Tastes of the sea.
Difficulty Rating: 3/5
This dish is probably the best looking plate i’ve managed to produce. We have lightly cured salmon, cod, confit carrots, foams etc. To top it all off a fennel risotto. If you want to really push the boat out add some scallops as shown but they are not necessary.
Fish: 2 chunks salmon almost square/ 2 chunks of white fish of your choice/ sugar and salt to cure.
Herb Crumb: Breadcrumbs/ garlic/parsley/lemon zest.
Carrots: Baby carrots or long thin ones/ olive oil/ garlic/ herbs.
Pea Puree: Frozen peas, splash of stock, butter.
Fennel Puree: Fennel Bulbs/ cream and milk to cover/ garlic.
Fennel Risotto: 200g risotto rice/ 1 shallot/ splash white wine/ 750ml-1l chicken stock/ butter/ reserved fennel puree.
1) Begin by combining equal sugar and salt, 50g each should be fine.Plus some fennel seeds if you have any in the cupboard. Rub this over the pieces of salmon and leave for one hour. Then wash this all off and dry.
2) Roughly chop fennel, cover with equal quantities of milk and cream. Add a clove of garlic or two. Bring to a boil then simmer until fennel is soft 20mins.
3) Remove fennel, blitz with a knob of butter and fennel milk until it becomes a puree. Sieve, then season to taste.Retain cooking liquor.
4) Cover carrots with oil, bring oil up to 80c and let carrots cook for about 20-30mins depending on thickness. You can flavour the oil with anything you wish to transfuse into the oil. Garlic and woody herbs like rosemary or thyme are best. I also love carrot and caraway seeds or in this case fennel seeds.
5) Start the risotto, sweat shallot in butter with some garlic. Crank up the heat, and add the rice. As the rice begins to turn translucent add wine(about 100ml) and let it evaporate. Now add chicken stock. Now some people will shout at the screen for what i’m going to say, but constantly stirring a risotto is a complete fallacy. As long as you have toasted the rice to begin with when it was added to the dry pan-this cracks the outer husk of the grain, which then breaks down and goes mushy creating the sauce-it just needs a soft boil for 20 mins and it will be perfect. So cover up to 2cm extra with chicken stock. I just cover rice by about 2cm of liquid and keep topping up with water until its had 20mins.
6) Whizz breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, zest and a tbsp of oil together. Put these in a dry frying pan and toast them. Set aside in a bowl or plate.
7) Now get both fish on. When the white fish is cooked, 50c perfect, tip into the toasted breadcrumbs to coat.
8) While fish is cooking make pea puree by cooking peas in micro, then add to processor with stock and butter. Season to taste.
9) Now begin plating, put carrots through centre of plate. Put a circle of each puree either side. Put salmon on peas and cod on fennel puree. When the risotto has had 20 mins, stir in remaining fennel puree which will make it all unctuous but totally healthy. If you want to push the boat out and add butter by all means do. Serve separately on the side. Finally froth up the reserved fennel cooking liquor and pour the foam over the carrots.
An absolute delight, both pieces of fish were exquisite and married well to their respective purees. The risotto although simple was an excellent accompaniment to the dish. The only let down was that the foam lacked a bit of depth to bring the dish together.