The combination of delicately smoked tea and smoked eel takes this dish to a new dimension.
1 red beetroot, any leaves cut off
1 yellow beetroot, any leaves cut off
Olive oil, for drizzling
4 turnips, trimmed
200g smoked eel
550ml clear fish stock
1tbs lapsang souchong tea
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the beetroot on some foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil around the beetroot loosely and place the package on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for one hour (add 30 minutes for larger veggies) until the tip of a knife slides through the middle of the beetroot. Leave the beetroot to cool, then peel the skin with kitchen paper.
Leave the baby turnips whole or cut larger turnips into bite-sized pieces. Wrap them loosely in foil with the same seasoning as the beetroot. Roast the turnips in the oven until tender. Start checking on them after about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the smoked eel into bite-sized diamond shapes. Heat a drop of olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over a medium to high heat and pan-sear the eel pieces. After two minutes, once the eel has a little colour, reduce the heat and add the butter to the pan. Fry for a further two minutes with the foaming butter, then remove the eel from the pan and set aside on kitchen paper.
Bring the fish stock to the boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off the heat as soon as the liquid has boiled and sprinkle in the tea. Leave the tea to infuse for five minutes (more or less depending on how strong you enjoy it), then pass through a fine sieve and season with salt and pepper.
Slice all the cooked vegetables into small segments and place in two small serving bowls, then delicately add the eel and sprinkle the spring onion on top. Finally, pour over the fish stock.
Recipe taken from New French Table.
Photography by Helen Cathcart