1 side of Seabass (+/- 3kg Fish)
300g coarse salt
250ml Lanzerac Pinotage Wine
6g white pepper
4g coriander seeds
200g icing sugar
100g almond flour
2t beetroot powder
30g white sugar
4 egg whites
Pink, red, purple and blue colouring
Smoked aubergine & goats cheese filling
300g goats cheese
100g coarse salt
80g oak smoking chips
100ml olive oil
1⁄2 clove of garlic
Start by checking that the fish has been de-scaled and then fillet Seabass into the 2 sides. The bones can be used to make a great stock or broth so don’t waste them. (It’s very important that the fish is fresh for curing and you can always ask your fishmonger to fillet and de-scale it for you.) Next we need to remove all the little pin bones that run up just off centre of the Fillet. It’s better to do this now while the fish is raw as its nice and firm now.
Now the fish is ready for the curing process, clean down and let’s get the curing mix together. Give the beetroots a good washing, getting rid of any dirt or sand. Remove the heads and grate them coarsely with their skins on. I like to do this an hour before the time to let them start bleeding there juice, I find it helps to get a deeper Purple colour on the flesh of the Seabass. In a mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients along with the Rosemary which can be coarsely chopped or just picked from the stork.Wash the oranges and pat dry. It’s important to use warm water here as we want to remove the thick waxy coating that’s on the oranges. You will know when you’ve achieved this was you will start to get a orange scent from them. Grate the orange zest without getting too much of the white bitter skin off it, add this to the dry mix and then slice the oranges into thick discs.
We are now ready to open up the bottle of Pinotage pour 2 glasses. One for the Fish and one for you, while you leave yours to breath, pop the other glass into a pot and heat until it comes to a boil, we want to burn off a little of alcohol otherwise it will cook the fish rather than curing it. I like to reduce the wine down to half to get a more concentrated flavour and colour. Put aside and allow to cool before using. Your glass of wine is now ready to enjoy.
Put the side of Seabass into a deep tray or large dish, then mix the dry mixture together with the Orange slices and grated Beetroot. Coat the Seabass very library with this making sure it’s thicker towards the head end as the flesh is thicker that end. Pour the cooled Wine reduction all over the fish and wrap the tray or cover your dish and put into the fridge overnight. Leave this to cure for 12-18hours. The next day take the fish over to the sink and in a bowl shake and remove all the pieces and lightly rinse. Pat dry and now your cured Seabass is ready to slice.
We need to start by making the beetroot powder. Give the beetroots a good washing, getting rid of any dirt or sand before drying. Remove the heads then thinly slice the raw beetroot and lay out on a silicone paper lined baking try and put in the oven overnight at 60-70c. In the morning that them out the oven and leave out to cool and go crisp. Now liquidise in a clean and bone dry blender and place through a sieve removing any large bits. Sieve the icing sugar, almond flour and beetroot powder together. It’s important to use a good quality Almond flour so it’s nice in fine, otherwise you can give it a quick blitz in your blender just to make sure. Once you’ve finished sieving set your almond, beetroot powder and icing sugar mix aside.
Beat the egg whites to and slowly start adding in the white sugar a little at the time until you achieve a meringue mix. Now add the colouring to this meringue mixture until the colour is deep purplish/red. Be careful not to over mix here. Fold in the dry ingredients into this meringue again a little to start off with using a folding motion. Pipe little rounds onto a lined oven tray and allow standing for 30 minutes to an hour in an area that is dry and cool. If you struggle to get the perfect size discs when you do this then here’s the trick – before the time draw circles with a marker pen on a sheet of silicone paper using a template or cutter the size you want the macaroons to be. Then turn the paper over onto your baking tray. Use a little of the mixture to cement the paper to the tray, which will stop the paper for moving while in the oven. Bake at 140°C for about 20 minutes, cool and store in an airtight container until you’re ready to assemble the Macaroons. But first we need to make a filling.
Smoked aubergine & goats cheese filling
First job is to salt and degorging the Aubergines to getthat bitterness out of it.You will see a lot of recipes these days saying you don’t have to do this as Aubergine have mutated over the years and are no long bitter, well I use a lot of Aubergines and most of them are bitter and need to be salted so rather be safe than sorry I say. Cut the Aubergines in half from top to bottom and then make shallow insertions into the flesh of the Aubergine, carefully not to break through the thick skin.
Place the Aubergine skin side down on a tray and sprinkle vigorously with the coarse Salt. Leave this to stand for about an hour or so. Then give a squeeze to get rid of the excess juices. Rinse off all the left over Salt under cold water and dry. If you have a small smoker at home then great otherwise you can smoke the Aubergine’s in a Weber. Just light some coals at the bottom of the Weber and allow them to burn till they are white and only lightly smoking, then add the Oak smoking chips. Put the Aubergines flesh side down onto the griddle and close the lid and leave to smoke for 20-25mins.
Place the smoked Aubergine halves onto a baking tray or dish skin side down and pre-heat your oven to 160c. Rub the cut Garlic over the flesh of the Aubergine and then drizzle over the olive oil, season with Salt, Pepper and the picked Rosemary. Roughly chop the Garlic, skin and all and sprinkle on top, pop the tray in the oven and bake for 50mins or until the Aubergine is roasted and soft. I do this open in the oven and not covered as I want the Aubergine to dry as they roast otherwise you end up with a very runny filling for the Macaroons, if it was for a dip or something else it’s better to wrap it with tinfoil, poke a few holes in it and then roast in an oven set at 180c for 40mins.
When ready take them out the oven and put aside to cool to room temp. Discard the Garlic unless you’re a big Garlic fan then feel free to keep it but then remove the skins before chopping earlier. Scoop out the soft Aubergine flesh into a blended and add in the Goats Cheese. Blend until you achieve a thick smooth light gray mixture. Here I push the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps or unwanted pieces of Rosemary, but it’s not necessary. Scoop the mix into a container and refrigerate for an hour until the smoked Aubergine cream is set, then it’s ready to fill the Macaroon shells with.
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