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Nigerian ‘Concept’ Dish: Dry Fish Skin & Yam Cannelloni with Peppersoup Consomme

by on January 31, 2017
 

The Concept

This concept is all about reinventing peppersoup – taking it from warm and comforting to refined and clean.

It’s about combining the popular sides of yam in this spicy broth with flaked fish and using the skin of the dried fish as a vehicle for flavour and texture in a cannelloni.

How to make Nigerian peppersoup

Lessons on Fish peppersoup

Dry fish & groundnut peppersoup

I’ve transformed the dark, cloudy peppersoup broth into a golden, almost-clear consomme that has all of the flavour and none of the sediment. 

This is my second attempt at a consomme and I’m learning. It wasn’t as clear as it could have been because I pressed the raft at the end but there is a considerable difference between the starting stock and the end. I’ll do a full blog post on making consommes soon. 

How to make a fish consomme

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Left: Peppersoup; Right: Peppersoup Consomme

The Elements

Yam with peppersoup is a beloved combo in the Niger Delta and here, I make a chunky mash of boiled yam and combine it with flaked dry fish. The skin of the dry fish is glossy and leathery, perfect for stuffing with my yam mash and shaping into a roll, ‘like a cannelloni’. 

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I’m now a huge lover of fish skin – fresh and especially dried. To think when I was younger, I hated fish skin… who woulda thought it? Proof that age changes you – palates develop, new flavours and textures are welcomed – even celebrated. 

I generally prefer crisp and crunch in fish, contrasting soft, moist flesh but somewhere in the last few years, I’ve began to treasure the chewy, somewhat jellied skin of tilapia and snapper- fresh in peppersoup.  I’ve also began to really enjoy the leatheriness of the skin of dry fish and it’s smokiness. The skin is really two layers – the chewy outer and an inner gelatinous layer.

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On my counter, I laid out some clingfilm, and then placed my dry fish skin. I placed some of the mash at one end and rolled up the skin to make a cylinder/ cigar. I wrapped it in the clingfilm, twisting the ends to make a sausage. This went into the fridge to set/ rest till later.

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To go with the consomme, I prepped carrots and garden eggs a few ways – the premise being that they are in season at the same time. I like the idea of pairing seasonal produce. It doesn’t always work so one has to find ways to make it…:

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Burnt yellow carrots – for a bittersweet flavor. I gently steamed them in a water-butter mix, then pan fried once they were soft. In the end though, I was of two minds about them on the plate – they were tasty but I didn’t like the way they looked – I’ll try again.

Fondant carrots – little cylinders cooked in water and butter, for sweetness and cream

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Fresh green garden eggs, sliced on the mandoline

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White garden egg wedges, caramelised

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Lime basil – leaves, flowers and buds for freshness and amazing fragrance

And palm oil because…who eats yam and peppersoup without that deep red of gorgeous oil?

To serve, I heated up the consomme and decanted into a carafe. I will try a teapot if I do this for a pop-up! I’ve always loved the idea of plating elements and pouring the soup at the table! 

Then, I warmed the cannellonis in a pan with some and gently heated for 5 – 8 minutes till the rolls were warmed through. 

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Then I removed, snipped off the ends and gently unwrapped.

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Prep & Plating

To plate, I laid down overlapping rings of fresh garden eggs. One cannelloni went on top. 

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Then I tried to place the carrots artistically 😂😂😂. And the garden egg wedges.  I added the drops of palm oil but it made the plate messy. That, I didn’t like. I also thought it looked rather overcrowded with the burnt carrots so I ate them :).

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I added the consomme and then drops of palm oil – I found out that they formed nice globules when put in the consomme as opposed to putting the oil then adding the consomme.

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I love, love, love the result. I’m a bit upset I messed up the clarification a bit but still I’m glad that I’ve come a long way learning about it.

Eating it was a dream – fishy and all but delicious. The cannelloni was warm, and easy to cut. The smoky flavours paired well with the herby, citrusy lime basil. The texture of the yam was gorgeous too – not too soft and creamy. 

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The carrots added some sweetness, the garden eggs some bitterness

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Yum, yum, yum. All together loved and definitely will be repeated soon – I have a plan to make a Jollof sushi roll!

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The end – definitely one of my favourite concept dishes. I cannot wait to make more rolls of different things, and perfect the art of making consommes! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this!