Winner Recipe: Pan fried Croaker fish on a bed of Salicornia and green beans

Pan fried Croaker fish on a bed of Salicornia and green beans accompanied with velvety mashed potatoes mixed with ratatouille.

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Method

For the Croaker fish

  • a whole fresh Croaker 1200gr

Cut the flesh of the croaker away from the bone by cutting lengthwise along one side of the fish parallel to the backbone, in preparation for filleting. Any scales on the fish should be removed.

Cut each portion of the Croaker into 150gr – 160gr.

Pan Fry on high heat with the skin side down for approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Turn off the fire, then turn the fillet on the other side, cover and leave it on the side until well cooked.

For the Salicornia and green beans

  • 300 gr. green beans
  • Salicornia
  • fresh red chili’s thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • cumin

Sautee’ the green beans on medium heat, adding the red chillies and the cumin, then finish it by adding the Salicornia and turning off the fire. Cover and leave on the side.

For the sweet and sour shallots

  • 1 medium size shallot cut into 6 equal parts
  • crushed pistachios
  • sugar
  • balsamic syrup

Cover the onion with the balsamic syrup and sugar; sprinkle the crushed pistachios on top of the onions and in between the layers. Place on an oven tray then bake for 25 minutes on 165 C° or until the onion is soft and well cooked.

For the velvety mashed potatoes and the ratatouille

  • 3 medium size potatoes
  • milk
  • butter
  • grana padano
  • 1tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper to taste
  • 1 nutmeg

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain.

In a small saucepan heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Using a potato masher or electric beater, slowly blend milk mixture into potatoes until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the nutmeg and finish by adding the grana padano.

For the ratatouille

  • 2 large aubergines
  • 4 small courgettes
  • 2 red or yellow peppers
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • small bunch basil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Cut the aubergines, courgettes, yellow peppers and the tomatoes into brunoise shape. Set a sauté pan over medium heat and when hot, pour in 2 tbsp olive oil. Brown the aubergines for 5 mins on each side until the pieces are soft. Set them aside and fry the courgettes in another tbsp oil for 5 mins, until golden on both sides. Repeat with the peppers. Don’t overcook the vegetables at this stage, as they have some more cooking left in the next step. Tear up the basil leaves and set aside. Cook the onion in the pan for 5 mins. Add the garlic and fry for a further min, then tip in the tomatoes and half the basil. Return the vegetables to the pan with some salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins.

To finish, combine the velvety mashed potatoes with the ratatouille. Shape the mixture into oval shape, cover with bread crumbs and deep fry on medium high heat until golden.

For the herbed olive oil

  • 200ml. extra virgin olive oil
  • 50gr. Cilantro
  • 50gr. Parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic

On a low heat, infuse the olive oil with the garlic, about 15 – 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, let cool on the side, and then blend the olive oil with the cilantro and the parsley.

For the sauce

  • head and bones of the Croaker fish
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 1 handful fresh aromatic herbs
  • 1tbsp black pepper corns
  • 2 cups white wine
  • water

Roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot, leek and the aromatic herbs combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan place over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes, skimming occasionally. After that strain through a fine sieve, reserving the liquid.

For the clams stock

  • 2 onions
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300 gr clams
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Sautee’ the onion in the olive oil, then add the rest of the ingredients, close the pot and turn off the fire. Leave it for 5 minutes, and then discard all the shells.

Add the clams stock to the fish femme and to the fish meat, mix in a blender then pass through a fine sieve. Then add the locust bean gum “thickening agent” and continue mixing until a soft gel stage is reached. Adjust the seasoning at the end.