A beautiful Romanesco dish – Lawrence Murphy

Halibut with Romanesco and clementine sauce
Halibut with Romanesco and clementine sauce

Halibut with Romanesco and clementine sauce 

There are some ingredients that just tempt you into buying them, not because you can’t resist the flavour but because they look so stunning.

Summer strawberries and bright red tomatoes on the vine come to mind but at this time of year the not so glamorous root vegetables are in the greengrocers.

The flavours from the roots are lovely but they won’t win prises in a beauty competition.

The one vegetable that will catch your eye, though, is the fantastic looking Romanesco with its bright lime green almost alien looking head. Have a close look at the natural patterns occurring in this vegetable, its amazing.

While this brassica looks good it also has a beautiful sweet and nutty taste in between cauliflower and broccoli.

I have used the Romanesco in this recipe which takes some cues from the escabeche recipe from a few weeks back and uses clementines instead of oranges and added spices for a little kick.

Ingredients

4 x 200g fillets of halibut

6 clementines (zest of 4, juice of 6)

1 small head Romanesco cut into small florets

1 leek chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

3 shallots chopped

200g cubed butternut squash

2 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch saffron

Teaspoon cumin seed

Teaspoon fennel seed

1 green chilli chopped

Method

1. Cook the Romanesco in boiling salted water for 2 mins and then plunge into iced water. Once cold remove from the water and drain.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the shallot, garlic and chilli – cook for 2 mins without colouring. 

3. Add the leek, fennel seed, cumin, zest, butternut squash and saffron and cook for another 3 mins.

4. Add the clementine juice and simmer for 5 mins.

5. While this is simmering, pan-fry the halibut on the presentation side to colour and transfer it to a hot oven, 210c gas 7 for 8 minutes.

6. Two minutes before the fish is cooked add the Romanesco to the saucepan and taste the sauce. Add seasoning if required. Cook the sauce for a further minute to heat the Romanesco.

7. Spoon the sauce and vegetables into 4 warmed bowls and place the fish on top.