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Lemon balm; blackberries; figs; mackerel

28 July 2005

Fish White fish supplies are going to be very scarce this week, except for haddock. Poor weather conditions in the North Sea mean landings have been lower in Denmark, Scotland and the east of the UK, which has pushed prices up. Cod is also in extremely short supply, and replacements such as pollack are also limited.

Prices, however, should remain steady on native crab, grey mullet, mackerel, red gurnard and octopus.

Overseas fish is also available, including Australian red mullet and snapper, though tuna from the Indian Ocean will be in shorter supply.

Source: M&J Seafood, 01296 588221, www.mjseafoods.com

Fresh produce
Summer herbs now include summer savory, lemon balm (right), bronze fennel and the fragrant lemon verbena, which can be used to make a beautiful flavoured ice-cream or refreshing iced tea. Wild flowers such as borage are also plentiful.

Look out also for the first of the British blackberries. The berries tend to be smaller than the Dutch fruits but with better depth of flavour.

he first UK plums are also available again, starting with the new-crop Opal variety, then followed by the ever-popular Victoria plums next month.

New-crop French greengages are plentiful again. The fruits lend themselves well to preserving or bottling. Sweet Italian figs have been delicious recently but are arriving very ripe.

Wild mushrooms now available include some lovely small Scottish girolles and the first European black trompettes.

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

Meat
There is still plenty of cheap calves' liver on the market, which should last until the end of August.

Lamb is still wonderful, its flavour helped by the amount of sun we have been seeing. The hot weather concentrates the flavour in the grass and herbs, but also means the pastures don't get too lush, so the lambs have to work to find their food. Shoulders and legs, including the escalopes, are still good value. Chargrilled escalopes with aubergine and tomato make a great Mediterranean dish.

Source: Aubrey Allen, 024 7642 2222, www.aubreyallen.co.uk

Seasonal recipe

Salad of lightly smoked trout, borage tzatziki, garlic curds and burnet leaves
Ingredients
(Serves four)

For the fish 2 medium-sized trout
Rock salt
Hickory

For the curds 275g unpasteurised whole milk
20g dill, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4g rennet

For the tzatziki 275g cucumber
25g mint
10g flat-leaf parsley
40g borage leaves
100g Greek yogurt
1 lemon
1tsp Tabasco
Tomato reduction
Mint oil
Young salad burnet leaves
Borage flowers
Wild rocket

Method For the smoked fish, fillet and pinbone the trout, cover with rock salt for 10 minutes and then rinse under cold water. Pat dry. In a small smoke box, lightly smoke the fillets over hickory shavings for two minutes. Cool.

Infuse the chopped dill and garlic in the milk, then heat very gently to blood temperature, 37°C. Pass through muslin. Mix the rennet with a touch of water and whisk in to milk. Set in shallow-sided dish.

For the tzatziki, peel and deseed the cucumber, dice into brunoise and squeeze out excess moisture through a cloth. Chop the mint, parsley and borage and add to the Greek yogurt. Then add lemon juice, Tabasco and diced cucumber, and season.

Skin fish and place on plate. Arrange cut-out rounds of curd and tzatziki around the fish with some mint oil and tomato reduction. To finish, arrange salad burnet leaves, borage flowers and wild rocket. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Simon Rogan, head chef and proprietor, L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria

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