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Bajan Fish Fry

  • Steps
  • Ingredients


  • Turn on turbofan oven to 100°C on steam setting. Fill and turn on sous vide machine to 90°C. Preheat flat grill to high heat.
  • For the Creole Jam, place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add capsicum and celery and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except for the butter, and cook on low to medium heat until a jam consistency is reached, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Finish by stirring through the butter and set aside on the bench to cool until needed.
  • For the Brine, place water and salt into a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Place bowl of brine into the refrigerator to chill until needed.
  • For the Snapper, use scissors to trim off all of the fins except for the tail. To debone the fish, hold the cavity of the fish open to expose the backbone and one side of the ribs. Make an incision along one side of the belly fin of the snapper, down to the tail. Working from the last rib closest to the tail, use careful but firm strokes to cut the fillet away from the ribcage down to the tail. Repeat this process on the other side of the fish.
  • Open the fish up gently to expose the ribcage. Gently run the tip of the knife down both sides of the backbone, cutting the bones of the ribcage free, keeping the fish intact and taking care not to break the skin.
  • Keeping the head attached, cut the backbone at the head and tail ends and gently lift out the backbone from the fish, using the tip of a knife to trim away release. Make a cut just under the ribcage to free the ribcage from the flesh and gently remove the ribcage. Use fish tweezers to pin bone the fish.
  • Remove the bowl of brine from the refrigerator and add butterflied snapper, ensuring that the fish is fully submerged. Set aside to brine in the fridge for 10 minutes. Remove fish from the brine and pat dry both outside and inside. Place fish onto a tray and into the refrigerator until needed.
  • For the Sofrito Purée, place all ingredients into a sauté pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove and discard the kombu. Transfer to a Vitamix and purée, using the tamper to help the mixture break down, until emulsified and very smooth. Pass through a fine sieve, then transfer to a piping bag and set aside until needed.
  • For the Garlic Chips, prepare a bowl of iced water. Fill deep fryer with sunflower oil and set to 180°C.
  • Use a truffle slicer to thinly slice the peeled garlic, lengthways, slicing no further than halfway down each clove to prevent cutting hands.
  • Place sliced garlic into a medium saucepan and just cover with water. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, blanch garlic for 30 seconds then use a spider to remove garlic and plunge into the iced water. Empty the boiling water from the saucepan and place garlic slices back into the saucepan with just enough fresh water to cover. Place saucepan back over medium heat and bring the water to the boil again and blanch for 30 seconds. Plunge slices into the iced water. Repeat this process a further 2 times then transfer garlic onto a tray lined with paper towel and pat dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Add the dried sliced garlic to the preheated deep fryer oil and fry until golden and crispy, about 1 – 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel and season immediately with salt. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towel and set aside until needed. Turn the deep fryer down to 150°C.
  • Slice the cheeks from one lime for the Snapper Garnish and set aside in a bowl.
  • For the Black Pudding, spray a 1/3 gastronome tin with canola spray to grease and line with baking paper.
  • Place the sweet potato and 100g of water into a Vitamix and blitz until smooth. Add to a medium sized bowl with remaining ingredients except for the oil, and mix well to combine. Pour mixture into the prepared 1/3 gastronome tin and use an offset palette knife to smooth the surface of the mixture out completely. Wrap the tin tightly with cling film. Place into the turbo fan oven set at 100°C steam setting and steam for 1 hour.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and remove cling film. Place into the blast chiller to cool and set completely, about 20 minutes. Once set, cut out a perfect 11cm x 4cm rectangle. Place the rectangle onto a tray lined with baking paper and set aside in the fridge until needed.
  • For the Cucumber Juice, wash cucumbers and split lengthways. Use a small spoon to remove the seeds. Juice the cucumbers then strain juice through a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth. Mix in the habanero chilli, season to taste with lime juice and salt. Transfer the juice to a glass carafe and set aside until needed.
  • For the Parsley Oil, fill a large saucepan with salted water, place over high heat and bring to the boil. Prepare a large bowl of iced water.
  • Add parsley leaves to the pot of boiling salted water and blanch for 30 seconds, then use a spider to remove and plunge into the prepared iced water. Remove from the iced water and lay out on paper towel to drain. Press paper towel around the parsley to remove all excess moisture.
  • Place leaves into the Vitamix and blitz, slowly adding the oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Place a coffee filter into a funnel set over a bottle. Slowly, pour the parsley liquid into the funnel and allow the oil to strain through into the bottle. Set bottle into an ice bath to allow the parsley oil to cool completely. Transfer to a small squeeze bottle and set aside until needed.
  • For the Pumpkin Cooking Liquid, place all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside until needed.
  • For the Pumpkin Wedges, cut along the contours of the pumpkin to cut out 3 wedges. Peel and trim the wedges down to approximately 3.5cm - 4cm wide. Use a peeler to trim the wedges and neaten. Reserve remaining pumpkin for later use.
  • Trim and neaten the edges of each wedge and use a spoon to core out the seeds and turn the wedges into perfect half moon shapes. Place the pieces of pumpkin into a vacuum seal bag and add enough of the reserved Pumpkin Cooking Liquid to cover the pieces of pumpkin. Seal the bag and place into the sous vide machine preheated to 90°C. Cover and cook at 90°C for 50 minutes.
  • Remove vacuum seal bags from the sous vide machine and allow to cool slightly. Remove pumpkin pieces and place onto a tray. Set aside on the bench until required.
  • For the Chutney, place a large non-stick frypan over low heat. Add oil, onion, garlic, ginger and diced turmeric and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add ground spices and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add pumpkin and cook until tender. Add brown sugar and stir until caramelised. Deglaze with vinegar and reduce the chutney until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to the Vitamix, add fresh sliced turmeric and blitz until completely smooth. Set aside until needed.
  • For the Pumpkin Crisps, take reserved pumpkin and cut off a large wedge. Use a mandolin to slice the side of the wedge, lengthways, into 20 thin slices of pumpkin.
  • Add pumpkin slices to the deep fryer and fry until golden and crisp, shaking the basket occasionally to prevent slices sticking together. Remove pumpkin from oil, drain on paper towel and season with salt. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towel and set aside on the bench until needed.
  • For the Crispy Cod, cut a 400g potion from the cod, rinse under water to remove salt then place into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Refresh water and repeat this process a further 3 times. Taste the cod and ensure it tastes seasoned but not too salty. You may need to refresh again.
  • Remove cod from the water and pat dry with paper towel. Pick the flesh from the fish and discard bones and skin. Place 200g of fish flesh into a food processor until shredded, but not puréed.
  • Place a medium frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and then add shredded fish flesh and fry, stirring constantly, until fish is golden brown and crispy. Transfer the fish to a bowl and set aside until needed.
  • For the Smoked Vinaigrette, place sherry vinegar into a small saucepan over low heat and warm. Remove from heat, add saffron and set aside to steep for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except for the habanero purée, to the saucepan and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper and habanero purée. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until needed.
  • To finish the black pudding, heat oil in a medium frypan over medium heat. Sear on both sides until crisp then remove from heat and drain on paper towel. Place on a small round tray lined with paper towel and set aside until needed.
  • For the Black Pudding Garnish, use a vegetable peeler to slice the cucumber into thin ribbons. Place the cucumber ribbons and onion rings into a bowl and season to taste with lime juice and salt.
  • To plate the Black Pudding, place the piece of pudding onto one side of the serving bowl and sprinkle with salt flakes. Arrange the cucumber ribbons in scrolls next to the piece of black pudding. Fill in some spaces with onion rings and micro parsley.
  • To finish the pumpkin, preheat flat grill. Add Pumpkin Wedges and char well on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and dress with some of the Smoked Vinaigrette.
  • Arrange two of the pumpkin pieces on the plate with some dollops of Chutney.
  • To finish the Snapper, remove fish from refrigerator and season well with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity of the fish with the Creole Jam and close up the fish again, pressing down on the seam, so that it resembles a whole fish.
  • Add a liberal amount of grapeseed oil to the preheated flat grill, add fish and drizzle a little more oil over the top of the fish. Fry on both sides until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 – 7 minutes. Remove from the pan and place onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Once drained, transfer the Snapper onto the serving plate.
  • Cut muslin into a square 20 x 20cm. Carefully heap the Chive Powder into the centre of the muslin square. Gather up the corners of the muslin and tie with twine to form a bag. Place the bag in a bowl and set aside on the bench until needed.

To Finish

  • To finish the Snapper, snip the tip of the piping bag of Sofrito Purée to 3mm wide. Pipe small dots of the purée in lines along across the side of the fish that’s facing up. Working from the tail end to the head, tick Garlic Chips along the dots of purée to create a ‘scale’ effect. Garnish with some lime cheeks on the side.
  • To finish the Pumpkin, spoon a little more Smoked Vinaigrette onto the Pumpkin Wedges. Sprinkle the top of the Pumpkin Wedges with the Crispy Cod and top with some Pumpkin Crisps. To finish, gently shake the muslin bag of Chive Powder to dust over the dish.

To Serve

  • Pour about 100ml of the cucumber juice into the serving bowl. Garnish the cucumber juice with a drizzle of the parsley oil.

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