Recipe of the week: The Ethicurean's pan-roasted hake, fennel and pine purée, braised Savoy, shiitake soil, clams and hazelnuts
For the hake 30g sea salt
500ml ice-cold water
240g hake, skin on and cut into two portions
A little rapeseed oil
Neutral oil, for frying
100g young purple sprouting broccoli
Fine sea salt
Shiitake soil 40g raisins
15g dried shiitake
Fennel and pine purée 50g salted butter
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
30g Scots pine needles
100ml double cream
Salt and white pepper
Braised Savoy cabbage 2-4 Savoy cabbage segments, sliced through its centre, the stem holding it together
1tbs dark brown muscovado sugar
1tsp truffle oil
Dressing 40g roasted hazelnuts
25ml apple cider vinegar
Clams 10 clams
A small selection of edible flowers: eg radish, mizuna, rocket or mustard flowers
Brining the hake
Dissolve the salt in the water to make a brine of approximately 6%. Submerge the hake in the brine and place in the refrigerator for no longer than an hour.
For the shiitake soil
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the raisins into a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, then remove and let cool. Roast the walnuts for six minutes or until lightly brown.
Put the cooled raisins into a blender with the roasted walnuts and dried shiitake and blend to a soil consistency. Add salt to taste and let come to room temperature.
For the fennel and pine purée
Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat until past the point of foaming. Let the separated milk solids come to a light hazel brown, then remove from the heat.
Add the fennel, pine needles, and cream to the butter and simmer until the fennel is very soft. Remove from the heat, pick out and discard the pine needles, and blend with an immersion blender to a silky-smooth consistency. Season to taste, pass through a fine-mesh strainer, and keep warm.
For the braised Savoy cabbage
Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
Coat the Savoy cabbage segments in the muscovado sugar and cover in the truffle oil. Roast until the sugar is well caramelised, then reduce the heat to 160ºC and cook until the cabbage is cooked through. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
For the dressing
Combine the hazelnuts, capers and cider vinegar in a bowl and mix well.
Cook the hake
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
After an hour, remove the hake from the brine and dry very well with a clean dish towel. Take special care to dry the hake skin well and then season lightly with fine sea salt and a little rapeseed oil.
Heat a lightly oiled ovenproof frying pan or skillet over medium heat, add the fish skin-side down and cook for two minutes, then increase the heat to high and cook for another minute before transferring to the oven, with the butter and purple sprouting, and roast for three minutes for a beautifully golden skin. Remove from the oven, turn the fish over, and let rest in the butter for two minutes.
For the clams
While the fish is resting, place the clams, cider and honey in a lidded pan over full heat and bring to a vigorous boil. The clams are cooked once opened. Remove from the heat; the clams can rest in the cider and honey liquid until serving.
Base each plate with the fennel purée, then the braised cabbage and purple sprouting with the hake resting on top. Drain the clams and place around the plate in their shells. Dress with the dressing and garnish with the shiitake soil and edible flowers.
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