Fiona's story is the kind that puts a lump in your throat and settles in your heart forever. Fiona McLaughlin is a 23 years old Catalan woman, of a Scottish father and French mother. Although, Irish blood run through her veins because his father's family was originally from County Donegal. Fiona speaks four languages without an accent, well, the Spanish with a noticiable Catalan accent.
By her courage and her looks it would cost me nothing to image her as one of those heroines of Irish blood who conquered the Wild West in the films of John Ford. Or for his mastery of languages and bravery, as Catherine Pradier, the English-French protagonist of the novel by Larry Collins, Fall from grace, parachuted into occupied France to confuse the Nazis about the true location of the invasion. Or as Linda Voon, an American Jewish spy in Nazi Germany, played by Melanie Griffith in the Shining through movie.
Fiona was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 18. Since then, they have operated her on five occasions. In the penultimate, she told her story through photos, a joint project with her friend Oliveira Thais, both students of Quim Roser and mine in the photojournalism course we lecture at IDEP, another case like Claudia Maccioni, photography as a therapy. I offered my blog to do so. I went to see her in El Masnou to plan the story and then invited, she and her mother Marie Pierre, to try a tasty tradicional Catalan fishermen dish, Rap al all cremat (monkfish with toast garlic) to talk about the final details . Tomorrow you can learn about the history of Fiona McLaughlin.
Let’s go to the recipe.
RAP AL ALL CREMAT (MONKFISH WITH BURNT GARLIC)
Ingredients for four people.
1 kg of sliced monkfish.
1 kg of potatoes.
200 gr. ripe tomato, peeled, chopped and seeded.
1 liter of fish stock or, alternatively, fish broth in carton or a tablet of fish broth dissolved in 1 liter of water.
Parsley 4 garlic 10 toasted almonds.
1 slice of bread from the day before.
Salt and pepper.
Virgin olive oil.
Peel the tomatoes, cut it clean, leaving out the seeds, rather small. Peel the potatoes and break into pieces with a knife, so they’ll release the starch. Peel the garlic and cut in half. In an earthenware pot or cast iron fry the garlic until golden.Reserve. In the same oil fry the slice of bread and reserve. Put then the diced tomatoes and cook at a very low heat until they becomes a jelly. Put the potatoes, cover with fish stock and add the chilli. While the potatoes are half done prepare the paste in a mortar. The carlic,the fried bread, two tablespoons of parsley and the almonds. When the potatoes are half done, put the monkfish slices, that will have salted previoously. Then left 15 minutes or so and add the paste that we’ll have dissolved in a little broth.
I had prepared rap a l'all cremat in the past, but this, as I think my guests will testify, was really good. I think because of the fish stock and the paste. In other ocassions I haven’t used them.
Fiona and Marie Pierre brought a white wine from her area, a Marques de Alella Pansa Blanca, made with a grape variety named Xarel.lo who combined beautifully.
Fiona will show you her photos and her story tomorrow.