Days of wine and roe

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2002, 12:00am

Simon Tam grew up helping out in his family's restaurants in Australia but decided to refine his palate by focusing on wine. He is now the director of the International Wine Centre in Hong Kong where one of his specialities is matching tipples with food. At his home in Pokfulam, he cooks a simple but elegant dish.

Fresh pasta with fennel and salmon roe


Fresh pappardelle to feed four

2 fennel bulbs

1 cup whole milk, plus more, if necessary

2 tbsp heavy cream

1/2 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

200 grams of Tasmanian wild salmon roe or Japanese ikura

Step 1: Trim the fennel stalks from the bulb. Finely dice the stalks. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute onion, garlic and fennel stalks until soft and translucent.

Step 2: Add one cup of milk and simmer for five minutes. Puree fennel and milk mixture and leave to cool. Measure the mixture and add more milk if necessary to make two cups. Wrap the mixture in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the liquid into a saucepan. Squeeze the tea towel tightly to get out all the flavoursome liquid. Keep the liquid warm.

Step 3: Slice fennel bulb lengthwise, getting about four slices per bulb. Brush with olive oil and cook in a ridged grill pan until it is soft (sprinkle with a little water) and has grill marks from the pan. Remove and keep warm.

Step 4: Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente then drain. Pour the pasta into a bowl and stir in the warm fennel and milk mixture and let it absorb into the pasta. Leave to cool then stir in the cream. The pasta should be tepid - not too cold, but if it's too warm it will cook the salmon roe. Divide the grilled fennel between four plates, add the pasta and top with a generous amount of salmon roe.

Tam suggests serving a Krug Grand Cuvee or any quality champagne.