By Jean Delport, Restaurant Interlude, Horsham, West Sussex
This was one of the first dishes on our opening menu at Restaurant Interlude and ultimately helped us achieve our Michelin star within 10 months.
This dish has a very special meaning to Restaurant Interlude. We came up with this dish upon our first forage on the estate after moving here from South Africa. Working with produce that we have never found back home was something special and allowed us to create a fun dish using almost 80% of the produce from the estate in the first summer.
I think the Burnt Chef Project is an ideal way to ensure that mental wellbeing is taken a lot more seriously within our industry. It's often forgotten how it affects our staff, working within the high-pressure restaurant environment. Management of mental health is critical, and with the help of the Burnt Chef Project we can create awareness and fight against something that can ultimately be prevented.
Almond pickling liquor
- 350ml water
- 180ml Champagne vinegar
- 140g granulated sugar
- 3g salt
- 10 drops almond flavour burst
- 250ml water
- 120g granulated sugar
- 85ml Champagne vinegar
- 85ml white balsamic vinegar
- 5g fine salt
- 20 green almonds
- 140g almonds
- 500ml water
- 75ml buttermilk
- Maldon sea salt, for seasoning
Stinging nettle oil
- 250ml vegetable oil
- 660g stinging nettle leaves
- 220g baby spinach
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 300ml almond pickling liquor
- 2 extra-large scallops
- 100ml almond pickling liquor
- 20ml olive oil
- 2 sprigs baby stinging nettle leaves
- 2 sprigs chickweed
- 2 sprigs hawthorn buds
Almond pickling liquor
Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil and set aside to cool. Once cooled, stir in the almond flavour burst and set aside to use later.
Combine water, sugar, vinegars and salt. Bring to the boil. Crack open the outer husks of the green almonds to release the premature almond inside and place in a small heat-proof bowl. Cover the almonds with the warm pickling liquor, cover and allow to stand for a few hours.
Cover almonds with water in an airtight container and allow to soak for 48 hours in the refrigerator. Once soaked, drain the soaking water and rinse with fresh water. Add nuts to a jug blender with 500ml of water and blend at high speed for two minutes. Strain mixture through a nut bag and reserve all the liquid. Gather the nut bag and press the mixture to extract as much almond milk as possible. Discard the ground nut mixture in the bag and chill the almond milk. Once chilled, mix the almond milk with the buttermilk, season with salt and reserve for later.
Stinging nettle oil
Blanch greens in boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh in ice water. Squeeze all remaining water from greens and set aside.
Bring oil up to 100°C in Thermomix, add greens and blitz on high speed for about two minutes. If a Thermomix isn't available, heat the oil to 40°C, pour into a jug blender along with the greens and blitz on high for three minutes.
Once blended, pass through an oil filter and allow to drip through. Once passed, cool as quickly as possible and set aside for garnishing.
Using a turning slicer, make one continuous ribbon from the apple and quickly submerge in the almond pickling liquor. Remove apple from liquor and cut into strips about 30cm long, neaten the edges and store in the liquor. This can further be compressed inside a vacuum chamber if desired. If a turning slicer is not available, the same result can be obtained with a vegetable peeler. Store ribbons for final plating up.
Holding the scallops gently, slice them into five equal disks going across the muscle. Lay the slices gently at the base of a small, flat-bottomed vessel.
Pour 100ml of the pickling liquor into a small mixing bowl and gently whisk the olive oil to combine. Shallow marinade the scallops by covering them with the mixed liquor and gently agitate for two minutes. Remove slices of scallop from dressing and place on absorbent cloth. Dress lightly with Maldon salt.
Plate and garnish
Starting with the apple ribbons, pat dry a single ribbon and string into the centre of the plate. Arrange five slices of the marinated scallop around the apple ribbon, filling any gaps completing a smaller circle in the centre of the plate. Drain the pickled green almonds and place 6-8 nuts in and around the scallops and apple.
Finish garnishing with the young greens by placing the chickweed, hawthorn buds and nettle leaves around and over the plate.
Finally, dress the plate with a few tablespoons of the almond buttermilk. Split the buttermilk with a few drops of the nettle oil and serve.
Taken from The Burnt Chef Project: Recipes for Mental Health (www.theburntchefproject.com)
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