This is such a deliciously fresh and seasonal dinner. I love the basil in the aioli as it gives it a pesto kinda vibe and adds that extra something special. If you can’t find tarakihi or skin on fish, it will still work just as well without but the skin won't be as crispy as pictured. Use your favorite fish here in place, snapper, gurnard, warehou anything like that would be good.

Time: A little bit of effort
Serves: 6

 

Basil Aioli
4 free-range egg yolks
2-3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
2 tightly packed cups basil leaves
1 ½ cups canola oil 

 

For the vegetables
4 cups chicken stock
18 baby potatoes, halved (6 halves per person)
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, cut on an angle into 3cm pieces
2 handfuls green beans, top end trimmed
1 bag snow peas
1 cup frozen pea

For the fish
6x 150g (5.5oz) tarakihi fillets, skin on
4 tablespoons olive oil
50g (1.7oz)  butter

 

To serve
1 medium fennel bulb, core cut out and very thinly sliced (I used my mandolin)
Fennel fronds
A handful baby basil leaves
Borage flower pods (optional)

 

 


METHOD

For the basil aioli
In a food processor,
whizz up the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, mustard, garlic, basil, a pinch of salt and pepper until the basil is finely chopped. While it’s blending, slowly pour in the canola oil (don’t pour too fast or the mayo won’t get thick) Taste, season with more salt, pepper, and a little extra lemon or lime juice if you need. Set aside.

 

For the vegetables
Bring the chicken stock to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until almost tender. Add the beans and the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the snow peas and peas and cook for a further 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

 

For the fish
Preheat oven to 50°C (120F)
While the vegetables are cooking, heat a large cast iron skillet on a medium high heat with half the olive oil and butter. Season the skin with salt. Once the butter is melted and has begun to bubble, add the fish, 3 fillets at a time so not to overcrowd the pan. Place in the pan skin side down. I hold the fish down with my hands so the fish doesn’t curl up applying quite a bit of pressure. Hold there for about 30 seconds. Cook for approx. 2 minutes, until you can see the edges underneath start to go brown and the fish around the outside turns white. Flip and cook for a further 1 minute. Rest in the oven while you cook the rest of the fish with remaining oil and butter.
 

To serve
Divide the potatoes and vegetables between the plates. Add the fennel over top. Place a piece of fish on top skin side up. Spoon over a generous blob of basil aioli, don’t put over the top of the fish or it will make the crispy skin soggy. Scatter over the basil leaves, fennel fronds, and borage pods if using. Finish with a little pepper and some flaky sea salt over the fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRISPY SKIN TARAKIHI WITH BASIL AIOLI

 

AND SPRING VEGETABLES

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 10.14.03 AM.pn
Food columnist for         Kinfolk Magazine               Featured in                   Featured on Berlin               Featured in                     Featured in                     Featured on  
 Capital Magazine           gatherings host           Homestyle Magazine            based blog, Ignant            Urbis Magazine                 Dish Magazine                    The New