Ok, this really is something you do on a Saturday or when you have the time. I did this midweek, after work. It was a stretch then for an evening dinner, but it was sunny and I wanted to try it. In the original recipe at Great British Chefs (do go to the site it really is wonderful) it does take a few days, for mine (given the time) it was a bit quicker as is the method set out below.
Whatever, the result was lovely. The saltiness of the oysters and cucumber sauce lifts a lovely piece of fish to a delicate place. It really is worth the effort.
6 lemon sole fillets, large
200ml of vegetable oil
40g of tarragon
3 large leeks
1 cucumber, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
50g of horseradish cream
50ml of white wine vinegar
2 tbsp of caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 large eggs beaten
8 oysters, shucked
1/2 lemon, juiced
300ml of vegetable oil
10 spring onions
120g of flour
120g of Panko breadcrumbs
oil, for deep-frying
Tarragon Sauce: The day before (but I actually did it on the day) add the tarragon and oil to a blender and blitz until smooth. Transfer the oil to a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin or a coffee filter. Set over a container to collect the oil that drips through and leave in the fridge overnight – the oil should be bright green and crystal clear.
Slice the leeks into rounds and blanch in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Refresh in iced water.
To make the oyster sauce: add the cucumber, shallots, horseradish cream, vinegar and sugar to a blender. Blitz until smooth for 3 minutes. Tip the liquid into a fine sieve and allow to strain through to remove the pulp. Set the strained liquid aside.
Add the egg yolks, lemon juice and oysters to a blender and blitz until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream to emulsify
Scrape down the sides of the blender. Turn on the blender again and slowly add back the cucumber stock until you reach the desired consistency and flavour.
Blanch the spring onions in salted boiling water then refresh in iced water. Drain and set aside.
Preheat a deep-fryer to 190°C. Dip each oyster first in the flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Fry in the hot oil for 2 minutes until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper and season with salt.
Heat a griddle pan, brush the blanched spring onions with oil and cook until lightly charred.
To cook the lemon sole: brush each fillet with a little oil, season with salt and grill under a hot grill for around 2 minutes, until just cooked through.
To serve: sit the slices of leek in the centre of each plate. Pour the sauce around the leeks and drizzle over the tarragon oil. Place a lemon sole fillet on top of the leeks, arrange the spring onion on the plate and top with a crispy oyster. Serve immediately
So sometimes something cold, even at this time of year, can be very rewarding. A dish that has about it something of the Mediterranean with the couscous, dill, olive oil and lemon mix – but that smell and flavour of chunks of smoked salmon just scream out more a summer time plate. I love this, it easily feeds two very well or four with a few side dishes. You can mix it up – add cucumber, other peppers, pitta bread even – but really you don’t need much on the side, this dish pretty much does it all.
There is something wonderful about Chinese chicken curry with rice. I suppose it takes me back to my childhood. Of course I suppose there is nothing authentic about it, but that yellowish creamy sauce, with onions and mushrooms makes it my favourite. You can add what you want to make it vegetarian and substitute the stock for water, personally if I want it veggie I just leave out the chicken. This really is made quicker than waiting for the order to arrive, and it is so simple it can be done after the pub! Feeds two.
I am going through a thing at the moment for food I had as a child (and crave right now). It started when I thought about Chinese chicken curry, and turned very easily to pie and mash. There is something wholesome and deeply fulfilling when you are faced with a pie with a crisp top and suet base, filled with mincemeat. Aside that, comes the mash, and poured over the top the parsley liquor (and a generous amount of vinegar). It is isn’t rocket science, and I can manage to eat two pies even in the summer. This really works. Feeds four.
Summer, and in England at least crab comes into its own. I have used it elsewhere on this blog but sometimes with the heat of some chili and silky smooth pasta it can make a lovely, but light dish. If you want to serve it as a starter then add some cream, which makes the whole thing very rich – I think too rich for a main course. Victoria Moore in her terrific book on wine suggests a Burgundian chardonnay or Chablis goes well with this – as ever she is spot on.
Time to have a fish dish. Mackerel is probably my favourite fish, it is full of flavour and being an oily fish is very good for you. We are also heading into summer, so the meal needs a bit of that Mediterranean feel about it. I have taken this recipe and changed it out a little. While the original is nice, the peppers and potatoes can feel a little bland, so it has been perked up a little with pinch of chili flakes and I have exchanged the white wine for vermouth.
This serves two as a big meal or four as a regular one.
I have braised ox cheek in the freezer and while there are a number of ways of using it up – it is cheap piece of meat and feeds plenty – one of the best is to use it in individual suet puddings. Yesterday, this was the Sunday lunch. No these should not only be eaten in the Winter, sometimes an unexpected dish like this in a cold spring, late summer or early autumn can be a welcome sight indeed. The suet pudding, enveloping the long cooked and rich steak, with an additional pour of red wine or other gravy can be just the dish needed at any time of the year. If you are using something other than the braised beef from this site then I will create a pop up on how to cook the beef.