On the school holidays, I found a MasterChef competition that was based on the mystery box. To win you had to use at least three of the six ingredients. There was chicken, corn, vanilla, scallops, cardamon and coriander. The award was huge and I desperately wanted to win.
I asked Kym Machin (Spring) for inspiration and he gave me some great ideas and offered me time in Spring’s cooking class kitchen to practice the dish. Chef Ben was also a big help when cooking and writing the dish. Unfortunately I didn’t win but I may have a chance for the top 50 dishes that win a MasterChef pack. Even though I wasn’t the winner, it was the experience that counts!
12 chicken wings
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
1 clove of finely diced garlic
A large handful of rock salt
Enough duck fat or neutral oil like grapeseed oil to cover chicken
4 cobs of corn (kernels removed and reserved)
¼ bunch of whole thyme
¼ bunch of coriander stalks
Leftover chicken pieces from step 1
5 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
All of previously made stock
Most of the kernels reserved from stock
1 small brown onion diced
2 cloves garlic finely sliced
2 vanilla beans scraped off pods
Handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
Unstrained half of corn and vanilla velouté
12 scallops detached from shell, roe and muscle
Small handful of whole coriander
1. With a sharp knife cut through each chicken wing at the joints, keeping the middle section and putting aside the other two pieces for later on.
2. Mix the garlic and thyme with enough rock salt to cover the chicken.
3. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Lightly rinse the salt off the chicken with running water.
5. Place into a saucepan and cover with warm duck fat.
6. Cook on a low heat until tender, roughly 1½ hours.
7. Pull out the two bones and any knuckles that might be left in the chicken.
8. Set aside chicken meat.
1. Place all ingredients except kernels in a pot and simmer for 1 hour.
2. Leave to cool and strain, reserving liquid.
1. To blanch the corn kernels, boil enough salted water to cover.
2. Then add the kernels and blanch for a couple of minutes.
3. Strain and rinse in cold running water.
4. Reserve a small handful for garnishing.
5. In a medium pot with oil gently sweat down the onions (about 3 minutes).
6. Add the blanched kernels and garlic.
7. Cook gently for about 2 minutes.
8. Add the cream, stock and vanilla.
9. Simmer until reduced by about 2/3 (allow 30-45 minutes)
10. Season with salt.
11. Blend reduction until as smooth as possible.
12. Strain the velouté mixture, forcing it through with a spoon, reserving the solids for the puree and the liquid for the velouté.
1. Add coriander to puree and mix.
2. Set aside.
1. Place the velouté and puree in bowls and place over pots of simmering water to keep warm.
2. Spread the wings out on a baking tray and place them under a grill.
3. Once browned turn them over to crisp the other side.
4. Meanwhile heat a touch of oil in a pan and fry the flatter side of the scallops for 1 minute. This side is the upper serving side.
5. Turn scallops to complete cooking (15 seconds).
6. To plate up, place a dollop of puree on the serving plate and smear.
7. Place 3 chicken wings and 3 scallops on top of the puree in alternating order.
8. Pour the velouté in a small bowl and place to the side of the plate.
9. Place 4 or 5 leaves of coriander and a couple of corn kernels randomly on the plate.