Every now and then you have the opportunity to try something amazing. Caviar is one of those delicacies that we should serve for very special occasions. Crown St Grocer can order this caviar in for you with a few days notice. I had the opportunity to try it and work with it and after much research and deliberation I chose to make a ridiculously lavish starter to serve with drinks before a dinner party. The scallops work well with the caviar and the lime and jalepeno aioli really give it some kick.
So first lets start off with the caviar. To quote wikipedia, “Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be “fresh” (non-pasteurized) or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value.” Please don’t get this confused with Salmon roe it really isn’t the same thing, or in the same league in my opinion. And the connoisseurs among you all will also know that you should never use a metal spoon because it will taint the flavour. I don’t have the correct ‘mother of pearl’ spoon so I resort to a small plastic one that has been thoroughly cleaned and dried. I also encourage you to try it as is, so that you have some idea of the basic taste. It really is worth it. Okay then on to the recipe. I have done this the simple way, if you want to go all out and make your own fresh aioli then go for it.
Okay I am being a smarty panster here. I am so lucky to have an incredible local grocer, Crown St Grocer, right near me and they source the most unbelievable italian fennel and pork sausage, Salsiccia Finocchietto, made with Berkshire pork that is hand reared. And a sausage this good deserves to be treated with respect and cooked with love. So a stew, you might think wait a second slow simmered for ages thats not love….but it is, long slow cooking to let the flavours develop. Try and get really good quality italian style pork sausage from a good deli or contact Salumi and see if they supply near you. Come on really, a pig raised in the amazing Northern Rivers of NSW. You know you want it.
Recipe: Italian Salsiccia Finocchietto Stew
500g (1 pack of Salumi Salsiccia Finocchietto) pork fennel sausage
1 large brown onion chopped
1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced
2 cups chicken stock
2 200g tins of cannelloni beans drained and rinsed
2 200g tins of crushed tomatoes
5 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
10 good grids of black pepper
1 fresh bay leaf or two dried
3 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
Cut the sausage into 10cm lengths and then gentle slit the sin down the length, remove the skin and then cut the sausage into small chunks, roll them into small balls and coat in olive oil
Gently fry the sauage meat balls on medium heat, keep them moving so they dont stick until they are coated on all sides and browned
In a casserole style pot gently fry the onion and fennel in some olive oil until soft
Add to the pot the stock, beans, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and pepper and stir gently to combine
As the mix comes to the boil return the sausage pieces to the mix and then gently simmer with a lid on for about 90 minutes
Then take the lid off and simmer to thicken the sauce for another 30 minutes
Remove bay leaf.
Add spinach and cook until wilted
Serve with some steamed new potatoes if you like
You can actually do this in a slow cooker too, set it on low for about 6 hours.