Damian Baranski from Rendezvous @ Nargile shares his passion for cooking and his recipe for oven roasted escalopes of monkfish.
How would you describe your style of food?
At Rendezvous we utilise both local and authentically sourced ingredients to freshly prepare all dishes in the restaurant. The style of food is heavily influenced by Turkish and Mediterranean flavours. During my time in Turkey I realised the importance within their culture of sharing and this I feel is reflected in my mezes.
How do you spend your time away from the kitchen?
Out of work I like to go to the gym and spend time with my kids. Weather permitting I also really enjoy fishing.
When did you first get interested in cooking and how did this develop?
I have always been interested in cooking. From a young age I enjoyed helping my mother and grandmother in the kitchen. Since moving to Scotland to start a new life and career I decided to make the change from mechanic to chef. Karen has helped and encouraged me to develop my passion for cooking. I am very honoured that she trusts me to run her kitchen now that she has moved on to new ventures.
What’s the strangest/most appalling thing you’ll admit to eating or have ever been asked to cook?
I was on holiday in Thailand a few years ago and ate deep fried spiders, scorpions and grilled snakes…not an experience I would go through again.
Damian’s Firinda Fener Baligi (oven roasted escalopes of monkfish topped with tomato, basil and mozzarella, served on a lemon scented kus kus)
4 x 200g monkfish fillets
1kg vine tomatoes (peeled & chopped roughly)
50g fresh basil (finely sliced)
1 large white onion
Kus kus (1 coffee cup)
6 garlic cloves
Cracked black pepper
For the sauce: Finely chop onion and garlic. Sauté in olive oil until soft in a large pan. Add tomatoes and fry for a further few minutes. Now add salt and pepper to taste and add white sugar if tomatoes have a bitter taste. Bring sauce to the boil and then simmer until thickened. Once thickened turn off and stir in fresh basil.
Monkfish: Cut each monkfish fillet into 3 or 4 large chunks and place in a roasting tray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Place in a preheated oven (220oC) for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and turn monkfish. Cover each piece in sauce and place a thin slice of buffalo mozzarella on top. Return to oven until cheese is melted and golden.
Kus kus: Place one coffee cup of water into a pan. Add a cube of butter and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn off heat and stir in kus kus. Cover and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until soft and fluffy. Mix in one handful of chopped flat leaf parsley and the zest of half a lemon.
Plating: Place a large serving spoon of kus kus in the middle of the plate. Remove monkfish from oven and place on top. Sprinkle with sliced black olives and lemon to garnish.