Plate up snapper baked in paper and coriander-walnut salsa, alongside roasted carrots with burnt butter and honey, and pea salad with whipped ricotta and preserved lemon dressing.
Serve up something extra special atop elegant, summery tableware.
Snapper Baked in Paper and Coriander-walnut Salsa
Baking fish in paper is a great way to minimise mess when cooking and serving, but it also locks in all the moisture while cooking, giving you a really delicate result. The coriander salsa can be hand chopped as we have done or, if you’re short of time, you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor or blender until it’s a coarse paste. The spiced butter is also perfect with grilled pork or roasted vegetables. If you like, you can also make individual parcels using six snapper fillets – the cooking time will need to be adjusted.
Prep time 25 minutes
Roasting time 30 minutes
2 (800g each) whole snapper
1 lemon, ½ thinly sliced and the remaining ½ juiced, plus extra wedges, to serve
8 thyme sprigs
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped ½ tsp paprika
50g softened butter
2 bunches of coriander, finely chopped (should make 1½ cups firmly packed), plus extra leaves to garnish
150g roasted walnuts, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed 60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
1. For spiced butter, dry roast whole spices in a small frying pan over medium heat until toasted and fragrant (20-30 seconds). Transfer to a mortar and pestle and finely grind, then add garlic and a large pinch of salt and pound to a paste. Stir through paprika and butter and set aside.
2. Working with one snapper at a time, place a sheet of foil on a work surface, large enough to enclose snapper, then line with a large piece of baking paper the same size. (If needed, you can lay down two pieces each of foil and paper, overlapping them in the centre.) Place snapper on top, then scatter over half the lemon slices, lemon juice and thyme, and dot with half the spiced butter. Fold the longest sides of the foil and paper up and over the top of the snapper and fold them a few times over to seal the top of the foil, then fold in the shortest ends a few times to secure the parcel. Repeat with remaining snapper. (You can make the snapper parcels ahead a few hours and refrigerate until required.)
3. Preheat oven to 220°C. Place snapper onto a baking tray and roast until cooked through (30 minutes). To test if snapper is ready, insert a metal skewer into the thickest part and if the skewer feels hot to touch, fish is cooked.
4. Meanwhile, for the coriander-walnut salsa, combine ingredients in a bowl, then season to taste with salt, pepper and more lemon juice.
5. Serve snapper with coriander-walnut salsa on the side, extra coriander leaves to garnish, if using, and extra lemon for squeezing.
Roasted Carrots with Burnt Butter and Honey
Carrots, when roasted and caramelised, have a lovely natural sweetness that the honey further complements. Burnt butter is something that is easy to make and can be prepared ahead. Simply melt to serve and spoon over, adding a few extra aromatics to the butter while it’s hot; finely grated orange rind or a few rosemary or thyme leaves can be used for more flavour, if desired.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Roasting Time 50 minutes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
2 bunches Dutch or heirloom carrots, peeled and, if large, halved
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to taste
Mixed herbs and delicate leaves, to serve (we’ve used nasturtiums and mint)
ORANGE & BURNT BUTTER DRESSING
70g cold butter, diced
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp honey, such as David Jones Australian Red Gum Honey, plus extra to serve
1. Preheat oven to 230°C. Toss carrots in oil, season to taste and roast on an oven tray, turning once during cooking until golden and tender (40-50 minutes). Set aside and keep warm or reheat just before serving.
2. For burnt butter, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and swirl the pan directly over the heat to melt the butter, swirling occasionally until butter is nut-brown and foaming (2-3 minutes). Immediately add orange juice and honey (be careful of hot butter spitting), season to taste and set aside.
3. Transfer carrots to a serving platter, then spoon warm dressing over. Garnish with flowers and herbs, if using. Drizzle with extra honey and olive oil, if desired.
Pea Salad with Whipped Ricotta and Preserved Lemon Dressing
Ricotta is best when it’s super fresh, so only buy up to 1 day ahead for the best flavour.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
240g podded peas (fresh and blanched – see note – or frozen and defrosted)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin
A few leaves, such as snow pea shoots and 1-2 zucchini flowers, torn, to serve (optional)
220g fresh firm ricotta
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
PRESERVED LEMON DRESSING
¼ preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste 60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
1. For the whipped ricotta, beat ricotta in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment with parmesan and a large pinch of salt until light and fluffy. Check seasoning, transfer to a container and refrigerate until required.
2. For the preserved lemon dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine and season to taste.
3. To serve, spread ricotta over a platter or a shallow bowl. Toss peas and zucchini in a little preserved lemon dressing and place on top, then garnish with flowers and leaves, if using, and drizzle with remaining dressing.
NOTE If using fresh peas, you’ll need to blanch them first in boiling salted water until bright green (2 minutes), then drain, refresh in iced water and drain again. 700g unpodded peas will give you about 200g podded.