Exquisite presentation is central to Japanese cuisine so leave yourself plenty of time to arrange the different items on the plates for this cross between Danish smørrebrød and Japanese sushi.
4 banana shallots
450ml/16fl oz Danish walnut beer, or other dark, strong lager
500ml/18fl oz sake
100g/3½oz rye grains
1 nashi, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
4 mackerel filets, skinned
2 tsp caraway seeds
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp crème fraîche
For the mackerel tartare, halve the shallots lengthways and discard all but the outermost layers.
Bring the pilsner and sake to the boil. Add the rye grains and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until al dente. Steam the shallot ‘boats’ over the simmering liquid until tender, then rinse in cold water, pat dry on kitchen paper and set aside.
In a food processor, blend the chopped nashi with the mackerel, chives, caraway seeds, sea salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked rye, lemon juice and crème fraîche and spoon the mixture into the shallot boats. (Any leftover mixture can be kept in the fridge and spread onto toast like a pâté.)
For the umeboshi remoulade, place all the ingredients except the oil in a blender. On a low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is completely emulsified.
For the maki, peel the cucumbers and cut each into two lengths, each about 10cm/4in. Remove the seeds from each chunk with an apple corer to leave thin-walled cucumber tubes.
Blend the salmon, lemon juice and goats’ cheese in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Pass through a drum sieve and carefully spoon the paste into each cucumber tube. Trim the ends to make them look neat.
For the sashimi, using a very sharp knife, cut the fish into thin slices. Mix the shoyu, lime juice, beer and walnut oil to make a dressing. Tear the lettuce into shreds, gently mix in the dressing and set aside to use as the garnish.
For the monkfish liver, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the slices of bread until golden-brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add the butter to the pan, heat until bubbling then sear the monkfish liver for about 30 seconds on each side. Spread a little of yuzu-kosho on each piece of fried bread and place the liver on top.
To serve, spoon a streak of remoulade through the centre of each plate then arrange the mackerel tartare, maki, sashimi and monkfish liver, with their garnishes, around the remoulade.
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As the final week of heats continues, six more cooks try to impress the judges.
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