Handy Andy, you are indeed a Master Chef

Handy Andy, you are indeed a Master Chef
Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

Andy Allen, winner of ‘Master Chef Australia 2012’ loves food. His food philosophy is to keep it simple, but not predictable – I like that about him.
He likes to push the boundaries to create new and exciting flavour combinations. His father was the cook in the family until he started to show an interest and he then began to share the load with his dad. He eventually began to cook most of the meals and would rush home from his job as an apprentice electrician to cook the evening meal.

His first book ‘The Next Element’ is filled with stories and wonderfully delicious recipes, from butter fried barbecued lamb, beer battered fish and chips, salads, pies, sauces and seafood. One of my favourite recipes, amongst others, is the Whole-baked Snapper with Chilli, Garlic, Ginger And Coriander.
It is a great book for the beginner cook, while the more experienced cook will also find it gives them lots of new ideas. I could definitely cook all the recipes in the book, but let’s start with one for now.

Let’s cook!

Modern Seafood Basket
“My take on an Aussie classic. Didn’t score too badly with the judges either!”
– Allen
Serves 4

6 small marron (or yabbies if you can’t find marron)
Salt to taste
2 desiree potatoes, peeled
1L vegetable oil, for frying
2 Tbs baby salted capers, rinsed, patted dry
2 Tbs wakame seaweed
3 purple radish, sliced into 2mm-thick rounds

Oyster emulsion
1 Tbs olive oil
3 eschalots, diced
500ml dry white wine
200ml white wine vinegar
4 oysters, plus 6 extra in the shell, to serve
100g cold butter, diced

Deep fried abalone
4 abalone (or squid)
½ cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Pan Fried Flathead Tails
2 flathead tails, about 10cm long
1 cup plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 220°C.
Poach marron in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in ice cold water for 3 minutes. Remove head, peel tail, removing gastro intestinal tract, ensuring you keep tail intact.
Make the oyster emulsion. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add eschalots and cook until translucent. Add wine and vinegar and simmer until mixture has reduced to 100ml. Strain. Just before serving add 4 oysters and butter to the reduction and blend with a stick blender until foaming and smooth.
Cut potatoes into cylinders using a cookie cutter and slice thinly into rounds using a mandoline. Place on a well-oiled tray, brush lightly with oil and bake in oven until golden and crisp.

Remove abalone from shell, clean and trim and place in freezer until almost firm. Slice thinly, coat in flour, then season egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 180°C and deep fry the abalone for 90 seconds. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
Remove the skin from the flathead tails. Coat tails in seasoned flour. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook flathead tails on both sides until golden brown Transfer to oven and bake for 2-4 minutes until cooked through and keep warm.
Deep fry capers in hot oil until crisp, drain on paper towel.
To serve, arrange flathead tail, marron, abalone, oysters in shell, wakame seaweed, capers, radish and potatoes on the serving plate. Spoon over oyster emulsion.

© Andy Allen… published by New Holland