Seabass, lentil curry, pickled cucumber

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    Starter Portions
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About
Rust en Vrede

This is a dish I have done often. I love a lentil curry, and it’s great paired with the fatty seabass.

Ingredients

Seabass

  • 640 g seabass – filleted, skin on
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon zest – for sprinkling

Lentil curry

  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 1 carrot – finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic – grated on a microplane
  • 5 g ground cumin
  • 3 g mustard seeds
  • 2 tomatoes – skin removed and finely chopped
  • 8 g wet seafood masala
  • 5 g brown sugar
  • 350 g brown lentils – cleaned
  • 200 ml tomato juice
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper – to season
  • lemon – for squeezing

Pickled cucumber

  • 200 ml rice wine vinegar pickle
  • 2 cucumbers – peeled and seeded
  • 32 sprigs micro coriander – 4 per serving
  • 72 small fennel blossoms – 9 per serving

Method

Cut the filleted seabass into 80 g portions; do not remove the skin. Grill the fish skin side down first and turn when the flesh begins to change from translucent to white. Season with salt and pepper and finish with lemon zest.

Fry the onions, carrot and garlic until translucent. Add the spices and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the finely chopped tomatoes, seafood masala, brown sugar, lentils, tomato juice and vegetable stock. Cover with a cartouche (paper or silicone lid). Simmer slowly for 1 hour until the curry sauce thickens slightly, but be careful not to overcook the lentils – they should be soft but remain whole. Adjust seasoning if necessary and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Allow to cool, and then refrigerate for a day before serving – curries develop flavour as they stand. Warm the curry gently in a pot as needed.

Pour the cold pickling liquid into a vacuum bag. Add the cucumber and vacuum seal. Refrigerate and leave for 24–36 hours. Remove the cucumber from the vacuum bag and slice into ribbons on a mandolin or use a peeler.

To assemble, arrange each plate as you wish, or by following the photo. Spoon 45g warm lentil curry onto each plate. Place the seabass on top of the lentils. Position 2 ribbons of the cold cucumber pickle beside the curry, and garnish with 4 sprigs micro coriander and 9 fennel blossoms.