Saint Valentine day menu (part 3/5): First Dish, Nidi di Rondine with Halibut Ragout and Saffron Béchamel (see the other guides for the full menu)
Start by preparing the Halibut ragout
Start working on the vegetables for the soffritto
Chop carrots, celery and onion finely.
Add carrot and celery to a pan with olive oil and a splash of water
Few minutes later add the onion as well. Stir everything in and lower the heat.
Take care of the halibut steak now
Separate the tender flesh from skin and bones.
Tip: If you want you can boil skin and bones to make a good fish stock that you can use later to make the squid ink pasta.
Cut the halibut into strips
And then small pieces
Add the halibut to the soffritto and sauté it. Avoid using a spoon as much as possible to avoid spoiling the tender flesh of the fish.
Add some parsley leaves and sauté for 5 minutes
Then add the white wine and turn the heat on high
When the wine evaporates remove the parsley leaves and stir the passata in.
Lower the heat and cover with a lid. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cook for 10-15 minutes
When cooked remove from heat and set aside
This is how it will look!
Now let's make the Saffron Béchamel
Melt the butter in a pot
When melted remove from the heat
Add the flour
Stir everything together and put on the heat again to cook the roux.
When the roux start browning add the milk gradually stirring constantly
Add nutmeg and saffron
Mix everything together and add the potato starch for extra thickening.
Cook for 10-20min until thickened and then set aside.
Now time to make the Squid Ink Pasta
Strain 100ml of the stock made from the halibut into a bowl (or use any other fish stock). Let it cool until warm
Squeeze in the squid ink from the two sachets
Using a fork stir well until the ink is evenly dissolved
Place the flour on a surface leaving a pit in the middle. Break the egg in
Start working it with a fork, scooping in some flour gradually working your way from inside out
Start adding the ink and keep mixing it with the flour
When you get to this point you need to get your hands in.
Knead the dough well, add more flour if too soft and sticky, add some water if too dry.
Wrap it in a freezer bag and set aside for 15 minutes
It's time to start making the Nidi di Rondine
Flatten the dough into 20x70cm 1-2mm thick sheets, make two
Cut them in halves and let them rest for 10min
Start coating them with a not too thick layer of béchamel
And then distribute the halibut ragout in the same fashion
Reach the edges on the long side but leave a 2cm gap on the short edges, this is where the roll will close
Start rolling them on the long side
Place the rolls in a baking tray and cover with film. Freeze for 20min.
In the meantime chop the parsley
Cover the bottom of one baking tray with béchamel and sprinkle some parsley on top
After 20min take the rolls out of the freezer and with a sharp knife start cutting them into 2cm thick slices.
Place the slices in the tray tight against each other
There you have them the "Nidi di Rondine" (Swallow Nests)
Sprinkle some more parsley on top
Use the remaining béchamel to fill the gaps left in between the nests using a teaspoon
Spread the remaining béchamel over the top
Ready to be baked. Cook for 30min in a preheated 180C oven, until the béchamel on top starts browning
Just out of the oven, serve hot. Try to follow the rolls separation when portioning it.
- FOR THE SQUID INK PASTA
- 300.0g Flour
- 1.0 Egg
- 2.0 Squid Ink sachets
- 100.0ml Fish Stock
- FOR THE HALIBUT RAGOUT
- 1.0 Halibut steak
- 2.0 Carrots
- 1.0 Celery stick
- 1/2 Onion
- 300.0ml Passata
- 100.0ml White wine
- FOR THE SAFFRON BECHAMEL
- 1.0l Whole milk
- 200.0g Butter
- 200.0g Flour
- 50.0g Potato starch
- 1/8g Saffron
- Olive oil