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My Favourite Dish: Stephen Ward, O'Connell St Bistro

My Favourite Dish: Stephen Ward, O'Connell St Bistro


Stephen Ward
Head Chef - O'Connell St Bistro

Fresh Market Fish, pickled Shiitake Mushrooms, Courgette ribbons, Tarragon & Ginger beurre blanc

I've been with O'Connell St Bistro for 10 years, but in that time we haven't really done this dish before - the combination of the shitake, tarragon and cougettes is something new for us. I still read cookbooks for inspiration as a lot of techniques are proven techniques. Recently I've been reading up on pickling so the pickled shitaki is a new thing for me to try out as I'm always trying to find different things to do.

The fish we use for this dish comes from Leigh Fisheries , and can change daily. Today it's snapper, but it could be groper, bluenose, or whatever's available. The dish can work with many flavours of fish. The ingrediants in this dish are used to compliment the fish, rather than hide it. Buying good fish, you just need something to boost it and compliment it, so we make a salad of the elements with the piece of fish on top.

When an order comes in, we sit a piece of fish on the fish board to let it warm it slightly so it cooks better. The courgette ribbons are seasoned with a little salt and pepper and then left off to the side to allow the salt to draw some of the moisture out of it and softens the texture and structure of the courgette. The pickled shiitakis are slightly warmed, again just to take the chill off. The fish is seared nicely with the skin on, with the aim to get a bit of colour on the skin so it goes a little bit crispy. We cook the fish to a point where it's still quite opaque as it continues cooking after it comes off the heat. Once it's at this point, we plate it up on top of the courgette, shiitake and tarragon salad, drizzle a little beurre blanc around the plate and add a few snowpea shoots to garnish it.

This is my favourite dish because it's using nice fresh fish. It's a light dish, it's not too filling and it's simple, but with good flavours and really really tasty. When you use good products, you don't need to do too much to it, and this dish is the perfect example of that.

Light, filled with flavour (especially the gorgeous pickled mushrooms) and we want another one now!

As told to Jono Park.

For more from our My Favourite Dish series click here.

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Content updated: 17/02/2020 17:20

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