Smoked Trout with Fennel and Apple

Smoked trout’s delicate flavour and soft texture combines beautifully with crisp fennel and apple in this winter salad. We like it with rye bread as a main course but it works equally well as a starter and it’s elegant enough to serve to guests. Continue reading

Celeriac and Smoked Haddock Soup

Celeriac and smoked haddock blend beautifully in this velvety soup, which can be eaten as a main course or a starter. It’s luxurious but not too heavy. Perfect, I would suggest, for Christmas Eve.

I’m a big fan of celeriac. This knobbly root looks so unprepossessing but its celery-like flavour is surprisingly delicate. The pearly flesh and subtle taste of undyed smoked haddock works so well with it. The soup, inspired by one from Matt Tebbut, doesn’t need anything more than some good bread on the side.

You can pre-make the soup and cook the fish and then warm them through when you want to eat – please see the recipe for details. You’ll need the oven pre-heated to a low setting to finish the dish.

Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for your support and comments over the past 12 months. See you in the New Year!

Celeriac and Smoked Haddock Soup

Image of celeriac and smoked haddock soup

Ingredients:

2 fillets of undyed smoked haddock

500ml milk, whole or semi-skimmed + extra milk/water

Celeriac, approx 700g

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp butter

1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

8-10 black peppercorns

Salt and pepper

250ml double cream

2 or 3 tbsp finely chopped or snipped chives

Method:

Put the fish in a wide lidded pan, add a bay leaf and the peppercorns and clamp on a lid. Bring to a boil on a moderate heat then remove from the stove and leave to sit, still covered, while you prep the veg.

Peel and chop the onions. Peel the celeriac and cut into 1.5cm dice. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and add the onion, sprinkled with a little salt, and the second bay leaf. Cook gently for 8-10 minutes until the onion is softened but still uncoloured. Add the celeriac, stir well, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Remove the fish from its pan with a large spatula and put on a plate. Strain the milk into a jug and add enough water (or water plus extra milk) to bring the volume to 1 litre. Pour this into the celeriac pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until you can squash the celeriac against the side of the pan.

Meanwhile, remove the skin from the fish and check for any bones. Break into large flakes. Ten or 15 minutes before you want to eat, put the fish in a heatproof bowl and cover it with foil. Warm in a low oven (about 140C/120 fan, 275F/Gas Mark 1) along with your bread, also wrapped if necessary..

When the celeriac is done, remove the bay leaf and blend the soup until velvety smooth. Add the cream and chives. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick for your taste, thin with a little extra milk.

Ladle the soup into bowls and pile big flakes of the smoked haddock in the middle. Eat straight away, with the warmed bread.

Image of celeriac and smoked haddock soup

Scallops with Black Pudding and a Tomato and Pernod Sauce

I know, Scallops with Black Pudding and a Tomato and Pernod Sauce is a long-winded title for a simple dish but my word, it tastes good. The flavours really complement one another. And it is at least descriptive. Continue reading

Stuffed Lemon Sole with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Smaller flatfish such as lemon sole, dabs and flounder are vastly underrated compared to their posher cousins and usually very good value for money. Their flesh is delicately flavoured and best suits a simple treatment. I like them lightly seasoned and floured, then fried in brown butter, with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a scattering of parsley. Real fast food. But they adapt well to being stuffed and rolled. Continue reading

Big Mack(erel)

Beef burgers, meh, I can take them or leave them. Mostly I like them for the trimmings. A fried fish sandwich, though, is something else. A juicy mackerel fillet, cooked until the skin is crisp, slapped in a bun and anointed with tartare sauce with an unorthodox hit of horseradish … well, now I’m salivating. Continue reading

Red Mullet with Clams and Chorizo

Seafood, to my mind, is the original fast food. It cooks in minutes and given the number of species fished off our coast, there’s something for all tastes: delicate and flaky, dense and meaty, rich and oily. One of my favourites is red mullet, a fish I normally associate with warmer climes but which can be caught off our southern coast.

It’s a white fish but it will stand up to punchy flavours. I’ve cooked it here with rosemary, chorizo and clams and the resulting brothy sauce was so good we slurped it from our bowls. With spoons, we’re not heathens. Continue reading

Monkfish with Seville Dressing

I’m lucky when it comes to seafood. Spencer of Spen’s Fish will deliver to my door and my friend Mike Warner of A Passion For Seafood does pop-up sales at a local farm shop every Friday. I’m spoilt for choice, which is fortunate because I went through a lot of fish this week testing what is actually a very simple dish.

It is monkfish with a dressing based on Sicily’s salmoriglia, but using Seville orange juice instead of lemon. Sevilles are such a seasonal treat it seems silly not to. It’s essentially a punchy vinaigrette which acts here as both marinade, glaze and sauce.

Continue reading

Salmon Terrines

I hardly dare wish you a Happy New Year but I do sincerely hope the next 12 months will be an improvement on what has gone before. If you’d like to celebrate leaving 2020 behind (and who wouldn’t?) then this is a good start to a meal and to 2021. Continue reading

Devilled Crab Pasties

For an island nation we’re curiously uninspired when it comes to buying fish. Apparently the seafood us UK shoppers are most likely to sling into our shopping trolleys is salmon, tuna, cod, haddock and warm water prawns.

Nothing wrong with that, you might say, except that a good deal of it is imported (and in the case of the prawns fairly tasteless) yet we have so much amazing seafood available from our own waters. It’s madness not to take advantage of what’s on our doorstep and with coronavirus impacting our fleets’ exports it’s virtually a moral duty. Continue reading