Summer is one of my personal highlights as a chef, thanks to the abundance of fresh produce that’s available on our doorstep.
There’s nothing better than using home-grown ingredients in your recipes and this summer, I am looking forward to harvesting my pea plants and using fresh elderflowers in my homemade cordials.
It’s also the best time of year for foraging and our forager Andy Young supplies us with freshly-picked wild mint, watercress, girolles and mushrooms. It’s no surprise that we decided to focus our recent seasonal showcase event on these gems. Taking inspiration from our region’s meadows and hedgerows, we used a diverse range of ingredients to complement and enhance dishes such as saddle of rabbit and wild salmon.
For a true taste of summer – and a nod to the produce that’s growing in my own garden – I’m sharing with you a simple but delicious dish that features English peas as its star ingredient, together with a sea trout recipe that uses fennel, shallots and basil to create a delicate, balanced plate, perfect for dining al fresco.
4 x 150g fillets of sea trout
For the braised fennel
4 x fennel
For the tapenade
300g black olives
2 x garlic cloves
4 x anchovies
For the sauce vierge
1 x garlic clove finely sliced
200ml olive oil
2 x shallots finely diced
1 x tsp toasted coriander seeds
50ml white wine vinegar
Cut the fennel lengthways into slices.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the fennel and then caramelise.
Once caramelised, add the chicken stock and braise until cooked.
In a mixing bowl, add the olives, garlic, anchovies, basil, salt and pepper and blitz.
While blitzing, add the olive oil until the mix has reached a paste-like texture.
Sweat off the shallots and garlic without colour.
Next, add toasted coriander seeds and white wine vinegar.
Continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced and add the olive oil.
Finish with chopped cherry tomatoes and finely chopped basil.
Spread a little tapenade onto each plate and place the braised fennel on top. Add the pan-roasted trout (cooked at 180 degrees for four minutes).
Garnish with sea vegetables and sauce vierge.
335g English peas
300ml chicken stock
20g caster sugar
Bring all the ingredients up to the boil, blitz and pass through a sieve.
Set the mixture aside to cool.
While it’s cooling, weigh the mix. For every 400g of pea cream, add 3/4 of a gelatine leaf.
Pour the liquid into your desired moulds, allow it to set and then serve.