Colin Fassnidge’s Roast flathead, pickled seaweed and seaweed butter recipe
A fresh and savoury white like the increasingly popular Vermentino is a great choice with this flathead dish, based more on the accompaniments than anything else. This issue’s elegant yet powerful 2016 Alejandro by Alex Russell opens with hints of fresh herb on the nose, while the multi-layered palate has leesy texture and an almost salty finish.
- 4 small flathead fillets (tails)
- 1 handful tarragon sprigs
- 50g fennel seeds
- 6 sprigs thyme, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 100g dried wakame seaweed
- Pickling liquor
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 3 star anise
- 300ml white wine vinegar
- 150g white sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ bunch thyme
- 20g salt
- 2 tbsp. salted and dried Kombu (seaweed), or 1 tbsp. finely chopped sushi seaweed (yaki nori)
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- Spoon miso paste
- ½ knob ginger, peeled, microplaned
- Splash soy sauce
- To make the pickling liquor, place the cinnamon quill and star anise into a saucepan, and dry roast over medium heat for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients with 450ml water and bring to the boil.
- Place the seaweed into hot pickling liquor. Remove from heat and leave for 1 hour to soak and cool. Drain. To store, transfer to sterilised jars and keep for up to 4 weeks.
- To make seaweed butter, soak dried seaweed under cold water for 5 mins, drain, finely chop. (If using yaki nori, do not soak.)
- Combine ginger, miso paste, soy sauce and seaweed with butter, season, then set aside. If not using immediately, chill, but soften before use.
- To cook the flathead fillets, pre-heat the oven to 210°C. Place flathead fillets on oiled baking tray. Sprinkle with tarragon, fennel seeds, thyme and garlic and cover liberally with seaweed butter. Cook in oven for 10-12 mins, basting occasionally.
- Serve on a bed of seaweed with fresh sprigs of fennel and final basting of seaweed butter from the baking tray.