Classic fish soup with rouille and croutons
I love fish soup. It’s a deeply satisfying dish. You can use almost any fish for this apart from the oily ones.
mixed fish 1kg, such as gurnard, cod and grey mullet (alternative fish: any except for oily fish such as herring, mackerel or salmon)
olive oil 90ml
onion, celery, leek and fennel 75g of each, roughly chopped
garlic cloves 3, sliced
orange zest 2 strips
tomatoes 200g, tinned chopped
red pepper 1, seeded and sliced
bay leaf 1
thyme 1 sprig
saffron strands a pinch
chilli flakes ½ tsp
unpeeled prawns 100g
fish stock 1.2 litres (see below)
orange juice of ½
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the fish stock
Makes 1.2 litres
fish bones 1kg
onion 1, chopped
fennel bulb 1, chopped
celery 100g, sliced
carrot 100g, chopped
button mushrooms 25g, sliced
thyme 1 sprig
water 2.5 litres
For the croutons
baguette 1, small
olive oil for frying
garlic clove 1
rouille ½ quantity (see below)
parmesan cheese 25g, finely grated
For the rouille
white bread 25g, sliced, day-old crustless
fish stock or water a little
harissa 2 tbsp
garlic cloves 3 fat, peeled
egg yolk 1
salt ¼ tsp
olive oil 250ml
Fillet all the fish and use the bones to make a fish stock. To make the stock, put all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Strain through a muslin-lined fine sieve, and use as required. If not using immediately, leave to cool, then chill and refrigerate or freeze.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently for 20 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, chilli flakes and prawns, and the fish fillets. Cook briskly for 2-3 minutes, then add the strained stock and orange juice, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
For the croutons, thinly slice the baguette on the diagonal and fry the slices in the olive oil until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and rub one side of each piece with the garlic clove.
Liquidise the soup, then pass it through a sieve into a clean pan, pressing out as much liquid as possible with the back of a ladle. Return the soup to the heat and season to taste.
To make the rouille, cover the slice of bread with the stock or water and leave to soften. Squeeze out the excess liquid and put the bread into a food processor with the harissa, garlic, egg yolk and salt. Blend until smooth. With the machine still running, gradually add the oil until you have a smooth, thick, mayonnaise-like mixture. Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.
To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and leave each person to spread rouille onto the croutons, float them on their soup and sprinkle with parmesan.
Crab and gruyere tartlets
One large, cooked brown crab will supply the right amount of crab meat for these small tarts. An ideal canapé or starter, they’re also a creamy, comforting treat which can be made and then reheated before serving warm.
shortcrust pastry 1 quantity (see below)
eggs 2, separated
fresh white crab meat 200g
fresh brown crab meat 50g
double cream 90ml
cayenne pepper a pinch
salt and freshly ground black pepper
gruyère cheese 50g, finely grated
For the shortcrust pastry
plain flour 225g
salt ½ tsp
chilled butter 65g, cut into pieces
chilled lard 65g, cut into pieces
cold water 1½-2 tbsp
To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a food processor or a mixing bowl. Add the pieces of chilled butter and lard and work together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the water with a round-bladed knife until it comes together into a ball, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Roll out the pastry and use to line 4 shallow 12cm loose-based tartlet tins. Chill for 20 minutes. Line the pastry cases with baking paper and beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, brush the inside of each case with egg white and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 200C/gas mark 6.
Mix the crab meat with the egg yolks, cream, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the tartlet cases and sprinkle with the gruyère cheese. Bake at the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve warm.
Steamed scallops in the shell with ginger, soy, sesame oil and spring onions
This is a favourite dish of mine from a good Chinese restaurant. I regard Chinese seafood cookery as among the best in the world.
scallops 16, prepared in the shell
fresh ginger 1 tsp, finely chopped
sesame oil 1 tbsp
dark soy sauce 2 tbsp
coriander 1 tbsp, roughly chopped
spring onions 3, thinly sliced
Pour 2.5cm of water into the base of a wide shallow pan and bring it up to the boil. Loosen the scallops from their shells but leave them in place. Sprinkle each one with some of the ginger. Arrange the scallops, in batches if necessary, on a petal steamer. Lower them into the pan, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for about 4 minutes until just set. Remove and keep warm while you cook the rest. Meanwhile, put the sesame oil and soy sauce into a small pan and warm through. Lift the scallops onto 4 warmed plates and pour over some of the warm soy sauce and sesame oil. Sprinkle over the coriander and spring onions and serve immediately.
Hake with pardina lentils, white wine, serrano ham and pimenton
This is a popular dish at the restaurant, heavily influenced by my love of Spain. The lentil stew is very pleasant served on its own or with any roasted game birds, but it is also sublime with hake. I use the tiny dark brown pardina lentils of Castilla y León, which are very similar to French puy lentils and have the same earthy flavour. This recipe calls for serrano ham, though at the restaurant we serve ibérico sliced off the bone and we use the trimmings for this dish – a deluxe version, if you like. Apart from the sweet, slightly tart flavour of the ham, the pimentón dulce (smoked, sweet paprika) seems almost to increase the earthiness of the dish.
green-brown lentils 225g, such as pardina
olive oil 6 tbsp
garlic head 1, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
onion 1, medium, finely chopped
carrots 200g, finely chopped
serrano ham 100g, thinly sliced, finely chopped
pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika) 1 tbsp
vine-ripened tomatoes 2 large, skinned and chopped
dry white wine 120ml
flatleaf parsley 1 tbsp, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil 2 tbsp
hake fillets 6 x 180g, skin on
Check over the lentils for any little stones, then rinse in cold water. Tip them into a saucepan, add cold water to cover them by 5cm and bring to the boil over a high heat. Lower the heat and leave them to simmer for about 30 minutes or until just tender but still a little al dente. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and set to one side. Put the olive oil, garlic, onion and carrot in a wide, shallow pan over a medium heat and cook gently for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to colour. Add the serrano ham and fry for another 5 minutes. Stir in the pimentón, tomatoes and wine and simmer for 5 minutes or until they have reduced and thickened into a sauce. Stir the lentils into the sauce with 150ml of the reserved cooking liquid, the chopped parsley, 1½ teaspoons of salt and some pepper and simmer together for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking dish.
Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large well-seasoned non-stick frying pan. Add the hake and sear it on both sides, then place it on top of the lentils, bake for 15-20 minutes, then serve.
Salad of stir-fried prawns, pork and squid with glass noodles, chilli and mint
South-east Asian salads are a great balance of salty, sweet-sour and spicy. It’s important to have both pork and seafood, but you can vary the seafood from prawns and squid to crab meat or even small pieces of firm fish such as monkfish, John Dory or gurnard.
vegetable oil for frying
shallots 100g, thinly sliced
dried glass noodles 200g
raw prawns 200g, large, peeled (see below for how to prepare)
squid 200g, medium-sized, prepared, sliced across into 5mm-thick rings and the tentacles separated into pairs (see below for how to prepare)
minced pork 100g
roasted peanuts 50g, coarsely chopped
mint leaves 20g, finely shredded
dried shrimp 25g
red bird-eye chilli 1, finely chopped
lime juice 4 tbsp
palm sugar 1 tbsp
fish sauce 3 tbsp
Pour 1cm oil into a large deep frying pan. Add the shallots and fry over a medium heat until crisp and golden brown. Lift out with a slotted spoon on to plenty of kitchen paper and leave to drain. Reserve the frying oil.
Bring a large pan of unsalted water to the boil, add the noodles, take the pan off the heat and leave to soak for 2 minutes. Drain well, roughly cut up the noodles and set aside to drain even further.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the shallot-flavoured oil in a wok or pan, add the prawns, season lightly with salt and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until just cooked. Lift on to a plate. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then add the squid, season lightly with salt and stir-fry for 1-1½ minutes until caramelised. Transfer to the plate with the prawns. Finally, heat another 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, add the minced pork and stir-fry for 1½-2 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces as it browns.
Put the noodles into a large bowl and add the pork, prawns, squid, peanuts, mint, dried shrimp and chilli and toss together well. Mix the lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce together, toss through the salad and serve at room temperature.
Spicy green mango salad with smoked mackerel and a sweet and sour dressing
Still popular at The Seafood Restaurant, this salad is hot with bird-eye chilli, but it needs to be for the correct balance of flavour. If you can’t get green mango, kohlrabi works well.
smoked mackerel fillets 4, weighing about 275g in total (alternative fish: any smoked oily fish such as herring or hot-smoked salmon)
vegetable oil for deep-frying
green mango 1, about 500g
carrot 1, large, about 75g
shallots 30g, very thinly sliced
red bird-eye chilli 1, finely chopped
roasted peanuts 25g, roughly chopped
palm sugar 2 tsp
fish sauce 1 tbsp
lime juice about 1 tbsp, depending on the tartness of the mango
Thai sweet basil 15g, roughly chopped
Skin the smoked mackerel fillets and break the meat into small flakes. Pour 2cm of oil into a pan and heat to 190C. Sprinkle the fish into the oil and fry for 1 minute until crispy. It will all stick together at this point but don’t worry. Lift out on to a tray lined with lots of kitchen paper and leave to cool, then break up into small pieces again.
Peel the green mango and carrot and shred into thin strips 3-4mm wide. Put the mango, carrot, shallots, chilli, peanuts and fried fish pieces into a large bowl and toss together. Mix the sugar with the fish sauce and lime juice, add to the salad with the basil and toss together again. Serve straight away.
Indonesian seafood curry with monkfish, squid and prawns
This is a fantastic curry which we serve at the Seafood Restaurant with a green bean and fresh coconut salad.
fish fillets 400g, such as monkfish, John Dory, barramundi, gurnard or sea bass
squid 250g, medium-sized (pouches about 18cm long)
raw prawns 12 large
salt 1 tsp
freshly ground white pepper
lime juice 1 tbsp
Indonesian spice paste (basa gede) 200g (8 heaped tbsp)
vegetable oil 2 tbsp
kaffir lime leaves 4, torn into small pieces
lemongrass 2 fat stalks, halved and bruised
Asian chicken stock or bought chicken stock 120ml
coconut milk 250ml
Cut the fish into 3-4cm chunks. Prepare the squid (see below) or ask your fishmonger to do it for you. Peel the prawns (see below). Put the fish, squid and prawns into a shallow bowl and sprinkle with the salt, some pepper and the lime juice. Mix together well. Add half the spice paste and rub it well all over the pieces of seafood.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining spice paste and fry gently for 2-3 minutes until it starts to smell fragrant. Add the kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and stock and simmer for 1 minute.
Add the pieces of fish (not the squid or the prawns) to the pan and leave to cook for 1 minute, then turn them over and cook for a further minute. Add the coconut milk to the pan, together with the squid and prawns, and simmer for 2 minutes. Season to taste with a little more salt and lime juice and serve.
Sliced salmon with ponzu and pink grapefruit
We all know lemon is loved by salmon, but the fish also adores the flavour and acidity of pink grapefruit. I use kombu in the dressing. It’s a dried seaweed which is an essential ingredient for good dashi, the Japanese stock. However, you can leave out the kombu and bonito flakes, and use dashi granules instead. Shiso leaves or chervil make a pleasing garnish.
salmon fillet 300g (alternative fish: albacore tuna, ocean trout, yellowfin tuna)
pink grapefruit 1
daikon radish (mooli) 8cm-piece, peeled and finely shredded lengthways
nori a little, to finish
For the ponzu dressing
lemon juice of 1
rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp
Japanese soy sauce 50ml
mirin 2 tsp
bonito flakes 2g (about an espresso- cup-full)
dried kombu 2g, cut into 1cm pieces
For the ponzu dressing, mix all the ingredients together, leave for 24 hours in the fridge, then strain off. Keeps for 6 months in the fridge.
Slice the salmon as though for sashimi (6cm-wide, cut into 5mm-thick slices).
To segment the grapefruit, take a thin slice off the top and bottom and stand on a chopping board. From the top to the bottom, cut away all the skin and pith in a series of slightly overlapping slices. Hold the grapefruit in one hand and cut the soft fruit from the dividing segments. Arrange the fish and grapefruit on 4 cold plates, splash with ponzu and serve with a pile of mooli topped with nori.
How to prepare squid
1 Hold the squid’s body in one hand and the head with the other and gently pull the head away from the body, taking the milky white intestines with it.
2 Remove the tentacles from the head by cutting them off just in front of the eyes. Discard the head and separate the tentacles if large.
3 Squeeze out the beak-like mouth from the centre of the tentacles and discard it.
4 If you want to retain the ink sac, look among the intestines for a very small, pearly-white pouch with a slight blue tinge and carefully cut it away.
5 Reach into the body and pull out the clear, plastic-like quill.
6 Pull off the two fins from either side of the body pouch. Then pull away the brown, semi-transparent skin from the body and the fins. Wash out the pouch with water.
7 Insert the blade of a sharp, thin-bladed, flexible knife into the opening of the body pouch and slit it open along one side. Open it out flat and pull away any left-over intestines and membrane.
8 Score what was the inner side with the tip of a small sharp knife into a diamond pattern, taking care not to cut too deeply. Then cut it into 5cm pieces.
How to prepare prawns
1 Hold the body of the prawn in one hand and firmly twist off the head with the other. Save the heads for making stock if you wish.
2 Break open the soft shell along the underbelly of each prawn and peel it away from the flesh. You can leave the last tail segment of the shell in place for some recipes.
3 Run the tip of a small sharp knife along the back of the prawn and pull out the intestinal tract if dark and visible, but this is not always essential.
Where possible, please ensure your fish is sustainability sourced. For more information visit fishonline.org.
Extracted from The Seafood Restaurant by Rick Stein and Jill Stein (available from rickstein.com, RRP £20); Rick Stein’s Fish and Shellfish (BBC, RRP £25), Rick Stein’s French Odyssey (BBC, RRP £26) and Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey (BBC, RRP £26). Click here to buy the latter three, and other Rick Stein titles, at a discount at the Guardian Bookshop