Elusive Brewing

The Beer Lover’s Table: Chinese-Caribbean Wings and Elusive x Hop Burns & Black Aztec Challenge Smoked Chilli Porter

Wings are, in many ways, the perfect food. Crispy and juicy when done right, they offer the messy, almost carnal satisfaction of eating with your hands, of failing to care that your face is smeared with sauce and grease. Not a pretty experience, and all the better for it.

Much as I love classic Buffalo wings, I wanted to serve a different iteration alongside Elusive Brewing and Hop Burns & Black’s collaboration smoked porter, Aztec Challenge. Brewed with smoked cherry wood malt, pequin chiles, and scotch bonnet peppers, its kindled heat is tempered by a rich, almost sticky sweetness.

These wings respond in turn. Their sauce riffs on a Sam Sifton recipe for baked Trini-Chinese chicken, and combines Caribbean flavours - potent scotch bonnet hot sauce, the brightness of lime juice - with Chinese ingredients like oyster sauce, soya sauce, and anise-scented five-spice powder.

The wings themselves, made using J. Kenji López-Alt’s tried-and- true double-fry method, are shatteringly crisp underneath that slick of sauce. Sweet, spicy, and umami-laced, they’re just what this beer deserves.

Chinese-Caribbean Wings
Serves two as an appetiser, one as a main

For the wings:
1.5 litres rapeseed oil
500g chicken wings, the juiciest and fattest you can find, cut into flats and drumettes (tips removed)

For the sauce:
10g butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, minced
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
3 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs dark brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs soya sauce
2 tsp scotch bonnet-based hot sauce (try Dalston Chillis' version)
1 spring onion, white parts discarded, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

You’ll be frying the wings twice; for the first fry, add the oil and prepared wings to a deep, heavy-bottomed pan and place over medium-high heat. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature; you’ll want to raise the heat to between 107-121 degrees C. Cook the wings, stirring and flipping occasionally, until tender and just cooked through, but not golden on the outside, roughly 15-20 minutes.

Remove with tongs or a spider-style strainer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and lined with paper towels. Let rest an hour at room temperature or covered in the fridge overnight.

When ready to do your second fry, heat the oil to 205 degrees C and remove your chicken from the fridge. While it’s heating up, prep the sauce: place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and ginger and stir frequently until the raw flavour and aroma has dissipated and the mixture is starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. Next, add the five-spice powder and stir quickly to toast before adding the oyster sauce, dark brown sugar, lime juice, soya sauce, and hot sauce. Turn heat to low and cook until just warmed through, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once the oil is at temperature, carefully add the chicken pieces with tongs to avoid splattering. Stir to make sure they’re not sticking to each other or the bottom of the pot. Cook, keeping the oil temperature ideally between 190-200 degrees (it will drop when the wings are added) for roughly 10 minutes, or until the wings are crispy and golden. Remove from the oil to the wire rack and let rest for a moment.

Pour your sauce into a large bowl and add the wings. Toss well until all pieces are well coated. Serve in a bowl, topped with sliced spring onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a bottle of our Elusive collab Aztec Challenge while you can.

#HBBAdvent Beer 18: Elusive Brewing Overdrive APA Lap 5 (Wokingham)

overdrive.jpeg

Elusive says: American Pale Ale hopped with Simcoe then dry-hopped with Amarillo.

We say: Elusive founder Andy Parker's fame preceded him - by the time we first met, in the very early days of the shop, we already knew of his prowess as probably the finest home brewer out there, and definitely the nicest guy in beer.

Since then, we've loved watching Andy realise his dream of owning a brewery and go from strength to strength. He's continued to produce incredible beers - we've been fortunate to brew three collabs with him ourselves (you#ll find some of our most recent collab, Down in Mexigose, on the shelf and we're delighted that our smoked chilli porter Aztec Challenge will be making a return sometime soon). In the meantime, enjoy this cheeky little American Pale Ale on a Monday night. - Jen

 

The Beer Lover’s Table: Whole Roasted Salmon and Elusive Brewing/Hop Burns & Black Bright Future Blood Orange Blossom Saison

It’s a tip I learned from a friend of mine a few years ago, and one I still prize: when having a large group over for dinner, roast salmon. The whole salmon.

More than a main course, whole roasted salmon is a centrepiece, gigantic and silvered. It’s also a participatory spectacle: people dig in, seek out belly fat or tender cheeks, flip the fish over in unison after one side has been picked clean. It’s a gleeful mess. There’s something primal and communal and bonding in the shared eating of such a fish.

Salmon can be seasoned in a million different ways, but because summer is approaching, Provençal flavours feel especially appropriate. In this preparation, the fish is roasted on a bed of fennel and onion that’s doused in glugs of vermouth. Tarragon perfumes it with its anise scent, and several additions of orange - zest, slices, even orange-infused olive oil - recall sunnier climes.

Speaking of orange: it’s also one of the reasons this salmon works so well with Bright Future, which Hop Burns & Black brewed in collaboration with Elusive Brewing. This blood orange blossom saison also makes use of orange juice and zest, as well as orange blossom honey. It’s yeasty, citrusy, and fantastically quenching.

It’s also ephemeral. Make the most of this limited-edition beauty then, and invite a big group over for dinner. Preferably friends who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

Whole Roasted Salmon with Orange, Fennel, and Provençal Herbs
Serves 8-10

1 3-kilo salmon
3 fennel bulbs, sliced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbs Maldon sea salt, plus more to season
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
8 tbs olive oil, divided
4 tbs white vermouth (I used Cinzano Bianco)
25g flat-leaf parsley, divided
25g tarragon, divided
25g dill, divided
2 oranges
Orange-infused olive oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees C. Line your largest roasting pan with heavy-duty foil. Add the sliced onion and fennel, and sprinkle over with the sea salt and black pepper. Pour over 4 tbs of the olive oil and the white vermouth.

Take half of your parsley, tarragon, and dill, and chop finely. Zest your oranges (preferably with a Microplane grater, so you don’t remove any of the bitter pith), and mix with the chopped herbs.

Meanwhile, prep your salmon. Pat the inside and outside dry with paper towel. Ensure it’s been fully scaled (if there are any remaining scales, scrape the back of your knife against the grain of the scales to remove). On an angle, make five long, 2cm-deep slits in the salmon’s side with a sharp knife. In each slit, add extra sea salt to season, as well as your chopped herb and orange zest mixture. Sprinkle sea salt across the salmon’s skin and flip, repeating the same steps on the other side of the salmon.

Season the salmon’s cavity generously with sea salt. Slice the two oranges that you zested and place the slices with the cavity, as well as the remaining herbs. Pour the remaining 4 tbs of olive oil over the salmon.

Add your salmon to your very hot oven and cook for 15 minutes - salmon is a fatty fish and will smoke, so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated. If your salmon drapes over the edges of your roasting pan and threatens to touch the edges of your oven, cover those exposed bits in foil to prevent scorching.

After 15 minutes have passed, lower the heat to 180 degrees C and cook the salmon for approximately 20 more minutes, covering loosely with foil if it begins to look too dark. After 20 minutes, remove the salmon carefully from the oven. Use Jamie Oliver’s method and check to see if it’s cooked through: stick a small knife in the thickest part of the salmon, behind its head. Leave for several seconds before removing the knife and feeling for heat; if it’s warm, the salmon is cooked. If not, return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes of cooking time.

Once the salmon is cooked through, remove from the oven and serve alongside the roasted fennel and onion; you can serve it with spinach and lentils on the side if you wish. Drizzle with orange-infused olive oil.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up some of our succulent collab while stocks last in store or at our online shop

No More Heroes XXXIII – Elusive Brewing/Wild Weather Ales Herman Toothrot

My name’s Guybrush Threepwood and I’m a mighty pirate. I’m also moderately enthusiastic about Grog – or “Craft Beer” as folks like to call it these days.

I first met award-winning homebrewer Andy Parker on Mêlée Island a few years back, way before he went pro and launched his business, Elusive Brewing, proper. We met on a crossroads at dusk where we drew blades. Boy, he could hurl insults like the best of them.

“You fight like a dairy farmer,” I yelled. “How appropriate, you fight like a cow,” was his witty riposte. Why, if it weren’t for my knowledge of the Sword Master’s insults he would have almost certainly nearly defeated me.

A few months later I was stranded on the legendary Monkey Island where once again I came across Andy, along with a hermit who went by the name of Herman Toothrot. As I recall, Andy and Herman were attempting to brew up a viciously effective batch of Grog but unfortunately they were out of both kerosene and battery acid – both key components in a good Grog recipe.

Utilising his brewing know-what, Andy instead used the only ingredients he had to hand: malted barley, wheat, yeast, North American Centennial hops and rum-soaked raisins. He named the finished beer in honour of Herman, who became a close friend of his while stranded on that godforsaken island. At the time I remember Andy remarking that the beer had mildly psychotropic properties – I’m not sure it did but then I’m convinced everyone saw that three-headed monkey.

Sadly, with there not being enough room on my ship, Herman and I left Andy on Monkey Island and I assumed he would have been taken by either the native cannibals, or perhaps the Dread Pirate, LeChuck. Thankfully, I later discovered that he survived and I was relieved to learn that he’s now brewing professionally in the town of Finchampstead, near Reading.

I was heartened to see that he’s re-brewed Herman Toothrot’s Ale in collaboration with fellow Berkshire brewery, Wild Weather Ales. In fact I’d go as far as to say it's tasting even better, with lots of spice from the Centennial hops matching the boozy sweetness from the rum-soaked fruit.

It could do with a touch more kerosene to meet my personal taste, but as a fearsome, grog-swilling pirate, my palate is more difficult to satisfy than most.

Music Pairing: The Lemonheads – My Drug Buddy
If you find yourself a little puzzled by this months instalment of NMH then, unlike Andy and myself you never spent hours and hours playing the Monkey Island video games as a kid. (It’s not too late, you can play it here.)

Since Elusive Brewing launched last year, Andy’s beers have done nothing but impress, picking up a string of well-deserved awards along the way. If you’re not convinced yet then you’re probably only a bottle of Herman Toothrot away from joining the enlightened.

This isn’t the first time Elusive has collaborated on a beer with Wild Weather. The first in the series was also named after a character from Monkey Island, Lemonhead the cannibal… Which tenuously links me to this week’s song, the blissfully chilled out My Drug Buddy from the Lemonheads. Enjoy!

Find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Get the glorious Elusive Brewing Herman Toothrot and more from the Elusive range in store or head online to get it delivered to your door.