Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chef Jules Hibernation

Hello Friends;
I have been rather slack lately but have resolved to make postings on a weekly basis. For myself it's always been more important to provide quality content, nice photos, than a constant stream of mindless diatribe, or crap.
I have been very busy, in business and pleasure terms. I will touch on the pleasurable side, that being Fishing, Diving and of course cooking.
I had the opportunity to go with Paul Morris, research editor from Dive Planet, to Tairua. Now Tairua is a small town on New Zealand's East Coast of the North Island, Coromandel Peninsula to be precise. We stayed with Linda and Tony Lanzi, a great couple who own Tairua Dive & Fishinn. We headed out from the marina, over the bar and travelled approximately 28 kms to one of his favourite fishing spots. Within an hour of jigging we had 3 magnificent King Fish, averaging 17 kilos each. We then headed to the Aldermann Islands and had a dive from which we bagged some Crayfish. Paul took some video footage, above and below water, which can be viewed on the Dive Planet website. When we returned to shore Tony very kindly cleaned and portioned the Kingfish for us to take home, and if time permitted he would have barbecued some as well ! Tairua Dive & Fishinn is a company I highly recommend, and Tony's maritime experience and hospitality is second to none.

On to matters culinary, Prosciutto! I came across
some really good prosciutto the other day, which as the photo shows, I combined with fresh figs, provolone and stuffed vine leaves. This is a great way of starting a meal,"antipasto style". For those of you that aren't familiar with prosciutto, it is air cured leg of pork. Not all prosciutto is created equal however, and only the product that carries the ducal crown emblem signifies a tradition and history that goes back 2000 years, and that it is the original product of the region. Prosciutto crudo di parma is processed from selected, prime hogs of a minimum weight of 144 kgs and minimum age of 9 months. The meat is treated, spiced and seasoned for 2 months under pressing. It is then washed several times to remove the salt, and then hung in a controlled environment for 18-24 months. The unique micro climate of Parma, encompassing the regions of Tuscany and Emilia (Central and Northern Italy), gives Parma ham world wide acclaim and recognition. Consistency and quality control is achieved by a consortium of farmers and producers, totalling approximately 200 enterprises.
I purchased the proscuitto di Palma from Carlo at Sapori d'italia , and retails for $200 per kg (us $126 ), already sliced and layered. Whole and half legs are available at approximately $80 per kg (us $50 ). As the ham must be sliced paper thin, unless you have a commercial slicer I recommend buying pre-sliced. Sapori d'Italia is a great company and  has a wonderful range of top quality Italian wines, so follow the above link to see more.
I have a really nice Paella recipe for you, in the Dive Planet website, hope you enjoy it.
Ciao for now.

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