Seaweed custard, crispy mussels and imperial caviar

This elegant seafood starter from Chef Luke Tipping uses a base of custard infused with kombu, topped with breaded mussels and a pinch of imperial caviar. The soy lecithin in the mussels' sauce is what enables it to be whipped up into a delicious, cappuccino-like foam.

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First published in 2022

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Custard

Mussels

  • 1kg live mussels
  • 150ml of white wine
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and diced
  • 40g of butter
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150g of whole milk
  • 150g of double cream
  • 10g of soya lecithin
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 400g of vegetable oil, for frying
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g of Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of quatre épices

To serve

Equipment

  • Steam oven

Method

1

To make the seaweed custard, use a hand blender to combine the cream, egg yolk, whole egg, salt and miso. Then, add the kelp and allow to infuse in the fridge for a minimum of four hours and up to overnight

2

Next, debeard the mussels. Pull the beard towards the hinge of the mussels rather than the lip, then remove it with a sharp tug

3

Scrub the mussels together under cold running water for 5 minutes to wash any grit off the surface of the mussels. Discard any dead mussels which don’t close when tapped

4

Add the white wine, shallot, butter, garlic, thyme and bay leaf to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover the pan. Cook them for 2 minutes. The mussels will be cooked when the shell has fully opened - discard any mussels that don’t open

5

Remove the mussels, but leave the cooking liquor in the pan. Take the mussels out of their shells

6

Add milk and cream to the cooking liquor. Mix the soya lecithin with a little bit of water so that it forms a paste and is easier to dissolve in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the soya lecithin and whisk well. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste. Blend until smooth with a stick blender and then pass through a fine mesh sieve

  • 150g of whole milk
  • 150g of double cream
  • 10g of soya lecithin
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt to taste
7

Once the custard has infused, sieve the custard to remove the kelp. Preheat a steam oven to 80°C

8

Divide the custard between ramekins, about 30g of custard per pot. Place into a steam oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. You will know when they are cooked as they will have a slight wobble but not be liquidy

9

Add the vegetable oil to a large, deep heavy pan and heat it over a medium-high heat to 180°C

  • 400g of vegetable oil, for frying
10

Add the flour, egg and panko to three bowls. Coat the mussels with the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture and then season with a pinch of the quatre épices

  • 100g of plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g of Panko breadcrumbs
11

Deep fry the mussels in small batches in the hot oil until golden brown and crisp. Once cooked, drain on paper towels

12

To serve, place the mussels on the surface of the custards

13

Use a hand blender to aerate the mussel sauce until foamy like a cappuccino. Drizzle this over the mussels and custard, then finish with the Imperial caviar and chives

First published in 2022

Luke describes his style as ‘very natural, very seasonal and free flowing’

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