This dish from Coutume Café looks just like spring. In fact, it’s named after the season. I can’t wait to try it out the next time I’m hosting friends (but let’s be honest, it could go either really well or end up like a Pinterest disaster).
Spring Garden | Lucie Pasqualini, Coutume Cafe Paris
2 two-ounce cod fillets
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 tbsp. egg whites
2 cups water
3/4 cups hibiscus flowers
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sucre
1 heaping tbsp. agar agar powder
2/3 cup white mushrooms
2/3 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 piece of ginger
1 clove garlic
4 small rainbow carrots
4 snow peas
4 English peas
2 white mushrooms
Wash and clean the cod, removing the pin bones and fatty pieces. Cut the fish into fillets of about 2 ounces each. We will be using the thickest sections of the fish. Once you have two 2-ounce fillets, use a brush to coat each fillet with egg white so the sliced almonds will stick to the fish. Arrange the almonds so they coat the entire surface of the cod.
Bake at 320° F for ten minutes.
Bring the water and flowers to a boil, then add the sugar and lemon juice. Taste to make sure the flavor is subtle, but you want to be able to taste the lemon. Add the agar agar powder and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid into a platter large enough to allow it to be approximately 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate until the liquid has solidified, then cut the jelly into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.
Dice the mushrooms, shallot, ginger, garlic, and carrot. Place the vegetable mixture in a sauce pan and cover with water. Let simmer, then add the zest and juice of half an orange to taste. When the broth is infused, strain out the vegetables, then return the broth to the stove. Season with salt, pepper, and espelette pepper to taste.
Wash the carrots and remove the tops. Blanch in salted boiling water for five seconds, drain, then place in ice water. Repeat this step with the snow peas. Open the English peas, but keep them whole so the peas remain attached to the shells, as it will look beautiful on the plate.
Thinly slice the white mushrooms.
Before serving, spread the mushroom slices at the bottom of a soup plate. Place the 2 cod fillets in the middle of the plate. Arrange the hibiscus jelly and raw peas around the fish.
Sautee the carrots and snow peas in a very hot skillet drizzled with olive oil. Then heap the sauteed vegetables around the fish. Decorate with the violet petals & nasturtiums, then season with a pinch of salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Pour the broth into a tea pot and place on the table for serving.