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Karen Martini recipes from Home cookbook

Chef and busy working mum Karen Martini loves spending time in her home kitchen.  In Home, she shares her absolute favourite flavour-packed dishes to put on the table for family and friends

Mixed leaf & herb salad with simple French vinaigrette

Serves 4-6

1 iceberg lettuce, leaves torn
1 small radicchio, leaves torn
2 witlof, leaves separated
1 celery heart, pale yellow leaves picked and stalks finely sliced on an angle
5 flat-leaf parsley stalks, leaves picked and torn
½ bunch of chives, snipped into 2cm pieces
½ bunch of chervil, picked

French vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon salt flakes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of ½ lemon
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette: mash the garlic, salt and mustard together in a small bowl until you have an even paste. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and combine. Add the oil and plenty of black pepper and beat with a fork until emulsified.

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Combine the salad leaves, celery leaves and stalks, and herbs in a large bowl. Beat the dressing again to re-emulsify and pour over the salad – you won't need all the dressing, just enough to coat the leaves. Toss the salad carefully using forked fingers so as not to bruise the leaves.

Pile into a large serving bowl and serve immediately. Leftover dressing will keep well in the fridge.

TIP: This classic French vinaigrette is so versatile – toss it through any leafy green salad, or add it to freshly cooked chickpeas and crumble some feta over the top for a lovely side dish. The vinaigrette will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

Pan-roasted snapper with garlic & bay

Serves 2

2 × 500-600g snapper, cleaned and scaled
extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, smashed, skin on
1 stick of fresh bay leaves with about 6-8 leaves attached
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced. 

Dry the fish inside and out with a paper towel. Make an incision in the flesh on each side of each fish along the length of the spine. Splash on some oil, season with salt and pepper and rub all over, including inside the cavity.

Heat a large, ovenproof frying pan over high heat until hot. Add a good splash of oil and both snapper and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully flip the fish and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves to the pan and cook for a further minute until fragrant. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes until the fish is just cooked.

Remove the pan from the oven and spoon some of the juices back over the fish. Squeeze over some lemon juice and spoon the juices back over a few times.

Serve immediately with some simply dressed green leaves and plenty of bread to mop up the juices.

Lemon semifreddo with blackberries and lemon syrup

Serves 8

4 large lemons
4 extra-large eggs, separated
280g caster sugar
250ml cream
150ml double cream
salt flakes
blackberries, to serve

Lemon syrup:

100g caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Line a 20 cm × 25 cm cake tin with plastic wrap – you could also use a loaf tin or terrine mould.

Finely grate the zest from 3 of the lemons and juice all 4 – you will need about 200ml of juice. Mix the zest with the juice.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer for five minutes until pale.

Add the yolk mix to a large stainless steel bowl and place over a saucepan with 5-6cm of simmering water in it. Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes until considerably thickened. Take the bowl off the pan and whisk for 1 minute to cool down a little. Add the lemon juice and zest to the bowl and whisk to combine.

Lightly whip the cream. Fold the double cream into the whipped cream and then fold this into the yolk and lemon mix.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Fold through the lemon mix and pour into the prepared tin. Freeze for 6 hours or preferably overnight.

To make the lemon syrup, dissolve the sugar in 2½ tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the lemon zest and juice and bring up to a simmer. Take off the heat and chill for a couple of hours before using.

To serve, lightly mash some blackberries with a couple of tablespoons of syrup. Unmould the semifreddo and cut into thick slices. Serve with the berries and a drizzle of syrup.

Home, by Karen Martini. (Plum, $39.99.)