Roasted Cod with vanilla butter, spinach mousse and a creme fraiche mash.

Difficulty: 3/5

This impressive looking and sounding dish is actually straight forward. The only tricky bit is not over cooking the mousse. Luckily the thermometer trick lets you know when its done to perfection.

Spinach Mousse: 100g spinach/ 2 eggs/ 100ml cream/ s+p.

Mash: 500g potatoes( i use rooster)/ 2tbsp creme fraiche/ 1tsp dijon mustard/ milk,cream,butter to finish.

Fish: 2 scallops per person( reserve coral)/ 150-175g white fish fillet with skin on.

Vanilla Butter: 1 vanilla pod per 40g butter.

Heat oven to 120c(not fan)

1) Get ahead and prepare the mousse. Cook spinach in a dry pan until wilted, squeeze out any remaining water. Put this in a blender with the eggs and cream. Whizz until it all turns green. Now pour into pre-buttered moulds. These can be kept in the fridge until ready to cook.

2) Place mousses in a high sided baking/roasting tray, pour boiling water half way up moulds and cook until 70c. Roughly half an hour. Remove immediately once temperature is reached. They can be put back into the oven for 5 mins to warm through.

3) Split vanilla pods in half, scrape out seeds and add to butter, add a pinch of salt its unsalted butter. I find 40g is more than enough for two, but its probably a good idea to make more and then always have some on hand in the fridge.

4) The way i make my mash depends on my mood really. You can do it traditionally, by peeling spuds, boil slowly so that they don’t get too soggy and fall apart. Then let steam evaporate under their own heat for a good 10-15mins to dry out. Or i’ve found another way of putting 500-600g potatoes in skins in microwave for 15mins. Leave them for a good 5-10mins to finish cooking throughout and cool. Then split potato and spoon out baked flesh.The flesh then must go through a ricer. This ensures not only lumpfree mash but adds the lightness associated with good mash rather than being a mass of stoge.

5) On this occasion, i have just heated some milk, butter, creme fraiche, mustard in a small pan. Pour this into the riced potato over a low heat. Stir all in, season with salt and white pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking adding more milk, cream, butter as you like.

Put mousses back in low oven now if needing to be reheated.

6) Pan roast cod skin side down with a tbsp of oil on a medium heat. Gice it about five minutes. You will see the opague flesh turn white as it cooks. Once the fillet is cooked just over halfway up, turn over once only. Immediately add the scallops to the pan while its still very hot. Give the scallops 1 minute then turn over, then add the corals. Season all fish with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Check cod is 45-50c in the middle, its then ready.

7) Now plate up. On the photo above i have been very fancy and piped the mash onto the plate. Then lay the cod skin side up. Adorn a coral, then a good knob of the vanilla butter. Place the mousse to the side, accompanied by a scallop either side.


Critic’s View:

Again the dish made me extra hungry just by looking at it. I dived into the mousse, i was so surprised at the unexpected delight. The texture was so smooth with a perfect setting. I then moved onto the cod, i had forgotten about the vanilla butter until i had my forst bite. I was in another stage of heaven. An absolute taste sensation! Beautifully complemented by the sweet scallops. The creme fraiche mash added a lovely refreshing balance on the palate.

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