VEGAN “FISH” AND CHIPS WITH CASHEW TARTARE AND WASABI PEAS
Going vegan should never mean missing out on dishes that you love, but rather than try to replicate dishes, we’re trying to celebrate vegetables and ingredients that work really well in their own right. Aubergine is perfect for taking on loads of flavour and works really well in a batter. Cashews give a lovely creamy texture when blended – great for dipping sauces!
VEGAN "FISH" AND CHIPS WITH CASHEW TARTARE AND WASABI PEAS
Going vegan should never mean missing out on dishes that you love, but rather than try to replicate dishes, we're trying to celebrate vegetables and ingredients that work really well in their own right. Aubergine is perfect for taking on loads of flavour and works really well in a batter. Cashews give a lovely creamy texture when blended - great for dipping sauces!
Boil a kettle - this will be for the cashew nuts later. Blitz the seaweeds and salt together in a spice grinder to form a rough powder.
Top and tail the aubergines then cut them lengthwise into 4 thick slices. Lay the slices on a cooling rack set over a baking tray then use 3/4 of the seaweed mix to liberally dust them on both sides. Chuck the tray into the fridge and leave the aubergines to cure for a few hours.
Tip the cashews into a tall measuring jug and pour over just enough boiling water from the kettle to cover them. Soak for 15-20 minutes, until they soften slightly.
Finely grate the zest of the lemon over the cashews (don't drain the water) then squeeze in the juice. Throw in the dill (stalks n all!), dijon mustard, xanthan gum, cider vinegar and a generous pinch of salt. Use a hand blender to blitz everything together until smooth and thick - this should take 3-4 minutes. If it becomes too thick to blend, add a splash of warm water to loosen it slightly.
Push the hand blender to the bottom of the jug then tip in all of the oil. Set the hand blender to its highest setting, blitz once more and very slowly pull it up through the mix to emulsify the oil into the cashew purée below. Once all the oil has been incorporated you should be left with a thick, mayo-like consistency.
Drain and mince the capers and gherkins. Fold them into the sauce and transfer it to the fridge until needed. Wash the hand blender.
Line a baking tray with kitchen towel. Pour the oil into a large saucepan, filling only 2/3rds of the way up and put it over a high heat (you may not need all of the oil listed in the ingredients, depending on the size of your pan). Preheat the oil to 140oC. Never leave the pan unattended.
Wash the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into 2cm thick slices. Cut each slice into 2cm wide skin-on chips. Carefully lower in the potatoes into the preheated oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, until they form a very light skin and begin to soften. Transfer them to the lined tray. Whack the tray into the fridge to cool the chips down. Remove the pan of hot oil off the heat but save it - we will use it again later.
Tip the peas into a large mixing bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover them. Leave them to stand for 5-6 minutes, until fully defrosted and tender.
Drain the peas and return half of them to the bowl then blitz them with the wasabi, parsley, a generous pinch of salt and a splash of water to form a smooth, loose puree with the consistency of a milkshake.
Chuck in the rest of the peas, fold them through the puree and set the bowl aside for later.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Use kitchen towel to blot any excess moisture from the surface of the aubergine slices. Chuck them into a large mixing bowl, add 50g of the flour and toss everything around to coat the aubergine.
Transfer it from the bowl to a plate. Tip the remaining flour into the same bowl along with the baking powder. Slowly whisk in the ginger beer and vodka to form a smooth, thick batter.
Place the oil back over a high heat. Preheat to 190°C then carefully lower in the par-cooked chips. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until deep golden brown and crisp. Replace the kitchen towel on the tray from earlier with a fresh layer then transfer the fries from the oil back onto the tray using a slotted spoon.
Season with a generous pinch of salt and splash of vinegar then keep them warm in the oven while you cook your aubergine.
Dunk half of the flour dredged aubergine slices into the batter and coat them then carefully lower the slices one by one straight into the oil from the batter bowl. Drizzle batter over the aubergine as it fries to create crispy bits!
Fry for 2-3 minutes, rolling it over every minute or so to ensure even colouring. Once the batter becomes golden brown all over, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the tray with the chips. Keep them warm in the oven and cook the remaining aubergine.
Pile the chips onto a large serving platter lined with greaseproof paper. Season the aubergine with your reserved seaweed salt from earlier and lay it on top of the chips. Fill ramekins with the peas and tartare sauce and let everyone dive in!