Spaghetti with clams and soybean paste

Spaghetti, clams, coriander and soy paste

I usually stick to one style or one cuisine when I make or change dishes but here the Italian and Japanese traditions where so close that I could not resist to mix and match. So instead of using white wine, olive oil and parsley for spaghetti alle vongole, I used a soybean paste, coriander and some seaweed powder. The result was excellent.

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Fried smelt

I love fried small fish. We often go to a restaurant on the Dordogne river that serves “friture de poisson” and they are great.

Just small river fish and garlic in hot oil.

Civelles is also very nice but I tend to avoid that dish as the small eels will never get big and eels risk to become extinct.
Small fish like smelt, éperlan, never gets bigger than 15 cm, but their catch is regulated too.

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Red Mullet fillets

On the French markets you can find two kinds of reddish fish that look similar apart from their size – the grondin or red gurnard and the rouget barbet or red mullet. The rouget is a small rock fish and is used in Mediterranean fish soups.
With the rising sea temperatures it is also caught in the North Sea.
It has a central bone and is easy to fillet, as long as you take care of the scales.
The reddish pigment in the skin makes that the fish turn brightly coloured in the pan, like shrimp or lobster.
Here I put a little bit of olive oil in a skillet, added some sliced garlic and fried for a minute. Then I added the fillets, cooked for a minute, turned, cooked for another minute and then added some lemon juice and pepper. Serve quickly.

Japanese-style fish soup with cockles and prawns

Japanese-style fish soup with cockles and prawns

From time to time, I go to a Japanese shop in the area around the rue Sainte Anne in Paris, where there are many Japanese restaurants and travel agents. I stock up on some instant soups, seaweed, sesame, yuzu and dashi – a yellow soy paste.

On the outdoor market in our village, the fishmonger had cockles, live prawns and cheek of cod. I combined this into a very nice and healthy soup.  Freshly cooked prawns have a much better taste than pre-cooked prawns.

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