Thursday, 28 March 2013
Life » Food

Spring bites

These seasonal recipes from some of our top chefs are perfect for spring - whatever the weather...

Written by Katy Pearson

Shaved Asparagus and Fennel with Aged Caerphilly

Slicing freshly picked asparagus into thin slivers and eating it raw may not seem the obvious way to serve this delicious vegetable, but combined with just a few other simple ingredients it works a treat. Julian Biggs, my right-hand man, came up with this little gem of a salad last year. Choose thicker stems of asparagus as they are easier to shave.

Serves 4
  • 4–6 thick or 8–10 medium very fresh asparagus spears
  • 1 young head of fennel, trimmed, a few feathery tops reserved
  • a handful of small salad leaves, such as buckler leaf sorrel, land cress etc.
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 70–80g good-quality aged Caerphilly cheese, such as Gorwydd

For the dressing
  • grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4–5 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus and peel the lower end of the stalks. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, cut the asparagus on the diagonal into very fine slices.

Halve the fennel and, again, using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the fennel as thinly as possible and place in a bowl with the asparagus.

Shake the ingredients for the dressing together in a screw-topped jar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the leaves and feathery fennel tops to the asparagus and fennel and season lightly. Toss with the dressing and arrange on plates. Shave the cheese with a small, sharp knife or a vegetable peeler and scatter over the salad.

Recipe by Mark Hix avaliable at HIX Mayfair this Spring

Simmered Halibut

Simmered Halibut, celeriac, shellfish and squid

  • ½ celeriac
  • 2 razor clams cut in slices
  • 16 cockles’ tongues
  • 24 winkles’ tongues
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 20 segments of squid

Jus of shellfish:
  • 500g of mussels
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/8 fennel
  • 5 cl of olive oil
  • 20 cl of white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 40g butter
  • Black pepper
  • Cockles jus

  • 4 portions (100gr per portion)
  • 5cl of olive oil and lemon condiment
  • Salt flower
  • 1L of fish stock
  • Crushed black pepper

Prepare the garnish

Cut the celeriac in tears shape of 5mm thick, cook them in boiling water.

Make the Jus of shellfish

‘Open’ the mussels with white wine, garlic, shallot, fennel and the sprig of parsley (keep the leaves of parsley aside in order to do dices). Keep the jus after passing it through a “mousseline”. Mix with the cockles’ jus, reduce it if necessary. Add some butter, fresh lemon juice and pepper.

Cook the fish

The cooking process is very quick if you let the fillets out at the order. Season them, cook in a pan with the stock at 85 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes; (take them out at 40 degrees on the probe), glaze them with lemon condiment, do a line with pepper on the top.

Design your plate

In the plate dress nicely the 9 tears of celeriac glazed with butter, add all around the mix of shellfish and sauce. Add 5 stars of squid (cooked in a pan with garlic on a fork and some salt and pepper) on the top of the garnish; add the jug of sauce on the side.

Recipe Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

The restaurant offers the savvy ‘Lunch Hour’ set menu - served in under an hour. £55 for three courses, 2 glasses of wine, mineral water and coffee.

Spring Vegetable Tarte

Spring Vegetable Tarte Fine

  • 3 sheets of filo pastry
  • 12 large sorrel leaves
  • 80g rocket leaves
  • 6 spears of asparagus
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • 80g shelled fresh peas
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 8 spring onions
  • 60g butter

Mix the below ingredients together in a bowl and ½ the cheese and season to taste
  • 1 tbsp of chopped chervil
  • 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 60g Crème fraiche
  • 60g Grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 egg yolks

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C

Slice the asparagus and courgette thinly lengthways on a mandolin, place a pan of salted water onto the heat and bring to a boil. Place the strips of asparagus into the water and remove after 10 seconds and straight into iced water to cool. Repeat the same process for the courgette and dry both of them well on kitchen paper.

Cook the peas until just soft (approximately 2-3 minutes) and refresh in iced water and dry on kitchen paper. Place a shallow pan on a low to medium heat then add half the butter, once it has just melted, add the spring onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook briefly for 2-3 minute until just cooked and place onto a tray to cool. Mix this with the egg and crème fraiche mixture in a bowl.

Melt the remaining butter and then take a sheet of filo and brush all over on one side. Place another sheet on top and brush again with butter. Place the last sheet on top and brush with butter. Cut this into four equal rectangles, place another baking tray on top to keep the filo flat, and bake these at 180˚C for approx 15 minutes till golden and crispy.

Spread the spring onion and egg mixture onto the bottom of the filo, then lay on the sorrel and spinach leaves. Add the vegetables, courgette, asparagus, peas and the rocket leaves last, sprinkle over some extra cheese and bake at 170˚C for 8-10 minutes.

Extracted from ‘Easy’ by Tom Aikens (Ebury, £25)

This spring sees the launch of Tom’s Kitchen Canary Wharf, Bar & Deli. 

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