Snapper sayadieh with leek

This is a traditional Lebanese fish and rice dish. One of the key elements of this dish is the rice, which needs to be cooked in an aromatic stock – saffron and cumin are the main spices. 

  SERVES  2  PREPARATION  30MIN  COOKING  45MIN  SKILL LEVEL  MID   Sayadieh rice    150 g  pilaf rice   35 g  unsalted butter   100 g  red onion, diced   50 g  cleaned cuttlefish, sliced into 5 mm strips   5 g  salt   175 ml  fish stock   1  small pinch saffron threads   1 tsp  cumin      Blackened snapper    200 g  skinless snapper fillet   30 g  peeled garlic cloves   75 ml  olive oil   1 tbsp squid ink      Tarator sauce     50 g  tahini paste   1 tbsp  lemon juice   35 ml  water   1  pinch salt      Leek garnish    ½  leek, white part only, quartered   1 tbsp  olive oil    1  knob butter   1 tsp sumac    1  lime, halved   mint leaves  coriander leaves   25 g  slivered almonds, to garnish   25 g  pine nuts, to garnish   Instructions   For the blackened snapper,  place the garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until tender but not coloured. Blend the garlic cloves, 1 tbsp of the garlic oil and the squid ink with a hand-held blender until smooth. Rub the fish with the paste, place in a cryovac bag and seal. Heat a saucepan of water to 75ºC and poach the snapper for 16 minutes or until cooked (you may need to keep moving the pan of water on and off the heat – a simmer mat is ideal) (see Note).   For the leek garnish , wrap the leek, butter and oil in a baking paper parcel, then in aluminium foil. Place on a hot barbecue and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Sprinkle the limes with the sumac and grill until nicely charred. Set aside.   For the sayadieh rice , wash and drain the rice 3-4 times in cold water to remove the starch. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until starting to soften.  Add the cuttlefish and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes so the rice is coated in butter.  Add the salt and stock, stirring well.  Cover with a lid, bring to a gentle simmer, stir one more time, cover with a round of double aluminium foil (or a lid). Wait till you see the steam building up in the foil, then quickly turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to steam.     For the tarator sauce , blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.  To serve, spread the rice on the base of serving plates, drizzle over the tarator sauce, scatter over the nuts, top with the fish and then the leek salad and grilled lime.  For the plating, place the sayadieh rice at the bottom then spared the tarator on top then sprinkle with nuts. Place the fish on top of the rice. Combine the roasted link with the coriander and mint and garnish the fish. Serve with the grilled lime.      Chef's note   • At the restaurant, we cook the fish in a sous vide machine.       Photography, styling and food preparation by  China Squirrel .     

SERVES 2 PREPARATION 30MIN COOKING 45MIN SKILL LEVEL MID

Sayadieh rice

150 g pilaf rice

35 g unsalted butter

100 g red onion, diced

50 g cleaned cuttlefish, sliced into 5 mm strips

5 g salt

175 ml fish stock

1 small pinch saffron threads

1 tsp cumin 

Blackened snapper

200 g skinless snapper fillet

30 g peeled garlic cloves

75 ml olive oil

1 tbspsquid ink 

Tarator sauce

50 g tahini paste

1 tbsp lemon juice

35 ml water

1 pinch salt 

Leek garnish

½ leek, white part only, quartered

1 tbsp olive oil 

1 knob butter

1 tspsumac 

1 lime, halved 

mint leaves

coriander leaves

25 g slivered almonds, to garnish

25 g pine nuts, to garnish 

Instructions

For the blackened snapper, place the garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until tender but not coloured. Blend the garlic cloves, 1 tbsp of the garlic oil and the squid ink with a hand-held blender until smooth. Rub the fish with the paste, place in a cryovac bag and seal. Heat a saucepan of water to 75ºC and poach the snapper for 16 minutes or until cooked (you may need to keep moving the pan of water on and off the heat – a simmer mat is ideal) (see Note).

For the leek garnish, wrap the leek, butter and oil in a baking paper parcel, then in aluminium foil. Place on a hot barbecue and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Sprinkle the limes with the sumac and grill until nicely charred. Set aside.

For the sayadieh rice, wash and drain the rice 3-4 times in cold water to remove the starch. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until starting to soften.

Add the cuttlefish and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes so the rice is coated in butter.

Add the salt and stock, stirring well.

Cover with a lid, bring to a gentle simmer, stir one more time, cover with a round of double aluminium foil (or a lid). Wait till you see the steam building up in the foil, then quickly turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to steam.  

For the tarator sauce, blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

To serve, spread the rice on the base of serving plates, drizzle over the tarator sauce, scatter over the nuts, top with the fish and then the leek salad and grilled lime.

For the plating, place the sayadieh rice at the bottom then spared the tarator on top then sprinkle with nuts. Place the fish on top of the rice. Combine the roasted link with the coriander and mint and garnish the fish. Serve with the grilled lime.

 

Chef's note

• At the restaurant, we cook the fish in a sous vide machine. 

 

Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel

 

Jude Cohen