Artichoke, Pork, Mackerel

26 June 2008
Artichoke, Pork, Mackerel

Fresh produce

Wild mushrooms and morels from the USA will still be around for the next couple of weeks. Girolles are arriving from eastern Europe, smaller in size and cheaper, as are fresh cèpes, which are well priced. Mousserons from France are still coming through. Summer truffles from Italy are dropping in price and improving in flavour.

The season for white and green asparagus is largely at an end in England, and flavoursome plum and cherry tomatoes are coming in from Sicily. Baby violet and globe artichokes from Spain and borlotti beans, broad beans and peas from Italy are here. British samphire is plentiful.

Fresh cherries are available from Italy and France in good condition and well priced.

Sources: 4°C - 020 8558 9708 - / Wild Harvest - 020 7498 5397 -


It's the quietest time of the year for fish landings in the West Country, which have been poor. There have been good landings of skate from north Devon, grey mullet from the Severn Estuary and wild salmon and sea trout from South Wales. The mackerel season is in full swing in Cornwall, but squid prices are still high due to scarcity. However, cuttlefish is plentiful as a good alternative.

Scottish haddock is available, and there are good supplies of Icelandic cod, haddock and halibut. There have been some very good landings of line-caught pollack, and you can expect to see lobster prices staying competitive at between £13.50 and £14.50 per kg. Shellfish is abundant and in good condition.

Source: Chef Direct - 01275 474707


Beef in the live markets is up a touch, while lamb is down slightly, indicating that the price might continue to fall. Pork is up and climbing, due to the euro exchange rate on imports from the likes of Spain and Denmark. Also, many people are switching to pork as an alternative to beef. Chicken is stable. Trade is generally steady, with London busier due to Wimbledon.

Source: Birtwistle Butchers - 0161-728 3340 -

Seasonal recipe

Olive-crusted pollack with tomato butter sauce

(Serves four)

4 x 180g pollack fillets

For the crust
100g butter
Cayenne pepper
1/2 loaf white bread, as breadcrumbs
125g black olives, roughly chopped
35g parsley, chopped
2tsp thyme, chopped
2tsp basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to season

For the cherry tomato butter sauce 250g cherry tomatoes
35g unsalted butter
Salt and white pepper to taste


For the crust, first make a beurre noisette by whisking the butter over a medium heat until it starts to foam and turn a nutty brown colour. Stop the cooking by adding the lemon juice.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, pour the hot beurre noisette over and mix carefully. Chill in the fridge. When the mixture is chilled, form into a ball like a dough and roll out between two sheets of silicone paper to 4mm thick. Chill until needed.

For the cherry tomato butter sauce, purée the tomatoes in a liquidiser, pass through a fine sieve, place half the juice in a pan and reduce by half. Add the other half of the juice and warm through without boiling.

Incorporate the butter with a hand blender and season. Cut out a piece of crust the same size as the pollack fillet, remove silicone paper and place atop the fish.

Preheat oven to 200°C and bake the fillets for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness. Finish under the grill. Serve with the tomato butter sauce with wilted spinach and asparagus.

Simon Gueller, head chef, Box Tree restaurant, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

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