An old family friend has recently opened his own fish shop in our area. I'm excited. We already have access to fish, but this guy really knows his stuff. His fish is spanking fresh and there's sooooo much variety. Lots of lovely fish to really stir up my market syndrome, where I want to buy absolutely everything I see. But I was good this time, I only bought these gorgeous snapper fillets (Oh okay, there might have been a dozen oysters in my basket too - whatevs.) I wanted to do something special with this lovely fish, so I turned to the King of Fish, Neil Perry. My husband and I adore Neil Perry's restaurants... and cook books... and cooking shows - oh heck, we just love HIM full stop. We've celebrated anniversaries at Rockpool Bar and Grill, birthdays at Spice Temple and lazy (and indulgent) weekend lunches at Rosetta. But when we can't get to the restaurants, I just open one of his books and go for it. As I've said before, he's never let me down.
Steamed Snapper Fillet with Red Pepper and Leek Coulis
slightly adapted from Neil Perry's Rockpool
For the Couli:
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, cut into quarters lengthwise and then diced in 2cm pieces
4 large (I used 5 medium) capsicums, seeded and cut into 2cm dice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
150ml dry white wine
150ml low salt chicken stock (homemade is best)
For the Fish:
4 x 180g snapper fillets, skin left on
800ml low salt chicken stock (homemade is best)
extra virgin olive oil, for dressing
For the Couli:
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.
Put the leeks and capsicums in a small roasting tray and pour over the oil, chicken stock and wine. Season well with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the vegetables are soft and some of the liquid has evaporated. Stir the vegetables every 20 -30 minutes or so. You want to gently cook the vegetables without them getting any colour.
Put the vegetables into a blender and whiz until smooth. Pass the vegetable puree through a fine mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Heat the saucepan over a medium flame and reduce the sauce to the consistency of single cream. Check the seasoning.
For the Fish:
Put the fish into two bowls and pour the chicken stock halfway up the sides of the fillets of fish. Place in a steamer (I used two bamboo steamers over a wok), over boiling water and steam for between 8 and 10 minutes. The fish should feel firm to the touch. Take the steamer off the stove and lift the lid to release the steam. Put the lid back on the steamer and leave the fish to rest for 2 minutes.
Pour equal amounts of the couli in the centre of four plates. Place a dollop of mashed potatoes in the middle of the couli. Place a fillet of fish on top of the mash and finish with a mound of sauteed spinach on top of the fish. Drizzle with a final flourish of extra virgin olive oil.