I got hooked on Formula One with fish and chips in my hand.
It was a gray, foggy morning, and I was jetlagged and slightly hung over when we arrived at England’s famed Silverstone circuit for the Friday practice sessions of the 1999 British Grand Prix.
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4 lb. Russet potatoes, skin-on, washed and dried
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups beef stock
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
2 cups cheddar cheese curds
Cut potatoes into lengths of about ¼- inch thick, ¼-inch wide and 4 inches long. Place in a large bowl, cover with cold water and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add shallot and garlic, and cook, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add stock, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, and keep gravy warm.
Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325 degrees. Drain potatoes and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Working in small batches, add potatoes and fry, tossing occasionally, until tender and slightly crisp, about 4 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and let cool for 20 minutes. Increase temperature to medium-high and heat oil until it reads 375 degrees. Working in small batches, return potatoes to oil, and fry, tossing occasionally, until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer fries to paper towels to drain briefly, and then divide among serving bowls. Pour gravy over each serving of fries, and top with cheese curds; serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
— Adapted from a recipe on Saveur.com
Peameal Bacon Sliders
Peameal bacon is pork loin that has been brined for at least four days, then rolled in dried, ground yellow peas or cornmeal and refrigerated uncovered for a day until the meat and meal become one. Because it’s hard to come by peameal bacon in Austin, you could use Canadian back bacon instead.
1 small sweet or Vidalia onion
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup grainy mustard
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 lb. peameal bacon, sliced 1/4-inch thick
24 mini buns or small dinner rolls
24 gherkin pickles or cornichons or cocktail onions or pickled peppers
Cut onion into 1/4-inch-thick rings. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; place onion in the butter and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add chicken broth; cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 8 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
In large bowl, combine maple syrup, mustard and a dash of salt and pepper; set aside.
In nonstick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook bacon in batches, adding more oil if necessary. Turn each piece once, until tender and golden, about 4 minutes. Cut each slice into 4 pieces. Add to maple mixture; toss to coat. Place pieces of coated meat and any remaining liquid back in the pan. Keep warm over low heat.
Cut buns in half; broil, cut side up, on baking sheet until golden and toasted, about 1 minute. Stack 4 pieces bacon on each base of bun; top with onions then top half of bun. Secure with gherkin-skewered toothpick. Makes 24 sliders.
— Adapted from a recipe by Canadian Living magazine
Steamed Fish with Ginger
2 Tbsp. rice wine
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
3 Tbsp. ginger, minced and divided
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 lb. whole white fish (such as barramundi, red snapper, trout)
3 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
2 to 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 handful cilantro
Steamed jasmine rice, for serving
Combine rice wine, soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. ginger and sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside.
Slit fish to the bone three times at 1 inch intervals on both sides and pour rice wine mixture over fish, being sure to get it in the slits. Marinate in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Place fish on a plate. Balance plate on a metal trivet in a wok and steam, covered, over simmering water until the flesh is not pink and translucent when cut into with a knife, five to eight minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until smoking. Sprinkle fish with spring onions, shredded ginger and pepper then slowly pour hot oil over fish to crisp the skin up and scald the aromatics. Garnish generously with sprigs of cilantro. Serve with jasmine rice.
— Adapted from a recipe from Poh’s Kitchen
Mussels with White Wine, Garlic and Shallots
Before cooking, soak the mussels in water for about 20 minutes to help purge some of the sand inside the shells. Remove the mussels from the water and pull out the weedy black fibers, known as the beard.
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup minced shallots
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
4 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Crusty bread or rice, for serving
In a heavy bottom pot such as a Dutch oven over medium heat, bring wine, shallots, garlic, parsley and bay leaf to a simmer for about 3 minutes.
Increase heat to high, add mussels, cover and cook, stirring twice, until mussels open, about 4 to 8 minutes. Discard any that do not open.
Using tongs, remove mussels from pot and place in a serving bowl. Turn off heat and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the broth that remains in the pot. Pour broth over mussels, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.
— Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated
A season of flavors
I’ll confess I didn’t cook every race. An annual family road trip got in the way of the British and German grands prix, and I simply forgot to cook anything for Belgium until a week after the race. We went out for sushi for Japan, and Abu Dhabi’s qoozi — an entire lamb stuffed with rice, dates and spices — was way too much to do.
My menus for the other races:
Australia: Coconut-marinated grilled shrimp with rice
Malaysia: Chicken satays with a peanut sauce, rice, cucumber and pineapple skewers
China: Steamed red snapper, rice, bok choy
Bahrain: Machbous ala Dajaj — spiced chicken and rice
Spain: Paella, steamed asparagus with Serrano ham
Monaco: Mussels steamed in white wine, haricot vert
Canada: Peameal bacon sliders, poutine, steamed corn
Hungary: Chicken paprikash, nokedli, cucumber salad
Italy: Pappardelle with lamb ragù, spinach and arugula salad
Singapore: Chicken rice — steamed chicken over fragrant rice — cucumber
India: Lamb vindaloo, spinach in tomato and ginger sauce, naan