Sour cherries and poppy seeds are a traditional pairing and work really great together. Usually, you can find this combination in the form of crépes, muffins or cakes – so in most cases, they are served as dessert. Since I love to include fruits in savory dishes, I was thinking about a way of using sour cherries and poppy seeds in a more salty environment. Cherry sauce is a classic pairing for duck breasts, so I thought it might work with pigeon breasts as well. Additionally, I enhanced the plate with a few more ingredients that pair similarly well with sour cherries, which took the resulting dish into a very exciting Asian direction.
Cauliflower is a vegetable that can be stored quite well, and therefore it is available throughout almost the whole year. Actually, the real season for cauliflower – at least in Europe – is about right now. During spring and summer fresh cauliflower can be sourced from local farmers in white, green, orange or purple colors. Usually, cauliflower is picked into florets and cooked or steamed tender, or it is sometimes prepared as a creamy soup. In this recipe I cooked the cauliflower slightly different than usual and served it with a crispy roasted trout fillet.
It’s almost 4 years now that I filleted a whole fish for the first time in my life. Since then I stopped counting the number of fish I’ve filleted and really gained routine in getting clean and beautiful cuts as result. Nowadays I prefer to buy whole fish at the local market, because this way I can use the bones, head, tail and fins as well to cook a flavorful fish stock, which really enhances sauces, risottos and soups. I prefer to buy local and traditional fish such as trout, char or carp. Sea fish are no options for me, because I don’t have any reliable source for buying fresh seafood, and my hometown Erlangen is simply too far away from the sea.
Regarding the connection between seafood consumption and the distance to the sea, I had a surprising experience a few years ago in Italy, which I like to bring up every time I’m asked about seafood. I was lucky to get a publication accepted at a major conference in computer science, which was held in the beautiful city of Florence. Of course, I used the lunch breaks and the evenings to explore the local restaurant scene. I was even more fortunate having a receptionist at my hotel who was actually a native Florentine citizen. As almost everybody in Italy, he loved to eat, and especially to eat well. So from the first day on I consulted him which restaurant he recommends me to visit. I wasn’t a regular tourist, I really wanted to get to know the real local cuisine. He always told me only the next location I should go to and based on my report the next day he recommended me the next place to visit. This tactic was quite comprehensible, because I could have been a usual tourist, who actually might have been afraid of tripe, wild boar or other local specialties. But he pretty soon learned, that I was after the real local cuisine.
In my previous post I gave a short review of the renewed Foodpairing website. In a short tutorial I went through all options of the Foodpairing Explorer and simultaneously created a combination of ingredients featuring poppy seeds, banana, turnip, apple and camomile. First this combination might sound a little bit weird, but if you take a closer look, they actually make sense together. Poppy seeds aren’t very sweet but slightly bitter on their own. Banana used as chips are less flavorful and less sweet compared to the raw fresh fruit and it contributes a nice crunchy texture too. Apples can be tart, turnips are actually very sweet and while they are both crisp, their consistencies differ. So to sum up, every main flavor and many different textures are present in the aforementioned combination, which is the foundation of creating an interesting vegan dish based on them.