Paul Welburn's smoked cod recipe is infused with fresh flavours of lemongrass and sea vegetables, with sea lettuce making an appearance in the beautifully light gnocchi. Served with charred compressed cucumber hearts and vibrant cucumber ketchup, this is a dish for those who enjoy clean, elegant flavour pairings.
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To make the compressed cucumbers, peel and discard the skin. Next, trim away the flesh of the cucumber so just a small amount remains around the seeds, keeping it round. Reserve these trimmings to make juice for the gel
Cut the cucumber into 1cm slices, vacuum pack and leave in the bag for 1 hour
For the sauce, heat a large pan with a tight-fitting lid until very hot. Quickly tip in the mussels and the wine and replace the lid. Shake well and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until all the shells of the mussels have opened. Strain the mussels and reserve the cooking liquor. Pick the mussels from their shells and reserve
500g of mussels, washed well, beards removed
375ml of white wine
Sweat the shallots, ginger and garlic in butter until softened. Add the lemongrass and reserved mussel stock and reduce by half. Add the vegetable stock and cream and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and reduce again by half
250g of banana shallot, sliced
50g of ginger, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
60g of butter
1 bunch of lemongrass
1l vegetable stock
250ml of cream
Preheat the oven to 170˚C/gas mark 3
To make the gnocchi, bake the potatoes in the oven until cooked through then pass through a drum sieve so you have a dry mash. While the potatoes are cooking, blend the eggs, salt, Parmesan and seaweed together with a hand blender
300g of potato
50g of Parmesan, grated
12g of salt
50g of sea lettuce, thoroughly washed and chopped
Fold this through the mash then fold in the flour and gently knead until everything is incorporated. Divide the mixture into small pieces, each weighing 8–10g, and roll on a gnocchi board. Transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up
75g of 00 flour
Bring a large but shallow pan of water to the boil, reduce to a simmer and blanch the gnocchi until it floats. Refresh in iced water then drain well
Juice the reserved cucumber trimmings and the whole cucumber for the ketchup. Measure out 420ml of juice and set aside
1 1/2 cucumbers, peeled
For the cucumber ketchup, bring the chardonnay vinegar and sugar to the boil and set aside to cool. Bring 350ml of the cucumber juice to the boil, add the gellan and transfer to a blender. Blitz for 2 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl over ice. Once set, blend with the remaining cucumber juice to form a smooth gel
4g of gellan gum
55ml of Chardonnay vinegar
Brunoise 60g of the compressed cucumber. Mix 200g of cucumber gel with 30ml of the sugar and vinegar mixture and fold through the shallots, cucumber dice and coriander
15g of shallots, brunoised
1 tsp coriander, chopped
To prepare the cod, dissolve the salt in the water and brine the cod fillets for 15 minutes. Wash off and dry the fish on kitchen paper
150g of sea salt
6 cod fillets, each weighing 150g
Place the lemongrass into a hot griddle pan with a little oil. Sit the cod fillets on top, cover with a pan. and cook for 5–6 minutes. Carefully remove and set aside. Meanwhile, blanch the sea vegetables in boiling water for 30 seconds
3 bunches of lemongrass, cut into strips
Just before serving, remove the remaining compressed cucumber from the bag and caramelise on a chargrill or in a very hot pan until scorched. Colour the gnocchi in a non-stick pan with a little oil
To serve, place a cod portion in the middle of the plate with pieces of compressed cucumber on either side. Serve 5 or 6 gnocchi per portion and a few mussels. Spoon over some of the cucumber ketchup and garnish with sea vegetables. Spoon over the sauce and serve
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