Schezuan Pear Broth with Mackerel Dumplings
This dish is different and rather unusual. Combining pears with mackerel might not sound like an obvious pairing but it works remarkably well.
I made a broth using British conference pears and infused it with the schezuan pepper and miso paste. Schezuan pepper has a unique and very strong flavour and for that reason it is perfect for the rich oily flesh of the mackerel. The pears bring balance to the dish and neutralises the oily mackerel and rich braised baby bok choy. Be generous with the lime juice as it brings the whole dish alive. The miso paste brings the umami flavour to the dish and your taste buds will fire on all cylinders when eating this schezuan pear broth with mackerel dumplings.
There are plenty of pear varieties available on the market and I will try and persuade you to use the British pears in season. However if you ever come by a Nashi pear, otherwise known as the Asian pear, I suggest you make this dish with them. They are highly fragrant with fairly thin skins which hardly need peeling, but my guilty conscious kicks in as I know they are most probably air freighted to Britain.
These mackerel dumplings make either a perfect canape when crisped and served on their own, garnished with sautéed enoki mushrooms and Sango radish sprouts or blanched and served as this lovely starter with the schezuan pear broth.
This dish is one of four recipe using British Pears as the chosen seasonal ingredient for a article published in the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Magazine on the 16th October 2009.
- Camomile-Smoked Pear Pastilles
- Pear, Quail, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad
- Tamarind Pears with Creamed Tapioca and Toffee Pear Lollipops
Schezuan Pear Broth
- 500ml fish stock
- 5g red chilli, julienned and de-seeded
- 10g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 stick of lemongrass, bruised
- 1tsp good quality miso paste
- 8 in number schezuan pepper corns
- 250g peeled cored and quartered conference pears
- Juice of half a lime
- Small pinch of saffron
Peel, core and quarter the pears and place them in a vacuum bag with the schezuan peppercorns. Seal on hard vacuum and let the pears infuse for 2 hours.
In a medium saucepan heat the fish stock, chillies, sliced ginger, lemongrass, miso paste, saffron and the contents of the pear vacuum pouch. Bring the broth to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Let the broth infuse for 20 minutes.
Pass the broth through a fine sieve; keep the pears and discard the rest of the solids.
Return the broth to a clean saucepan ready to be reheated.
Slice the pears to serve as a garnish. Place the sliced pears on the same tray as the braised baby bok choy ready to be reheated.
- 6 wonton wrappers
- 1 egg
- 40g skinless and boneless diced mackerel
- 50g scallop flesh
- 60ml double cream
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1tbs finely sliced spring onions
- 1tbs chopped coriander
- Dash of fresh Lime Juice
First make a scallop mousse by placing the scallop meat in the thermomix, blend on speed 10 for 30 seconds, scrape the sides down and repeat the process if needed. Add the cream all at once with seasoning, pulse blend for 20 seconds, remove the mousse from the bowl and mix gently, do not over work the mixture.
Add the diced mackerel, sliced spring onion, chopped coriander and a dash of limejuice to the scallop mousse, gently fold the mixture together.
Use a 80mm round cutter to cut the square wonton wrappers into rounds.
Whisk the egg and brush one half of the wonton round with egg wash, spoon a small teaspoon full of mackerel filling in the centre, fold the round in half covering the filling, rub the air out and then fold the tortellini shape around your baby finger bringing the edges together and secure with egg wash.
Bring a large saucepan of seasoned water to the boil. Poach the dumplings for 1minute 30 seconds in the rapid boiling water, remove them with a slotted spoon, directly into an ice bath.
Cool the dumplings rapidly, drain and pat dry, splash with peanut oil to prevent them from drying out.
They are now ready to be reheated.
Braised Baby Bok Choy
- 6 baby bok choy
- 20g unsalted butter
- 100ml fish stock
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Wash the bok choy and drain well.
Heat a deep sauté pan with the butter, brown the bok choy on both sides until golden, season.
Once the bok choy is brown enough add the stock, cover with a cartouche and reduce the heat to a gentle heat.
Braise the bok choy for 5 minutes until the stems are tender.
Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and remove the root but keep the bok choy intact.
Trim the bok choy up and fold them into tidy rectangles about 4cm long parcels. Place the braised baby bok choy on butter paper on a tray ready to be reheated.
Lightly Cured Mackerel
- 2 Mackerel fillets, pin bones removed
- 10g table salt
- 10g caster sugar
- 1tsp unsalted butter
- 1tbs sunflower oil
Wash the mackerel fillets; remove all the pin bones and scales, pat dry with kitchen paper. Score the skin and cut the mackerel in 3 cm long pieces.
Mix the sugar and salt and cover the fish with the cure.
Let the fish cure for 10 minutes, wash the sugar salt off under cold running water, pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.
The mackerel fillets are now ready to be seared.
Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan with the oil, once the pan is hot enough add the fish skin side down and add the butter, sauté the fish for 3 minutes, flip it over for 30 seconds on the flesh side, remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Assembly of the dish
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, poach the dumplings for 1 minute and 30 seconds, drain and glaze with peanut oil.
Heat the broth. Sautee the mackerel and reheat the braised bok choy and pears.
Place the braised baby bok choy in the centre of a heated serving bowl. Place the dumpling on top with the sautéed mackerel. Place the pieces of pear around the bowl with sautéed enoki mushrooms and Sango radish sprouts. Pour the hot broth around and serve immediately.