Chef David Schneider from Chefs Warehouse on the Maison wine farm in Franschoek is down to earth, which belies the effort that goes into the food he prepares at his critically acclaimed establishment. Here he shares the secret behind his incredibly popular Pan-seared Hake with Cape-Malay Spiced Carrot Sauce.
This pan-seared hake is light, healthy, and very stylish and for the cooking, enthusiast makes an ideal dish to serve on special occasions or for truly deserving loved ones. As with all top recipes using fresh ingredients will bring out the best flavours from this dish that blends spices and the sweetness of carrots to perfection to create a melt in your mouth, unforgettable experience.
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- 800g fresh hake fillet, bones removed
- 1 cup coarse sea salt
- Carrot Sauce
- 3kg large organic carrots
- 1 tbsp Atchar spice mix (see recipe below)
- 1 cup coconut cream
- Atchar Spice Mix
- ½ cup yellow mustard seed
- ½ cup black mustard seed
- ½ cup fenugreek seeds
- 4 tbsp fennel seeds
- 4 tbsp chilli powder
- ½ cup salt
- 1 tbsp garam marsala
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup atchar marsala
- 4 tbsp treacle sugar
- Slow Roasted Carrots
- 2 large organic carrots
- 150g unsalted butter
- fresh thyme
- pinch of Maldon salt
- water/ vegetable stock to cover
- Atchar Spiced Dressing
- 2 tbsp atchar spice mix
- 125ml fresh lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 thumb ginger, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed
- and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp castor sugar
- 72.5ml blended olive oil
- Tempura Celery Leaves
- 12 large celery leaves,
- washed and dried
- ½ cup tempura flour
- 1 tsp white sugar
- pinch of fine salt
- 1 cup cold sparkling water
- oil for frying
- Specialised equipment: vegetable juicer
Method Cover the base of a container, just large enough to lay the fillet down flat, with coarse salt. Lay the fish skin side down and cover with the remaining coarse salt. Leave in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cure. Rinse the fish under cold running water to remove all salt, pat dry with a clean kitchen towel cut into four equal portions and place covered in the fridge until ready to use
For the spice mix: Combine the mustard seeds, fenugreek and fennel seeds in a pan and lightly toast over low heat on the stovetop. Remove from the heat. Once cooled, crush to a medium consistency (not too fine). In a bowl, thoroughly mix the spices with the remaining ingredients.
For the carrot sauce: Remove the tops of the carrots and cut into pieces small enough to fit easily into a vegetable juicer. Juice the carrots. You should yield about 1 litre. Strain the juice through a fine sieve. Place the juice in a big pot and set over medium heat on the stovetop. Add 1 tablespoon of the atchar spice mix and reduce the juice by half.
Add the coconut cream and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has a coating consistency. Season with salt if needed.
For the roasted carrots: Remove the tops and peel the carrots. Place them whole in a wide, thick-base pan. Add the butter, thyme and Maldon salt and cover with the water/vegetable stock. Simmer on a stovetop over medium heat. Once the carrots have started to soften, turn up the heat and reduce all the liquid in the pan, turning the carrots often for even cooking. Once the liquid has evaporated, lower the heat and allow the butter to slowly brown and colour the carrots. The carrots should be firm on the inside and caramelised on the outside. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the carrots to cool in the pan so that they can soak up the butter. Once cooled, slice the carrots into small bite-sized rounds and place in a small oven-proof dish.
For the atchar dressing: Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a mixing bowl and whisk while gradually incorporating the oil. Taste and season with fine salt if necessary.
For the tempura leaves: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Slowly pour the sparkling water into the mixture and mix gently using chopsticks or a whisk. The batter should have a smooth, light, coating consistency. Pour the oil into a deep pot and heat on a medium-high heat until the oil reaches 180˚C. Coat each leaf in the batter and deep-fry one by one until golden and all the bubbles have stopped. Using a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon, remove each leaf and drain on kitchen cloth or paper towel. Season with some Maldon salt.
For the fish: In a wide, thick-base frying pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Lightly score the skin of the fish with a sharp knife cutting across the surface in 1 cm intervals. Place the fish skin side down in the pan and fry until golden and crisp. With a fish spatula, turn the fish and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until soft and warmed through. Remove from the heat.
To serve: Place the fish in a deep bowl. Arrange the slices of carrots alongside. Pour the carrot sauce around so that there is a small pool of sauce at the base of the plate. Coat the fish with a good helping of the dressing, making sure to get all the lovely bits. Place some fresh coriander, mint and the tempura leaves on top of the fish.
Wine suggestion Maison Chenin Blanc 2017