Saturday, October 2, 2010

Favorite Foodie Deconstruction Saturday

This week I received 10lbs of Sablefish from Marx Foods as my prize for winning Natasha's 5 Star Summer Makeover.  In my opinion, Sablefish is the best fish produced by the sea and luckily a "best choice" with regard to it's sustainability. 

When conceptualizing the menu for today's post I knew I had to highlight this fresh fish.  Acutally, both of these courses are part of a 5 course meal I am cooking for a small dinner party tonight.  I'll make sure they go over to An Edible Mosaic and see the originals.

Welcome to Favorite Foodie Friend Deconstruction Saturday

Everyday Fare With Extraordinary Flair

Edible: fit to be eaten.  Eatable.

Mosaic: a picture or design made in mosaic.

I think Faith has one of the best blog titles anywhere on the blogosphere.  Incredibly apropos.  Her food is like a wonderful tapestry of eclectic delights.  I am very happy to spotlight two of her original creations reinterpreted by LC!  Thanks Faith, for inspiring me weekly with your marvelous talent.

To my friends the FOOD POLICE and their deputies the FOOD NERDS.  I am aware that these are not true deconstructions in the traditional sense, because Faith did not use Sablefish.  My dishes are more reinterpretations or reimaginations.  So save your snide remarks.

When deconstructing these dishes I attempt to keep the core ingredients of the dish intact, as well as the core spirit.  However, the whole point of this exercise is for me to indulge my creative side and explore.  Nothing makes you a better cook than constantly pushing yourself and the perceived boundaries of your cuisine.

I am sorry for not including every recipe in this post.  I linked both of Faith's posts so you can hop over there for her recipes.  My dishes have a few componenets and if I post all the recipes, this would be the longest post in history.  In time, I will share all these recipes.  Remember, any questions can be sent to

Time for me to go play....

This striking dish immediately caught my eye, the presentation is gorgeous.  With the Lawyer's recent conversion to vegetarianism I've had to really expand my veggie repertoire.  Going over the recipe you see that it's packed with veggies, tomatoes, garlic, squash, so immediately I'm thinking Gazpacho!

Next, I had to incorporate the quinoa and luckily my wife is one who likes quinoa.  Faith had written in her post that she knows many people who do not care for quinoa.  I decided to make a blend of brown rice and quinoa.  Lovely color.  Cooked with spices and roasted red bell pepper and pureed.

For the sablefish, I wanted to cook it gently.  This dish is very light and I wanted to keep it that way, so I decided to poach the fish in olive oil.  Poaching fish is awesome and using good Greek olive oil imparts so much flavor to the flesh.  The fish is cooked to a perfect medium rare.

Lastly, I did not forget about the basil in the recipe. Top the fish with some crispy fried basil leaves.

Olive Oil Poached Sablefish with Quinoa Puree & Gazpacho Shooter

For the Gazpacho:
8 plum tomatoes - chopped
1 piquillo pepper - chopped
1 cucumber - peeled & chopped
1 garlic clove - peeled & chopped
4 pearl onions - peeled & chopped
1 tbs - Spanish sherry vinegar
1 cup - Spanish extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Tomato juice

Garnish - finely minced chives

In a blender combine all ingredients, except for the olive oil and sea salt.  Add just enough tomato juice for the blender to turn.  Puree until smooth.  Check the acidity level.  Add more sherry vinegar if needed.  Add the olive oil and sea salt.  Blend again.  Check for seasoning.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Serve in demitasse cups and garinsh with chives.

For the Poached Sablefish:

Poaching liquid
Greek olive oil
1 shalot
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
whole coriander seeds
Meyer lemon zest
Black pepper

In a saucepot, heat all ingrdients to 180 F.  Please be sure about your temperature.  You want to poach the fish not deep fry it.

Spice Blend
sea salt
ground coriander
white pepper

In a glass baking pan, lay your pieces of fish.  Season both sides with the spice blend.  Pour over the hot oil.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Poach for 4 minutes, for medium-rare.

Dish #2 - Ramadan & Red Lentil Soup

Reading through the post, I learned that Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month, is a time of prayer, reflecting, and fasting...oh that would be tough for this dude!  Once the fast is over it's time to eat and Red Lentil soup is a popular choice.  The moment I saw this I knew this would be one of the dishes.  First, I love lentils.  Second, I love lentils with fish.

I used two different kind of lentils.  The base of the dish is Faith's exact Red Lentil Soup recipe.  My only addition was a pinch of curry powder.

The second level of lentil is my favorite the Spanish Pardina.  Cooked with a fabulous Morrocan Riad Jamil Blanc wine, veggies, and spices.

This time I pan-seared the fish.  Maybe my favorite technique for cooking a piece of fish.  I coated the fish with Wondra flour and a generous pinch of Za'atar spice.

Za'atar spice is a Middle Eastern spice blend.  I make my own with oregano, grey salt, marjoram, savory, thyme, coriander and caraway seeds.

I used more of the Morrocan Riad Jamil Blanc to make a white wine and butter emulsion sauce to top the fish with.

Garnish with chives and pickled green chilies.

Pan-Seared Sablefish with Lentils

Every meal needs a good dessert...

Syrian Ice Cream

This is no deconstruction.  This is the real thing.  This masterpiece was made by Faith and these are her photos.

The hardest part for me was finding all of the ingredients.  Luckily I did...

I will be making this flavorful ice cream tonight for my guests.  A fitting end to a great meal.

Please click on over to An Edible Mosaic and check out one of the best food site on the net.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Wow, I'm flattered Lazaro! You are really too kind. And I have to say, I think I like your reinventions of my dishes better than the originals, lol! Your addition of fish is fantastic. I think your attention to detail is what impresses me most of the genius use of crispy fried basil leaves in the first dish! In the second dish, using the lentil soup as the base for fish sounds amazing, now I'm dying to make your reinvention of my dish, lol! I hope you enjoy the Syrian Ice Cream! :)

  2. Great reinterpretations! I think pan-searing is my favorite preparation for fish as well, especially if the skin is on, and nice and crispy :) mmmm!

  3. Wow- that looks awesome! I've never had sablefish before. The lentil/fish dish looks quite delicious. I use quinoa a lot in my cooking- did you know that there is red and white quinoa? If I want an extra punch of color I use the red. Thanks for some great food insipiration- I'll be checking out Edible Mosaic next!

  4. I am always learning about different types of fish from you!! Love that you poached it in one dish and pan seared it in the other. your guests experiencing that 5 course meal are very lucky indeed!

  5. Lazaro, this may be one of my favorites among your posts. I'm making a shopping list NOW
    xoxo Pattie

  6. Unbelievable! These look so wonderful, I just love how you turn a food like fish into a work of art. I was very interested in sable fish as I've never heard of it. The fact that you mentioned it is a good choice for sustainabiliy intrigued me so I looked it up to locate some.

    Sablefish are best known as "smoked sable" in New York delis, or "smoked black cod" in the Pacific Northwest. In California, they are known most often as "butterfish." The reason is simple: Few fish are as silky rich in omega-3 laden fats as the sablefish, or black cod.

    I'm closer to Ca. so I have heard of butterfish. Now I will be able to pick some up at the market, thanks for sharing!

    Coincidently, my husband and I are going to Valley Forward Awards tonight, which is known as the Acadamy Awards for Environmental Excellence and Sustainability businesses.
    I'm so excited and can't wait to share pics from this dinner which is at the Phoenician!

  7. while I am new to quinoa, I do like it and think I finally figured out to make it come out in a nice consistency...mixing it with the brown rice was a nice idea, mixing grains sounds like a great way to ease your way into them...
    Now that sable fish looks delicious, I love serving lentils with proteins, and your presentation rocks this dish! As for that ice cream, I think I see pistachio's so I am all over that dessert! well done Lazaro! ( and luckily for us the food police seem to have the same authority as mall cops!)

  8. What a fantastic post! I'm loving the idea and look forward to seeing more deconstructed dishes!

    I especially like the touch with the fried basil garnish. :)

  9. Lázaro sounds really interesting, I love quinoa and I love this dish and I enjoy too your dessert, love Ice cream, look really yummy!! cheers! gloria

  10. Just beautiful! These recipes are divine. I had to come over from Edible Mosaic to take a look at your blog. Awesome recipes you have created. Wonderful photos as well :)

  11. OMG, your dishes look soooo yummy! I love the shooter & Pan-Seared Sablefish with Lentils but I must admit that Sable is alien to me.

    Yesterday was a busy day. It was my hubby's bday & I was tied-up preparing dinner for 6. I'm glad it ended well :)

  12. Lazaro, this is a FEAST MY MAN! That ice cream...o.k., wait, that SABLE FISH looks chunky, meaty, dense with flavor but that ice cream...I better scram before I get ideas in my head about making ice cream! HAVE A GREAT WEEK! Anita

  13. Absolutely gorgeous Lazaro. Sable fish is new to me. I'm very impressed with everything, including that lovely gazpacho shooter.

  14. Exactly what I've come to expect from you: great flavors, perfect compositions, healthy eating and beautiful presentations! This is a super idea, Lazaro!

  15. I have yet to try sablefish or quinoa but both are definitely on my list.

    This spread is almost overwhelming in it's scope, creativity and presentation! The standouts for me though, have to be the Gazpacho shooter and the sablefish with lentils! Divine! Fantastic job with your reintepretations Laz!

    I must head to Edible Mosaic now!

  16. Lazaro, these deconstructions are magnificent...I adore every flavor and texture combination right down to the crispy basil leaves.
    I love that you play with your food, I am a big fan of playing with our food...Why be here if not to create tomorrows masterpieces :)
    I also agree with everything you have stated regarding Faith and The Edible Mosaic...She is quite amazing :)
    P.S. I am cracking up at Dennis's likening the Food Police to Mall Cops, so true...

  17. Conversion to veggies! Oh my, can not wait what a man in love will cook for his woman! Fried basil leaves, that is new. Beautiful addition of gaspacco to the fish and I agree nothing better then the top of the line olive oil!

  18. G'day Lazaro! First of all, so jealous of your sablefish score! woo hoo! You always get the best fish to cook with (while I'm stuck with basa, boo!) Secondly, I am lovin' the sablefish with lentils. I love lentils too and like you, could never be a good Muslim and fast like that. I get crabby and horrible if I'm not fed every four hours!

    Third, I like to cook all of my whole grains in my rice cooker and lately have been doing a combo of quinoa, barley and wild rice! YUM!

    ANd pistachios and ice cream are one of my faves! Thanks Faith! Thanks Laz!

    Ok and since you've been on a rave lately: snark, snark, snarkety snark snark! haha! Just kidding, thanks for being such a grand supporter of other food bloggers!

    PS: I have a number of vegetarian ideas on my blog and some for meatless mondays! Just posted a pumpkin lasagna today.

  19. A fun and creative deconstruction of Faith's dishes! Love the color of the gazpacho shooter, and your use of sablefish! This is terrific series, and I'm looking forward to more deconstructions!

    Thank you for all the support this, my friend! I'm looking forward to chatting with you soon. I bet you were curious what happened to my dessert concept, truly a Top Chef-like situation :)

  20. Wow Lazaro! I know it's only your first foodie deconstruction Satursay, but is it too early to call you the master of deconstruction? Seriously, those are 2 beautifully deconstructed dishes. I'm really loving tha gazpacho shooter, how fun! The ice cream looks like a killer too (even though it's not deconstructed). Great first food deconstruction Saturday! Can't wait to see more.

  21. love the new series!
    Great technique to poach fish. I like the deconstructing concept. It makes you realize that you can do so many things with your food. Oh, love the fried basil! I eat it with grilled chicken. yum! The lawyer is going to be eating a lot of sablefish :D

  22. Beautifully interpreted Laz. Love the smooth consistency of the gazpacho shooter, im not sure, if one shot will be enough for me, lol.. I have to research more about sablefish whether its available here. Any suggestions, what alternative can I use in lieu of it?

    Honestly, I havent tried quinoa yet. ITs not popular here and not available. I'm assuming its has some resemblance with couscous, am i right? I started to take interest with quinoa when I saw Chiarello made some Quinoa Pasta for the vegan celebrity Zooey Deschanel. I have been scouting for Quinoa for months, but I was advised to try looking at health shops or organic groceries, which is also rare here. I might check the farmers market on weekends.

    And with the Ramadan Lentil soup, this looks familiar. I think I had one before in a Shawarma Snack Center. It was lentil, but not Red. The server said its called "Shurabat Adas". It was really hearty.

    And lastly! The Syrian Ice cream is to die for! I love eating ice cream with added textures from the pistachios. Thanks for sharing Faith's spread, and your reinterpretation of her recipes. You know I didn't make to the third challenge, but I have prepared my menu, and I was inspired by your creations and deconstructions, so I was thinking of you while formulating my menu. Thanks for being an inspiration my friend. Just continue doing on what yo're doing, and keep inspiring us, never mind the mall cops, (lol at Dennis)...

  23. Amazing, as always! Love that the Lawyer is veggie! Can't wait to see more of what you come up with for that :) Also, the sablefish.... I can't decide which style I like better. I don't have to decide. Both look beautiful and the flavors of both sound amazing. Right out of the park... again... great job Lazaro!

  24. The sable fish looks too enticing - not sure I can find it in the Midwest - home of the lake fish. Wondering what to substitute.. the quinoa salad is perfect- that will be on my menu. I have some golden lentils to use up and wondering if Faith's recipe wold work for those - I think it might. Love coming here for inspiration... thinking and tasting.

  25. Love your twists on these recipes, and once again I get a great new idea from you. I love lentils but had never thought of pairing them with fish. Definitely looking forward to more installments in this series. Thanks again, Lazaro!

  26. Inspiring kick-off for your new series. Don't believe i've ever had sablefish but it looks deliciously meaty and I love it pan-seared and paired with lentils. Looking forward to more of your creative deconstructions! Heading over to Edible Mosaic...

  27. Thanks for the quinoa recipe. I have almost all ing. on hand. Here's another fish I'm not familiar with. After all our years living in Charleston, S.C. I thought I was a fish-knowing person!! We do have good access to seafood in the Chicago area and will have to check out both sable and trigger fish the next time I'm at the fish market.

    Loved the photo of the kittens sleeping together. Looks like big brother has accepted little brother!!


  28. So many excellent ways to enjoy sablefish and what beautiful presentations. I really like the idea of poaching the fish in olive oil. I'm a quinoa fan, although I should probably eat more of it! It was a lot of fun reading about your deconstructions. Thanks Lazaro!

  29. Ummm, I love sablefish, and your dishes look fantastic- love it!

    1. The favourite foodie deconstructions n Saturday has been described very well by you. Thanks for sharing


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