Fish out the perfect dish
Cappon magro is a summer seafood salad to get you through the hot months...
Creativity is a crucial ingredient for any budding master chef, but even culinary kings will be stuck for inspiration now and again.
So we’ve rustled up with an eight-week summer cookery course during which you can learn how to cook like the pros. We’re visiting a wide range of kitchens across the UAE, and we’ll be lifting the lid on some trade secrets and finding out about some of the flavours which tempt our top chefs.
For our first outing, Ivan Musoni, sous chef at 18 Degrees restaurant at Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel Abu Dhabi, prepares cappon magro, a seafood salad from the Liguria region of Italy.
From his open-plan kitchen, with arguably the best view in the capital (it’s not lost on the Italian that he works in the UAE’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa), Chef Ivan says this dish reminds him of home but fits with the restaurant’s Mediterranean theme.
Enjoy - start cooking.
STEP 1 - PREP THE COD
Begin by gently removing the skin from the cut of cod.
Blanch the fish in a medium-sized pot of fish stock and bay leaves, which soak up some of the saltiness of the cod. “As it is a very hot season now, cod is great because it is low in fat and not very heavy,” says Chef Ivan.
STEP 2 - COOKING COD, VEGGIE PREP
The most challenging part of the dish is cooking the cod
“Overcook the fish and you have lost the water and the taste...If you look at the cod, in the middle it looks like it is not fully cooked but it is. You see [at the edges] it is white all around but in the centre it is a little bit transparent. So it is cooked, but I’ve kept all of the juices inside.” As the cod lightly bubbles, thinly slice the potatoes and blanch them in a separate pot. The next step is to start chopping up the salad ingredients (see shopping list).
“The important thing is to use raw baby Zucchini as it gives a crunchy taste,” Chef Ivan explains.
BUILD THE SALAD
Now mix the salad ingredients with flakes of cod in a bowl and add seasoning as desired. Next, using a serving ring mould - you can also use a cake mould - build up the layers of food, starting with tomato slices, then add salad and the cod. Complete the dish with some flakes of cod and a few slices of tomato and fresh basil leaves. Add olive oil and light pesto sauce to seal it.
SERVE IN STYLE
Gently remove the ring and carry out some minor embellishments - your cappon magro is served.
“In this dish you do not have any dominant flavours because you mix everything, a balance of sweet and sour,” says Chef Ivan. “You will taste basil at the beginning but at the end of it you will taste the cod fish and potato.”