Curried chickpea purée, fava bean pistou, and pickled veg salad

Branzino With Oyster Mushrooms




Ingredients (serves four):

2 lbs branzino (cleaned fillets)

1 lb oyster mushrooms

1 small bunch of thyme

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 Tbsp olive oil

Veg salad:

1/3 c scallions (sliced thin lengthwise & held in ice water)

2 carrots (peeled & sliced thin for pickling)

4 radishes (thinly sliced)

1/4 c fresh picked basil leaves

1/4 c fresh picked mint leaves

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp lemon juice

Flake sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Pickling liquid:

1 c water

1/4 c white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp Kosher salt

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 bay leaf

5 black peppercorns

1 crushed garlic clove

1/2 lemon

3 cardamom seeds

Pistou:

2 lbs fava beans * yield will be less than half (select the largest you can find)

1/2 shallot

1 Tbsp lemon zest

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 c olive oil

2 Tbsp (fresh mint)

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

Chickpea purée:

1 c dried chickpeas

2 c veg stock (you can make your own or buy it)

1 thumb-sized knob of ginger (peeled & cut into coins)

1/2 clove garlic

1 1/2 Tbsp curry seasoning

1 bunch cilantro (washed)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp salt

Directions:

Start the day before you plan to serve the dish by soaking the cup of dried chickpeas in two cups of water overnight, (you can use canned chickpeas if you’d like to avoid this step). The following day you will start by bringing a pot of water to a boil and turning your oven to 300 degrees. Place the half-shallot and olive oil for the pistou in a small saucepot together and put them in the 300-degree oven for an hour. Meanwhile you can begin cooking and processing all the vegetables for your salad, pistou, and chickpea purée (refer to ingredient list for each vegetable’s preparation instruction).

Start by straining the chickpeas, then put the veg stock, garlic, ginger, salt, and curry seasoning in a small sauce pot with a lid. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft. While the chickpeas are cooking, you can start on the fava beans. First, remove all of your favas from the pods and cook them in the boiling water for three minutes. Shock the favas in an ice water bath immediately once they have finished cooking. Allow them to cool, then peel the light green outer skin off to reveal a small, darker green fava bean. Set the finished product aside in the fridge until you are ready to make the pistou (which is not quite yet; be patient).

At this point, you can pickle the thinly sliced carrots. Place all the ingredients for the pickling liquid in a pot, bring them to a boil while stirring for three minutes, then pour that liquid over the carrots and set them aside to cool.

Now you should be about ready to make the pistou and curried chickpea purée. Let’s start with the chickpeas. Once they are soft, throw in the bunch of cilantro and let everything steep together for another five minutes before blending. Now you’re ready to blend, strain the flavorful liquid from the chickpeas and put them in the blender cup with half the cooked ginger, the garlic, and about a quarter of the softened, gently cooked cilantro.

Note: You will need some, but not all, of the flavorful liquid you’ve created in the cooking process. Start with about a fourth-cup in the blender, add the rest of your other ingredients and blend on high, drizzling in the cooking liquid until you create a nice, semi-loose vortex. Slowly add the olive oil and add seasoning while blending, (the result should be a nice thick purée that sits nicely on the plate without running.)

For the pistou, remove the shallot confit from the oven, and place all the ingredients for the pistou in a food processor. Pulse this mixture until incorporated. (A little texture is good. We don’t want this to be completely smooth).

You’re almost there. Now you can toss the mushrooms with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast them at 350 degrees for seven minutes. While they are cooking, get a large nonstick sauté pan or two over a high flame, season your fish and add the oil to your hot pans. Sear the fish on the flesh over high heat for 40 seconds, then put the entire pan in the oven for four minutes to finish cooking the fish.

While your fish and mushrooms are cooking, mix all the ingredients for the pickled veg salad together in a small bowl. Plate however you like (you can refer to the picture or do it your way).