At his restaurant Foliage in Franschhoek, chef Chris Erasmus uses foraged ingredients for his original dishes. You simply must try his Honey and Apple-cured Cape Mullet with Tomato Ragout, and Dandelion and Pumpkin Seed Butter recipe.
- Cured Mullet
- 6 Cape mullet, filleted
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup apple juice
- wild flowers for garnish
- Tomato Ragout
- 500g vine cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ¼ tsp flaky sea salt
- ¼ cup good green olives
- 4 fennel bulbs, stems and leaves removed
- 2 tbs butter
- pinch salt
- 2 cups fennel stock
- 1 tsp chopped fennel leaves
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Dandelion, Vanilla and Pumpkin Seed Butter
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks intact
- ½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped off
- 200g salted butter
- 3 tbs pumpkin seeds, toasted and chopped
- ¼ tsp salt
- Mix the honey, lime juice and apple juice and pour over the mullet fillets in a plastic container. Leave to cure overnight, remove from the brine and fry for 30 seconds in a hot non-stick pan, skin-side down.
- For the ragout, preheat oven to 90°C. Blanch the tomatoes until the skin comes loose and refresh in ice water. Peel tomatoes and toss in a bowl with the olive oil and flaky salt. Place on a tray lined with wax paper and put in the oven for 3-4 hours until shrivelled and semi-dehydrated. Remove from the oven, stir in the olives and refrigerate until needed.
- Heat a large saucepan and add the butter. Slice the fennel in half lengthways, season and add to the butter. Fry until dark golden brown, then simmer over low heat until the fennel is just tender. Strain off the excess liquid and add with all the ragout ingredients to a saucepan. Cook over high heat until the vegetables are warm and glazed.
- For the butter, juice the fennel and place in a saucepan. Add the vanilla seeds and pod and cook over medium heat until ¾ reduced. Add the pumpkin seeds and remove from the heat. Place the butter in another saucepan and cook until light brown and nutty flavoured. Add to the fennel juice and blend with a hand blender until smooth. (Don’t worry if the sauce splits out, it’s even better that way). Add salt to taste and a squeeze of lemon if needed.
- Garnish with dandelion petals, young sprouts from the fennel tops, toasted pumpkin seeds and flowers.
Wine suggestion: La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc
- You can adapt this recipe into a cold salad by substituting the mullet for bokkems and the butter for olive oil in the sauce. Add some leaves and voila!
- For the garnish, pick the petals of dandelion flowers, and use the young sprouts from fennel, as well as toasted pumpkin seeds and the flowers.
- Deep fry pumpkin flowers stuffed with some of the olives and seeds, and coated with your choice of either breadcrumbs or batter.