COMBINE spices with fresh seafood and give your winter diet an extra kick, says Ondine’s Roy Brett
At this time of year, I spare a thought for restaurants devoted to steaks or salad.
After the meat feast of the festive season, everyone wants a change. But the cold winds from the north mean no one is ready for radish and rocket just yet.
That is where the sea comes in. January is a key month at Ondine with lots of fabulous produce from our clear, fresh waters and a long line of customers hoping healthy seafood will help them tighten their belts a notch.
When it comes to eating what is good for us, January is often as healthy as it gets. Seafood is packed with nutrients and vitamins as well as being low in saturated fat and high in omega 3 which can help lower cholesterol and protect the heart from disease.
Luckily, it is also plentiful right now. Mackerel, mussels and haddock are all at their best but palates dulled by the winter chill often need something with an added kick.
At Ondine I’m lucky to have a head chef who hails from India and knows his way around the spice shelf better than anyone I know. As a result, a great fish curry is never off the menu, but we also experiment to find ways to give produce an interesting edge.
The three dishes I’ve chosen all offer a new take on a great traditional ingredient. So turn up the radiators and get ready for some healthy fish and seafood that will warm the cockles of your heart.
This a seasonal favourite in Ondine. I first got inspired by this dish when I was working as Rick Stein’s head chef in Padstow and perfected it with my head chef Ishu Mehrota who brings some of the exotic flavours and techniques of India to what we do in the restaurant. Don’t be daunted, with just nine ingredients, it is a simple starter to cook at home.
50g diced butter
1kg cleaned mussels
50g finely diced shallots
1 tbsp masala curry paste
1 tin coconut milk
1 bunch of coriander, chopped and shredded
For the puris
120g warm water
1 pinch chilli flakes
To make the puris
1 Place all the ingredients into a mixer.
2 Using the dough hook mix on a slow speed until smooth and elastic. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
3 Using a rolling pin dust the mix with flour then roll out until before cutting into discs.
4 In a small fryer set the oil to 180C and drop in the puris carefully; moving them around helps achieve an even colour.
5 When the puris puff up slightly, remove them from the fryer and set aside on a drying cloth.
To make the mussels mouclade
1 In a thick-bottomed pan melt the butter until it is golden and add the shallots, cooking without colour for a minute.
2 Add the masala paste and cook for another minute. Add the mussels and coat completely.
3 Pour the coconut milk over the mussels and place the lid over the pan until the mussels open up.
SMOKED HADDOCK WITH LEMON AND BAY RICE
In England they opt for cod, but Scotland’s preference has always been for haddock. Quite simply it is our favourite fish, but it doesn’t need to be deep fried to taste delicious.
This is a very satisfying yet simple side dish or starter to prepare and it really does lend itself to haddock that has been smoked. Think of it as a one-stop kedgeree where the aromats come through in subtle flavours.
4 cardamom sticks
2 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
10 curry leaves
1 tbsp tumeric
400g basmati rice
500g fillets undyed smoked haddock
1 bunch coriander
50g unsalted butter, melted
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
2 In a pan roast the cardamom, cinnamon, bay, curry leaves and turmeric.
3 Cover with 700ml of water and bring to the boil; take the pan off the heat and then mix in the basmati rice.
4 Pour the rice and the stock into a roasting tray and lay the smoked haddock fillets on top of the rice.
5 Cover with greaseproof paper and tin foil.
6 Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes; allow to sit for 10 minutes out of the oven.
7 Remove the tin foil and greaseproof paper and, using a fork, mix the smoked haddock through the rice.
8 Fold in the butter, coriander and lemon juice to serve.
Note A texturally pleasing garnish is crispy red onions, dipped in cornflour and deep fried at 160C for two minutes. Lay on drying paper until required.
OLD BAY MACKEREL AND WINTER COLESLAW
I first came upon this amazing spice mix, which I used in this fishy main course, thanks to my wife Karin’s uncle who had emigrated to the States. He told me it would bring the best out of wonderful ingredients. Made with celery salt, black pepper and paprika, Old Bay Seasoning is now widely available and will soon be a staple in your store cupboard. Serves four
For the mackerel
6 mackerel fillets
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
50ml rapeseed oil
For the winter coleslaw
140g julienne carrots
½ lemon, juiced
120g red cabbage, shredded 3mm thick
1 large radicchio
1 julienne red chilli
100g Greek yoghurt
1 tsp honey
50g chopped parsley
pinch of chopped tarragon
To make the winter coleslaw
1 Mix the carrots, lemon juice and red cabbage in a large bowl; set aside for 10 minutes and strain. Return the carrots and cabbage to the bowl. Add the radicchio and chilli.
2 To make the dressing, mix the Greek yoghurt and mayonnaise, honey and a splash of lemon juice; fold into the coleslaw mix and add the herbs.
For the mackerel
1 Brush the mackerel with a little rapeseed oil and Old Bay Seasoning.
2 Seal each fillet skin side down in a non-stick pan for two minutes, then turn over onto the flesh side for two minutes. Check it’s cooked, then place on drying paper and set aside.
3 Lay each fillet over the coleslaw to serve.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS