Noilly Prattle: Loquat Wot!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Loquat Wot!

very narrow backyard
     There's this Loquat tree in my backyard that's been sitting there for years.

      I never paid it much attention except that it served as a kind of screen between our house and the neighbor's a scant three or four meters away. Unfortunately, it's the back of the neighbor's house and looks rather like a small junk yard, so the loquat tree served us well hiding the junk even though it never seemed to produce any edible fruit. What piddling little shriveled loquats did appear usually got eaten by bugs or birds or just simply rotted on the tree.

ripe loquats
      In the past year or two, though, we started to throw some fertilizer on the ground around the trunk of the tree and lo and behold it produced quite a tidy amount of edible loquats this year. Well, wot to do with loquats?

      A Google search on the web came up with lots of ideas for cooking with them so we tried a few of them and they turned out to add some nice variety to our daily bread fare. Thought I'd turn you on to a couple recipes should you happen to have a loquat tree in your yard or can hit up a neighbor for a few. The first one is a main dish using fresh tuna fish.

Pan-Seared Tuna over Arugula with Loquat Salsa

zesting the lime
main ingredients for loquat salsa
      First you make the salsa. For two cups use 1½ cups of loquats with seeds and membrane removed and diced; ½ cup of diced red onion; 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers (depending on how hot you like it), finely chopped; zest and juice of 1 lime; 1 tsp. salt; 1 tbs. honey. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and chill in the refrigerator.

Pan seared tuna with loquat salsa
      You will need two 6oz. tuna steaks about an inch thick salted and peppered on both sides; arugula leaves or any lettuce leaves will do; balsamic vinegar. Preparation and cooking is simple. Place the lettuce on a large plate. Heat a skillet until it is smoking then add the tuna steaks and sear on both sides to about ¼ inch. The middle will still be pink and just warmed. Move the tuna steaks to a plate and let them rest while you sprinkle the arugula (or lettuce) with balsamic vinegar. Slice the steaks into half inch slices and lay them over the arugula. Then top the tuna steaks with the loquat salsa—the more salsa the tastier.

      Here is the website where I found this recipe and others.


Fool's Gold?

loquats and carrots
diced loquats added to
curdled pudding
      We also tried to concoct a desert using loquats and carrots with mixed success. In a blender we put about a cup of loquats (seeded with membranes removed) and about half that amount of sliced carrots; 200ml. heavy cream; 1 tsp. Lime juice; 2 or 3 tbs. Gum syrup; half a dozen mint leaves. When blended we got a smooth pale orange to light beige pudding. Unfortunately, we thought that it needed more loquat taste and added two or three more loquats and blended it a little more. For some reason, perhaps tipping the acid balance, the pudding curdled up, but still tasted fine. At any rate, we put the curdled pudding into a container and then added more diced loquats, folded them in, covered the container and put into the refrigerator to chill.

      When ready for desert we spooned some of the pudding into small glasses and garnished them with two halves of a seeded and de-membraned loquat, a loquat seed or two (for color not eating) and a sprig or two of mint. Didn't look so hot, but tasted very good, a little tart and not too sweet—just enough to complement the tartness of the loquat and its rather subtle flavor. Would have been better if the pudding hadn't curdled. But, tomorrow's another day.

Fool's Gold

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