This beautifully fragrant spice mix will be more than enough for the fish. Keep what's left over in an airtight container and use to make exotic curries.
1 lemon, quartered
30g/1oz dried rose petals
30g/1oz cumin seeds
seeds from 10 black cardamom pods
15g/½oz black peppercorns
10 green cardamom pods
2 tsp coriander seeds
15g/½oz fennel seeds
1 tsp cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp black cumin seeds
60g/2¼oz dried bay leaves
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 whole nutmeg, grated
1 tbsp salt flakes
10g/¼oz food-grade calcium chloride
pinch sodium alginate
3 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, washed roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
150g/5½oz frozen peas, preferably organic
1 handful fresh mint leaves; roughly chopped
For the lemon garnish, freeze the lemon quarters for two hours, then break off the little pearl segments and re-freeze until ready to serve.
Grind all the ingredients for the masala mix, except the ginger, nutmeg and salt flakes, in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder to a fine powder. Add the ginger and grated nutmeg and sieve into a bowl. Mix in the salt flakes and grind again to a fine powder.
For the fish, trim the halibut fillets into neat rectangles. Slash the skin in a criss-cross pattern, then rub the skin with the masala-spiced salt mix, reserving a little of the mixture to garnish. Cover the fish and set aside in the fridge until needed.
For the pea caviar, mix 1.5 litres/2 pints 14fl oz water with the calcium chloride in a large bowl. Whisk until dissolved and place in the fridge until needed.
Using a stick blender, mix 175ml/6fl oz water with the sodium alginate until smooth. Place in a small pan, bring to boil and then set aside to cool.
Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the carrot, leek and onion until soft, but not brown. Add 850ml/1½ pints of water, season with salt and freshly ground white pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Sieve the mixture through a fine sieve, reserving the liquid.
Add the peas to the reserved cooking liquid and bring to boil. Simmer until the peas are cooked, about 3-4 minutes, then stir in the chopped mint leaves and remove from the heat. Drain the peas, reserving the cooking liquid and plunge them into iced water.
Blend the cooled alginate mixture with the drained peas and mint in a food processor or blender until completely smooth. Thin the mixture if necessary with some of the reserved cooking liquid – it should have the consistency of double cream.
Remove the calcium chloride mixture from the fridge. Fill a large bowl with cold water and place alongside the calcium chloride mixture. Place two layers of kitchen paper alongside the bowl of water. Put the pea alginate mix in a large syringe and gently squeeze the syringe to allow caviar-sized droplets to fall into the calcium chloride bath, then immediately scoop them out of the bath with a slotted spoon and drop them into the cold water. The alginate pearls should be in the calcium chloride bath for no longer than 20 seconds or the skins will become tough. Scoop them out of the water with the slotted spoon and place the slotted spoon on the kitchen paper, rolling it gently to drain off the water. Repeat this process with the blended pea mixture until you have four teaspoons of pea caviar. Set them aside on a plate.
For the crisps, peel and finely slice the potatoes using a mandoline. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180C/350F. Fry the crisps in batches until golden-brown, then drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with sea salt flakes while still warm. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave the pan unattended.)
To finish the fish, heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the pieces of fish, skin-side down, and fry for 6-8 minutes until the skin is crisp. Turn the fish over, remove the pan from the heat and set aside for three minutes - the residual heat will finish cooking the fish.
To serve, place a piece of halibut on one side of each plate, skin-side up, with one heaped teaspoon of pea caviar on top. Stack 7-8 crisps on other side of the plate. Scatter the lemon pearls around and a sprinkle of the reserved masala spiced salt.
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