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Chef Talk: Spadone adds sparkle at Aubaine

Michele Spadone is head chef at Parisian-style bistro, Aubaine.

Describe the Aubaine vibe?

Aubaine is a relaxed and elegant French restaurant where you can come for a formal business lunch or just indulge yourself with some handcrafted patisseries and some really good coffee.

Where did you learn your culinary skills?

I learned my skills at a very young age while cooking in France.

What’s your favourite dish?

My favourite dish in Aubaine is the seafood risotto.

Why have you launched a range of new breakfast items which include matcha?

Breakfast is very popular at Aubaine and we needed to excite/innovate our current and future clientele. Of course – matcha tea is very healthy, and it’s on trend at the moment. We wanted to explore this trend, and allow clients to be healthy and naughty at the same time!

In London, Aubaine is renowned for its cocktails. Will there be a licensed outlet here in Dubai?

I cannot yet say anything, but it could happen.

Where’s your favourite Dubai place to eat?

My favourite place in Dubai is La Petite Maison. It’s a very good interpretation of the French Mediterranean and never fails to please my taste buds.

What do you like cooking at home?

I love to cook seafood such as scallops or langoustine. I usually cook these in a very simple way – poached or grilled, paired with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, that’s all. A good olive oil makes all the difference.

See below for Chef Spadone’s seafood risotto recipe…

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of mixed fresh, high quality fish, such as cuttlefish, tub gurnard, red mullet, monkfish, shrimps, clams and mussels.
  • 2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil, plus one for post-cooking
  • 3 roughly chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 halved carrot,
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leave,
  • 1 chili, or chili flakes, to taste/ if desired
  • 2 cups of Carnaroli rice
  • Lemon zest

Procedure

  • 1. Ask your fishmonger to clean and chop the bony fish for you.
  • 2. Wash all thefish thoroughly, especially the clams and the mussels. Keep the shrimp’ shells and heads for the stock as there is a lot of flavour in there too.
  • 3. With a deep casserole dish over a medium to high heat add: extra virgin olive oil, 2 roughly chopped shallots, 2 garlic cloves, 1 halved carrot, 2 celery sticks, 2 springs of thyme, 1 bay leave, and chili if you want to tingle your palate.
  • 4. Once the shallot has a transparent look and the fragrance starts to reach your nose, it is the right moment to add ¾ of the chopped fish and the shrimps’ shells.
  • 5. Stir for one minute and add water to cover. Bring to the boil, and simmer until reduced by one quarter or longer if you prefer a strong fish stock.
  • 6. Strain the stock and keep it on the side for later.
  • 7. In a shallow casserole on medium to high heat add extra virgin olive oil, a half chopped garlic clove, a half chopped shallot and stir them until golden brown.
  • 8. Add the clams and mussels, then cover the casserole for a couple of minutes or until the shellfish open up.
  • 9. Add the Carnaroli rice and stir to coat all the rice grains with the beautiful casserole sauce.
  • 10. Add 500ml of warm fish stock and keep stirring. Make sure your risotto does not go dry while cooking. Your arm will get tired, and by this point you will be getting hungrier and hungrier but you will have to hold on for a little while longer.
  • 11. Check the cooking of the rice and leave it to your preference. If you reckon it is almost ready it is time to drop the shrimps and the cuttlefish that were previously chopped up.
  • 12. At this point the consistency of the risotto should be gooey but not sticky. If sticky - add some more stock or a little knob of butter to fix it.
  • 13. Take off the fire, keep stirring the risotto for few more minutes, while adding light seasoning, more extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme leaves and grated lemon zest.
  • Serve and enjoy on a large plate…


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