Since 2020 has taken so much from us, I decided to end 2020 with a bang. A feast of seven fishes. This is actually an Italian tradition in which 7 dishes of fishes are served up during Xmas eve. Despite its name, other types of seafood are cooked as well. It can range from shrimps and squid, to lobster and mussels, but it often ends with 2 desserts to cleanse the palate.
I present to you, a very light appetizer to kickstart this feast. It is a deconstructed Vietnamese Summer Roll. This is partly inspired by @aliceinedinburgh. Go check out her page and give her a follow while you are on it. She is a pure artist! I saw one of her posts whereby she literally fried up a rice paper and used it as a plate. I was completely mindblown! This is how this dish is born.
Another part is inspired by @shakarahcuisine. Also, check out her page and follow her on Instagram for some amazing food adventures. I was pondering on how can I stack flavors on the scallops. Her Ras el Hanout scallops dish popped up on my feed and I thought, "this is it!" Rase el Hanout is a very underrated spice blend. It is originated from Morrocco and it is a super meat rub. Maybe I should create a recipe in the future.
Anyway, you have been seeing and hearing me raving about how good @chillibellesg's chili is. If you are in Singapore, please check out her chili paste. They are awesomely flavorful. And here, I used her Korean chili paste and turn it into caviar. I hope she wouldn't mind.
As for everything else, I wanna create as many different types of taste and texture as I can, all in 1 mouthful. Kinda like munching down an actual summer roll. I have some leftover kiwis and carrots hiding at the back of my fridge, so I thought why not bring them to life again. And this happened. I am glad that I actually give this wild bizarre idea a shot, and without much delay, let's get started with the recipe.
Canola / Grapeseed / Peanut Sunflower Oil, For Spherification
@chillibellasg's Korean Chili Paste / Gochujang / Sambal, 50g
Agar Agar Powder, 2g
Kiwi (without any hair) Thinly Sliced, 2
Basil Leaves, 12 Large
Canola / Grapeseed / Peanut Sunflower Oil, For Dipping
Carrot Corasely Slice, 1 Large
Vegetable Stock, 1 Liter
Olive Oil, 2 TBSP
Sea Salt, Pinch
White Pepper, Pinch
Sea Salt, Pinch
Ras el Hanout, Pinch
Canola / Grapeseed / Peanut Sunflower Oil, For Searing
Ghee, 2 TBSP
Nori Flakes, Pinch
Vietnamese Rice Paper, 8 Pieces
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Please visit my "How To Make Vegetable Stock" page for the recipe.
Prepare the chili caviar.
Transfer oil into a tall cylindrical bottle and chill in the fridge overnight or in a freezer for at least 2 hrs.
In a sauce pot, add chili paste, water and agar agar.
Stir to combine well.
Turn the heat up to medium-high.
Bring it up to a boil.
Allow it to boil for 2 mins.
Remove from heat and immediately, use a syringe to suck up the coffee mixture or transfer it into a squeeze bottle.
Slowly drip the chili mixture into the bottle of cold oil.
Repeat this step for the remaining chili.
*If the chili starts to cool down, heat up the chili over the stove and repeat the process. Make sure the chili paste that you are using is a smooth paste.*
Drain thru' a sieve over a large bowl.
*You can reuse the oil.*
Plunge the chili caviar into a bowl of clean water to wash excess oil.
Remove and plunge into another bowl of clean water.
Repeat the steps until the water is clean of oil.
Set the sieve of chili caviar to drain off any excess water.
Keep in a container and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
*It can keep up to 7 days.*
Prepare the roast.
Preheat oven to 150 degree celsius or 300 fahrenheit.
Lay the sliced kiwi on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Dredge the basil leaves with oil and lay on the same baking tray.
*You can place another piece of parchment paper over the kiwi and basil, place some weight on top to prevent the leaves and kiwi from curling during baking process.*
But if you are like me. who prefer a rustic look, you can skip the steps.
Wack into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 mins or until the kiwi is dry and curled, the basil leaves are crisp.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
Prepare the carrot puree.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, add carrots and vegetable stock.
Bring the stock to a boil.
Boil until the carrots are fork-tender.
Transfer the carrots into a blender.
Add just enuff stock to get the blender blitzing.
Add in olive oil.
Blitz until smooth.
Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt and pepper.
Give it a final blitz.
Place a bowl over another bowl of ice.
*This step will prevent the puree from separating.*
Transfer the carrot puree into the bowl thru' a fine sieve.
Transfer into a squeeze bottle and keep chill until ready to use.
Prepare the scallops.
Season the scallops well with salt and ras el hanout.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.
Heat the oil to the smoking point.
In a bowl, mix in ghee and nori flakes.
Place in the scallops.
*There is a large and small side of a scallop. Always sear the larger side 1st. Sear the scallops in batches. Do not crowd the skillet.*
Tilt the skillet and baste the scallops with the hot oil.
Keep basting until the bottom is browned.
Flip and add in the ghee mixture.
Tilt the skillet and continue basting with all the liquid.
Remove from heat and set aside on a plate lined with parchment paper to drain off any excess oil.
Repeat the process for the remaining scallops.
In the same skillet, add about 1/2 inch of oil.
Deglaze and bring the oil to the smoking point.
Gently lay a rice paper.
It will crisp up within seconds.
Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Repeat the steps for the remaining rice paper.
Place the rice paper on serving plates.
Squeeze 3 dollops of carrot puree onto the paper.
Place scallops onto the puree.
Lay kiwi and basil leaf, 1 of each, over the scallops.
Sprinkle the chili caviar over the top.
All in 1 mouthful: Tang, Spice, Savory, Sweet, Aromatic, Crisp, Crunch, Chew, Bounce.