This is the kind of dish that would usually appear in my pop up restaurant evening menus.
Clean and classy, packed with exciting flavours and textures, paired with elegant plating.
This recipe will serve two main course size plates.
Preparation time: 60 minutes, plus 24 hours in advance for your consommé
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the consommé-
½ tbsp olive oil, for sauté
1 large carrot
2 sticks of celery
1 white onion
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
large sprig of thyme
large sprig of rosemary
1 tbsp light soy sauce
4 egg whites
8 fresh medium stinging nettle leaves
For the Halibut & Accompaniments-
2x 180g halibut steaks, skinned
500g Maris Piper or Vivaldi Potatoes, peeled and evenly diced
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature plus extra for cooking the halibut
fine salt, for seasoning
white pepper, for seasoning
6 asparagus spears, remove the woody end and discard, then cut off the tip and peel the length and set aside
100g spring cabbage, finely sliced
2 wild garlic roots, finely sliced (on an angle if you like)
10 wild garlic flowers
20 fennel seeds
olive oil, for sauté
4 dried nettle leaves, or 1tsp powdered
cracked black pepper, for seasoning
rock salt, for seasoning
For the consommé-
Cut up your carrot, celery, leek, garlic and half the onion into small cubes (the shape doesn't matter too much, but all of the peices should be the same size to ensure they cook evenly)
On a high heat, warm a large saucepan on the hob.
Once hot, add the olive oil, your vegetables and herbs and spices (leaving out the soy sauce and nettle leaves). Sauté until evenly coloured and golden brown.
Add the soy sauce followed by the water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes.
Using a sieve, separate the liquid from the herbs and vegetables. Discard the vegetables and return the liquid to a pan and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half (this could take up to an hour and a half). Then remove from the heat and cool the stock overnight (or for approxomately 6 hours).
Once the stock has cooled, prepare your "raft" - this is how you clarify your consommé.
Prepare a muslin cloth over a bowl ready for straining your consommé and set to one side.
In a bowl, whisk your egg whites until foaming.
Finely dice the other half of the white onion and add to the egg whites.
Place your stock in a saucepan on a low heat and whisk in the egg white mixture.
Warm your stock, whisking occasionally to stop it from sticking. Do not let your stock boil.
Once the egg whites have all floated to the top and have gone solid, remove from the heat. The liquid beneath should be clear.
Gently make a hole in the raft and ladle the liquid into the muslin for straining. This is a slow process and shouldn't be rushed - do not force the liquid through the muslin, allow it to filter through naturally.
Once all of the liquid has filtered through, discard any impurities in the muslin - the liquid that remains should be a clear, golden coloured consommé.
Your consommé can now be set aside until you're ready to gently re-heat and serve. 7 minutes before serving, add in your fresh nettle leaves to infuse the flavour.
For the Halibut & Accompaniments-
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Place your potatoes in a saucepan, fill with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Boil until the potato breaks up effortlessly.
Drain off the water from the potatoes. Place the pan back on the heat briefly to evaporate any excess water.
Remove from the heat and add in 100g of unsalted butter. Mash vigorously. When the potato reaches a smooth, even consistency, fold in the rest of the butter and season with the fine salt and white pepper to taste.
Using a sieve and a spoon, push the potato through the sieve and into a bowl ready to use later. (This will give the potato its silky consistency)
Heat a heavy based frying pan. Using a piece of kitchen towel, gently dab any moisture from the surface of the halibut.
Once the pan is hot, place the halibut steaks in the pan. Putting a little pressure onto the halibut (using your fingertips), cook for around 1 minute.
Flip the halibut over and add a knob of butter to the pan. Next, tilt the pan slightly to create a pool of butter and use a spoon to coat the halibut steaks repeatedly. Do this for around 1 minute.
Remove the steaks from the pan (but leave the pan on the heat), place on a baking tray and place in the oven for 6 minutes. Once cooked, drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
Using the same pan from the halibut, put in your asparagus spears. Add a little rock salt and roll around the pan whilst cooking. Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
Next, add fennel seeds and a knob of butter to the pan. Put in the peeled asparagus and wild garlic roots and cook until it begins to soften.
Add the cabbage to the pan and sauté for around 2 minutes to soften and very lightly colour the cabbage. Once cooked, empty the contents of the pan onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain.
Finally, get creative and plate your dish using the garlic flowers and nettle dust to garnish.