Three delicious meals you can make for yourself at home
We asked the chef of two Michelin star restaurant, Amber, if he would share some of his favourite meals with us. He didn’t disappoint!
Beer Cooked Mussels
This is a dish I grew up with and I have so many fond memories being surrounded by my family members with a large bowl of mussels. It is the signature dish from the region I was born and raised. No cutlery is served to eat the mussels, as an empty shell serves your tongue. Mussels are eaten with crusty sourdough bread spread with salted butter only. Pair the mussels with a good lager!
2kg Mussels preferably from Zeeland, Holland, cleaned and beards removed
200g Butter, unsalted
60 gr Leeks, shredded
60g shallots, peeled, cut in half & shredded
4 sprigs thyme
4 fresh bay leaves
White pepper from the mill
250ml white Beer
240g Crème Fraiche
1 lemon, juice & rind
1 lime, juice & rind
1 tablespoon Tarragon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Parsley coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Chervil, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Lemon verbena, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Chives, finely chopped
In a heavy saucepan with lid melt the butter till blond, add shallots, garlic, leek, bay leaves & thyme.
Sweat 3 minutes without colouring, deglaze with the beer, then add the cream and a little white pepper.
Add the mussels and toss in the cream sauce. Cover the pan and toss the mussels constantly until all are cooked and opened (this will take 2 to 3 minutes).
With a spider, remove the cooked mussels and place them in a warm large bowl. Return the cooking juice to the stove, check the seasoning and add pepper if needed. Brighten the cooking juice with lemon juice and emulsify with the handheld blender. Add little butter if needed. Add the garden herbs and spoon the foamy sauce over the mussels. Grate the lemon & lime peel with a micro-blade over the mussels.
Serve with crusty sourdough bread and salted butter only.
Line Caught Sea Bass Cooked in Sea Salt
There is no doubt that the ‘Sacré chien’ in Salt (flame snapper) was a signature dish whilst I was Executive Chef at the Royal Palm in Mauritius, and it is a preparation I still cherish with my family. There is no better way of making an exceptional fresh fish, and although some add aromatic herbs or vegetables in its belly, I still prefer it plain and simple. It always brings the wow factor when you come out with the fish in salt. I love to roam the Hong Kong wet markets looking for a perfect fish to cook in salt, and it is always a feast when we cook one. The quality of the fish is of capital importance, as is the quality of the olive oil and lemon. The preparation is so simple, but with the perfect ingredients and craftsmanship, you have a brilliant meal!
Ingredients (serves 4):
100g Egg white
3kg Coarse sea salt like grey sea salt from Guerande
2kg Line Caught Sea bass – keep the scales but gut through the gills (remove the eyes)
Black Pepper coarse from the mill to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil ‘per mi Figlio’ from Armando Manni to taste
2 Organic Lemons
Before you fill the pepper mill with pepper, make sure the pepper is well toasted. Therefore, first heat up the black pepper in a frying pan. Then, fill up the mill. Heat the oven at 230°C. Mix in a large bowl the salt with the egg white. Take a large oven tray and cover with greaseproof paper. Cover the tray with a 2 cm layer of the sea salt mix, slightly larger than the fish. Place the fish on top, and cover the entire fish with an even layer of the salt mix (not thicker than 2 cm). It is important that the fish is evenly covered to ensure an even cooking of the fish. Keep the natural shape of the fish. Place the oven tray in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes (calculate 5 minutes per 250g if the fish is larger than 2 kilograms). After cooking, remove the fish from the oven and leave to rest for about 5 minutes before breaking the salt crust!
The fun part is to bring the fish in front of your guests and delicately remove the salt crust. Then, remove the skin and lift the juicy, perfectly cooked fillets. Place the fish on a warm plate and drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and coarse, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve the fish with a nice mesclun salad or a perfect potato mousseline.
Note : the sea bass can be replaced by a snapper, or a grey or red sea bream
Strawberries & Hibiscus
We love fruits at home and, in particular, we love the amazing quality of fruits from Japan. They have exceptionally high standards, and we like the Amao strawberries from Fukuoka; the season starts in December and continues through April. They are amazing just on their own; toss them through the hibiscus syrup and it gives them a nice kick and makes a really special dessert.
Ingredients (serves 4):
1kg Strawberries (remove leaves and stem and cut into four)
15g JING Hibiscus & Black Current tea
500ml Strawberry juice
500g Strawberries (remove leaves and stem, and cut into four)
8 Dianthus Flowers (use only the petals and use only purple, white, pink and red flowers)
To make the strawberry juice: place one kilo of the quartered strawberries in a stainless steel bowl and cover tight with cling film. Place the bowl in a pan of boiling water and poach the strawberries for 6o minutes, until they render all their juice. Then strain the juice through a cheesecloth. Take the 500ml of the hot juice; add the hibiscus & black current tea and cover and infuse for 10 minutes, covered. Strain the juice. With a handheld blender mix in the sugar and xanthana until resolved, and cool further down. Reserve covered in the refrigerator until later.
Take the 500 g quartered strawberries and place them in a bowl. Pour the syrup over and toss the strawberries until each strawberry is coated and nicely glazed. Sprinkle with the flower petals and small hibiscus leaves. Ready to serve.
Don’t forget to check out our interview with Chef, Richard Ekkebus for more!