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Bright green sauce/broth for fish


harryharry
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I made a beautiful green basil broth/sauce over the weekend - reduced vermouth, added some citrus, reduced again, added honey and salt - 

then blanched/shocked basil and spinach - blended with a couple pieces of ice in vitamix and ran through a fine strainer - mixed with the vermouth/citrus and then thickened with a little bit of xanthan gum - it turned a lovely shade of brown about 1/2 hour later - 

 

then thought, it must have been the citrus that turned the mixture brown - 

 

So blanched more basil (had no spinach) - shocked and blended with little ice - add some salt and a tiny bit of xanthan gum - gorgeous color for ten minutes then started to brown again - 

 

How do I keep this green?  or how do I make a beautiful bright green sauce  - not cream based - 

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This isn't really a sauce, but how about spooning on the plate some basil oil, which should stay green (this recipe, but add the step of filtering it through a jelly strainer or other ultra-fine mesh device), and some sort of vermouth-citrus emulsion?

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

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Basil is always a bad boy for me with it's tendency to turn brown.  

This is probably not the flavor profile you are looking for, but the green chile adobo in More Mexican Everyday is a brilliant green, stays that way (in the fridge, my jar is a little over 2 weeks old) and would be lovely on fish.   

It calls for half a head of garlic and 4-5 serrano chiles that are both dry roasted and peeled, a big bunch each of cilantro and parsley, a cup of olive oil and 2 t salt, all whizzed in the blender.  

 

Let me see if I can find a picture.

Edited to add:  You can see the jar in this photo on the breakfast thread.  And here it is stirred into some rice and beans with shrimp.

 

 

 

Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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I often serve a broccoli purëe with white fish. Not exactly a sauce, but it does keep its color. I guess it could be diluted to a more saucy consistency if you were determined.

 

So far as I am concerned, never cook basil. I only ever add it at the last minute to any dish, allowing it to wilt in the residual heat at most. That way, it maintains its color, but much more importantly, its taste.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Thanks for responses - MelissaH, how long would you estimate to blanch basil? I did it only until it was slightly brighter/darker (?) green and clearly just cooked.  

Here's a pic of the color and consistency that I am going for: I doesn't have to be basil, but must be relatively neutral - I like the latin flavors in the green chile adobo mentioned above - but it won't work for this application.  

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Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats says that putting the basil leaves in a boiling water bath for 30 seconds will deactivate the enzyme that causes browning. Then drain, chill in an ice bath, dry, and proceed.

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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I've never tried it, but I wonder if blanching the basil in slightly alkaline water (plus the salt, I guess) might help, with keeping the green color at least. (I don't know about the taste retention). With "the usual vegetables" in E/SE Asian cooking that is a common way to keep them bright green, and it is also done in Western cooking, I believe, in addition to simply blanching them in salted water. But keep the citrus juice out till the end (like just before you use the sauce); acidic conditions *will* generally make green stuff go brown quickly.

 

Under acidic conditions chlorophyll loses the Mg++ ion and becomes the olive/dark-colored pheophytin. Under alkaline conditions the chlorophyll retains the Mg++ and, at least partly, loses the phytyl & methyl esters (cleavage to the carboxylate moieties, becoming the Mg-chelated analog of chlorophyllin, which has a bright green color).

P.s. the enzyme deactivated by the blanching is chlorophyllase.

Edited by huiray (log)
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