So I love where I live , for example I can pop over to my neighbours house for 2 minutes and come home with a fillet of wild bass ! Lucky for us we have many friends as neighbours and we all give, share and help one another out. This is so gratifying to be surrounded by such positive energy on your doorstep.
It’s even better when that positive energy comes from food. I love fresh fish and to have a bit of wild bass is a novelty for me . Jim my neighbour is a bit of a legend when it comes to spearfishing , over the years I have seen him come home with all sorts of jewels of the sea from his secret marks. A lot of time, effort, training and skill goes into his ability to hand catch amazing fish. He very kindly gave me some bass in return for cooking a load of food for him and his family the week before.
When it comes to cooking fresh fish the key is simplicity. You really want the other ingredients in the dish to complement the fish .If the other ingredients are as fresh as the fish then you are laughing. Its always good to have something tart with fish. Lucky for me I had some local gooseberries which were tart but also had the perfect amount of underlying sweetness. I love experimenting with tart flavours mixed with different types of seaweed as it combines the sour and salty flavours of asia that I love but you do not necessarily associate with the UK. In this recipe I used Dulce seaweed as it has quite a meaty flavour. Bass goes well with meaty, salty flavours such as chorizo so I thought I would give Dulce a go. It works really really well !
Wash the new potatoes and Broccoli and cook in salted boiling water. Cook until done.
Take the gooseberries and remove the stalks, clean and put into a blender (Nutri Bullet ) with the dulce seaweed. Add a teaspoon of water just to give it a bit or liquid.
Add the blended gooseberries and dulce to 1 tablespoon melted butter in a pan. Gently simmer for 2-4 minutes until the sauce has come together and emulsified. Turn off the heat.
Portion the seabass and season with sea salt
Heat the oil in a pan on a high heat. Once the oil is hot add the sea bass skin side down. Push the fish down with a spatula so that it does not curl up due to the heat. You want to leave the fish skin side down until it is cooked 3/4 of the way through. Try to avoid moving the fish too much as you want a crisp skin. Once the fish is 3/4 cooked , flip the fish over and finish the top of the fish.
Whilst the bass is cooking heat up the seaweed and gooseberry butter. Place the cooked fish on top of the broccoli. Add the butter sauce on top of the fish and serve with buttered new potatoes.
This dish is amazing and it is all down to the produce. The potatoes on their own are out of this world. Full of flavour, texture, sweet and buttery. This combined with the fresh broccoli and fish creates a fresh lovely naturally sweet dish. This is then finished with the acidity and salt from the butter mixture. It really is a perfect combination, every ingredient standing tall on its own but then complimenting each other perfectly. The crispy skin on the bass is also sweet, charred and oily that gives the dish another texture and depth of flavour. This dish can be made with any fish such as haddock, hake or ling. Seabass is an amazing fish however it is under fishing restrictions at the moment, you are allowed to fish for it after July 1st and take one home. They are under threat to an extent here in the UK which is why these personal quotas are put in place however stocks are apparently increasing again.
This is a dish from gods county and to be relished. It has the usual twist of flavour and makes you feel proud to be eating a dish that was all sourced from our doorstep.
I was given some lovely local quail eggs this week and wanted to do a recipe that was quick, different and easy. A take of an old classic gammon and eggs. I do like gammon and pineapple however the only place that grows pineapples in Cornwall is Heligan Gardens. Supposedly it cost them over a £1000 to grow a pineapple and then they are sent to the queen, hence they haven’t arrived as a staple supply at the Cornish Food Box yet! They did have some lovely rhubarb though which we know with a bit of honey can be both tart and sweet. A pervert accompaniment to cut through the meatiness and saltiness of the gammon.
Setting out on of this adventure of cooking using 100% local produce has really made me appreciate rhubarb as it can just about be grown all year round. It is plentiful and adds a good tartness to dishes that require a bit of acidity, in alot of cases it can be good replacement for lemon and lime if used right.
Rhubarb Dressed Gammon , Quail Egg and Cider Sauce
Heat Oil in a medium heated pan and quickly fry the gammon 3 minutes per side. You want it so that it is just under cooked as it will still be cooking once we place the rhubarb on top. Turn off the heat and leave the gammon in the pan.
Mandolin the rhubarb cross ways so that you are left with beautiful little slices.
Place the slices on the gammon like scales on a fish. Its best to keep it in the pan.
Turn the heat on to medium/ low and brush or drizzle the rhubarb with a bit of melted butter and honey. Put a lid on the pan and cook for about 4 Minutes, until the rhubarb is cooked.
Remove the Gammon and leave to rest. In the meantime fry some very thinly sliced onions with butter in the same pan until they go soft. this will help pick up the meaty flavours from the gammon. Once the onions are soft (5 mins) add Half a bottle of Cider to the pan and turn up the heat. Once it starts to bubble add a couple of knobs of butter until the sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt as required but not too much as the gammon will be salty.
In a separate pan gently fry the quail egg.
This dish looks unusual which is why I like it. You can dress it up to resemble a fish using the rhubarb as scales, you can go into as much detail as you wish. The flavour combinations are absolutely perfect. Gammon is a strong tasting bit of meat , so you need strong flavours to accompany it to help break it down . This dish has sweet from the honey in the rhubarb, and the cider. Salty from the gammon and sour from the rhubarb and the apples in the cider. The cider sauce works really well, apples and pork we know go really well so i'm not sure why it isn't used with gammon as much. Probably because apple isn't sour but in this recipe we have rhubarb for that. The quail egg finishes it off nicely as it just goes so well with pork and gammon. It also adds a nice visual element to the dish such as a representing a huge fish eye !