Grilled Cos with Baby Sardines and Manchego Custard

by Scott Williams

You'll need

  • Custard:
  • 100mL full cream milk
  • 100mL thickened cream
  • 50g Manchego cheese, finely grated
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Anchovy/Walnut Dressing:
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 6 anchovies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 20mL sherry vinegar
  • 20mL olive oil
  • Grilled lettuce:
  • 2 baby cos lettuce
  • 1 red radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 red salad onion or ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 preserved sardinillas (tinned baby sardines)

Here's how

  1. Custard:
  2. Preheat oven to 140C.
  3. In a small pan, slowly heat the milk and cream to hot but not boiling, remove from heat, whisk cheese in. Allow to cool to room temp before whisking the egg yolks in. Season with a pinch of salt.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large ramekin or suitably sized ovenproof dish. Place it in a tray or pan of hot water and bake for 25 mins or until it is set (it should just wobble like a stiff jelly).
  5. Once cooked, allow to cool and refrigerate. (Please don’t stress if it gets a little skin or looks a touch split, you can just whisk it back once it’s set.)
  6. Vinaigrette:
  7. Increase oven heat to 180.
  8. Place the walnuts in a small pan and lightly toast them until you can smell them, about 10 minutes. Keep a good eye on them though because they burn easily and burnt nuts aren’t great. Let them cool.
  9. Meanwhile, put the anchovies and the garlic in a mortar and pestle and smash them up until pasty
  10. Add the cooled walnuts to the mortar and lightly crush them up and into the anchovy paste (keep the nuts a little chunky, like crunchy peanut butter).
  11. Mix in the vinegar and oil.
  12. The rest:
  13. Discard the outer, dark green leaves of the lettuces and split them lengthwise.
  14. Lube the lettuce with a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and grill, inner side down, on a hot griddle pan or barbecue until charred (don’t flip).
  15. The grilled side of the lettuce should be wilted, whilst the outer leaves should still have some good crunch to them.
  16. Spread four healthy dollops of custard on a large plate and place the lettuce on it.
  17. Spoon the anchovy/walnut dressing evenly over each lettuce.
  18. Randomly drop the sardines and radish slices onto the lettuce and sprinkle over the red onion.
  19. Serve straight away.

About the Author

Scott Williams

Scott is a Melbourne-born and now Sydney-based chef at acclaimed Spanish restaurant MoVida Sydney, where he's currently sous chef. When he's not perfecting tapas behind the pass, he's turning shoulders of lamb on a spit in the backyard, or cooking six different Indian curries for a feast with a... Read Full Bio

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