Butter poached Murray cod with shaved pearl meat, cucumber and cucumber juice
Murray cod can be tricky to source. An alternative would be John Dory in the same fillet size. This recipe uses the sous vide method, but it is possible to poach the fillet instead. Maurice Esposito is the chef-owner of Esposito Italian Seafood Restaurant.
Photo: Melanie Dove
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- For the fish
- 150g fillet Murray cod, skin on
- 15g clarified butter
- 1 bay leaf
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 250g Cloudy Bay clams
- For the avocado cream
- 1 avocado
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 20g cream cheese
- For the cucumber sauce
- 5 cucumbers (Lebanese or 2 continental)
- 150ml chicken stock (see below)
- 2 gelatine leaves
- Clam juice (cooled)
- To serve
- 1 Lebanese or continental cucumber
- 20g pearl meat
- 5 shoots baby basil
- 5 shoots of baby shiso
- Chicken stock
- 5kg chicken wings
- 5kg chicken frames
- 5 carrots
- 5 onions
- 1 head celery
- 2 heads garlic
- Bay leafs
Fish: Remove the bones with a pin boner or tweezers from the 150g fillet. Place the fish in a sous vide bag with the lemon zest, bay leaf, butter, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and cook at 50C in a thermo cooker. After 15 minutes, place the fish in an ice-water bath and chill. The fish is now ready to cook: simply sear in a hot pan to crisp skin, about 2 or 3 mins. If you don’t have a sous-vide bag you can heat 45g of butter (triple the amount) and aromatics to 50C in a baking dish, in the oven or on the stovetop. You would then submerge fish into the liquid and cook for 12 minutes. Remove fish from liquid, cool in fridge (note cooking time is less as cooling in fridge is slower; the fillet will continue to slightly cook as a result of using this method) and sear in a pan as above.
Avocado cream: Blend the avocado, cheese and lemon juice, salt and pepper until very smooth.
Clams: Steam open the clams, remove meat, keeping the juices separate, allow to cool.
To make the chicken stock: Roast chicken wings and frames, until golden brown. Roast vegetables slowly until cooked and caramelised well. In a large pot put all ingredients, cover well with water and bring to the boil. Reduce, skim very well, and strain.
Cucumber sauce: Liquify the cucumber using a blender or juicer, add cooked/cooled clam juice. Heat chicken stock to 80C, (not quite boiling) and dissolve gelatine into stock. Combine the chicken and cucumber clam stocks. Blend liquid with stick blender so it stars to set — it will look like a cloud, light and fluffy.
To garnish: Using a Parisian scoop or melon baller, cut rounds from the cucumber, shave the the pearl meat as thin as you can, with a sharp thin-bladed knife, pick the micro herbs.
To plate: Scatter the cucumber balls in a rough line on the plate. On top of each cucumber ball place a piece of shaved pearl meat, lightly season each piece with salt and pepper. Pipe or place small spoons of avocado cream in alternating positions on the plate, place the shelled clams next to the avocado mounds. Scatter a mixture of the shiso and basil shoots on top of the items on the plate. Place the seared Murray cod in the centre of the plate, skin side up. Place cucumber "clouds" (cucumber sauce) as you wish on the plate.