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Peaches, Elderflower and Haddock

08 June 2006

Fish
Weather conditions are looking favourable, but catches are down and whitefish could be hard to source. Cod will be more expensive, despite there being more Faroese and Irish fish around. Haddock is also more expensive, though very good quality.

Halibut prices have now stabilised after a high start to the season. Farmed salmon prices have also steadied, while gurnard, pollock and plaice should also be available. Prices on wild bass remain high.

Source: M&J Seafood 01296 333848 www.mjseafoods.com

Fresh produce
Watermelons, are also excellent. From the UK, strawberrys are now comming through. Elderflowers are now at their best, and shouldn't be missed. Home-grown peas and broad beans are also now beginning. here are also very good quality round courgettes,artichokes,sweet corn, marsh samphire and elongated Italian corn peppers, although really this is just scratching the surface of what is available at this very abundant time of year.

Source: Chef's Connection 020 7627 4809 www.chefs-connection.com

Meat
Beef continues to get dearer, with imported beef now drying up. Lamb is plentiful but still expensive and about 20% more costly than last year, while pork is a little bit dearer but still relatively good value. Interestingly, despite the recent rises, prices are only a little higher than they were 10 years ago. There has still been no real slow-down on pulty.

Source: Aubrey Allen 024 7642 2222 www.aubreyallenwholesale.co.uk

Seasonal Recipe

Roast diver- caught plaice with wet garlic, caper beurre noisette and pomme boulangère

Ingredients

(Serves four)

4 heads wet garlic
570ml duck fat
Salt and pepper
3 large onions
Olive oil
50g butter
4tbs picked thyme leaves
500ml chicken stock
4 Marls piper potatoes
4tsp rendered lamb fat
1 x 3kg plaice
4tbs fine capers
4 plum tomatoes, deseeded and diced
4 tbs parsley, finely chopped
2 lemons

METHOD

Break down the garlic and gently poach it in the duck fat with salt and pepper until soft. Leave in the fat to take on the flavour.

Slice the onions and sweat down in the olive oil and butter until very soft. Season them and stir in thyme leaves. With a cutter, cut a 2cm-wide cylinders out of the potatoes and poach in chicken stock until cooked. Remove them and leave to dry and cool.

In four small copper pans layer the bottom with the cooked onions and thyme. Slice the cooked potato cylinders into discs and layer them on to the onions so they overlap each other. Season and add 2tbs of the chicken stock that you cooked them in. Repeat this process once more and place 1tsp of lamb fat on top; put into a hot oven for 30 minutes or unti golden.

Fillet and skin the plaice and cut into 200g portions. Pan-fry until golden. Add a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice and remove from the heat. In a saucepan, heat up 100g of butter until it starts to get nutty and brown. Add the juice of the other lemon, then the capers, tomato and parsley. Season and remove from the heat.

To serve, arrange on head's worth of poached garlic per person on the plate, then place the fish on top. Spoon the suace over the top and pomme boulangere on the side

Tom Kerridge, chef-proprietor, Hand and Flowers, Marlow

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