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The Caterer

Tutored tasting – Jersey's finest

01 June 2012 by
Tutored tasting – Jersey's finest

According to tourism website Jersey.com, due to geography and climate Jersey can never be fully self-sufficient in food. However, that doesn't stop the island's abundant, fresh produce from being some of the finest to be found.

Synonymous with the island is, of course, the Jersey Royal Potato. With Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, it remains the island's main export, despite the fact that agriculture is the third biggest industry behind finance and tourism in terms of gross domestic product.

Probably next best-known, produce-wise, is the Jersey cow, with its beautiful big brown eyes and the dairy products it produces, and perhaps lesser well-known is the Jersey-Angus cross-breed, which produces top quality beef - a more recent success story.

There are currently three Michelin stars and 35 AA rosettes on Jersey, which is hardly surprising, with such amazing produce in its larder. As Sean Faulkner of Faulkner Fisheries comments: "It takes us just eight minutes to get a lobster fresh from our seafood vivier (an old German bunker at L'Etacq) to Mark Jordan at the Atlantic".

Seafood and shellfish are plentiful, which is what you would expect as Jersey has its own fishing territory. Over 1,200 tonnes of shellfish are caught every year, and because the tides go out so far, Jersey oysters are also big business, with four major oyster suppliers on the island. The Jersey Oyster Company, a third-generation oyster farm, has 35 hectares off the island's south-east coast.

Here, continuing our tutored tasting series, a recent trip to Jersey provided Caterer and Hotelkeeper with the opportunity to sample its products. Mark Jordan, executive head chef of the Ocean Restaurant at the Atlantic Hotel in St Ouen and Mark Jordan at the Beach, shared his and his suppliers' knowledge with us.


Jersey oysters

Properties Jersey oysters feed from filters and are harvested from Grade A waters (the cleanest in Europe). There are no impediments to the taste - only a pure flavour of the sea.

Usage Poach gently for 20 seconds or serve raw.

Notes Jersey has the third-highest tidal range in the world and at low tide the island doubles in size. The Jersey Oyster Company grows more rock oysters than the producers of England, Wales and Scotland put together.


Jersey Royals

Properties Premium products of origin, Jersey Royals have a unique flavour and are only found on the island. They range in shape and size and are at their best from May until September.

Usage Serve as an accompaniment to fish dishes. Mid-season Royals are best boiled and served with butter and chives and really hold their own. At the end of the season, crush with crab and lemon juice.

Notes Islanders believe the best-tasting Jersey Royals are those grown with the help of vraic - the seaweed collected from the many beautiful beaches.


Jersey lobster

Properties Jersey lobster is available all year round and in abundance in Jersey waters. Fishing boats are out every day, although winter harvesting can be harder due to weather constraints. Jersey waters are Grade A so freshness is guaranteed.

Usage Serve lightly cooked by gently poaching with a fresh salad. Serve with lemon juice and season.

Notes Jersey lobsters are harvested right in the bay and the Marine Stewardship Council has recently recognised Jersey for its well-managed, sustainable lobster fishing.

Tip When serving lobster in a salad, for example, before you take the shell off, make sure the meat is completely cooled before serving (place in the fridge).


Jersey beef

Properties Jersey-Angus beef is available all year round - a true delicacy and equivalent in quality to Wagyu beef (£30 per kilo). Richly marbled meat produced from grass-fed dairy cows.

Usage The Atlantic kitchens only receive two carcasses every fortnight. The beef is roasted using a water bath so it is completely tender.

Notes This new rural industry has come about because of changes in legislation relating to the island herd, which now allows for the importation of semen to strengthen the breed and its dairy production. In addition, it has enabled dairy farmers to develop a new niche meat product.


Scallops

Properties Can be harvested all year round by divers (weather dependent). Jersey scallops are plumper than regular scallops, due to the purer waters that they feed in and the fact that they are dived for, which ensures they are not full of sand.

Usage There are so many ways to serve scallops - we tend to pan-fry and serve with caramelised pork belly, apple purée and crispy pancetta.


Spider crab

Properties Available during June, July and August and arrive in large "casts".

Usage Similar to normal crabs, with longer legs and sweeter meat.

Notes Spider crabs are one of the most sustainable seafoods and relatively inexpensive.

Tip Boil and leave to cool before cracking legs and shells. Serve with mayonnaise or in a risotto with curry.


THE FACTS

Jersey is 100 miles south of mainland Britain and 14 miles from the Normandy coast of France, situated in the bay of St Malo. The island measures just nine miles from east to west and five miles from north to south. It has a resident population of 97,857. The language is English but until the 1960s the official language was French and it is still used by the court and legal professions.


What the chef said

Mark JordanExecutive head chef, the Atlantic hotel and Ocean restaurant and Mark Jordan at the Beach

Poached lobster surprise with lobster macaroni
This is one of the signature dishes at the Ocean restaurant and appeared on the TV show The Apprentice. The surprise element is the lobster macaroni hidden under the lobster plate, only being revealed by the waiter in one swift action, once the top lobster collop has been eaten.

Jersey beef fillet with St Ouen's bay lobster ravioli and summer vegetables
Don't be scared about the clingfilm on the beef fillet as it helps keep the shape while the meat is cooking in the oven - the melting point of clingfilm is far higher than the oven will get so it will not melt.

Pan-roast fillets of sole with crab-crushed Jersey Royals and sauce grenoble
I love this dish because of the way we prepare it - it is a real chunky piece of fish unlike what you normally get when you order sole, which is a thin fillet. This way is almost like a steak of sole held together by the natural juices which are released when cooking.

Pan-roast sea bass fillet with fresh garden peas and seared jersey scallops
Summer on a plate: freshly shelled peas and delicately seared Jersey sea bass - this dish doesn't need anything else.

For full recipes from Mark Jordan visit www.theatlantichotel.com/ocean-restaurant/Cookbook.html

CONTACTS

Atlantic Hotel and Mark Jordan at the Beach ](http://www.theatlantichotel.com)Patrick Burke
E-mail: patrick@theatlantichotel.com

Labey Farms Stephen Labey
E-mail: stevelabey@jerseymail.co.uk

[Faulkner Fisheries ](http://www.faulknerfisheries.co.uk)Sean Faulkner
Tel: 01534 483500
E-mail: faulkner.fisheries@yahoo.co.uk

[Classic Herd ](http://classicfarmshop.com)Darren and Julia Quénault
Tel: 01534 485562
E-mail: info@cfs.co.je

[Jersey Oyster CompanyChris">http://www.jerseyoyster.com)Chris Le Masurier
Tel: 01534 852553
E-mail: info@jerseyoyster.com

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