Monkfish, carrots, leeks, chicory, Connemara clams

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel , County Galway

600g monkfish fillets
50g fresh Connemara clams
6 large carrots
1 banana shallot
5 tsp cumin powder
300ml carrot juice
2 heads of chicory
60ml white wine
10g butter
10ml Irish rapeseed oil
4 baby leeks

Pickling liquor
1 litre white wine vinegar
250ml water
500g caster sugar
5 star anise
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2tbs white peppercorns

Serves 4

Boil the pickling liquor ingredients with 250ml of water for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool. Peel, top and tail one carrot and cut into thin ribbons and discs. Immerse the carrot in the cooled pickling liquor and seal in a kilner jar: the carrots will last weeks and add great acidity to many dishes. The same method can be used with other vegetables.

For the carrot purée slice and sweat the shallot with the cumin over a low heat until translucent. Peel and thinly slice two more carrots: add to the pan and sweat until the carrot has softened. Add 200ml of carrot juice, cover, and cook until soft. Blend in the processor until smooth and silky.

For the braised carrot, peel and split one carrot lengthwise. Cover with the remaining carrot juice and cook until softened.

Slice the chicory in half, season, and heat in an oiled frying pan, cut side down, until charred. Transfer to a roasting dish with 50ml of white wine and the butter and cook at 180˚C for 15-18 minutes until soft. Heat the clams in the remaining wine over a medium heat: take off the heat as soon as all the shells are open. Blanch the leeks in salted water for 2 minutes.

Pan fry the seasoned monkfish in the rapeseed oil, presentation side down, to a nice even golden colour: finish in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 200˚C.