The grilling time given in last Sunday's Food Section for Vice President Walter Mondale's Barbecued Trout was incorrect. The recipe called for trout weighing 1 to 1 1/2 pounds each. They should be grilled 15 to 20 minutes, not 25 minutes.
IT'S NOT easy to keep the fish from burning on the grill when you are trying to make pasta in a silver chafing dish and keep a steady stream of one-liners for a crowd who makes their living writing about food. Even when you are vice president of the United States and an expert at sparring with a group.
So Fritz Mondale could be forgiven if he wanted to disown the fish as they started to go up in smoke and when he complained that his fettucine had gotten too dry.
After the flames had died down someone asked if the fish should be basted.
"I think we can throw them away now," Mondale suggestged a bit too hastily as he untangled some stuck-together fettucine.
That's how it went for an hour last Wednesday afternoon when the Vice President and Mrs. Mondale entertained 70 food writers attending their annual convention in Washington. Though it isn't widely known elsewhere in the country, the vice president is a bona fide cook, not the kind of politician who hands out recipes that he's never even seen, on press releases bearing his name. His Washington friends have often been treated to the dishes he has perfected. In the summer it's usualy a cookout; in the winter, something Italian. So it seemed only natural that people who make their living writing about food would want to see Fritz Mondale perform.
And Mondale obliged on the lawn of the Victorian vice presidential residence atop Observatory Hill. Later his wife, Joan, gave a tour to show the art in the house. Each year she selects the works of living American artists from a different region of the country and puts them in the Vice-presidential residence.
That's how the Mondales often divide up the responsibilities. For instance, at Thanksgiving and Christmas the vice president will do the cooking and let his wife "stay in bed until 4 o'clock. It seemed to help our marriage, some," he explained. When he is in town he often cooks on weekends when the staff is off.
It was a perfect day for an otdoor party, the kind of weather Washington doesn't often have. Before the cook arrived the guests were served wine, beer and tea along with the house speciality which Mondale does not make and has said he would never attempt -- lumpia . They are the Phillipine version of Chinese egg rolls, much smaller and much lighter. The naval personnel who run the house prepare them.
Round glass top tables and chairs were set up in what Mondale calls the grill garden. It's completely private, surrounded by a high hedge and planted with blue and yellow flowers and a beautifuly manicured lawn. There's a wonderful old tree that provides shade for the grill and griller.
A few minutes after the guests had gotten there the increased static of the walkie talkies announced the vice president's arrival. He had come from his weekly lunch with the president, looking very business-like with his briefcase. In a short while he emerged from the house, dressed for cooking -- blue cord pants, Hush Puppy-like shoes, a blue shirt emblazoned with "Grand Ole OpryS Stoney Mountain Cloggers," a gift when he had been in Nashville campaigning. All apropriately covered with a spanking clean white butcher's apron.
"What am I supposed to do?" he asked the guest who had goten him into this.
"Cook," was the response. He spent a few minutes at the grill explaining about the fish. Then he turned to the fettucine. Shortly thereafter flames began to leap up around the fish.
"Your fish are burning," one of the guests told him, but the flames were quickly contained.
Mondale wasn't pleased with the fettucine. "Incidentally," he said, as he stirred the butter for his version of what he called Fettucine Alfredo a la Mondale, but used to call Fettucine a la Pimento Mondale, "you will not get a chance to eat any of this. No matter what happens we're making some good stuff (in the kitchen)."
Mondale claimed he was rusty. "For the last half year I've been on the road."
"Why?" someone asked, getting almost as many laughs as the vice president's put down of his cooking.
"I'm at heart a great educator," Mondale explained, "especially when I'm up at election time."
In another effort to convince the crowd that it wasn't his fault if the fish burned, he also claimed he didn't like to grill fish as much as he liked to deep fry them; particularly on fishing trips which is really his favorite form of relaxation. He's been going fishing for years with the same cronies. That's how he learned to make fettucine.
"I love to fish and go with friends who love to cook. And they're Italian.I've learned a limited amount." Not everything. "The last time I made fettucine I used oleomargarine. Don't do it."
"What other Italian dishes do you cook besides fettucine?"
"Did you have this grill specially made?"
"I just told the Public Works Department to get a barrel and cut it in half and make a barbecue out of it."
"Will you take it with you when you leave?"
"No. I'm a low budget vice president. Even Rockefeller took the bed away."
"Have you entertained President Carter?"
"Yes. Around Christmas time."
"Do you do the cooking for him."
"No. That's one of the rules."
By this time the trout were cooked.
"You want to take credit for those fish?" someone asks.
"No," he said. "If they aren't any good, you'll write bad stories."
He finally was convinced to serve them to the crowd.
The trout were, in fact, delicious and the other dishes, which had been prepared in the house, the fettucine and wild rice, were equally well received. p
Mondale seemed to enjoy himself. For some time after his cooking chores were finished he stayed around to talk about where and when he fishes, accepted an invitation to go to Utah and try it there but told his possible hostess that he "could only stay a month."
After what can only be described as a virtuoso performance the vice president left for his tennis game to be followed by a week of vacation, where he planned to catch more fish . . . and deep fry them. BARBECUED TROUT (4 servings) 2 trout (1 to 1 1/2 pounds each) 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped 6 slices of bacon, or as needed 1/4 pound melted butter Juice of 1 lemon Salt and pepper to taste
Clean and bone the fish, leaving on head and tail.(You don't have to bone the fish, but if you do, you will have more room for stuffing.) Season fish inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff with chopped vegetables. Wrap fish with bacon strips. (It is not necessry to secure bacon if the fish is cooked in a basket.)
Place fish in grill basket. Place basket on barbecue grill, 12 to 15 inches above hot coals. Combine melted butter and lemon juice. Brush fish with lemon-butter mixture. Grill fish, turning several times and brushing with lemon-butter each time. After 25 minutes, test fish. When it flakes easily with fork it is done.
This is a specialty the Vice President likes to make for family dinners. FETTUCINE ALA PIMENTO MONDALE (4 servings) 1/4 pound whipped butter, at room temperature 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup freshly grated imported parmesan cheese 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped 1 tablespoon finely cut pimento 6 to 8 quarts water 1 tablespoon salt Pepper 1 pound fettucine noodles 1 canned white truffle, sliced very thin or finely chopped (optional) Extra grated parmesan cheese
Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy by beating it vigorously against the sides of a heavy bowl with a wooden spoon. Beat in the cream, a little at a time, and then beat in grated cheese, a few tablespoons at a time. Add the garlic, parsley and pimento.
Cover the bowl and set aside in the refrigerator if the sauce is not to be used at once. If you do refrigerate the sauce, be sure to bring it to room temperature before tossing it with the fettucine.
Set a large serving bowl or casserole in a 250-degree oven to heat while you cook the fettucine. Bring the water to a bubbling boil in a large soup pot or kettle. Add the salt. Drop in the fettucine and stir gently with a wooden fork for a few moments to prevent strands from sticking to one another or to the bottom of the pot.
Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until pasta is tender. (Test by tasting: It should be soft but al dente -- that is, slightly resistant to the bite.) Immediately drain the fettucine into a colander and lift the strands with two forks to make sure it is thoroughly drained. Transfer at once to the hot serving bowl.
Add the creamed butter-cheese mixture and toss with the fettucine until every strand is well coated. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the truffle.Serve at once. Pass extra grated cheese in a separate bowl. i
The following are much lighter and smaller than Chinese egg rolls. The Filipino cooks at The Vice President's house make their own doilies. They are extremely thin and delicate, and also difficult for the novice. The cooks brush the batter onto a hot grill with a large paint brush into the shape of a 6-inch circle. It is easier to do this in a 6-inch crepe pan, pouring in the batter. The alternative to making doilies is to buy the doilies for Mo-Shu pork in an Oriental market. They are not quite as thin, however. LUMPIA (Philippine Egg Rolls) (Makes about 45) Doilies: 3 cups flour 5 cups water, less 2 tablespoons Salt to taste Filling: 3/4 pound ground pork or beef 5 ounces raw shrimp, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 can (8 or 8 1/2 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped 1/2 can (8 or 1/2 ounce size) bamboo shoots, drained and finely chopped 1 1/2 stalks celery, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 small carrot, cleaned and finely chopped 1/2 pound fresh bean sprouts or 1 can (1 pound), drained 1/2 cup raisins, chopped Salt, pepper to taste Egg white, beaten lightly Corn oil
To make the doilies combine flour, water and salt to taste and mix thoroughly with wire whisk to remove lumps. Batter should be about the comsistency of a crepe batter. Add a little water if it is too thick. If the batter thickens as it sits, you may have to add more water.
Heat a 6-inch crepe pan and wipe out with lightly oiled wax paper. Pour on batter quickly to cover bottom: pour off excess. Allow to cook over low heat until the edges begin to curl and pull away from sides of pan. Remove and place on clean, dry surface; repeat, oiling pan each time. Do not stack doilies on top of each other until each has cooled. Before filling, cut off excess batter to make perfect circle. Filling
Cook pork or beef in a large skillet until pinkness is gone. Drain off grease. Add shrimp, onions, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, celery, garlic and carrot and cook until carrot is almost tender.
Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white and oil, and mix well. Cook until bean sprouts are limp. Pour mixture into strainer and cool, allowing as much liquid as possible to drain off before filling rolls.
Use about 1 heaping teaspoon for each doily. Place filling near one side. Roll doily over filling a couple of times and then fold in sides and roll up tightly.Seal flap with a little egg white.
Deep fry in corn oil heated to about .375 degrees, until rolls are golden. Drain thoroughly on paper towels and serve with sauce (recipe below).
Note: If rolls are filled ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until it is time to serve. Return to room temperature and fry. Lumpia Sauce (Makes about 3 cups) 2 cups pineapple juice 1 cup catsup 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar 1 tablespoon brown sugar Dash hot pepper sauce 1/2-inch cube crushed ginger 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Combine all ingredients but the cornstarch and heat. Meanwhile mix the cornstarch with enough of the pineapple juice mixture to make a smooth paste. Return cornstarch mixture to pot and simmer until mixture is thick.