At our recent Thanksgiving lunch, we wanted to have a South African menu, just so that we can be thankful for our amazing country again. We planned our courses by region, and when the idea for a fish starter came up, the thought of a West Coast-inspired Nicoise salad really got me excited! Traditionally, a Nicoise is made with salad leaves, tuna, tomato, hard-boiled egg, potatoes and green beans. It is carefully arranged on a plate and dressed with shallots, mustard, thyme and olive oil. This beautiful little creation takes those ingredients and gives them a few twists – Weskus style!
Snoek & Patat Nicoise Starter (Serves 10 as a starter or 4 as a main course)
Ingredients For The Sweet Potato Rosti:
- 4 large sweet potatoes (patat)
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2ml fine cumin
- Oil for frying
For The Fish (if you cant find snoek, you can use any firm fish like angel or yellowtail)
- Snoek cutlets (10 small portions for starters or 4 medium portions for mains)
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- Sal & pepper to taste
- Slices of lemon to serve
For the rest of the dish
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
- cherry tomatoes, grilled and splashed with olive oil and balsamic (2-3 per serving)
- 2-3 green beans per serving, lightly steamed. Add a tablespoon of butter and splash of lemon juice to the pot while it’s still hot)
To Make The Sweet Potato Rosti:
Coarsely grate the sweet potatoes. Put them in a dishcloth and try to press out as much of the moisture as possible.
Step 1: Add the 2 eggs and cumin and mix. Season to taste.
Step 2: Heat about 1cm of oil in a frying pan.
Step 3: Once the oil is hot, shallow fry spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture, pressing them down to make a flat cake.
Step 4: Fry both sides until crisp and golden, carefully flipping them over to prevent them from becoming too dark.
Step 5: When they’re cooked, place them on some kitchen towel to drain.
*You can easily make the rosti ahead of time and quickly reheat in the oven before serving.
To Make The Fish:
Step 1: Melt the butter and stir in the apricot jam.
Step 2: If you are so inclined, braai the snoek on an open fire, liberally basting with butter and apricot jam as you go. Alternatively, grill the fish in the oven while regularly basting with the sauce.
Step 1: As soon as the fish is ready, quickly reheat the rosti under the grill.
Step 2: Place 2 of the rosti on a plate with a piece of fish on top.
Step 3: Finish with the green beans, a quarter of egg, the roasted cherry tomatoes and a slice of lemon.
I’m not a saucy kind of girl, but if you feel it’s missing, put some salad dressing on the table and let your guests help themselves.