This is a gorgeous plate of food that uses a handful of quality, seasonal ingredients that all marry well together. This dish is my entry into the ‘Fine Dine at Mine’ secondary school cooking competition, which if I am lucky enough to get through will be on in May, and hopefully it will stand a good chance. It will need a bit of refinement (mainly to de – orange the dish a bit) but overall it’s a very good dish. The highlight of this dish is definitely the carrot, par boiled and then caramelized in aniseed flavoured butter. This carrot would work very nicely in a vegetarian dish with a few other well matched components. Beautiful!
Butternut Squash Puree: Peel the skin off the squash with a sharp knife. Chop into even sized chunks, place in a saucepan and cover with roughly equal amounts (no need to get the scales out) of water and milk. Add a very generous pinch of salt and cook until the squash is tender. Blend the squash with enough of the cooking liquid to make a smooth puree. Adjust the seasoning.
Carrots Cooked in Anise Butter: Place whole,unpeeled (but scrubbed clean) organic carrots in a large saucepan of boiling salted water and boil until half cooked ( regular sized carrots will take 20 minutes). Drain the carrots and allow to cool, reserving a mugful of the carrot water. Melt at least 100 g of butter in a pan with 3 star aniseeds and 2 or 3 tablespoons of the carrot water for a few minutes until the carrots take on a dark golden brown colour.
Squash Cooked in Anise Butter: I also browned a few pieces of squash in the butter with the carrots which were very nice. There is no need to par boil the squash.
Fried Chorizo: Add a small amount of olive oil into a hot pan and fry the chorizo until crisp.
Langoustines: De-shell the langoustines, start by pulling off the head and tail of the langoustines and then remove the middle section. Make an insition down the backs of the langoustines with a small sharp knife and pull out the digestive tract. Give the langoustines a quick wash and dry well. To cook, give them a flash in a hot pan for literally 1 or 2 minutes until just cooked.
Pan Fried White Fish: Place the fish skin side down in a hot oiled frying pan. Fry until the skin is perfectly golden. Flip over and add a good knob of butter into the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the centre of the fish is warm and just cooked.
Serving: Spread a spoonful of the puree on the bottom of the plate. Place the fish on top of the puree, and dot some of the squash, chorizo, langoustines and walnuts around the fish. Halve the carrot down the middle lenghtways and drape over the top of the fish. Drizzle some of the chorizo oil around the plate to serve and place some of the carrot tops around the fish also.
Good: A very nice dish with ingredients that all compliment each other wonderfully. The carrot was particularly good.
Bad: Unfortunately, due to a full week of stormy weather, the only white fish at the fish mongers was vacuum packed swordfish. It was my first time eating the fish, and I have no plans to cook it again. What I was really after was meaty white fish such as halibut, pollock or hake.