Mate With a Plate: Darren Lovell's Blue Cod

Long Lunch 09/04/2018
Photo: Darren Lovell

Darren Lovell from Fishbone Bar and Grill in Queenstown, is Wendyl Nissen's Mate With a Plate today and here is his recipe for Blue Cod with Moko Smoked Eel Butter, Roasted Beetroot & Pear salad, Pear & Spinach Puree.

For the Smoked Eel Butter (You could replace the eel with finely chopped cooked free-range smoky bacon)

125g butter, softened
200g smoked eel, skin removed, diced into small pieces
5 g chopped shallot
5 g chopped green herb such as parsley or dill

Using a wooden spoon or a small hand held mixed combine the ingredients until the mixture resembles a thick paste. Place the butter onto a square of baking paper and starting from one end roll the butter into a tightly packed log. Refrigerate until required.


For the Spinach & Pear Puree

100g firm pear, peeled & cored
400g spinach
A few gratings of nutmeg
2-3 tsp EVO
A few drops of lemon juice

Boil the pear until soft, about 10 minutes. Boil the spinach in plenty of salt water for 5 minutes or until very soft. Drain and press out a lot of the moisture however the spinach shouldn’t be too dry. Puree the spinach and pear in the blender and the oil and nutmeg, seasoning to taste and the lemon juice to freshen. Keep warm.

To Finish

4 x 180g Blue Cod fillets or another white, mild fish
Rice flour seasoned with a little salt
4 small cooked red & yellow beetroot, cut into a large dice
1 pear, peeled, sliced and cored
6 small new season potatoes, cooked and diced
Hazelnut or walnut oil
Smoked eel butter
Pear & spinach puree
Baby rocket dressed with olive oil and lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 160c. Lightly dredge the fish in the rice flour. In a pan big enough to hold all the fish comfortably, or better still, two pans[G1] , heat some butter until it begins to shimmer. Now gently add the fish to the pan, laying the fish into the pan away from you so if the butter does splash up onto your hands. Flip the fish over, and top with a round of eel butter about 2cm thick. Pop into the oven for three to four minutes or until the fish is done and the butter begins to melt. Try not to overcook the fish. Meanwhile, place the potatoes, beetroot and pear into a heatproof pan and warm through in the oven. When both the fish and vegetables are in the oven, take another small pan, and warm the spinach & pear puree. To assemble, evenly smear the puree on the four plates, top with the warm vegetables, drizzle with the nut oil before finally topping with the blue cod, pouring over any melt eel butter that remains in the pan.

Listen to the full interview with Darren Lovell above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.