The history of Boschendal stretches all the way back to 1685; when the young Cape Colony was an important refreshment outpost for ships of the Dutch East India Company as they travelled the Spice Route in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Maritime trade brought all manner of interesting cultural traditions to our shores, not least of all Malaysian, Indonesian and East African recipes and spices that greatly enriched the local culinary landscape. These are the foundation of Cape Malay cooking; the flavours of which serve as inspiration for one of our favourite recipes from The Werf Restaurant: Masala Fish Dish.
Masala is a term from the Indian subcontinent for a varying blend of spices, often based on unique family recipes and handed down through generations of cooks. These spice mixes are used extensively in South Asian cuisine to add warmth and flavour, and here, the blend serves to brighten the poaching liquid in which the fish is cooked. With a base of onions, garlic and ginger, mellowed out with homemade tomato purée, Junior Sous Chef Leroy Sebybo adds his special masala blend to round out the rich flavours of this mouthwatering sauce.
As always at Boschendal, many of the ingredients are harvested fresh each morning from the Werf Food Garden. Two hectares of carefully tended vegetables, herbs and fruit are overlooked by the restaurant’s sunny terrace and provide an abundance of fresh, organic produce to the estate’s restaurants, picnic spots, farm shop and deli. The seasonal nature of these ingredients is the driving force behind Boschendal’s farm-to-table dining concept which inspires the chefs to be “guided by the garden”, creating menus that evolve with the harvest.
The fish used is farmed kabeljou, also known as kob, from a local, sustainable, SASSI-green-listed supplier. The flesh is succulent and firm, forming large flakes, which makes it the ideal fish for flash frying and then cooking through in the sauce, as the fillets continue to hold their shape. Served with a yoghurt emulsion, spring onion salsa and a handful of fresh mussels topped with crispy ginger, it’s no wonder this delicious dish is one of Chef Leroy’s favourites.
The fragrant warmth of the dish is perfectly paired with a chilled glass of Boschendal Demi Sec; a bubbly Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend with just a hint of sweetness. Boschendal Wine Estate was, in fact, the second to produce what is now known as Méthode Cap Classique, using the traditional Champagne method of a second fermentation in the bottle. This award-winning MCC has a flourish of delicate bubbles and a well-rounded, creamy mouthfeel with appetizing minerality, good balance and a seamless finish.
It’s no wonder this delicious dish is one of Chef Leroy Sebybo’s favourites.