Now to segment the orange.
I like to just cut a little strip off the top of the orange like that just until you can see the flesh.
The same off the bottom.
Then start cutting.
I'm cutting a line, just tracing a line above the white line of the pith.
It's a cutting, sawing motion.
Just in case there's any little bit of extra juice in there, squeeze it out like that.
Then to remove the segments, you've got the membranes which hold them in place.
Cut inside the first one like that.
Then inside the second.
Pop out a perfect segment like that.
Having removed the first segment I've a little bit of leeway with my knife.
Just cut in towards the middle and press like that.
It comes away really cleanly.
When you've done this a few times it's actually quite a satisfying feeling.
That's the last segment.
Then just squeeze any remaining juice out of the frame of the orange.
Next I'm going to add in some lemon juice.
It's not going to make the jelly taste of lemon but it just makes it taste more of orange actually.
That's my lemon juice going in.
A little stock syrup which I've measured.
That's going to sweeten.
I'm using a little orange liqueur which is optional.
You could leave it out if you didn't have it.
While that's happening, I need to put my gelatine on to melt.
The gelatine is what's going to hold the jelly together.
Whenever you're using gelatine, be it powdered or leaf, you want to use just the amount to create a lovely wobbly jelly.
This is not something we want to be able to play squash with.
We want a lovely wobbly jelly.
Two teaspoons of gelatine is required.
In this bowl I've got two tablespoons of water.
Measure in your gelatine.
Rounded teaspoons like that.
Then just give it a little stir.
I'm trying to avoid the gelatine going up along the side of the bowl.
Then we allow this to sit for a little while to sponge the gelatine.
In a few minutes, even at room temperature this will take on a sponge-like consistency.
Now I can chop my mint.
I'm going to chop the mint quite finely for this jelly.
That's lovely.
Finely chopped, really nice.
Add this in.
You can see the way it's still lovely and green.
Mix all that together.
I'm going to strain this.
I'm not absolutely sure how much liquid I have in here and I need to be sure.
I have a certain amount of gelatine for a certain amount of liquid.
Strain out the liquid and then measure out 300mls of the liquid.
It's really important to be accurate with this.
The measured juice, the sweetened segments with the mint, all ready to go.
Now our gelatine looks like a sponge.
All we do is sit it into our bowl of barely simmering water to dissolve.
Make sure the water isn't boiling.
It can be a little gentle simmer around the edge but not boiling because you can overheat it and it might stick to the side of the bowl and you won't get it in here, which is where we want it.
The gelatine has been dissolving and the little granules of gelatine now have become clear.
It comes out of here.
One really important rule about gelatine, you never pour warm gelatine into a cold mixture.
You always take some of the cold mixture, you pour that into the gelatine.
You never pour gelatine straight in.
If you do, it can turn back into little lumps of jelly which is not what you want.
Our measured juice, our measured gelatine.
Give it a good stir.
Then I like to sort of double decant it.
Empty the orange segments into a bowl.
Add the juice and gelatine mixture and stir it all gently together.
That's it.
That's ready to set into our little receptacles.
The jellies are set.
I love serving them in glasses.
You can see the colour of orange segments and the blood oranges and the little flecks of mint look so pretty.
I'm going to turn out the little jelly I set in the oiled mould.
For a final flourish, you can add some chopped mint to some orange juice and pour over the jelly.
A little softly whipped cream is what I would like to eat with this.
Perhaps a thin crisp biscuit.
Nothing else.
Very light and very refreshing.
Lovely way to end a meal.
: Tracey Carr, RTE 2015.