people are once again glued to MasterChef. To tie in with the series, a new book MasterChef Every Day has been published. Here we choose three dishes from last year’s finalists including Sara Danesin Medio from York.
Pan-fried fillet of pike with crayfish, wilted sorrel, and watercress sauce
Tom Whitaker MasterChef 2011 finalist
For the sauce: 3 bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, 12 freshwater crayfish, chilled for 2 hours in the freezer, 250ml double cream, 300g watercress, hard stalks removed, 1 tsp English mustard powder. For the pike: 2 tbsp rapeseed oil, 4 pike fillets, 100g each, pin-boned, with skin on. To serve: 250g (9oz) sorrel leaves.
Bring a pan of water to the boil with the bay leaves and peppercorns. Add the chilled crayfish and boil for 5 mins. Lift out of the pan with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, remove the heads and claws and peel the tails, reserving the meat. Return the heads, claws, and tail shells to the pan and simmer for 30 mins to reduce the liquid. Strain the liquid into a clean pan and add the cream. Bring to the boil and reduce by a third. Add the watercress and mustard powder to the sauce, return to the boil, and simmer for 2 mins. Remove the bay leaves, place the sauce in a jug blender, and blitz until smooth, then pour into a pan and keep warm until needed.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas 6).Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat. Once hot, add the pike fillets skin-side down and cook them for 3–5 mins until the skin is golden. Flip the fish and brown lightly again. Remove the fish to a roasting tray and place in the oven for 6–8 mins, or until just cooked through. To serve, divide the sorrel leaves between 4 bowls. Top with the hot pike fillets and 3 crayfish tails. Spoon the hot sauce over and serve immediately.
Pancetta-wrapped monkfish with rosemary-infused potatoes, artichokes, and tartare sauce
Sara Danesin Medio MasterChef 2011 finalist
For the monkfish: 1 tsp thyme leaves, 1 tsp rosemary leaves, 40g pine nuts, toasted, 1 bulb of garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2kg (bone in weight) whole monkfish tail, skinned, and boned into 2 fillets, 150g sliced smoked pancetta, 2 tbsp sunflower oil, salt and freshly ground, black pepper. For the potatoes: 2kg rooster potatoes, peeled, cut into small cubes, olive oil, for shallow frying, 1 large sprig of rosemary.For the artichokes: sunflower oil, for frying, 2 globe artichokes, hearts only, finely sliced. For the tartare sauce: 150ml crème fraîche, 2tbsp pickled capers, drained and roughly chopped, handful of parsley, roughly chopped, 2tbsp snipped chives, juice of 1∕2 lemon, splash of white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200°c (425°f/gas 7).
Place all the ingredients apart from the fish, pancetta, and oil, in a food processor. Season and blitz to a smooth paste. Spread on the inner side of one of the monkfish fillets. Place the second fillet on top of it to create a sandwich. Overlap the pancetta slices on a piece of cling film; the width of the pancetta needs to be a little greater than the length of the monkfish fillet sandwich. Place it in the middle of the pancetta. Draw up the end of the cling film closest to you and use it to wrap the fish in the pancetta slices. Secure with string.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the wrapped monkfish. Brown on all sides before removing to a baking tray and roasting for a further 20–25 mins. Boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain and cool completely.
Heat some oil in a frying pan, add the rosemary, and fry to impart its flavours before adding the potatoes. Cook until golden on all sides, turning frequently.
Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Fry the artichokes in hot oil until golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
For the tartare, mix all the ingredients together.
To serve, place potatoes in the centre of the plates. Cut the monkfish in portions. Set on top of the potatoes. Surround with the artichokes and tartare sauce.
Hawaiian poké of pineapple and macadamia nuts, vanilla and rum sauce and coconut rice pudding
Tim Anderson 2011 champion
For the rice pudding: 50g Japanese short-grain rice or arborio rice, 40g caster sugar, 1∕2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1∕2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, finely grated zest of 1∕2 orange, finely grated zest of 1∕2 lime, 300ml coconut milk, 300ml whole milk. For the poké: 50g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped, 1 small supersweet pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced, 3 tbsp desiccated coconut, shredded zest of 1∕2 lime, shredded zest of 1∕2 orange. For the sauce: 50g butter, 75g light soft brown sugar, 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out, 1 tbsp dark rum
Combine the rice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and lime zests, coconut milk, and whole milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 25 mins, stirring until the rice is soft and creamy. Add a little extra milk if the pudding begins to dry out. Cover with a circle of wet greaseproof paper set aside. Toast the macadamia nuts in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, shaking the pan all the time until lightly golden. Remove from the heat immediately and transfer them to a bowl. Add the diced pineapple. Toss together to mix well. In the same dry frying pan, toast the desiccated coconut until golden brown, stirring all the time, being careful not to let it burn. Transfer immediately to a plate and set aside. To make the vanilla and rum sauce, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the brown sugar and cook until the sugar has melted completely. Stir in the seeds from the vanilla pod, then remove from the heat. Add the rum and ignite. Gently swirl the pan until the flames subside. Remove the paper from the rice pudding and transfer it into a glass bowl, then pour on the vanilla rum sauce. Top with the poké of pineapple and nuts, then the toasted coconut, and finish with the lime and orange zests sprinkled over the top.
MasterChef EveryDay, DK, £20, dk.com
MasterChef continues, Wednesdays, 9pm, BBC One