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Pan-fried pollack with pollack brandade and sherry-pickled cucumber, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

10 August 2012
Pan-fried pollack with pollack brandade and sherry-pickled cucumber, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

Ingredients
(Serves eight as a starter)

For the pollack brandade
200g skinless, boneless pollack
1tsp table salt
2tbs rapeseed oil
100g leeks, finely sliced
200g Desiree potatoes, cut into 1cm dice
100g onions, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1tbs chopped fresh parsley
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the sherry-pickled cucumber
190g cucumber, peeled and deseeded
1/2tsp table salt
25ml Manzanilla sherry

For the sherry-pickled kohlrabi
380g kohlrabi, peeled
1/2tsp table salt
1tbs Manzanilla sherry
1tsp sherry vinegar
1tbs rapeseed oil

For the cucumber carpaccio and pan-fried pollack
1 whole cucumber (about 380g)
240g green beans, trimmed
1tbs rapeseed oil
8 x 50g pieces of skinless, boneless pollack
Sea salt, to taste
A small handful of celery cress, to garnish

Method
First, prepare the pollack for the brandade. Cut the fish into even-sized dice, place in a suitable dish and sprinkle over the salt, then cover and refrigerate overnight (about eight hours).

While the pollack is salting, prepare the sherry-pickled cucumber and kohlrabi. First, start with the cucumber. Chop the cucumber into 5mm dice and place in a suitable dish, then sprinkle over the salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Wash the salted cucumber under cold running water, then drain and pat dry. Transfer the drained cucumber to a clean vacuum pouch and add the sherry, then seal on hard vacuum and refrigerate for at least four hours.

Use a 1cm parisienne scoop to scoop ball shapes from the kohlrabi. Place the kohlrabi balls in a bowl and sprinkle over the salt, then set aside for 10 minutes. Wash the salted kohlrabi balls under cold running water, then drain and pat dry. Transfer the drained kohlrabi to a clean vacuum pouch and add the sherry, sherry vinegar and rapeseed oil, then seal on hard vacuum and refrigerate for at least four hours.

The following day, finish the brandade. Wash the salted pollack under cold running water and drain in a colander and pat dry. Heat the rapeseed oil in a saucepan, then add the leeks, potatoes, onions and garlic, and black pepper to taste, then cover and sweat over a medium heat for about eight minutes or until the potatoes are soft, stirring regularly. Add the drained pollack and cook, stirring regularly, for a further five minutes or until the fish is cooked and flaking into strands.

Remove from the heat and carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, then pulse-blend a couple of times or until the mixture resembles a coarse purée/mash consistency (do not blend the mixture too much). Transfer the brandade to a bowl and fold in the chopped parsley. Cover the surface directly with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming and keep the brandade warm.

Prepare the cucumber carpaccio. Wash the cucumber, then cut it in half widthways. Using a Japanese mandolin, thinly slice the cucumber into long slices (about 1mm thick), then trim the slices so they all measure about 8cm long. Place the cucumber slices on a plastic tray and season lightly with salt, then set aside for 10 minutes. Carefully wash the salted cucumber and pat dry, then set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the green beans in a pan of boiling salted water for about two minutes or until just tender, then drain and keep warm.

In the meantime, for the pan-fried pollack, heat the rapeseed oil in a large, non-stick frying pan until hot. Season the pollack pieces with salt, then add them to the pan and pan-fry over a medium heat for two to three minutes on each side or until cooked and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, lay two slices of cucumber carpaccio on each serving plate, place a neat pile of green beans at one end, then place a piece of pan-fried pollack on top of the beans. Place a quenelle of the brandade opposite the green beans and pollack. Drain the pickled cucumber and pickled kohlrabi and place a few pieces of each on to each plate. Garnish with the celery cress and serve immediately.

Flavours August Pollack
Flavours August Pollack

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