Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hedgehog gratin

Sort of a potato dauphinoise with wood hedgehogs.

Serves 2

Four or five wood hedgehogs, depending on size
Two or three large potatoes
Four runner beans
Two cloves of garlic
A small red onion
A handful of cubed pancetta
200ml double cream
50ml white wine
100g butter
A teaspoon of mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan

Slice the the runner beans and blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain. Heat a large frying pan on a medium to low heat and fry the pancetta gently, till almost crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon. Mince the onion and soften in the bacon fat on a low heat, adding the minced garlic after five minutes. Meanwhile peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Remove the aromatics from the pan, add a third of the butter and fry half the potatoes, seasoning well. Remove to a plate and repeat with more butter and potatoes. Brush the spines/teeth from the wood hedgehogs under running water, pat them dry and cut them into thin slices. Remove the last of the potatoes from the pan, melt the last of the butter and fry the muhsrooms till they begin to give off their moisture. Turn up the heat, add the white wine and bubble vigorously till reduced by two thirds.
Layer half the potatoes in a small dish, add a layer of onions, garlic, bacon and beans, add the mushrooms and their cooking juices, season, sprinkle over the herbs then cover with another layer of potatoes. Pour in the double cream.

Place in a preheated oven at 200
°C for 35 minutes. Remove, sprinkle over the grated parmesan and cook for another 5-10 minutes until browned. Serve with bread and pickles. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Baked sea bream - an aide-memoire

I usually bake whole fish en papillotte, which makes it a bugger to judge the timing. I always forget how long the last near-perfect one took, so finally decided to make a note of last night's. I made this with the sorrel risotto from a while ago, so a stick of celery and a small shallot did for both dishes.

Serves 2

2 whole sea bream, cleaned
A handful of minced celery and shallot
A clove of garlic
A bay leaf
Quarter of a lemon
Olive oil
Fines herbes

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Wash the bream inside and out, making sure any lingering scales are banished to the sink, then pat dry and score three times on each side. Lay the fish on sheets of baking parchment.

Halve the clove of garlic lengthways and then cut each half almost into slices, so that it's held together at the tip.

Season the shallot and celery mixture and place a spoonful in the belly cavity of each fish with half a bay leaf and a half clove of garlic.

Rub a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper into the skin, drizzle a little olive oil and add a sprinkling of fines herbes. Pop a wedge of lemon beside each fish, wrap in the baking parchment and then again in foil.

Place on a baking tray in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve with sorrel risotto and runner bean purée.