food, Recipes

5 refined recipes perfect for spring entertaining

Micky Hoyle

Embrace the crisp freshness of spring with these five recipes crafted by chef Jacques Erasmus of Hemelhuijs fame. In a celebration of greenery, Jacques explores the use of daikon, edamame, lime leaves and celery heart.

ALSO READ: Rural revival: Jacques Erasmus’ Klein Karoo sanctuary

shaved daikon and apple salad with fish roe

For the salad 1 large daikon radish, julienned or shaved 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cut into matchsticks 100g edamame beans A handful of fresh mint, roughly torn 2T finely chopped chives For the dressing 45ml freshly squeezed lemon juice 5ml fresh ginger, minced 5ml soy sauce 45ml light vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste To serve 12 quail eggs, boiled and peeled 50g trout or salmon roe In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients and toss lightly. To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice with the ginger, soy sauce and vegetable oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing and place into bowls. Top with the quail eggs and fish roe and serve immediately. Serves 6 as a starter

spring grilled oysters

18 medium oysters, opened 50g baby spinach 2T finely chopped celery heart 1T finely chopped fresh parsley Zest of half a lemon 10 drops Tabasco sauce 200g butter, softened 50g water biscuits, crushed Salt and white pepper, to taste Coarse sea salt and fresh lemon slices, to serve Preheat the oven grill. Clean the oysters to remove any grit, loosen each with a paring knife and place them on an oven tray (or use a muffin pan to keep the shells upright). Blend the spinach, celery heart, parsley, lemon zest, Tabasco, butter, biscuits and seasoning into a smooth paste. Spoon over the oysters and place under the grill for 5-7 minutes until they begin to brown. Serve warm immediately on a bed of coarse sea salt with fresh lemon slices. Makes 18

spring vegetable and coconut broth with litchis and scallops

spring recipeFor the broth 125ml vegetable oil A handful of fresh coriander 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger 1 Thai lime leaf 1 mild green chilli, to taste 3 curry leaves 2.5cm-long lemongrass stalk, chopped 1 garlic clove 3×410g tins coconut cream 25ml fish sauce 25ml soy sauce 12 fresh litchis, pitted and juice reserved 300g spring vegetables (such as mange tout, tender-stem broccoli, fine beans and exotic mushrooms), shaved or finely sliced For the scallops 25ml vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste 6 large or 12 medium scallops Fresh lime juice, to serve To make the broth, blend the vegetable oil, coriander, ginger, lime leaf, chilli, curry leaves, lemongrass and garlic with a dash of water until it forms a paste. Pour into a saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut cream, fish and soy sauces, litchis and shaved vegetables, bring to the boil and remove from the stovetop. Heat a frying pan until hot and add 25ml vegetable oil. Season the scallops and sear for a few seconds on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside. Spoon the vegetable broth, litchis and shaved vegetables into serving bowls and place the scallops on top of the broth. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each bowl and serve immediately. Serves 6

oven-baked fish with watercress cream

For the watercress cream 375ml cream 125g butter 2T fish sauce 1 shaving of lemon peel 100g watercress 1t Dijon mustard

For the fish Olive oil, for brushing 6×120g mackerel or sustainable fish portions, bones removed Salt and pepper, to taste 300g ready-made cauliflower and kale ‘rice’, steamed and tossed with a little butter Steamed seasonal green vegetables and fresh lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220°C. In a saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a boil over medium heat. Place the fish sauce, lemon peel, watercress and mustard in a liquidiser, pour the hot cream mixture over them, blend until smooth and set aside. Brush a little olive oil over the fish, season with salt and pepper and bake on a tray in the oven for 12-15 minutes until just done. Spoon the watercress cream onto serving plates and arrange the fish on top. Serve with the cauliflower and kale ‘rice’, steamed green vegetables and some finely sliced pieces of celery heart. Accompany with generous wedges of fresh lemon.

Serves 6

grilled lettuce with gorgonzola dressing and almond praline

For the Gorgonzola dressing 125g Gorgonzola cheese 125ml cow’s milk or almond milk 75ml almond or light vegetable oil Salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce and a few drops of fresh lemon juice, to taste

For the praline 100g sugar 100g almonds

For the lettuce 3 medium heads of romaine lettuce Olive oil, for brushing

Liquidise the Gorgonzola with the milk and oil until it has the consistency of a smooth sauce. Add seasoning and lemon juice to taste, thin with a little more milk if required and set aside for later use.

To make the praline, gently melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until it caramelises. Mix in the almonds and pour out onto well-greased baking or parchment paper. Allow to cool and chop the praline roughly into small pieces. 

Place a griddle pan on high heat. Halve the lettuce heads, brush lightly with olive oil and place the heart sides onto the hot pan. Cook for 30 seconds until charred, remove from the pan and set aside. Dip each lettuce head into the dressing and sprinkle with almond praline. Serve immediately with crusty bread or bread wafers. 

Serves 6

Pair your meal with a refreshing aperitif of frozen grape and fennel frappé with sparkling wine. Get the recipe here.