“For me, you are very hard pushed to find a greater ambassador to Cornwall’s amazing fish than the humble mackerel”It’s so versatile and generally available most of the year. This plate of food represents how adaptive Cornwall has become as every single element is taken from the county, and the produce is sourced from small, caring producers. This would do well served with some toasted sourdough bread, or even brioche if one isn’t watching the waistline.
10 mackerel fillets
250g crème fraiche
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of half a lemon
Two good pinches chopped parsley
1 good pinch chopped dill
2 cucumbers – skin off
¼ bunch chopped dill
20 ml Chardonnay vinegar
1 minced banana shallot
Pinch of castor sugar
Sea salt (to taste)
Dill pickled celery
Thin peelings of celery/ribbons
150g white wine
150g caster sugar
150g white wine vinegar
10 coriander seeds
4 white peppercorns
1 bunch of chervil (picked down)
Big handful of baby leaf spinach
Foraged sea cress, like rock samphire, sea beet etc.
Vacuum pack and cook the mackerel at 85 degrees for 7 minutes. Take out of the bath and plunge into ice-water and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Flake the mackerel into a bowl, removing the skin and discarding it. In a separate bowl add together all of the other ingredients, except the seasoning. Beat this together until fully incorporated, you may need to loosen the mixture a little with a splash of milk. Fold all the ingredients together and season to taste. Store in a container, shelf life 3 days.
Finally brunoise the cucumber, remembering to not allow any seeds into the mix. Keep the seedy centres for the gel later. Very finely brunoise/mince the banana shallot, add this to the diced cucumber. Add the chopped dill, vinegar, cucumber gel (enough to bind it all together) sugar and salt to taste.
Make the cucumber gel by, blending the seeded centres, and add 1 more whole cucumber with the skin on. Pass the blended mix through a chinois. Weigh the liquid required, and divide the overall weight by 10. Eg. 500 ml of cucumber liquid / 10 = 50ml. When you have the correct number, weigh this amount out in vegegel. Have a container ready at the side, pour the liquid into a pan, heat it up to just below boiling, add the vegegel and whisk it hard until all powder is full incorporated, then pour quickly into the container and leave it to set and cool down. Once it has cooled down, blend it in the blender to form the gel, season it a little with some salt, and pass it through a chinois. Vacuum the air out of it, and keep it in a bottle.
Dill pickled celery
Bring all the ingredients together, except the celery, and bring to the boil. Once boiled leave it all to infuse in the fridge until cold. Strain through a chinois. Pour over the celery ribbons and vacuum pack down for at least 24 hours.
Grab yourself a deep bowl, with ice water in it. Get a pan of boiling water on and make sure it is at a rolling boil. Put the chervil in the boiling water first with a good pinch of salt and boil for roughly 2 minutes. Then add the spinach to the same water with the chervil and continue to cook for a further minute. This next bits important so pay attention. After the minute is up from adding the spinach, you need to gently lift a singular leaf out of the boil water with a spoon, place the leaf between your thumb and index finger, and rub together quite firmly. If the leaf breaks down and starts turning into a paste then it is ready to be taken out, if it feels rubbery and doesn’t want to break down then it must be cooked for another 30 seconds or so until it does start to break down. This is the best tip one can give to help give your puree a clean, smooth finish with virtually no graininess to it.
Once the leaves are cooked. Transfer them quickly to the ice water. This will preserve that beautiful, deep green colour. And then simply blend in a good quality liquidiser. Add your salt and maybe a little water to loosen. Once smooth, cool down over ice water, in a metal bowl. It’s so important to cool green purees like this down quickly, as this will prevent them from discolouring and turning brown.
Learn more about Chef Owen’s culinary creations, as well as The Idle Rocks, here |idlerocks.com