Everyday Seafood - Nathan Outlaw (2016)

Starters and small bites

Crab pâté with pink grapefruit

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For this beautiful starter, make sure your crabmeat is in tip-top condition, as the dish really shows off its quality. Trust me, you will get a few wows when your guests, family and friends try it. I like to serve it with a pile of lightly toasted sourdough.

Serves 4 as a starter

300g white crabmeat (from a 1.5kg freshly cooked crab)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pâté

200g brown crabmeat, sieved

1½ sheets of bronze leaf gelatine

30ml brandy

A pinch of cayenne pepper

A pinch of ground cumin

200ml double cream

2 tbsp lime juice

For the pink grapefruit jelly

2½ sheets of bronze leaf gelatine

300ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (from about 2 grapefruit)

50g caster sugar

A pinch of sea salt

To garnish

1 pink grapefruit, segmented

Mustard cress

A drizzle of olive oil

To serve

Sourdough bread

Pick through your crabmeat, checking for any shell or cartilage to discard. Put the white crabmeat into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Put 4 tbsp into a small bowl for the garnish and refrigerate. Divide the rest equally between 4 small bowls or ramekins.

To make the pâté, soak the gelatine in a shallow dish of ice-cold water for about 5 minutes to soften. Heat the brown crabmeat, brandy and spices in a small pan over a low heat. Simmer gently for a minute, then add the cream and heat through.

Remove the gelatine from the dish and squeeze out the excess water, then add it to the brown crab, off the heat, stirring to melt. Transfer to a blender and blend for 1 minute, adding the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a jug and pour it equally over the white crabmeat in the bowls. Place in the fridge to set.

While the crab pâté is setting, make the grapefruit jelly. Soak the gelatine in ice-cold water, as above, to soften. Put the grapefruit juice, sugar and a pinch of salt into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove the gelatine from the dish and squeeze out the excess water, then add to the juice mixture, off the heat, stirring until fully melted. Leave to cool, but don’t let it set.

When the pâté is set, pour the cooled, liquid jelly evenly over the surface and return to the fridge to set.

Take the pâté out of the fridge around 20 minutes before serving to bring it to room temperature. Cut away the peel and pith from the grapefruit and cut out the segments from between the membranes; cut these into smaller pieces.

To serve, spoon the reserved white crabmeat on top of the pâté. Add the grapefruit pieces, scatter over some cress and drizzle with olive oil. Toast the sourdough and serve with the pâté.

Crab Scotch quail’s eggs with watercress mayonnaise

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Okay, so these little nibbles are not real Scotch eggs, but they are just as tasty in my opinion, and they work so well with the peppery watercress mayonnaise. If the idea of crab doesn’t float your boat, we do a fabulous smoked fish version too – just replace the crab with smoked haddock and proceed in the same way.

Makes 12; Serves 4 as a starter

For the crab mix

200g fresh cod fillet, diced

75g brown crabmeat, sieved

200g white crabmeat, picked

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp chopped chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the eggs

14 quail’s eggs (includes 2 extras in case of breakage)

100g plain flour, for coating

2 medium (hen’s) eggs, beaten

100g day-old bread, blitzed in a blender to crumbs

Sunflower oil for deep-frying

For the watercress mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

¾ tsp English mustard

20g Davidstow Cheddar, grated

1½ tbsp white wine vinegar

3 tbsp watercress, chopped

300ml sunflower oil

To serve

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Put the cod fillet into a food processor with a good pinch of salt and blend for 30 seconds. Add the brown crabmeat and blend for a further 30 seconds. Scrape into a bowl and add the white crabmeat, lemon zest, chives and seasoning. Mix together well, cover and place in the fridge.

Place the quail’s eggs in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Meanwhile, get ready a bowl of ice-cold water. As soon as the water begins to boil, take the eggs out of the pan and plunge them into the ice-cold water. Let cool, then peel the eggs.

Set up three bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs and one with breadcrumbs. Using clean hands, carefully mould the crab mixture around each quail’s egg and pass through the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs to coat. Put the eggs to one side, or in the fridge if you are cooking them later.

To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks into a blender or small food processor with the mustard, grated cheese, wine vinegar and watercress. Process for 1 minute and then, with the motor still running, slowly pour in the oil. Once it is fully emulsified, stop the machine and season the mayonnaise with salt to taste. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 160°C. Deep-fry the Scotch eggs in the hot oil, in batches as necessary, for about 3 minutes until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and season with a little salt.

Spoon the watercress mayonnaise into a bowl. Place the Scotch eggs on a warm platter with the bowl of mayonnaise and lemon wedges.

Pancetta-wrapped oyster fritters with cucumber and mint dipping sauce

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Oysters and bacon are a great flavour combination. Their salty and rich flavours need something to cut them, and that’s where the zingy dipping sauce comes in – it has a little kick from the chilli too. A cucumber and fennel salad brings the whole dish together with its lovely fresh textures.

Serves 4 as a starter

12 live Pacific oysters

50ml olive oil

1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped

½ fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped

100g fresh breadcrumbs

2 tbsp chopped mint

2 tbsp chopped curly parsley

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

12 thin slices of pancetta

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dipping sauce

1 cucumber

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

½ fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped

A small bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely sliced

1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

3 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp cider vinegar

3 tbsp water

For the salad

1 cucumber

1 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed

1 tsp toasted black onion seeds

Juice of 1 lime

A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Open the oysters and strain their juice through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl. Chop the oysters and then add them to the juices.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the onion and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Add the oysters and juice, breadcrumbs, herbs, lime zest and juice to the softened veg and mix well. Season with pepper (you won’t need salt because the oysters have enough).

Divide the mixture into 12 even-sized balls and roll them into rugby ball shapes. Lay the pancetta slices on a board and place an oyster ball on each one, then wrap in the pancetta.

Preheat your grill to its highest setting. Oil the grill pan, place the fritters on it and put to one side.

For the dipping sauce, halve, peel and deseed the cucumber, then cut into 5mm dice. Place in a bowl with all the other ingredients and toss to mix. Divide between 4 small dishes and set aside.

For the salad, halve, peel, deseed and finely slice the cucumber. Finely slice the fennel, using a mandoline if you have one. Toss the cucumber, fennel and onion seeds together, season with a little salt and dress with the lime juice and olive oil.

To cook the fritters, place them under the grill and cook for 3 minutes on one side, then carefully turn them and cook for another 3 minutes.

Divide the salad between 4 starter plates and place a dish of dipping sauce on each one. Once the fritters are cooked, divide them between the plates and serve.

Prawn cocktail quiche

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I love a good prawn cocktail, who doesn’t? This picnic quiche is a little nod to the 70s classic. It has the same flavours but no limp lettuce or tasteless tomato. You can make a big one if you wish, or little canapé sized ones as I sometimes do; just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Prawn cocktail will never be the same again!

Serves 6 as a starter

For the pastry

250g plain flour

150g unsalted butter, diced

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

1 medium egg, beaten

3 tbsp milk

Egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp milk)

For the filling

15 raw tiger prawns, peeled, deveined and halved

3 medium eggs

300ml double cream

50ml good quality tomato ketchup, ideally homemade

½ tsp Tabasco

5 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

50g Parmesan, freshly grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the pastry, put the flour, butter, salt and rosemary into a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and pulse briefly until the dough comes together. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 175°C/Gas 5.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin and use to line a loose-based rectangular flan tin, about 25 x 10cm and 3cm deep, or an 18cm round flan tin, 3cm deep.

Line the pastry case with a sheet of greaseproof paper and add a layer of baking beans. Rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then lift out the paper and beans and brush the pastry with egg wash. Return to the oven for 3 minutes, then remove and set aside. Turn the oven down to 160°C/Fan 145°C/Gas 3.

For the filling, lightly beat the eggs, cream, tomato ketchup and Tabasco together and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the spring onions and cherry tomatoes in the pastry case, followed by the prawns, distributing them evenly. Pour on the egg and cream mixture, then sprinkle with the grated Parmesan. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the custard is set and the pastry is golden.

Leave the quiche in the tin on a wire rack to cool a little before slicing. Either eat warm or leave it to cool completely and take to the beach or park.

Crispy fried grey mullet, chilli jam

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I serve these crisp-fried fish bites on cocktail sticks on a platter with a dish of chilli jam. They are great as a pre-dinner bite, or handed around at a party. Grey mullet is ideal for this sort of cooking because it has a decent oily content that stops it drying out. Mackerel, sardine and salmon are good alternatives. You’ll probably have more chilli jam than you need, but it will keep for a few weeks in the fridge in a sealed container, and is delicious with cheese and cold meats.

Serves 4 as a starter, or up to 8 as a bite

400g grey mullet fillet, skinned and pin-boned

2 tbsp chopped coriander

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp cayenne pepper

100g gluten-free self-raising flour

120ml Cornish Pilsner (or similar beer)

Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chilli jam

1 red onion, peeled and finely diced

4 red peppers, cored, deseeded and finely sliced

6 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

400g tin plum tomatoes

300g soft brown sugar

150ml red wine vinegar

2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped

To serve

1 lime, cut into wedges

To make the chilli jam, put all of the ingredients into a heavy-based pan (I use a cast-iron one) and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then lower the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes until the jam is well reduced. Once it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, stir constantly over the heat until it looks like bubbling lava. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. (Once cooled, the jam can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container.)

Cut the mullet into roughly 4cm chunks. Mix the chopped coriander, lime zest, cumin, cayenne and a good pinch of salt together in a bowl. Add the mullet pieces and toss to mix. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

To make the batter, mix the flour and beer together until smooth. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy-based pan to 180°C. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

You will need to cook the fish in 2 or 3 batches. One at a time, dip each chunk into the batter to coat, then carefully lower into the hot oil. Deep-fry for 3–4 minutes until cooked and crispy. Gently lift the fish out and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm while you cook the rest.

Sprinkle the fish chunks with a little salt and spear onto cocktail sticks. Serve immediately, on a platter or individual plates with a bowl of chilli jam and lime wedges on the side.

A Cornish style of smoked brandade

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My version of the French brandade, using Cornish smoked haddock and saffron, may upset purists, but who cares – it tastes really good! It’s versatile, too. You can dress it up in individual bowls to serve as a posh starter with toasted sourdough, or you can just whack it in the middle of the table with a pile of raw vegetables and everyone can dip away.

Serves 8 as a starter

500g finest smoked haddock or smoked pollack, skinned and pin-boned

2 large baking potatoes, peeled

A pinch of saffron strands

300ml whole milk

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

200ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil (ideally Cornish), plus a drizzle to finish

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely sliced

Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Sourdough bread, thickly sliced

Cut the potatoes into large even-sized chunks and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and add salt and the saffron. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, pour the milk into another pan and add the garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then add the fish. Take the pan off the heat and leave the fish to cook in the residual heat of the milk for 6 minutes. Remove the fish and flake into a food processor; reserve the milk.

Tip the potatoes into a colander and leave them to drain and dry off for a few minutes. Meanwhile, gently warm the rapeseed oil in a pan.

Purée the fish in the processor then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the warm oil and the reserved milk through the funnel. Once it is all incorporated, add most of the parsley, saving a little for the garnish.

Add the potatoes to the mixture and blitz for 30 seconds. Finally, add most of the lemon juice and a good sprinkling of pepper.

Scrape the brandade into a bowl and give it a good stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if required.

Just before serving, toast the sourdough slices. Serve the brandade topped with a drizzle of rapeseed oil and the remaining parsley, with the toasted sourdough on the side.

Hot-smoked salmon pâté, whisky jelly

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Salmon and whisky is a pairing I’ve been serving in various ways since I opened my first restaurant, Black Pig, in 2003. Good quality hot-smoked salmon is available from good delis, supermarkets and online – it’s well worth buying superior smoked fish because the texture and flavour will be better. If whisky isn’t your thing, you could use the same recipe to create a beetroot jelly, swapping the whisky for beetroot juice.

Serves 6 as a starter

For the pâté

400g hot-smoked salmon, skinned

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

100g full-fat cream cheese

150g full-fat Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp creamed horseradish

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the whisky jelly

2 sheets of bronze leaf gelatine

200ml Laphroaig whisky

40g caster sugar

To serve

12 slices of rye bread

Grated zest of 1 lime

To make the pâté, put the hot-smoked salmon into a food processor with the lime juice and blitz for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cream cheese, yoghurt, horseradish, lime zest and some salt and pepper. Blitz for 1 minute: you want the pâté to be almost smooth, with a little texture from the salmon. Divide between 6 ramekins or other small dishes, cover and refrigerate.

To make the jelly, soak the gelatine in a shallow dish of ice-cold water for about 5 minutes to soften. Put the whisky and sugar into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the liquor is almost at a simmer.

Remove the gelatine leaves from the dish and squeeze out the excess water. Add to the whisky, off the heat, and stir until melted. Leave to cool completely, but don’t let it set.

Pour the cooled, liquid jelly evenly on top of the pâté and return to the fridge to set.

Take the pâté out of the fridge around 20 minutes before serving so that it comes to room temperature.

When ready to eat, toast the rye bread. Sprinkle the lime zest over the pâté and serve immediately, with the toast.

Jacob’s favourite cod’s roe dip

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My son Jacob adores this dip. It was originally created as a bar snack to serve with drinks at Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac and has been on the menu ever since. Easy to make, it’s a great dish for a party and keeps well in the fridge for 3–4 days. I serve it topped generously with smoked paprika and garlicky olive oil, with a pile of warm flatbreads to tear and scoop up the dip. You should be able to get good smoked cod’s roe from your fishmonger, although you may need to order it in advance. Alternatively, you can order it online from www.thecornishfishmonger.co.uk.

Serves 6 as a starter, or up to 10 as a bite

400g smoked cod’s roe, rinsed and membrane removed

4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

500ml olive oil

100g good quality crustless white bread

About 100ml milk

40g Dijon mustard

Juice of 2 lemons

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Smoked paprika to sprinkle

To serve

Flatbreads

Put the garlic and olive oil into a saucepan over a medium heat and heat until the oil starts to bubble around the garlic cloves. Turn the heat down slightly, so that the garlic doesn’t fry, and cook gently for 20 minutes. When the garlic is soft, take the pan off the heat. Leave to infuse and cool completely.

Meanwhile, break the bread into chunks and place in a bowl. Pour on the milk and set aside to soak.

When the oil is cold, remove the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and peel them; reserve the oil.

Put the cod’s roe, mustard, lemon juice and garlic into a blender or food processor. Squeeze the bread to remove excess milk, then add to the blender and blitz for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add most of the garlic oil through the funnel until the mixture thickens and has the consistency of mayonnaise; save some oil for serving.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend for another 20 seconds. Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the dip generously with smoked paprika and drizzle with the reserved garlicky olive oil. Accompany with plenty of warm flatbreads.

Polenta coated gurnard, sweetcorn, red onion and tomato relish, jalapeño mayonnaise

I particularly like to cook with Mexican flavours in the summer – it just feels right – and this is a great dish to make when tomatoes are at their peak. Gurnard has a lovely sweet flavour and nice firm texture, which is well suited to deep-frying in this way. Grey mullet and bass also work well here.

Serves 4 as a starter

2 gurnard, about 600g each, filleted and pin-boned

100g plain flour, for coating

2 medium eggs, beaten

150g fine polenta

Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sweetcorn, red onion and tomato relish

6 ripe plum tomatoes

2 corn on the cobs

3 tbsp olive oil

4 small red onions, peeled and cut into 5mm dice

2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp chopped coriander, plus a few sprigs to garnish

For the jalapeño mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

15ml verjus or white wine vinegar

30g jalapeño chillies in vinegar, drained

250ml sunflower oil

15g flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

10g coriander, leaves picked and chopped

25g rocket leaves, chopped

15g Parmesan, freshly grated

To serve

2 limes, halved

To make the relish, using a small, sharp knife, scoop out the core from each tomato and score a crisscross on the bottom of each one. Place in a bowl, pour on boiling water to cover and leave for 30 seconds. Lift out the tomatoes, peel away the skins and roughly chop the flesh; set aside.

Cut the sweetcorn kernels from the cobs, by standing the cobs upright on a board and cutting downwards with a sharp knife.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the onions, chillies and sweetcorn. Cook, stirring, over a high heat for about 3 minutes until the onions and sweetcorn start to soften and colour. Add the chopped tomatoes with a good pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, sugar and coriander. Stir well, then set aside in the pan.

For the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, verjus and chillies in a blender or small food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blitz again for a few seconds. With the motor running, slowly add half the oil in a thin, steady stream through the funnel. Add the parsley, coriander, rocket, Parmesan and a large pinch of salt. Blend for 1 minute. Add the remaining oil in a steady stream, blending until the mayonnaise is thick. Taste and correct the seasoning, then spoon into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Set up three bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs and one with polenta. Pass the gurnard fillets through the flour, then the egg and finally the polenta to coat. Place the coated fillets on a plate.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C. Deep-fry the fillets in the hot oil, in batches, for about 3 minutes until golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with salt.

To serve, share the relish between 4 plates. Add a gurnard fillet and a good spoonful of mayonnaise to each plate and finish with a sprig of coriander and a lime half.

Fried oyster bap, cucumber and mint relish

If any of your friends or family say they don’t like oysters, get them to try these. I’ve converted no end of staunch avoiders with crispy deep-fried oysters! I wouldn’t fry – or even cook – a native oyster; it’s the cheaper and bigger farmed oysters that you want here. Opening oysters might seem a bit daunting at first but, once you have done a few, you’ll become more confident.

Serves 4 as a snack

12 live rock oysters

100g plain flour, for coating

2 medium eggs, beaten

100g Japanese panko breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cucumber and mint relish

2 cucumbers

100ml cider vinegar

50g caster sugar

1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped mint

1 tbsp chopped flat parsley

To serve

4 floured baps, split almost in half

1 bunch of watercress, leaves picked

First make the relish. Halve the cucumbers lengthways, then scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Slice the cucumber flesh into half-moon shapes and place in a bowl. Season with salt, then leave to draw out the excess water for 30 minutes.

Heat the cider vinegar, sugar, red onion, garlic and fennel seeds in a pan until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.

Squeeze the cucumber to remove excess water, add to the vinegar mixture and give it a good stir. Leave to cool completely, then stir in the chopped chilli and herbs. Set aside until ready to serve.

Set up three bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs and one with breadcrumbs. Open the oysters, drain off the juices and check for any fragments of shell. Pass the oysters through the flour, patting off any excess, then through the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs to coat. The oysters can stay in the breadcrumbs until you are ready to fry them.

When ready to serve, heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C.

Toast your baps and place 2 tbsp of the relish and some watercress on each base.

Deep-fry the oysters in the hot oil for 1 minute until golden and crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Place 3 crispy oysters on each bap base and close the lid. Serve at once.

Lobster risotto balls, basil and orange mayonnaise

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This is my version of the Sicilian classic arancini. It’s a great recipe and a real crowd pleaser. At my first restaurant, I cooked a lobster risotto flavoured with orange, basil and spring onions, which became a signature dish. I’ve used the same combination here because it works so well.

Makes about 20; serves 10 as a starter

2 live lobsters, about 800g each

1 litre vegetable stock

250g carnaroli rice

1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

100g Parmesan, freshly grated

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

30 basil leaves, finely sliced

1 medium egg, beaten

150g plain flour

500g dried breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the basil and orange mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

30ml white wine vinegar

450ml light olive oil

4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

20 basil leaves, finely sliced

Put the lobsters in the freezer 30 minutes before cooking to sedate them.

Bring a large pan of well salted water to the boil. To kill the lobsters instantly, place them on a board and insert the tip of a strong, sharp knife firmly into the cross on the back of the head, then plunge the lobsters into the boiling water. Bring back to the boil and cook for 8 minutes.

Remove the lobsters from the pan to a tray and leave until cool enough to handle. Twist and pull the claws, legs and head away from the tails. Put the heads into a pan with the vegetable stock. Crack the claws and extract the meat. Using scissors, cut open the tail shell along its length. Pull the shell apart and remove the tail meat in one piece. Cut this meat in half lengthways and remove the dark intestinal tract. Cut the tail and claw meat into small pieces, put into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

For the lobster balls, bring the stock (and lobster heads) to the boil. Add the rice with a pinch of salt and bring back to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the stock. Take off the heat and discard the heads. Stir in the spring onions, Parmesan, orange zest and some pepper. Spread the rice out on a tray and cool in the fridge.

Meanwhile, for the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, orange zest and wine vinegar into a blender or small food processor and blend for 30 seconds then, with the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. If it gets too thick, add 1 tsp water, then continue. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the spring onions, basil and salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Once the rice is cold, stir in the sliced basil and lobster meat. Break off pieces and roll into balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. In a bowl, mix the beaten egg and flour together with some salt and pepper until smoothly combined. Place the breadcrumbs on a tray. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 160°C.

Pass the lobster balls through the egg mix and then into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat all over. Deep-fry in the hot oil, in batches if necessary, for about 2 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt. Serve hot or cold, with the mayonnaise on the side.

Poached eggs with bottarga, salmon roe and horseradish mash

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This is a breakfast treat for all seafood lovers. Bottarga – the salted, pressed, air-dried roe of either tuna or grey mullet – is considered to be one of the great food delicacies of the world. Of the two, I prefer the more refined, subtle flavour of grey mullet bottarga, which is also more sustainable. The keta caviar – salmon roe – is a lovely addition. To give the dish a comforting feel, I sit the poached eggs on a creamy horseradish mash and liven it up with a grating of fresh horseradish at the end.

Serves 4

1 bottarga, about 100g (you won’t need all of it for this recipe)

100g keta caviar (ideally wild Alaskan)

8 large eggs

50ml white wine vinegar

For the horseradish mash

3 large baking potatoes

1 fresh horseradish root, peeled

150ml single cream

100ml whole milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 185°C/Gas 6.

For the mash, bake the potatoes on an oven tray for 1 hour or until tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, grate 50g of the horseradish and put into a saucepan with the cream and milk. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.

Cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and pass through a potato ricer into a bowl, or mash with a potato masher. Fold in the creamy milk to give a soft mash texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind the bottarga and keta are salty. Keep warm.

To poach the eggs, bring a large pan of water to a simmer with the wine vinegar added. Crack each egg into a small individual cup or ramekin and add to the simmering water. (There is no need to stir the water – if your eggs are fresh they will form a nice shape instantly.) Cook the eggs for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, lay some kitchen paper on a plate ready to drain the eggs. When the eggs are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and trim away the escaping bits of egg white if you wish. Drain on the kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon a portion of horseradish mash onto each of 4 warmed plates and make a well in the middle with the back of the spoon. Place 2 poached eggs in each well and slice the bottarga over the top. Add small spoonfuls of keta, followed by a good grating of horseradish. Serve immediately, with a wedge of lemon.

Fish finger roll, pea and mint mayonnaise

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Believe it or not, this is where it all started for me, with those bright orange crumbed fish bricks from the magic cold place! I’d like to tell you that my love of fish started with bouillabaisse in Provence, or whole turbot cooked over coals in San Sebastian, but no, it was the humble fish finger. Now, of course, I make my own. Eaten burger-style, with lettuce, gherkins and a pea and mint mayonnaise, they are surprisingly good. For a buffet or kids’ party, buy smaller rolls and cut smaller fish fingers.

Serves 4 as a snack

600g haddock fillet, skinned, pin-boned and cut into fingers

100g plain flour, for coating

2 medium eggs, beaten

100g breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pea and mint mayonnaise

2 egg yolks

100g fresh or frozen peas

1 tsp English mustard

5 tsp malt vinegar

2 tbsp chopped mint

300ml sunflower oil

To serve

1 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded

2 large gherkins, grated

4 good quality focaccia or other large rolls, split in half

1 lemon, cut into wedges

First make the mayonnaise. Put the egg yolks, peas, mustard, vinegar and half of the mint into a blender or small food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Then, with the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream through the funnel until it is fully emulsified. Stop the machine and add the remaining mint and some salt and pepper, then blend for 30 seconds. Transfer the mayonnaise to a tub, check the seasoning and refrigerate until needed.

Set up three bowls: one with the flour, one with beaten eggs and one with breadcrumbs. Pass the fish, one piece at a time, though the flour and pat off any excess, then through the egg, and finally through the breadcrumbs. Place the breaded fish on a plate. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C.

Combine the shredded lettuce and grated gherkins with 2 tbsp of the mayonnaise and mix well, then share equally between the roll bases.

Now fry your fish fingers for 4 minutes until golden and crisp, turning as necessary to colour evenly. When the fish is ready, drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper and season well with salt.

Lay the hot fish fingers on the rolls and top with a dollop of mayonnaise. Close the lids and serve immediately, with lemon wedges.