Franck Dangereux’s bright ways with seasonal food

Franck Dangereux’s bright ways with seasonal food
Franck Dangereux’s curried fresh hake, exotic mushrooms, garlic confit and beurre blanc. (Photo: Caleb Crowser | triptych: Tony Jackman)

Chef Franck Dangereux’s background is as brightly-hued as his beautiful plates of food. He shares with us his recipe for curried fresh hake with exotic mushrooms, garlic confit and beurre blanc.

A Frenchman who comes from generations of photographers, Franck Dangereux first cooked while an apprentice in restaurants in the south of France, and the cuisine of his home terrain remains with him to this day.

Suffering “some burnout”, he went to the USA where he became a fully qualified professional pilot. 

“I flew professionally in the Caribbean for almost a year before I started cooking again for rich American people. And then one thing led to another and I travelled to the Cape where I ended up meeting Frank Swainston from Constantia Uitsig. And that’s how it all began.”

The rest of that story is told in this accompanying article.

Of his recipe, he says: “I’d much rather eat a delicious piece of fish with beurre blanc twice a week and refrain from eating other fat the rest of the week. You need to prioritise. Butter is much healthier than margarine: made with milk from grass-eating cows, it is packed with vitamins. And remember that this beurre blanc recipe contains just 45g of butter per person — a very acceptable quantity — that is not even cooked, just melted and emulsified.”

Franck’s curried fresh hake, exotic mushrooms, garlic confit and beurre blanc

(Serves 4)

For the garlic confit:

15 garlic cloves in their skin

200ml sunflower oil

200g mixed Japanese mushrooms such as shiitake, enoki and shimeji, cleaned and separated or trimmed

olive oil

salt and pepper

4 x 120g fresh hake or kingklip portions

4 Tbsp medium curry powder 

For the beurre blanc:

3 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped

4T white wine vinegar

8T good dry white wine

60ml cream

180g butter, cubed


Heat the shallots, vinegar and white wine in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer.

Gradually whisk in the butter, one cube at a time, until the sauce is emulsified and looks beautiful. (This is one of the rare butter-based sauces I don’t finish with a handheld stick blender: with its high butter content it may separate, and I don’t want to crush the shallots.) Set aside.

To make the garlic confit:

Place the garlic cloves in a small saucepan, top with oil, place on moderate heat, bring to a simmer and allow to bubble for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the saucepan.

To cook the mushrooms:

Flash-fry the mushrooms in a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. They don’t need to cook for very long: just soften them with a little heat for no longer than 3 to 4 minutes.

To cook the fish:

Season the hake on both sides with a bit of salt.

Place the curry powder on a plate. Dip the fish into the curry powder to coat on both sides. Cook in a hot nonstick pan with a little olive oil until nicely brown on both sides. The best way to check that the fish is done is to pierce it with a fork as you would to check whether a potato is cooked: if the fork sinks in, it is cooked; if it resists, it needs a little longer.

To assemble:

Share out the mushrooms and garlic between four plates, add the hake and sauce generously with beurre blanc. DM


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