Asparagus and peas reflect spring at its best. I love them together, as I love to combine the taste of spicy sausage with meaty fish. Both peas and fish have delicate flavors and benefit from seasoning, it is important though to get the balance right. I added a small amount of grated ginger to the peas, while I rubbed the fish with ras el hanout a Moroccan spice with sweet undertones, often used in tagine.
Sujuk is a spicy bold and garlicky sausage made with ground meat and a mixture of cumin, fenugreek, sumac, chili pepper and garlic. There are popular variations that run in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East.
For the pea purée:
2 garlic cloves
65 g/ 2.2 oz or 1 medium shallot
2 g or 1 small knob of ginger
200 g/ 7 oz frozen peas
4 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the asparagus spears:
16 asparagus spears
salt and pepper
For the fish:
600 g/ 1.3 lb monk fish filets
1 teaspoon ras el hanout
100 g/ 3.5 oz sujuk sausage, sliced
- Rub the fish filets with ras el hanout, sea salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, cover with plastic film and leave in the fridge until ready to cook.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy based pan and add the chopped shallot with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook over medium to low heat for 5 minutes or until tender, add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
- Incorporate the frozen peas, stir into the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Add sour cream and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and purée with an immersion blender until creamy. Return to the pan.
- Remove the woody ends of the asparagus spears; if you are a perfectionist, peel the skin with a potato peeler but leave the heads and 1 inch below intact.
- Brush asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill over high heat for 3 minutes on each side.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive in a pan. Place the fish filets holding down for 10 secs each to stop them from curling. Cook for 5 minutes on one side, turn and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
- Thinly slice the sujuk sausage and cook in a pan for 2 minutes.
- Re-heat the pea purée before serving.
- To assemble, place the purée as a first layer, add the asparagus on top and arrange the fish and sujuk over them.