I finally got round to trying out one of those multi-component dishes some time ago, but the ordeal of writing up the recipe for this seven component monstrosity put me off writing it for a while. Like many such dishes, it can be a treat trying them out and figuring different flavor pairings that go best together in the plate. I wanted to make a dish that was delicate, very seafood forward and also filling. I opted for the butter poached prawns because other than gilling, there’s absolutely no better way to enjoy them. The calamari rings were on the plate for texture while the sea-bass mousse was the fish component. I could’ve easily opted for some straightforward and fried fish, but figured the mousse would still retain the fishiness, and add a dimension of complexity in both how the plate looks and feels.
Makes about 4 servings:
For the cauliflower puree:
1/2 large cauliflower head (florets only) chopped (reserve the rest of the head)
Enough milk to cover
Large knob of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the cauliflowers in a pot and cover completely with milk, and cook on a medium heat until the cauliflowers are very tender, about 20min. Drain the cauliflowers, while reserving the milk and add the cauliflowers back to the pot. Add the butter to the cauliflower and then just a bit of the milk in order to be able to puree using an immersion blender. Adjust the amount of milk as desired to give you a nice smooth puree, then season with salt and pepper. To make extra sure that the puree is silky smooth, pass it through a fine sieve, or a tamis. Keep warm and ready to serve. If kept warm for a really long time, the puree might dry out a bit, loosen it with a dash of milk or cream.
For the Veloute:
2 cups of fish stock or chicken stock
4 prawn heads
2 seabass carcasses
3 tbsp of roux
1 squeeze of a lemon
Add the prawn heads to the stock and bring to a simmer, and leave simmering for about 20mins, strain the stock out and keep warm. Prepare the roux (recipe here) in a pan and gradually add the stock to it while whisking constantly over a low heat. Keep adding stock until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper and finish with a knob of butter whisked in just before serving.
For the baby asparagus and cauliflower:
3 Cauliflower florets sliced thinly
About 200g of baby asparagus
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
Heat up the butter and olive oil in a medium pan over a medium high heat, brown the cauliflower florets on each side and season with salt and pepper, then repeat for the asparagus, remember that the asparagus will cook in no time, so raise the heat to high and gently stir over the heat, for about 2 mins.
For the seabass mousse:
350g of seabass fillets skinned and de-boned
1 egg white
350ml of double cream
salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the mousse, puree the fish in a food processor, add the egg whites and puree again. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and add the cream, stir well and season with salt and pepper. Place the mousse in a silicone ice tray or mold-tray and freeze overnight. To cook, steam the mousse for about 10mins in a steamer, then brown off in a pan with some butter.
For the calamari:
1 large calamari head, cleaned of all tissue and beaks and sliced into thin rings.
1 lug of olive oil
Heat the olive oil over a medium high heat, and once hot, toss in the calamari rings. Stir about and cook for about two minutes until just cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
For the prawns:
1 1/2 sticks of butter
16 large prawns, shelled and deveined
Melt the butter on a medium heat, making sure it doesn’t bubble over. Add the prawns once melted and cook for about 5mins until cooked through. Remove the prawns with a slotted spoon and season with salt and pepper.
Now the plate is ready for assembly and service! Hope you enjoy!