Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paper Chef #12: I Have a Dream...

Reader, I dreamed this dish. I'm serious. I went to bed last night, sad that Paper Chef had passed me by so quickly. And this morning, when I woke up, this recipe was fully formed in my head. (Note to Belly-Timber: I'm not sure if "I hadn't dreamed the recipe yet" is even up to the "dog ate my homework" standard. You be the judge.)

My subconscious, which is apparently aware of the contents of my freezer in better detail than my conscious mind, dreamed of the tiny lamb sausage links I'd been saving for a special breakfast. Since breakfast is the best meal of the day for combining extremes of sweet and savory, my Paper Chef entry was breakfast-oriented. Here's what I dreamed up:

Chilled Caramelized Oranges with Yogurt and Tangy, Spicy Lamb Sausages

I ripped off Nigella's recipe for an abbreviated arance alla principessa, but where she recommends cardamom, I substituted basil.

For the oranges:
Peel, de-pith, and de-seed six oranges. The easiest way to do this is to cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of thin-skinned oranges, then slice off the skin vertically. Cut the oranges into 1/4 inch rounds. Put the orange rounds and juices in a bowl.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, make a crunchy caramel sauce by combining:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

Swirl, but don't stir to start dissolving the sugar. Bring to a boil slowly, and swirl occasionally until the mixtures gets viscous and turns amber-colored.

Here's where you have to be nimble. Take the caramel off the burner, flip the oranges and juices quickly into the pan, stir very briskly and then turn the whole mess out onto a plate. If you don't do this very rapidly, the caramel will cool and you'll have a huge block of orange and caramel stuck to itself and your pan. Quickly sprinkly with chopped fresh basil, stir once more if you can (I couldn't) and pop the plate into the fridge. Magnify the photo at left by clicking on it to get a more detailed view of the caramel. And then get on with the sausages.

For the sausages:
In a cast iron skillet, combine over medium-high heat:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 teaspoons fish sauce

When hot, add the lamb sausage links (as many as you want). Cook until everything is burned and black on the outside and the whole house reeks of lamb fat and fish sauce.

Toss it all on a plate with a dollop of yogurt, so that it looks like this:

I love to toot my own horn, but you have to believe me when I tell you that this was genius. The aromatic basil complimented the super-sweet oranges, the tang of the fish sauce made the sausages sing. And I think I deserve extra points for using the whole of the rather scattershot list of ingredients, and nothing else besides garlic, yogurt, and sugar. In retrospect, I think it would be fair to say that this was less a dream, and more of a revelation.

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Arielle said...

Stumbled onto your blog. I spent many years in the restaurant business. Love your palate and sense of food!

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