This is one of those extra special starters reserved for special occasions. In my mind, it’s the perfect Mother’s Day dish, and proof that rice can be a glamorous, versatile ingredient that shines as the hero of a dish rather than being cast aside as a simple side. It also puts me in mind of a rose, which will always remind me of my grandmother’s garden.
RICE LACE WITH SMOKED HADDOCK AND TÊTE DE MOINE
TIME: 1 hr 30 mins | SERVES: 6 as a starter
for the rice lace
125 ml Spekko Royal Umbrella Jasmine Long Grain White Rice
300 ml water
1 ml salt
5 ml corn starch
1 egg white
15 ml olive oil
for the haddock veloute
10 ml olive oil
5 ml butter
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme
125 ml white wine
300 g smoked haddock fillets, chopped
300 ml cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the tête de moine cheese flowers
1 truckle tête de moine (you can use Hugenot cheese as an alternative)
for the rice lace
Place the jasmine rice, water and salt into a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and leave to simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Mix the corn starch with a small amount of water to form a smooth paste. Add to the rice and cook for 5 more minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to cool.
Whisk the egg to medium peaks and gently fold into the rice. Place a tablespoon of the rice mixture onto a square piece of baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper over the rice and gently roll out the rice. You will notice that the rice is slightly overcooked, this is so that the rice rather puffs up to a crisp in the pan instead of drying out and hardening.
To fry the rice lace, place a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, drizzle some olive oil into the pan and drop a small amount of butter into the pan. Once the pan is hot and the butter has melted, carefully remove the parchment paper from the rice.
Place the rice in the pan and fry for 2 minutes on each side.
for the haddock velouté
Place a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter into the saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add in the sliced onion, garlic and thyme. Leave to sauté on a low heat until the onions are soft and translucent an have obtained no colour. Add the wine and allow to reduce to a third before adding in the smoked haddock.
Stir and allow to cook for 1 minute before adding in the cream. Cook uncovered until the cream has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper. Traditionally in a velouté, this mixture would be strained and only the cream reduction will be used, but for this dish the haddock plays a crucial part in linking it to the traditional kedgeree dish.
for the cheese flowers
Place the tête de moine on the girolle by pushing the centre of the truckle down onto the axle of the girolle. Place the blade onto the axle above the cheese and swirl to form the cheese flowers.
Using a spoon, scoop the haddock velouté into a champagne coupe. Use the tip of a piping nozzle to cut out a small centre into the rice lace. Place the rice lace over the coupe and then in the centre where you made hole, insert the tête de moine flower.
TIP: The ideal way to get this floral shape out of cheese is to use a girolle – a Swiss cheese scraper. If you don’t have one, try using a vegetable peeler.