It’s time, Nephalem! It’s time to announce the winner of the Reaper of Recipes Challenge!
I must admit that I had an insanely difficult time choosing the winner. Even though the Diablo NA and EU community teams had chosen the top recipes from tons of entries, there was still the huge challenge of picking the overall best recipe. There were dishes from all walks of life — from savory dishes inspired by various regional cuisines to sinfully sweet treats with a very Diablo flare. Sanctuary is filled with tons of creative chefs!
But, one recipe stood out from the rest.
One nephalem traveled to the dusty deserts outside of Caldeum and captured a Sand Shark, cooked it up, and created a legendary Caldeum delicacy! I present to you the winning recipe of the Reaper of Souls Challenge:
Fish-aficionados will note that the fish isn’t a hake, but rather a mackerel — I’ll explain why later.
The winning recipe, Sand Shark Caldeum Style, was artfully crafted by Louis S., though he is more commonly known in Sanctuary as Nerzulaman! Here’s the photo he submitted along with his outstanding recipe:
FIERCE! He did an excellent job at recreating a Sand Shark in food form!!
So, if you want to try to create this delicious dish in the comfort of your own kitchen, here’s what you’re going to need to gather:
Please note that I’ve made some rough conversions from metric to American standard measurement units. The units in parenthesis are the accurate measurements from Nerzulaman’s original recipe.
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 of a red onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of powdered hazelnut (50g) (I bought whole hazelnut and grinded it on a microplane — this is roughly ~4 hazelnuts)
- 1 egg
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream (15cl)
- 1 1/2 cup of rainbow quinoa, rinsed (180g)
- 1 firm apple (I used a granny smith apple)
- 1 whole hake, cleaned and gutted (25-30cm long, or ~11-12 inches) — (I substituted mackerel for hake here)
I mentioned a bit further up that the fish I used for this recipe is a mackerel instead of a hake. The silver hake is a species of hake typically found on the Eastern United States. Unfortunately, I’m on the Western United States, so finding whole hake is a bit more difficult here. I decided to go with a fish that was readily available here and is somewhat similar size to the hake. The mackerel is a bit smaller, so cooking times have been slightly adjusted.
Basically, my recipe is for tiny sand sharks, while Nerzulaman’s is for big sand sharks.
If you’re looking for a fish that has a similar flavor to hake, cod is a good substitute. Mackerel belongs in the “oily fish” category (with salmon and tuna), while hake belongs to the “white fish” category (with cod and halibut).
Anyway, I’ve included Nerzulaman’s original cook times and mine in parenthesis.
Total prep time for this dish is roughly 25 minutes. Cook time is roughly 35 minutes. This will make 2 servings.
- Wash and cut your apple into two halves. Use one half and cut them into thin wedges (this will be used for the “fins”). Marinate these wedges in balsamic vinegar.
- Cut the rest of the apple into small cubes with your shallots, garlic, and red onion.
- Heat a pan on high heat and add in on 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Sautee your cubed apple, shallots, garlic, and red onion.
- Once they have caramelized, deglaze your pan by using some of the balsamic vinegar from your apples.
- Remove from heat and reserve. You’ll use this to stuff the fish.
- Empty and clean the cavity of the fish, and open its belly until the base of the tail.
- Use a sharp knife to score the skin around the tail, then remove the dorsal fin cutting along the dorsal cartilage head.
- Preheat your oven to ~350° F (180° C). Once your oven comes up to temperature, bake the fish for 5 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the oven and gently peel back the skin from tail to the head by pulling the skin along the line in the middle of the threads so as not to tear it. You will want to be extra careful with this process because you don’t want to damage the flesh of the fish. If you have patches of skin (especially around the fins) scrape them gently with the back of a knife lightly oiled, always from tail to head.
- Gently open the cavity of the fish and begin stuffing it with your filling. You’ll want to stuff the fish so that it will be able to stand on its own. If have extra stuffing, you can use it to prop his head up after cooking.
- Sprinkle your flour onto the fish. Gently rub off any excess flour.
- Mix your egg, remaining olive oil, juice from 1/2 of a lemon, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. This will be your egg wash.
- Generously brush the fish with your egg wash. Then, sprinkle your bread crumbs onto the fish. If you have excess, tap it off the fish.
- Set your oven to ~390°F (200°C) for 15 minutes (12 minutes for my mackerel). Use aluminum foil to cover the head to prevent tarnish (I failed and forgot to do this, so my sandshark is a bit…. uhhh, well let’s just say he should have used moisturizer).
- While your fish is baking, prepare the quinoa.
- In a saucepan, add your quinoa, 1 1/2 cup of water and your cream. Set your sauce pan to medium heat. Add in your hazelnut and nutmeg.
- Once the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, salt to taste.
- Now it’s time to build your plate! Fill a dish with your quinoa “sand”, and make a small indentation for your fish.
- Transfer your baked fish to the plate. Make slits on the fish for where you’d like to place your apple wedge fins. Insert the fins onto your fish. If your fins aren’t pointy enough, prune them with a pairing knife to your liking.
- Surround the fish with the “sand” and add in your apple wedge fins into the sand. These will be the Sand Shark’s claws.
- If desired, add in extra lemon juice on the fish and cream to your quinoa.
Here’s how mine turned out. I definitely think Nerzulaman’s looks much cooler though. I will admit that I ran out of apple slices for the fins on the side… I was snacking a bit too much during the cooking process!
Maybe your Sand Shark will turn out to be Razormouth and you’ll be able to snag an Essence of the Twin Seas.
I wasn’t so lucky. But, he sure was delicious!
Just remember to be weary of bones when slaying this beast! Since this is full fish, there are still bones present in the flesh. To avoid the bones as best as possible, lay the fish on its side and enjoy it one side at a time. You should be left with the spine fairly intact.
OM NOM NOM NOM!
So congratulations, Nerzulaman! Your creative recipe has earned you a fancy Horadric cache worth of goodies!
‘Till next time, Nephalem!