Help with a Fish dish

Joined Apr 6, 2017
Hey Everyone! I'm new here and I just wanted to tell you guys that i'm awed by the good vibes i see on this forum...  I love all the advice and sane, non-troll answers I've been reading to questions people ask here... I'd be really grateful if you guys could help me out too...

So, i've been asked to head the kitchen of a cafe that's recently opened in my town, New Plymouth (New Zealand). The cafe has been open about 3 months and the existing menu doesn't seem to be working out that well. I've made them a new breakfast and lunch menu, but now that i'm attempting dinner, I'm stuck on my Fish mains. The owner has given me complete freedom in creating what I want but because it's a winter menu, the food needs to be comforting and warm without compromising on having that bit of edge. This is my first attempt at my own menu.

The fish dish that I wanted to do was a Crispy Skin Salmon steak in a small portion of Seafood Bisque. Of these two elements, I'm sure. The problem where i'm stuck at is that I want to do this in a pasta bowl with a long Parmesan crisp resting on the edges of the plate with something delicate on the crisp. I know i want 1 other element on the crisp and 1 element resting in the bisque. the second picture isn't exactly what i want to do, but it is similar.  

I'm debating as to whether I should do a small seaweed salad on the crisp. What do you guys think? HELP!

Joined Jun 27, 2012
Your idea sounded good but confused by the pix.

I like the bottom one but IMO the bisque needs to be tighter or a larger serving....looks a bit weak and I can see the dish thru it.

Maybe serve a larger fillet and only use one and replace with your garnish?

Pretty pix.


OBTW...welcome to the board!

I like it here for your exact reasons.

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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Hi Deb, Welcome to Cheftalk! This is a presentation I saw on line from a restaurant in Houston Texas. I thought it may come close to what your looking for. I think you may have misspoke when you asked for a "Salmon Steak" instead of a Salmon Filet. The picture on the bottom shows a white fish that is contrasted with a pinkish seafood type sauce. I figure you are working with some of the best tasting salmon in the world. The salmon itself should be high in Omega 3 fatty acids and may not need to strong of a tasting sauce. In other words the salmon is giving you a lot of taste to work with to start. I think once you figure out if you like the presentation the sauce could be easily figured out.........Good luck......ChefBillyB

Joined Aug 21, 2004
I like the idea of the seaweed salad on the crisp, Should compliment and mesh with other components very well. For the other element, the one resting in the bisque what about a fried chiffonade of parsnip and/or sweet potato?
Joined Aug 7, 2013
Well, since it's salmon, you can keep it simple and drop a couple of capers onto the bisque. Maybe even a small dollop of caper/parsley puree? With butter?

The color would pop and it should fit the flavor profile.


Joined Aug 15, 2003
I don't like cheese with seafood, seems wrong. Some very mild creamy cheese maybe, like a ricotta or cream cheese, etc. But something strong like a parm just seems like it would clash. Anyways....

You might try dollops of creme fraiche piped onto the crisp, then place a few nice herbs and flowers on top. Some violas, oregano, chervil, and/or any of the flowers from the herbs would go well with the Med. theme you have going. I'd think a seaweed salad is too bulky and unlikely to stay on the crisp. 

Potatoes for the base are always classic with something like this. Saffron poached? Peppers, fennel, tomato, would all go well too. Olives wouldn't be out of place either. Someone mentioned capers upthread, those would be delicious. You could even fry the capers crispy and put them on the tuille with the creme fraiche and herbs/flowers. 

Also, just a bit of advice, my $.02 for what it's worth...I've found it's not often successful to start a dish with the presentation in mind then work backwards to pigeon hole something into it. Like, if you already know you want to do a parmesan crisp with "stuff" on it across the bowl, you've already limited yourself or, at best, tightened the focus to the point where you might miss out on some awesome flavors or ideas because they wouldn't "fit" 

My opinion, again, is to work from the flavors of the dish and then think of the presentation and how to make the food beautiful. It can be the most beautiful dish in the world, but if it eats or tastes like shit no one will care. Sure, your Instagram photos will look cool, what? Flavor is what holds people's memory (for the most part, anyways). 

Obviously food should look AND taste amazing, but taste is #1 in my opinion. Just something to chew on. 

Good luck


depending on how you plan on making your crisp, most times i make them they are rather porous, anything you put on the crisp may have some sort of run through if there is a dressing on your salad and that dressing may ugly up your bisque or the rim of the bowl 

unless you do the liquid into the bisque on purpose like parsley oil or some bright colored liquid/sauce as a paring to meet the bisque with the element on the crisp 

i get what you are going for with the salad its a nice freshness paired with the heaviness of the bisque and salmon, perhaps mix the seaweed with micro greens or paper thin vegetables to give it more color than just green, if you do veg with distinct flavors like radish or cucumber or onion you could possibly do without any dressing 

other thing to consider is your waitstaff, can they carry a bowl with a crisp on the edge with something on top without it moving? some of my best laid plans have gone awry because of limited waitstaff reliability 
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