Easter and pickled fish always bring back old memories as a trainee working buckets and buckets of pickled fish. Previously I had shared a pickled fish recipe . The recipe is simple, coating the fish in flour then egg wash and straight into the deep fryer. Then into sweet and sour slightly spicy pickling sauce. I had received some Jacopever and was experimenting a couple of dishes from ceviche to whole roasted Jacopever served on tacos, these recipes will be published later. But I simply had to eat a favourite and the pickled fish still had to be warm on a warm toasted bun with lettuce and tomato. Warm and comforting.
From The Pass
Every now and then we put a dish on the menu that shines, this is perfect example of everything coming in perfect harmony “This dish is the best example of simplicity, the essence is built around the fish and sauce which enhance each other in the most harmonious way possible. There’s something about a dish that is solely based on shades of one colour, it simply looks artfully irresistible, and I LOVE IT” chef Dion
The Mauritian seabass is roasted with a delicate parsley crust, it is served with a lemon butter emulsion and braised fennel
In this weeks #fromthepass Dion draws inspiration from a recent to Singapore and the most unlikeliest source, water spinach. Mostly served as side dish in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore “I fell in love with this side dish called morning glory, it is a green leafy vegetable, if I had to describe the taste it would be like marrying a spring onion and baby spinach. Stir fried with Thai red chili, whole smashed young garlic and fish sauce, the sauce the greens were in reminded me of oyster sauce, WOW! pure umami, every meal I ordered a side of morning glory” With this dish at the chefs table Dion quickly cooked the broccoli with chili and garlic with a touch of oyster sauce, served with duck breast and a steamed dumpling.
The chefs table gives us an opportunity to experiment and play, in this weeks #fromthepass Dion has brought to the playground, cured egg yolks and rice crackers, which was is the main inspiration for this dish. “I recently cured an egg yolk with seaweed and miso, the flavour is indescribable as it has such a unique character to it, a character that actually needs a raw fish preparation in order to give its full respect, I decided to use sea trout due to its deep ocean flavours. I thought the idea was great, eating tartare with sesame rice cracker”
To finish of the Dion served it with a carrot kimchi and cucumber salad to accompany the delicate but strong flavours of the salmon and egg yolk.
Prawn and smoked salmon roll with sauce vierge, capers, salted banana shallots, avocado, mustard emulsion. We have had this dish in many incarnations over the years, the original was here long before I started. We have it on our banqueting menu’s. From the timbale shaped to a ball shaped salmon with filling.
This being the latest is tight roll with salmon smoked locally and Argentinian poached prawns as the filling. The filling is packed a lot tighter than in previous menu’s, made lighter with less mayonnaise and cream cheese. Accompanied by an avocado puree and a tomato vierge that keeps everything clean and fresh.
Starting this week on our new autumn menu, is an adaptation from a previous duck starter, with the addition of a beautiful pistachio, duck liver and pear parfait with confit leg, pistachio nuts, duck pancetta, charred and charred poached pears. Initially when Dion proposed the dish I thought it was going to be heavy, but it turned out that the parfait is so light, eating well with the new season poached pears that have been charred on the grill.
We often forget how nature and climate effect our decisions and our menu choices. One of our long standing suppliers make like magic Steve has been supplying us with beautiful tomatoes for years, every year as we hit the height of summer we can not wait for the tomatoes. Things were slow.
Dion investigated the current supply and effect of drought with the effect on produce grown and supplied.
In the past Steve used to supply us with the most amazing heirloom tomatoes, this was not even 3 years ago and now they struggling to grow which is sad knowing that those full flavoured tomatoes might never see our kitchen this year, so during the conversation Steve tells Dion that he has green heirlooms and that no one wants to buy them, so Dion immediately demands a delivery. “As ideas start racing through my head of the many possibilities of this insane product: chutneys, pickles, preserves and just keeping the damn product natural as it has such a complex raw flavour, so it was decided at that moment, raw would be its destiny, hence the tomato Carpaccio”
In this week’s dish Dion presented a sundried tomato crusted kingklip with a seaweed dust, poached tomatoes, tomato dressing, spekboom salsa verde with dried olives. Dion has been playing around with seaweed a lot experimenting with many combinations and variations. In this dish the kingklip was cooked a low temperature then rolled in tomato powder, this just brought it to another level, with intense tomato flavours. The tomato and seaweed combination was a surprise, both packed with umami which was well suited for the kingklip that loves to be the vessel that carries and bring together flavours.
We change the dishes up on a weekly basis depending on the fresh seafood we have to work with. A lot of the inspiration from this compilation comes from Dion’s time spent in Florida with a friend from Peru.”I will never forget the lobster ceviche she made for us during the intensely hot summers that we experienced in Fort Myers, the lobster was simply cooked with lime, olive oil, cilantro, salt and shallots rings she would place it on top of this rustic mushed avocado and ripe vine tomatoes”
We use multiple elements on the Taste of Peru that is shared at the table with some influences from across the world. On this selection we have, Marinated calamari with chorizo, basil and chili, Prawn carpaccio with crispy head salads and prawn crackers, Oyster explosion with curry oil and lime atchar salsa, Tuna tartare with seaweed puffed corn and a sea trout ceviche with fennel, radish and avocado.
Featured is a roasted quail breast, served with a saffron and chorizo Israeli couscous, tempura confit leg and crispy tapioca crackers
Vusi and Dion decided to play around with Israeli couscous, not something we find on a regular basis, but those large pearls give us endless options. In this versions they cooked it with a vegetables stock, saffron and chorizo oil. Just this alone with a spoon will do for me.
“All the flavours just made sense with quail especial after we added roasted quail carcase to the base of the couscous, the infusion of the game roasted bones just took the balance to another level, the soft textures with the crunchy elements made for a pleasant tasting dish”