Friday night we served (a paleo introduction) dinner for two, in the sunset, with a view. The guests were welcomed on the terrace with a glass of local, natural red, a bottle of fizzy volcanic water, and a bowl of roasted almonds with shiso-leaf decorated tapenade to dip – – – while we finished their feast in the kitchen.
Coconut grilled fish, Casablanca carrots, Merrynated pumpkin, Kefir fermented cucumber salad, Sauerkrauted beetroot, Wild wok & Summer salad.
An introductory dinner for two like this cost €40 EURO.
Eat as much as you need or want. This is not a restaurant! It’s a retreat of fulfillment.
The fish had been cut in squares and strips earlier in the day, rolled in liquid coconut oil, sprinkled with homeopathic doses of cinnamon and turmeric for energetic preservation and colour, and spent the day in the fridge. Not knowing how far we could – and should – go with out-of-the-ordinary tastes, we had settled for grilled, rather than raw/lacto-fermented ceviche-style fish, which is a favourite summer choice on the rocks. It was small filets of Pollachius virens (Le lieu noir, saithe, pollock, coalfish, coley, Boston blue, or, in German, seelachs) and large filets of Melanogrammus aeglefinus (L’aiglefin, églefin, haddock), all caught in the North West Atlantic and still fresh.
Once the rest was ready the fish was put under the grill at 200 C. until they began browning and until only their very bottom was still glassy. Not turned (to avoid them falling apart), but in part shallow-fried in coconut oil. Then put on a plate and sprinkled with freshly cut herbs from the garden (rucola, lavender, rosemary, wild basil, wild oregano, feral thyme, sariette (wild savoury) and chives) and served with the rest. All at once. For a variety, colour and taste galore. Our camera and skills of handling it do no justice to this dinner with the setting sun on the rolling hills and wilderness as a backdrop. They had asked us to join them for an informal introductory chat about the paleo, grainfree, painfree way of eating. So we did; and almost forgot all about photos, but just managed to catch the last few bits of fish before they’d all been eaten…
Inspired by Well Fed’s Casablanca carrots – slightly adapted to what we had at hand, of course, shiso replacing parsley for example – which are carrots lightly steamed and marinated with herbs. Just use what you’ve got, what’s in season and tickles your fancy and taste. Breake the mould and mix up the categories whenever you can, as suggested here by the originator Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan (Well Fed 2: 176):
Who is responsible for the unwritten rule that salads must be made from raw vegetables? And can we force that person to spend eternity paring vegetables with a dull peeler? In Morocco, many of the ambrosial (yeah, I said ambrosial) salads begin with lightly steamed vegetables. When hot veggies meet spices and oils, wonderful things happen. Forget about dressing on your vegetables, this dressing is in the vegetables – and that somehow makes the dressing both more impactful and less overwhelming. It’s a culinary conundrum.
The Wild wok consisted of not so very wild onions and courgette, spruced up with shiso flowers, wild spinach (as they call Fat Hen around here) and wild stinging nettles. Cooked in coconut oil. Well done for easy to digest fattiness.
Merrynated Pumpkin – also adapted from a recipe by Melissa: Balsamic-Grilled Pumpkin ( Well Fed 2: 173). Marinated in the fridge with lemon juice and zest and herbs. Roasted until (almost) done and finally grilled for a rugged sight and taste.
Cucumber salad was made from cucumber-in-kefir-with-sage-salt-and-honey 5-day ferment, cubed and mixed with freshly cut sage in olive oil. That’s a nice taste with a tangy touch for the sour-ish, pickle tooth.
Beetroot was a standard sauerkraut-style ferment.
Summer salad consisted of lettuce and fresh mint chopped and tossed in. From the garden, naturally.
After the food came two shots of fermented honey and a bottle of water kefir (secondary fermented in Strawberry Tree honey). Cheers!
Our guests enjoyed this introduction to paleo and will be back for more … They did not leave the table hungry and said no thanks to a desert. We had water melon and probiotic ice cream on stand by.