Chef Darren Johnson creates a delicious Japanese themed dish

In this episode of New Zealand on a Plate, Chef Darren Johnson creates a stunning entrée with a Japanese theme, which of course, includes Olivado’s extra virgin peanut oil.

In this episode of New Zealand on a Plate, Chef Darren Johnson creates a stunning entrée with a Japanese theme, which of course, includes Olivado’s extra virgin peanut oil.

Darren is the executive Chef at Masu Japanese restaurant, one of Auckland’s top eateries, right in the heart of the city at the Sky City complex. After working in a steakhouse here in New Zealand, Darren headed to London, where he fell in love with Japanese cooking. He spent six years over there, working for esteemed Japanese restaurants Zuma and the legendary Roka. It was here he met Nic Watt, another highly respected Kiwi chef, and when Nic returned to New Zealand, he asked Darren to come work with him, which was an offer he couldn’t refuse.


Recipe for the Entrée



Ahia smoked salmon and moki


Potato horseradish vinaigrette


Radish, capers and kale salad


To start the entrée, Chef Johnson cooks some agria potatoes, and mashes them up, passing them through a sieve to make them nothing but smooth and fluffy. Next he grates some raw wasabi and horseradish in equal measure, with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Added to the potatoes and mixed in with the juice of a couple of lemons, a light olive oil and a touch of water, Darren makes a delightful purée which he uses as a base for the dish. Add on top the delicious Ahia salmon, spring onions, baby kale and cherry tomatoes, and you’re almost ready. There’s only one thing missing; Olivado’s gorgeous extra virgin avocado oil with lemon zest.


Recipe for main course


Leigh long line snapper


Teriyaki marinade


Jalapeño and ginger dressing


For the main course, Darren starts with the marinade. “We’re making this for two reasons,” explains Darren, “one is to impart flavour, and the other is to season the fish.” In the restaurant, the marinade would be made with a little touch of chili, fish bones and a lot of ginger. Making it from scratch and outdoors, Darren grates two cloves of garlic, so fine they dissipate in the sauce. “When chopping the chili,” Darren says, “you want to get it quite fine, so little bits of it sticks to the fish. The seeds are where heat is, so get rid of those first.”

After adding the fish fillet to the marinade (leaving it for a good half hour), it’s time for the dressing. “This is a Jalapeño and ginger dressing,” explains Darren, “Sliced Jalapeño, rice wine, soy sauce, and a little pinch of salt. We’re going to add ginger, but the important thing when cutting ginger is to cut across the grain, otherwise you’ll get these big long strands that look like hair.”

These ingredients all go into a blender until it becomes a fine paste, and then the magic ingredient- Olivado’s extra virgin peanut oil. “We slowly add it which gives it a nice nutty flavour. The end result isn’t the most attractive dressing to look at, but I guarantee you with fish, it’s amazing. It will blow your mind.”

Olivado peanut oil

Olivado’s extra virgin peanut oil is a light golden oil with a mild peanut flavour. As chef Johnson knows it is excellent as a natural cooking oil, and is used for Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, salads and sautéing. Containing no trans fats, artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives, Olivado’s peanut oil is a great source of Vitamin E.

With the fish marinating and the dressing prepared, it’s now time to make the garnish. A little crispy salad of Japanese daikon, also known as Japanese radish, is cut quite fine. Add celery, coriander, carrot and snow peas, and your salad is almost ready. All it needs is dressing, and that’s where Darren once again turns to Olivado.

Mixing the juice from two freshly squeezed lemons with equal parts of Olivado’s avocado oil, Darren keeps it to the side, ready to add to the salad at the last moment. Once everything is ready, it’s time to cook the fish. Darren skewers the fillets and places them over a charcoal BBQ, and lets them slowly cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

BBQ snapper

Once the fish is cooked, add your spicy Jalapeño dressing, and top it off with your Olivado mixed garnish. There you have it, a mouth-watering teriyaki snapper with a Jalapeño dressing. If you would like to make your own stunning dishes with Olivado’s exceptional oil, click here to see our product range.

Olivado were founded almost 20 years ago in the far north of New Zealand in a little town called Kerikeri. This historic and picturesque town is the perfect place to harvest avocados but it’s not our only place! In 2007 we began a pilot project in a temporary facility near Nairobi, and within six months had sourced over 700 small farmholdings, and had them certified organic by Swiss organic certifier IMO.

In 2010 we extended again with a factory in Murang’a, near Thika. With 1,350 small farmholdings now certified organic and supplying us with avocados, we have a capacity in Kenya of 900 metric tons of organic extra virgin avocado oil per year. Olivado is dedicated to Organic and Fair Trade production, and by buying our avocados directly from small bio-diverse farms, paying a premium set price, we can bypass brokers and guarantee the farmers a regular income.

Take a look at our full range of exceptional oils here.

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Olivado are leading the way in the avocado industry with our approach to regeneration, sustainability and utilising all waste to energy. We work hard to leave our communities and environment in a better state than when we started. We are carbon neutral now and we have made a commitment to be carbon positive by 2022. Shop with us and do your part for the planet.