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The Orange Main Course
In the main course of my meatless menu for the 2011 ZEITmagazin cooking competition I wanted to present the carrot from different perspectives. The base is formed by a clean tasting creamy carrot puree. After cooking the carrots I put them back on the hot stove to dry them out a bit. Afterwards, while blending to a fine puree I adjusted the consistency if the puree by adding some raw carrot juice. Carrots tend to loose a lot of flavor during cooking – by adding carrot juice later I managed to reincorporate the clean carrot flavor into the puree.
As contrast to the puree I sautéd young carrots with some fresh orange juice which added a nice fruity note. The warm but still close to raw carrot cubes emphasize the carrot taste from a spicy perspective. I marinated them with rice vinegar, some soy sauce, maple syrup and cumin. Cumin works really great with carrots. As a fourth variation I created a foam of carrot juice with a clear lime and ginger taste. The dish was finished by some planed hazelnut and a ruby red rainbow trout, which has a soft orange-pink color too. The image below shows the plating steps for this dish.
Finely dice 250g cleaned and peeled carrots, cover with just enough water, add a pinch salt and let simmer until carrots are really soft. Pour off the water and put back the carrots on the warm stove top to dry them out a bit. Blend carrots with 1-1.5tsp butter. Add as much carrot juice as required to form a smooth puree (about 50ml). Season with salt and strain through a fine sieve. Before serving warm gently at low temperature stirring continuously.
For the marinated carrots
Finely dice 50g carrots, season with salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse off the salt with some water and let drain on paper towel. Add carrot cubes to a small bowl, mix with rice vinegar, maple syrup, tabasco, soy sauce and lightly pressed cumin. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Before serving drain the cubes and remove cumin seeds as far as possible. Warm gently at low temperature stirring continuously.
For the butter carrots
Peel the young carrots and trim the green part by leaving a 1.5-2cm piece. Melt 1tbsp butter in a small pan. When it starts to foam, add the carrots, season with salt and sprinkle with orange juice. If the orange juice is too sour then add a pinch of sugar. Swing the carrots so they are evenly glazed with butter. Lower the temperature, cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the carrots.
For the carrot foam
Finely dice the unpeeled ginger, add 100ml water and let simmer covered for 1 hour. Drain the cooking liquid, discard the ginger. Add to the reserved ginger liquid some lime juice, 50ml carrot juice, lecithin and foam with a hand-held blender.
For the trout
Rinse fillet with cold water, tap dry with paper towels and remove remaining fish bones using a tweezer. Cut fillet in 4 equal size portions. Add 1tbsp lemon olive oil to a moderately hot pan and add the fish with its skin side down. Using a flat kitchen item gently press the fillet pieces to the pan. The skin cooks more evenly this way and the result will be a nice crispy layer. While cooking the fish season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let the fish cook through from its skin side, don't turn them around. The trout is done when the upper parts just turn pale.
Place 1tbsp carrot puree on pre-warmed plates and using the back of a spoon spread it along the plate. Shortly drain young carrots on paper towel to avoid greasy films on the plate. Place young carrot at the end of the puree. Add 1-1 tsp marinated carrot cubes at both ends of the carrot. Place a piece of trout with its skin side up next to the puree and add 1 tbsp carrot foam on its side. Garnish with finely planed hazelnuts.