STEAMED STONE BASS WITH WILD GARLIC AND LEMON OIL, LEEK ASH, CONFIT LEEKS AND CRUSHED POTATOES
Easter lunch can be heavy in meat, but in many countries it’s fish that takes centre stage. I think that’s a great idea – leaving more space for chomping on all those chocolate eggs. This dish takes inspiration from the Scandi-Nordic cooking scene which is dominating so many influential restaurants at the moment. It’s fresh, of the season, and stays true to the nature of the basic ingredients. Don’t be put off by the idea of the leek ash, it lends a smoky, barbecue note to the fish that balances perfectly against the sweetness of the confit. Take the skins off the potatoes if you don’t want to leave them whole.
1 stone bass (or cod) fillet per person (about 150g) For the leek confit and ash: 2 leeks 25g unsalted butter 1tbsp fresh thyme Pinch sugar 4tbsps water Seasoning For the potatoes: 750g baby potatoes, halved in their skins 40g unsalted butter Seasoning For the wild garlic and lemon oil: 75g wild garlic Juice ¼ lemon 100ml mild oil Seasoning
Make the oil first. Blitz the wild garlic, oil and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and season to taste. Set aside.
Place the potatoes in a large pan, bring to the boil and then simmer until knife tender (about 15 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking make the leek ash. Cut one of the leeks in half then peel on half into single layers and lay on a baking tray. Place under a hot grill and cook until completely burnt. Remove to a pestle and mortar, add a pinch of salt and crush into tiny grains.
Thinly slice the rest of the leeks and add to a pan with the butter, thyme, sugar, water and some seasoning. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, top with a lid, and cook for around 10 minutes until very soft. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time (while the leeks and potatoes cook) season the fish and place the fillets in a bamboo steamer on top of greaseproof paper. Bring the water to the boil then to a simmer and steam for 10 minutes.
To serve drain the potatoes, add the butter to them, season and lightly crush. Plate up the potatoes with a couple of spoons of confit leek. Sprinkle the fish with the leek ash and add to the plate. Drizzle over some wild garlic oil.
Serve with seasonal vegetables.