Before moving to Madeira I had lived for over two decades in various tropical countries, in Africa and in Asia. So of course I knew of passion fruit, this south-american fruit now common in the tropics. But what I didn’t know was that several varieties of passion fruits existed. Over 26 varieties, as it turns out. In Madeira we find five different varieties of passion fruits. Including the one we use for this dish: the banana passion fruit.
It differs from its famous purple-skinned cousin by shape: having the shape of a banana, thus its name. Its color is also different, with a green skin turning yellow as the fruit ripens But what makes this passion fruit even more unique is the deep orange color of its juice, and its taste: sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana.
Unlike the yellow juice from the purple passion fruit, which loses its color when cooking. The juice of this passion fruit stays bright orange even when being cooked to reduce. And we do just that… reducing it with whisky, guinea fowl stock and star anise. Making a colorful sauce full of flavors.
Sweet Potato Mandarin purée
Sweet Potato is a root vegetable originating from the tropical regions of the Americas (Mexico to Venezuela).The variety we use has got an orange flesh. But other varieties have flesh that can range from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple.
Once peeled and cut into cubes it is cooked with butter and mandarin juice. Then blended into a purée. The fruity and slightly acidic notes of the mandarin juice complement the sweetness of the sweet potato. While at the same time helping cut through its starchiness.
Guinea fowl supreme
Originally a game bird, but now domesticated. Guinea fowls are poultry originating from Africa. Mainly from south of the Sahara desert. Helmeted guinea fowl, called Pintada in Portuguese, resembles chicken in many ways, but the meat is leaner, somewhat darker and much more flavorful.
We use this bird in different ways for this dish:
- The supremes (or fillets), are cooked sous-vide with a little bit of guinea fowl stock. Guinea fowl is naturally drier than chicken. So it is particularly important not to overcook it, to prevent the meat from drying out. Sous-vide cooking is a perfect way to keep the fillets moist and flavorful. After cooking sous-vide they are quickly pan seared over high heat, to obtain a golden crispy skin.
- We also use the little fat we collect from the bird (it only has about half the fat of a chicken…). After heating the fat on the stove to render it, we mix it with flour, butter and fresh lemon thyme. Then cook it in the oven into a savory crumble. Adding a crunchy element of texture and interesting taste to the dish.