Herb Crusted Cod with Scallop Mousse and Carrot Puree

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Serves 2

Difficulty Rating 4.5/5

Don’t be put off by making a fish mousse. As long as you have a food processor it couldn’t be easier. It’s very difficult to make any part of this dish incorrectly, but the rewards on partners/guests is ten times the effort.

When it comes to restaurants they seem to not care about the health aspect when it comes to using oils, butter or cream. One of the main reasons I really enjoy cooking at home is that you can be in control of how unhealthy/healthy you want to make this.
Sometimes you just have to use butter as it has fantastic flavour carrying properties, but I still don’t see any benefit to using double cream unless you are pouring it on strawberries for its lovely unctuous qualities. Aside from that, in cooking it gets lost and single/low fat cream with good seasoning will not disappoint and keep you from an early visit to the GP. So feel free to substitute in the recipes as you see fit.

1) Put scallops/fish/curry powder in a mini food processor, pulse and slowly add egg white and cream until combined with a pinch of salt, then blitz continuously until smooth. Put in double layer of cling-film, roll into sausage shape, set aside in fridge.

2) Thinly slice some chorizo, cook on a medium heat in a tbsp of oil until the paprika comes out of chorizo and flavours oil. Continue to cook until they turn a deeper red colour. Drain on kitchen paper, reserve oil.

3) Boil carrots and garlic until soft. Then blitz in processor with cream, salt+white pepper, paprika and a teaspoon of the chorizo oil. If you want a super smooth puree, put this mixture through a sieve. Sometimes life is just too short though!

4) Make breadcrumbs out of any bread you like (I used naan bread for one attempt) it doesn’t really matter. Or just use some from a packet, but under no circumstances use the orange ones!!! Since when was bread orange? Put a couple of handfuls in a processor, garlic, parsley/rosemary (it’s there more for smell than anything) plus 1 tbsp of oil. Blitz again to a medium crumb. This then needs to be slowly toasted in a dry frying pan so it goes crunchy. Set aside.

5) Slowly boil potatoes, so that the skins don’t explode and you end up with soggy spuds. These steps can all be done ahead of time. I don’t have any great kitchen equipment at home apart from a decent set of pans with tight fitting lids. But I do have a digital thermometer which has actually become invaluable. They’re about £15 I think and it makes such a difference to knowing exactly when things are cooked.

6) Put the scallop mousse in a pan of simmering water. Let this poach until its reaches 50c in the middle, or is firm to the touch, about 20-25 mins.

7) As soon as the mousse goes into the water, get your fennel sliced into 1cm pieces. Put them in a frying pan over high medium to high heat and caramelise for 3-4 mins per side, then cover with chicken stock. Put a lid of some description on, a big plate will do, then simmer for 15-20 mins until soft. Put remaining chorizo oil with a little more oil in a pan, over a medium heat, add the halved cooked new potatoes. Ensure they get really crispy, a good 6-8 mins.

8) Now fry cod in a little oil and butter mix for 5 mins one side. This will ensure you get a solid side so the fish holds together. Flip fish over after 5 mins or when the fish has turned cooked white half way up. (I’ll take a photo next time I do fish to show you) Put your probe into thickest part of the fish. 45c is perfect temperature, but up to 50c is good. As soon as cooked, toss into the crunchy breadcrumb mix to coat.

9) Now reheat carrot mixture in microwave. We are now ready to plate up. Make sure you get some heat into your plates, either put them in the oven at 100c or some other way. If you put this lovely food you’ve taken a lot of time over straight onto a cold plate, it will essentially ruin it! I’m no master of presentation, but I’ll tell you my mindset and what I aim to achieve. It’s practically impossible to get everything on one plate. So use a nice big white plate, the contrast of food to white is always aesthetically pleasing. Any excess can go in bowls on the side.

10) Put two tbsps of carrot purée at the top of your plate, then with the bottom of the spoon, put it in the centre of the carrot and the half of the dollop across the side of the plate to crate the swoosh.

11) Slice the mousse into 1cm slices, then arrange in the middle of the carrot. Place reserved chorizo crisps on top.

12) Add crumbed fish to centre of the plate, add a couple of your best fennel slices along side.

13) Then serve with sautéed potatoes in a big bowl to share, cover with plenty of salt and vinegar.

Critic’s View! Posted on February 26, 2012
The mousse was a sensational textural balance, especially with the chorizo crisps. The curry undertones of the mousse were then complemented with the slightly sweet notes of the carrot puree. The crumbed fish was a delight, with crumb being very fine, but adding the crunch needed. The fish cooked to the correct temperature was fantastic, even if it was just cod.

These wines have been specially chosen from our selection to match perfectly with this recipe:
Chenin Blanc 2011 by False Bay - A rich swirl of Chenin characters with gentle ripe apple aromas, honeyed aromatics and delicious greengage and citrus lemon acidity on the long finish. The terrifically generous mouthfeel comes from the long, slow wild yeast fermentation.

St Veran 2010 Domaine de la Feuillarde - Bursting with lush, ripe pear, citrus flavors and a long, minerally finish.

Torrontes Reserva 2010 by NIeto Senetir - Delicate flower blossom combines perfectly with herbaceous, white peach and orange peel notes.  Well-balanced, weighty palate - floral but poised and very drinkable! Exhibits a pleasing perfume of spring flowers, lemon, and tropical fruits leading to a just off-dry, medium-dry finish.


Carrot Puree: 2-3 carrots depending on size / 1 clove of garlic / 3-4tbsp cream/ chorizo oil (see recipe)

Scallop Mousse: 4 Scallops / 150g white fish / 1tsp curry powder / 1 egg white / 2tbsp cream

Herb crusted cod: 2 handfuls breadcrumbs / 1 packet parsley / 1 clove garlic / rosemary sprigs if you have any spare.

Braised Fennel: Couple of fennel bulbs / 500ml chicken or veg stock to cover.

Chorizo and new potatoes to serve.