Friday, 11 November 2011

Seriously good seafood

'Masterchef, the professionals' is currently showing on BBC 2, and that always gets my imagination going. I half-designed a dish as I was shopping and it was finalised (as usual) during the preparation and cooking.

The dish could appear on a menu as 'Pan fried cod with crab cakes and asparagus'.

First, I prepared the crab cakes:


  • 100g cooked white crabmeat
  • 1.5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 spring onion , finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
Mix the crab, mayo, onion and parsley. Divide into 10, shape into balls (this is messy!), then dip each portion in the egg and coat in breadcrumbs. Firm up in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce and asparagus: peel the bottom half of each asparagus stalk and simmer them whole, removing them from the water before they are soft. Cut the stalks in half, put the tips aside and put the bases in a blender cup. In the meantime, gently soften a finely diced shallot in butter and then add a glass of white wine. Allow to bubble and add a little fish stock/juice from the asparagus/juice from the crab meat with a good dash of double cream and some chopped tarragon. Put this mix into the blender with the asparagus bases and whizz until smooth. Check for seasoning and put aside.

Heat a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the crab cakes in batches until golden and remove to a side dish. Keep warm along with the plates which will be used for serving.

In the same pan that was used for the crab cakes, put the cod fillets in to brown, about 30 seconds a side.

Plate by pouring sauce on each plate, put the cod in the centre, add a few crab cakes round the edges, strew the asparagus tips over the whole thing and serve with much panache.

It took an hour from start to finish to prepare and it's one of the few dishes that I have been satisfied with at attempt number one.

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