French Toast – A Fleeting Reminiscence

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– JUMP TO RECIPE –– PRINT RECIPE –
Even today, almost two decades after his passing, it is still unclear to me if my father ever regarded himself as a simple, straightforward man with few affectations and a minimum of fuss. He certainly never gave any indications that he knew himself to be a very complicated and finicky person. I suspect he never thought about it; as that kind of self reflection was not important to him. Nor were his and our emotions, apparently. Life with Dad was sweet as long as you rigorously abided by his rules without question or doubt. The rub laid in discovering what these rules were. Ironically he was very good at communicating on the issues that were important to him: the needs of his farm, the demands of his patriotism and the requirements of his Church and the congregation that he and we were members off. But on the touchy-feely and deep inside stuff? Well ...
Dad was also a proud man. Not prideful, arrogant or vain, but proud in an hone…

Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Samp

Yum

Elevating Humbleness ...

Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Samp Bowls

Tangy, garlicky ranch dressing cuts through the spicy fattiness of chorizo while the mustard and toasted fennel seeds do things to roasted butternut its mother never warned it about. Greek feta and green bell pepper round the ensemble out against the slight nuttiness of the samp (with a hint of North African spices) for a filling, simple, midweek meal in the company of loved ones, a room mate or two, or just the guys.

The toasted fennel provides an aromatic, mild anise or liquorice like sweetness that compliments the roasted butternut very well and also supports the spicy porkinness of the chorizo sausage, to everyone’s surprise. However, anise is not every one’s cup of tea. Leave it out if desired.

Recipe yields:
Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Difficulty level:
4 Portions
18 – 24 hours
180 minutes
Easy peasy!

Whole & Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Green Bell Pepper

Ingredients:

Samp
300g
Water
1L
Cumin seeds
2.5ml
Allspice berries
5
Bay leaves
5


Plain chorizo sausage, sliced on the diagonal
200g
Pan toasted fennel seeds
2.5ml


Sun or oven dried cocktail tomatoes, halved
25g


Greek feta cheese, cubed to taste
90g / ± 1½ Rounds
Roasted butternut, cubed to taste
200g
Medium green bell pepper, roughly diced
½


Salt
7.5ml
Chopped garlic
5ml
Wholegrain mustard
5ml
Robertsons Rustic Garlic & Herb spice
2.5ml
Black pepper, freshly ground
1.2ml
Knorr Ranch Salad Dressing
150ml

Chorizo Sausages

Method:

1.      Rinse the samp repeatedly in cold water until the wash water is clean. Discard any particles floating on or in the wash water. Discard any pieces that look like dried corn cob. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with fresh, cold water, cover and set aside for at least 12 hours.

2.      Drain the soak water and transfer the samp to a medium sauce pan. Add the 1L cold water, bay leaves, allspice berries and cumin seeds. Heat over medium heat until boiling and turn it down until the water is simmering. Cover partially and simmer until the water is reduced to the level of the semi cooked samp, ± 60 minutes. Stir now and then to make sure the spices do not float on top.

3.      Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan completely and steam until all the water is absorbed, ± 15 minutes. Check frequently to confirm the samp is not burning.

4.      The samp will become glutinous and sticky when done. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until warm. Loosen the samp with a fork and remove (and discard) the bay leaves and allspice berries.

5.      Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium high heat until nutty and fragrant, approx. 4 – 5 minutes, or until the seeds turn dark, olive green. Add the toasted seeds to the warm samp.

6.      Sear the sliced chorizo over medium high heat until hot and starting to brown. Transfer to kitchen paper towels and drain the fat. Cut each slice in half lengthwise and add to the warm samp.

7.      Add all the remaining ingredients to the warm samp. Mix well with a wooden spoon and taste for seasoning. Adjust with extra salt and black pepper if deemed necessary.

8.      Serve warm in individual bowls.

Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Samp in Blue Bowls With Colored Forks

Comments:

¨    Use peri-peri chorizo sausages for an element of subdued heat.
¨    Cut a butternut squash into 25mm thick discs, peel and slice into batons. Mix with a little sunflower oil and roast 25 minutes in a preheated, 165°C (330° Fahrenheit) convection oven. Cool and cut into cubes.
¨    The green bell pepper can be seared as well to subdue it’s bright, somewhat overwhelming flavour. Sauté the cubed bell pepper in a little oil over medium heat until the cut edges of the pieces start to brown.
¨    Allowing the dish to rest for an hour before serving will improve the flavours. Warm slightly in a microwave if desired.

Fennel Seeds
Fennel Seeds

Fennel

Fennel is a herb not used often by itself in the kitchen. Generally, it is used in spice mixtures such as panch phoron, Chinese five-spice powder and some curry powder mixtures. It is still a component of the anise flavoured spirit Absinthe – which in it’s original formulation contained worm wood and brought on "la fée verte" (the green fairy) and trouble.

The herb is a member of the carrot family and has a strong and aromatic anise flavoured taste. The fresh herb is often available as fennel bulbs, a vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked (by sautéing, stewing, braising or grilling). The seeds are sometimes confused with anise or dill seeds, which all have a similar base taste due to the presence of anethole, an aromatic compound also found in star anise.

Fennel seeds are generally available at baking supply shops, the spice sections of the larger green grocers or specialist suppliers of spices and herbs. The seeds should be light olive green, intact and smell prominently of anise. Grey and dull seeds indicate an unsuitable, aged product.

Fennel is also used in the preparation of various confectioneries and can be substituted for anise in “boer beskuit” – yeast risen, rustic rusks.

© RS Young, 2017

Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Samp Bowls, Low View

Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Samp Bowls, Overhead View

Seared Chorizo, Roasted Butternut, Feta & Samp Bowls

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