Surf and Turf Weekend

  • Recipe(s): Rib roast of beef with beetroot and horseradish (page 154) & Fantastic fish lasagne (page 78)
  • Prep: Moderate and Moderate
  • Taste: Very Good & Good

This past weekend, November 8th and 9th, we completed the final pasta recipe from our challenge and came one recipe closer to completing all of the red meat recipes. In the end it was a great weekend filled with fish, prawns, beats and a nice prime rib roast.

Fantastic fish lasagne
Saturday night consisted of the surf half of the weekend. Being that we needed to pick up fresh seafood we decided to save this recipe for a weekend. Occasionally it is difficult to make it down to the market and back in time to make a nice meal during the week.

Anyway, on my way home from a walk around Vancouver I stopped off at Granville Island and picked up fresh cod fillets and some great big shrimp. As shrimp are one of my favourite seafoods I made sure I picked up the largest ones that the fish monger had in stock.

The prep for this recipe is definitely moderate. I was able to cut down on the time required by using the Kitchen Ninja to chop all of the vegetables but there is still loads of other things to do with the prep. You have to wrap bacon around some parsley stocks, melt butter, heat milk, mix it all together, layer the sauce into a baking dish along with parboiled lasagne noodles, etc, etc, etc. You can see there are a lot of steps in the prep. Once it is done you are in the clear for the next 45 minutes while the dish bakes away in the oven.

The dish was on the low side of good. First you need to understand this is not a traditional lasagne. Yes, it has layers of noodles and a bit cheese, and a sauce, however the cheese is parmesan and the sauce is made of vegetables. Now, I’m all for vegetable based sauces in a lasagne but I draw the line when no mozzarella or ricotta are used in a lasagne! After I got past this fact and realized that I had to think of it as more of a seafood pie, I could actually taste the dish. I really enjoyed the seafood mixed with the vegetable sauce. The cod was a perfect choice because it stayed firm, as did the shrimp. I also really liked the hint of nutmeg in the sauce. It kind of reminded me of a sauce my Mom makes that she serves with a seafood fettuccine. In fact, that would probably be a better way to serve this recipe. I would not make this particular dish again, however, I would try the same ingredients in a different pasta preparation, similar to what my Mom makes.

Prime rib roast
The second half of our weekend consisted of the turf and rated superior to the surf. The prime rib roast was very good.

The prep is again moderate because there are many things that need to be done. I realize that my idea of ‘moderate’ prep has probably changed over the course of the year – making a lot of labour intensive dishes these past 10 months I think has maybe skewed our idea of ‘moderate’ time prep… Anyway, I started by getting the beets in a pot of water. Normally you would get the roast in the oven first, however, we used a 1kg roast instead of the 5kg that the recipe called for. We did this because we were making it for two instead of eight (some of these recipes have been eating into our budget – so we’ve decided to cut back here and there). So, rather than overcooking the meat, I got the beets started first.

My first obstacle occurred when trying to peel the beets. I remember watching my Mom peel beets when I was young, I swear she just used a paring knife and pulled the skin away. I tried this with very little success. The beets were incredibly hot and I could not hold them for too long. Eventually I ran them under luke-warm water which allowed me to essentially, ‘rub’ the skin off.

While the beets were cooking I prepared the marinade for the meat and the horseradish sauce. The latter is the easiest thing to make in the dish.

This dish was very good. I cooked the roast for 10 minutes at 400F and then for another 30 minutes at 300F. It turned out very nicely rare. It definitely could have gone a bit longer but I never want to overcook such a nice piece of meat! In the end I was happy with how it was done.

Aside from the brilliant piece of meat, the best part of this dish for me was the horseradish sauce. It was kind of like the glue that holds everything together. Now, I have always been a fan of creamy horseradish with my roasts but the mix in this recipe took that basic sauce to the next level. I’d never have thought of adding creme fraiche, lemon and parsley to a creamy horseradish but it was really outstanding.

This sauce combined with the balsamic vinegar on the beets and the nice fatty meat created a really nice bite and a very good dish.

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