Friday, October 31, 2008


I find it so amusing indeed when observing market goers buying fish when they start pressing and sniffing the fish. You begin to think if the fish was to be used as pillow or perfume. To ensure that fish are of the best quality, carefully inspect the fish, checking for as many of the following signs of freshness and quality as possible:

1. Fish should at least have a temperature of 40°F/4°C or less.

2. The fish should have a good overall appearance (clear slime, no cuts or bruising, pliable fins, etc

3. The scales should tightly adhere to the fish.

4. The flesh should respond to light pressure and not feel soft.

5. The eyes should be clear, bright, and bulging.

6. The gills should be bright pink to maroon in color and if mucous is present, it should be clear.

7. There should be no belly burn—evidence that viscera (guts) were left in the fish too long, resulting in bacteria and enzymes breaking down the flesh along the rib cage.

8. The fish should have a clean, sweet, sea-like smell.

9. The fish should be stored in a container with shaved ice to prevent bruising.

Blue Marlin has a thick layer of fat between the skin and the meat while the “Malasugi”, often passed on as Blue Marlin has no fat.

INGREDIENTS: Yield: Serves 6
6 pcs blue marlin steaks, ¾ -inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste
Juice of 1 lemon

8 g minced garlic toasted in unsalted butter

1. Season the steaks with salt and pepper just before grilling and pour lemon juice.

2. Grill the steaks over glowing charcoals approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.

3. Place the steaks on a serving platter. Pour the Beurre Grenobloise on top of steaks. Garnish with toasted garlic and serve immediately. Serve the pickled radish on the side.

2/3 Cup / 90 g unsalted butter
2 ½ tbsp / 22.5 ml. White wine vinegar
1 tsp Italian flat leaf parsley
2 ½ tbsp 22.5 g Minced capers
1 tbsp / 15 g unsalted butter

• Cook butter till hazelnut brown. Pour off from pan, and strain and strain milk solids.

• Wipe pan with paper towel. Pour white wine vinegar and reduce by half.

• Add brown butter and heat gently. Add parsley or flavorings.

• Add the minced capers at the end. Finish off with butter.

1 large white horse radish
¼ cup / 60 ml. vinegar
90 g white sugar
Dash of white pepper
Dash of salt

• Combine all ingredients, cover and chill for 1 hour.

This Blue Marlin cut is from the belly thus its shape.


Freshest of ingredients. The only way you can prepare this wonderful dish is for you get up at 3am and wait for the freshly caught fish to arrive and order the cut you need. Tuna flavor and its firm texture allows for a repertoire of cooking methods from raw like sashimi and ceviche, searing, saute, pan-frying and grilling etc. In this dish I crusted the tuna with strong spices to balance the medium rare doneness.

INGREDIENTS: Serves 6 as an appetizer 4 as an entrée

450 g loin of tuna (best grade for sashimi)
Salt and pepper to taste
Ground coriander seeds to taste
Ground fennel seeds to taste
Oil for searing

1. Season both sides of the tuna with salt, pepper, coriander and fennel.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over high heat until smoking. Sear tuna on both sides but leave the middle part rare. Refrigerate. When chilled, cut into large cubes.

½ cup tamyao
½ cup Daikon, shaved
¾ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup cilantro leaves

165 ml extra-virgin olive oil
32 g red onion brunoise
56 g salted capers, rinsed
28 g black olives, pitted and half rondelle
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 bird’s eye red chili, seeded, brunoise
28 g Italian flat leaf parsley, chiffonade
3 g lemon zest, blanched
Salt, as needed
Ground black pepper, as needed

1. Combine the herb salad ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the salsa cruda and whip with a wire whisk. Refrigerate.

2. Toss the salad with the dressing.


Spending my summer time as a kid at my grandmother's "poor house" as she would call it certainly brings back pleasant memories. Sunday lunch was always grill day (comfort food for me). Lola, coming from Cagayan valley, the parsimonious Ilocano trait deeply embedded would surely recycle the grilled items into either curry or adobo. There was one incident when my castillan grandfather was served leftover grilled chicken that became fried chicken on Monday, Adobo on Tuesday. Lolo got suspicious and took a bite from a drumstick and returend it to the platter. On Wednesday, he was served chicken curry and noticed the bitten drumstick hidden in the pile of chicken curry. Indeed, the drumstick was hurled out the window!

Lola had a term for leftover which we still use in the vernacular today-"MacArthur"- I shall return food.


(Meat Kabobs)

INGREDIENTS: Yield: Serves 10

1 Kilo Lamb shoulder or short loin chops or leg, chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ tbsp Oregano

½ (100ml.) cup EVOO

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Onions quartered

1 Green bell peppers, seeded and cut into chunks

1 Large firm tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Wooden bamboo skewers, soaked in water and chilled


  1. Cut the meat into cubes (about an inch) and place in a bowl. Season well with pepper on all sides and sprinkle with oregano.

  1. Pour the EVOO and lemon juice. Leave to marinate in a cool place for 6 hours.

  1. Remove meat from the marinade and pat dry. Pierce through with a skewer, alternating with the chunk of vegetables.

  1. Place in a charcoal and cook for about 15 minutes, turning them over several times.

  1. When meat is done, Season with salt and serve with Pita or rice.