Dinner party – you can do this!

This is a great dinner party dish, as most of the work is done in advance, leaving you to spend time with your guests, and still look like a complete hero. The ingredients are interchangeable with anything in season, so this technique will show you infinite possibilities.

 For the fish. I’m using salt water Barramundi here, but any fresh fish will do, including salmon. It is better if you have an edible skin that you can crisp, but not essential. Simply heat a pan to medium, then add a neutral oil (Sunflower is best) and bring to a medium/hot heat. Dry the fish with a paper towel, and swirl it in the oil, using your hand, before allowing it to rest. In this way, it will not stick to the pan (and I don’t use non-stick pans, but you may). Remember, the oil is hot, not the fish, so don’t be scared. It will not splatter if you have dried the fish properly. Cook the fish half way, that is until you can see the fish flesh cooked half way up (you will not touch the fish during this cooking phase). Remove the fish with a spatula, and refrigerate until 1 hour before serving.

For the base. Simply cook brown rice as per the packet. You’ll need about 50g per person uncooked. Cool completely. Add 1 egg for every 3-4 portions and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon the mix into a moderate hot and oiled pan, forming roughly 10cm patties of the mix, quite flat. These will cook on 1 side about 5-10 minutes, before flipping with a spatula, and another 3 minutes cooking. Remove and refrigerate until 1 hour before serving.

For the puree under the fish. I use cauliflower, but go with something in season (eg celeriac, potato, carrot, pea). Simply steam the cauliflower in a covered pot on simmer with 10% water, til cooked. Drain and purée with 10% olive oil, anchovies to taste (remember, you’ll only use a dollop per person, so it can be quite positively flavoured ), and refrigerate until 1 hour before serving. This is also a great dip to serve with drinks before dinner.

For the Capsicum puree over the fish. Roast a red capsicum, about an hour at 180c. Peel and puree with 10% olive oil, 10% good balsamic vinegar (to taste), salt and pepper. Refrigerate until 1 hour prior to serving.

The peas decoration. See recipe on the site, but essentially cook and chill baby peas, and add some purée of rocket, with 10% white vinegar and salt to taste.

1 hour before serving heat an oven to 180c, and remove all ingredients from fridge. 15 minutes before serving place the rice cakes and fish (skin side up) in the oven separately. When the fish is cooked (pushes back gently when pushed, or pull apart your portion from the under side to check) simply put together as shown.

You can use this technique with interchangeable ingredients to create infinite dishes! Please let me know your favourites as you go….



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