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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Roasted Blue Eye with Hummus, Mint Yoghurt, Cumin Salt, Lemon, Pomegranate and a Crispy Onion Salad

I don't think it's just a coincidence that this dish seemed like it took the least least effort of all the mains I've made so far from this book and the fact that it's the least Asian recipe that I've tackled so far.
The inspiration for this dish is the middle east, a far cry from the majority of the recipes in Ezard's book. But as different as this recipe is from the rest, Ezard still uses the Asian tradition of 'balance' in this recipe to create a perfectly rounded dish, which stimulates the taste buds in every which way possible. You can find all your traditional Asian elements in this dish; sweetness comes from the Pomegranate Molasses which is deliciously sticky, a bitterness and sourness you'll find in the Tahini and Lemon blended Hummus. Spicyness and your saltiness comes from the Cumin Salt and to balance it all out you have your brilliantly green coloured Herbed yoghurt.
Textures also play a big role here, where you have the crispyness of the Onion Salad and the soft almost mash like texture of the Hummus.

The first thing you need to do in this dish is take your plain Yoghurt and place it in some wet muslin cloth and leave it to hang over night, draining out most of the water in the yoghurt - there is quite a lot. Unfortunately, when I was planning on making this recipe, I neglected to note that the yoghurt required overnight to hang. I did manage to get quite a lot of liquid out of it by gently squeezing it and leaving it for about 20 mins, but when it came to blending it up with the mint and parsley, it did return to being overly runny - like water. Maybe it was the liquid in the herbs, but if I made this again, I'd definately make sure I left the yoghurt overnight.

Next you'll need to make your Hummus. This is pretty much your standard Hummus recipe; Garlic, Chickpeas, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper and Tahini. Thankfully, when these are mixed up, you can't really take the disgusting bitterness of the Tahini. I've always had something against this disgusting Sesame Paste, but kids when you're an aspiring Chef, you have to try everything, so I won't be leaving it out. You need to taste the Hummus for flavour and seasoning balance and also make sure the texture isn't too runny. Ezard suggests to use dried Chickpeas and soak overnight. I just used tinned Chickpeas, which I find just as effective and much less time consuming.

Cumin Salt is an easy one, just take 2 parts Sea Salt flakes to one part Cumin. Dry roast your Cumin until it's fragrant and then bash it all up in a Mortar and Pestle with the Salt.

This is one off the less time consuming salads that Ezard features in his book. You basically need to deep fry some onion rings until golden and then season the rings with salt and icing sugar. Once seasoned, mix them with Mint, Dill and Flat Leaf Parsley. There's not really a dressing for this salad, it just sits on top of your Herbed Yoghurt.

Once you have everything else ready, you can start cooking your Blue Eye. You just need to season each side and then fry the fillets- skin side down, to get some colour on the skin. When golden, flip them over and put them into the oven at 200c. Leave them until cooked (about 5 - 10 mins)

Now you can assemble your plate. Place a blob of Hummus in the middle of the plate and then drizzle some Molasses around the outside, I like to use a Sauce Squeezer bottle to do this. Place a fillet of fish on top of the Hummus and then a spoon of the yoghurt. The yoghurt should be thick and stay on top, but mine was so runny, it just ran off onto the Hummus. Place a small handful of the Fried Onion Salad on top and a few segmented pieces of lemon around the outside of your plate and you've got your very own trip to the Middle East right there.

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