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Angel Fish at the GFWS

Pan-Fried Angel Fish with Herbed Gnocchi, Seafood Bisque, Smoked Avocado Mousse and Dill Oil

The highlight of my career to date must be standing at the Chefs Open Theatre on the Good Food and Wine stage – the very same stage that headline chefs such George Calombaris, Adriano Zumbo, Jenny Morris, J’Something, Sarah Graham and Siba Mtongana appeared. Last year, I paid for my ticket to the show. I walked around like everyone else, and I never even got to go to the main stage and see the headline chefs. A very sad state of affairs.

A year later and there I am on stage at South Africa’s premium food show. I even got to help George whip some cream for his dessert.

Claire 4

Getting back to my dish, this one is something special…

Inspired by two of my MasterChef SA challenges, I created a dish that would pay homage to my time on the show, but also show the evolution of my skills over the last two years.

Oh yes, it’s been two years since the show was filmed… how time flies when you having fun and trying to figure things out!


Pan-Friend Angel Fish Recipe

My five element dish – Pan-fried angel fish with herbed gnocchi, seafood bisque, smoked avocado mousse and dill oil – is featured below. And yes, you can all make this at home.

  1. Gnocchi


400g mashed potato

160g flour (extra for hands)

1 egg

3 T chopped herbs (flat leaf parsley works best)

Oil and butter to fry

Salt and pepper

Corn flour for rolling


  • Boil potatoes in their skins until soft.
  • Cut potatoes in half, place on a baking tray, and bake for two hours.
  • Scoop out potatoes from skin and mash until smooth.
  • Add flour, egg, salt and pepper, and then herbs.
  • Sprinkle surface with corn flour and roll gnocchi into a 2cm sausage, cut into 2cm pieces and then shape into small pillows.
  • Add to salted boiling water – once floating, remove, drain and allow to cool.
  1. Fish

Buy you seafood from a local fish shop, Sea Harvest on 84a Regent Road , Sea Point are my trusted suppliers. Mike and his team are great, 021 433 0860.


Angel fish




Olive oil


  • Season you fish and pan fry for 2 min or till you see the edges of the fish turn white. Flip and give it another minute or two .
  • Make sure your butter and olive oil are hot before cooking your fish and start presentation side first.
  1. Bisque


3 East Coast crayfish heads

200ml water

2 shallots

1 clove garlic

1 beef tomato

1/2 Jalapeño pepper (with seeds)

2cm piece ginger

3 dill stems, 10cm each

1 sprig  thyme

2 Tsp grapeseed oil

Lemon juice to taste

Fine sea salt


  • Peel and coarsely chop the onions. Lightly crush the garlic without peeling it and slice the ginger.
  • Heat a pan on medium heat and add the oil.
  • Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and the Jalapeño.
  • Sweat the veg for a couple of minutes.
  • Cut the crayfish head and the claws into pieces.
  • Place them to the pan, and continue sweating for another couple of minutes.
  • Dice the tomato, and add to the pan.
  • Continue sautéing until the tomatoes turned into a paste.
  • Add half the water, the dill stems, and the thyme and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Let simmer for ten minutes.
  • Add the remaining water, and reduce again for 10 minutes.
  • Pass through a fine sieve, forcing through some of the vegetables and Crayfish paste.
  • The broth should not be clear.
  • Season with fresh lemon juice and salt if needed.
  1. Smoked Avocado


3 avocados

Few drops of liquid smoke – only the best thing since hay J

Lemon juice



Blend avocado until smooth, then add smoke, lemon juice and seasoning before serving.

  1. Dill Oil


2.5 tsp dill seeds

200ml grapeseed oil

2.5 tbsp dill Sprigs, finely chopped


  • Lightly toast the dill seeds in a small saucepan.
  • Add the oil, and remove from heat.
  • Leave to cool down for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the oil into jug, and add the dill sprigs, a couple of toasted dill seeds.
  • Blend until smooth and the oil has an intense green color.
  • Strain, and set aside in another container.




Dill flowers and fresh dill


  1. 10 pieces of gnocchi
  2. 3 piped smoked avocado mousse
  3. Angel fish fillet on top of gnocchi
  4. Dill oil dropped over dish
  5. Garnish with fresh dill, salt and pepper
  6. Bisque served in a jug

This is a light dish with complex flavours that will take you on journey. I was lucky enough to invite 20 foodies to lunch with me a week before the show, where I got to showcase my cooking skills and give them a little education on how important it is to choose your seafood wisely.

Now, I am a proud ambassador for SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) and look forward to sharing their message and helping them make a difference. 312 million kilograms of seafood is consumed in SA. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing practices have resulted in dangerously depleted fish stocks and an ecosystem that has reached a point that the many marine species face the risk of being fished out of existence.


When ordering or buying seafood, always make sure you ask:

  • What species is this?
  • How was this caught or farmed?
  • Where is it from?

If you are unsure, use the FishMS on 079 499 8795 or download the SASSI app for Android, iPhone or BlackBerry.

For all the images from my media lunch and my live demo, go visit my Facebook page.

Looking for to JHb, which is 49 sleeps away! :-)



… Food Is Love …

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Written by claire allen

Comments (One comment)

  • June 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Looks delicious!

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