STYLE

Bakeapple cream puffs, cod au gratin featured dishes at Bacalao restaurant

11/18/2013 03:57 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
St. John's restaurateur Andrea Maunder promotes traditional ingredients of Newfoundland and Labrador in her establishment Bacalao. Here are some recipes for dishes that she serves diners.

Bakeapple Cream Puffs

Bakeapples are called cloudberries outside Newfoundland. The puffs can be made a day or two ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. The topping can also be made ahead and stored in a jar in the fridge.

Stores that stock Newfoundland products likely have bakeapples bottled or frozen. European markets or even Ikea stores (the berries are very popular in Scandinavia) may carry cloudberry preserves. If using preserves instead of fruit, combine with the other fruit and reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Cloudberry liqueur is available at most liquor stores.

250 ml (1 cup) water

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter

250 ml (1 cup) flour

4 eggs

250 ml (1 cup) bakeapples

1 mango, diced

250 ml (1 cup) chopped fresh pineapple

125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar

250 ml (1 cup) whipping (35 per cent) cream

30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) sugar

15 ml (1 tbsp) cloudberry liqueur (optional)

Pineapple or mango slices or fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Heat oven to 220 C (425 F).

In a medium saucepan, boil water with butter. When butter has melted, add flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan, coming together in a ball, then remove from heat.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in eggs, one at a time, with a mixer or by hand, until incorporated. The resulting mixture will be a little sticky but will hold together.

Drop dough onto parchment paper-lined or well-greased pans in 8 mounds about 7.5 cm (3 inches) around and 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) high. Leave 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) between puffs. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden, firm and hollow-looking. Poke a hole near the bottom of each one and return to oven for another 5 minutes or so to dry out. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

In a medium saucepan, simmer fruit with 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar until fruit is softened and mixture is thickened. Taste and adjust flavour to your taste — add lemon juice if too sweet, more sugar if too tart. Let cool.

Whip cream with 30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) sugar and liqueur, if using, until firm peaks form.

Just before serving, cut cream puffs in half laterally. Fill bottom half with whipped cream and replace top. Spoon topping over top half and serve with a little more cream, if desired. Garnish each with a slice of pineapple, mango or a sprig of fresh mint.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Andrea Maunder, owner of Bacalao restaurant, St. John's, N.L.

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Daphne's Cod au Gratin

Newfoundland restaurateur Andrea Maunder says "the simplicity of seasoning and freshness and quality of ingredients — and of course, the love she puts into it" makes her mom's cod au gratin the best she has ever tasted.

500 g (1 lb) fresh boneless cod fillets

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive or vegetable oil

90 ml (6 tbsp) butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

60 ml (4 tbsp) flour

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk (approx)

500 ml (2 cups) shredded medium cheddar

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F).

Place fish in a medium saucepan with enough cold water to just cover fish and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer to cook the fish through. (Do not break up fish too much — you want spoon-sized chunks.)

Remove from heat and drain well. Place in a greased casserole dish or divide among greased individual ramekins (175- to 250-ml/3/4- to 1-cup size).

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat; add butter and melt. Add onion and saute until softened and translucent. Add flour and cook, stirring to coat onions, a minute or two. Add milk and stir as sauce thickens. Add 250 ml (1 cup) of the cheese and stir to blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper. If too thick, add more milk; too thin, add cheese. The sauce should be the thickness of pourable gravy.

Spoon sauce over fish, stirring very gently just to incorporate but not to break up fish. Top with remaining shredded cheese and bake for about 20 minutes for ramekins, about 30 minutes for casserole. If it's not as brown and bubbly as you like, place under broiler for a few minutes before serving.

Make ahead: Assemble in dishes or casserole, top with cheese and refrigerate until ready to bake. Allow a couple of extra minutes cooking time because the dish is cold.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Andrea Maunder, owner of Bacalao restaurant, St. John's, N.L.

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Grainy Partridgeberry Mustard

Partridgeberries, also known as lingonberries, are an integral part of Newfoundland cuisine. This mustard can be served with pate, meat or on sandwiches.

Stores that stock Newfoundland products likely have partridgeberries frozen or in jam form. European markets or even Ikea stores (the berries are very popular in Scandinavia where they're called lingonberries) may carry the preserves. If using jam, skip the step of simmering the berries with sugar and water and simply add 45 ml (3 tbsp) of jam to the simmering mustard mixture. If you can't find the berries or the jam, substitute cranberries but add a tiny pinch of ground bay or coriander to more closely approximate the flavour of partridgeberries.

50 ml (1/4 cup) mustard seeds

125 ml (1/2 cup) partridgeberry wine or dry white wine

30 ml (2 tbsp) wine vinegar

10 ml (2 tsp) ground mustard

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

1 ml (1/4 tsp) each allspice, cinnamon, garlic powder, ground coriander and ground cumin

Pinch each cloves and black pepper

125 ml (1/2 cup) partridgeberries (see sourcing note)

60 ml (4 tbsp) sugar

30 ml (2 tbsp) water

Soak mustard seeds in wine overnight.

In a blender or food processor, whirl with vinegar, ground mustard, salt, pepper and spices for a minute or two until coarsely pureed to paste. (Alternately, use a mortar and pestle.)

Simmer partridgeberries with sugar and 30 ml (2 tbsp) water until they reach a jammy consistency. Add mustard mixture and simmer, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. (Add more wine or water if too thick.)

Taste and adjust flavour with sugar, vinegar, salt or pepper. (The mixture will be spicy but will mellow with time in the fridge. It's always nicer after a few days.) Jar and refrigerate at least overnight or up to a month.

Makes 1 jar.

Source: Andrea Maunder, owner of Bacalao restaurant, St. John's, N.L.

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Traditional Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Salt cod is a staple of the Newfoundland diet and the basis of these traditional fish cakes. Fresh cod just wouldn't be the same in this recipe.

Salt cod is readily available in grocery stores that stock Newfoundland foods. It can also likely be found in stores featuring Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or Caribbean groceries. If you can't find the wet-pack boneless, skinless fillets, you're likely to see very dry and hard-looking split whole fish with skin and bones intact. You simply need to soak this fish for several days, changing the water daily, until it's rehydrated. It'll be a little more time-consuming to pick over the fish after boiling, discarding skin and bones, but it's very tasty.

Newfoundland summer savoury can be found in Newfoundland grocery stores or purchased online. Or substitute 5 ml (1 tsp) of another dry savoury or a mixture of 1 ml (1/4 tsp) each dried marjoram and thyme. Fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley, won't yield the same flavour.

500 g (1 lb) salt cod (if you are starting with whole bone-in fish, about 1 kg/2 lb will yield enough after fish is deboned)

250 g (1/2 lb) russet potatoes (about 2 medium)

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tbsp) olive or vegetable oil

2 cooking onions

10 ml (2 tsp) dried Newfoundland savoury

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Flour and oil or butter, for pan-frying

Soak salt fish at least overnight or longer depending how salty it is. (Very dry salted cod can take up to 3 or 4 days. Taste water and judge for yourself. You want some saltiness left in the fish.)

In fresh water, bring soaked fish to a boil until just opaque and then drain and flake. Remove any bones or skin.

Peel and cube potatoes; boil in lightly salted water, then drain, mash and let cool.

In a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, combine butter with a touch of vegetable oil (so butter doesn't burn) and saute onions with savoury until onions are just translucent. Add a grinding of fresh pepper.

Transfer drained cooked salt fish and cooled mashed potatoes to a medium mixing bowl. With a rubber spatula, scrape onion mixture into fish and potatoes. Combine well but don't beat (it will break up fish and potatoes get gluey). Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. (While not traditional, a little freshly grated nutmeg and lemon zest adds lovely brightness and complexity.)

Pat into burger-sized patties, lightly flour on all sides and fry in a large frying pan over medium heat in a mixture of butter and oil until golden, and turn to brown the other side (it takes 3 to 4 minutes a side). Be careful when flipping so you don't break them. Transfer to warm oven to hold if you have more patties to cook.

Serve with tartar sauce, aioli or sweet mustard pickles, a traditional Newfoundland favourite.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Andrea Maunder, owner of Bacalao restaurant, St. John's, N.L.

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