Skate, potato, ap­ple and spinach gratin with ap­ple crème fraîche

SERVES 4

Food and Travel (UK) - - Recipes - 22cm x 17cm x 6cm rec­tan­gu­lar or round gratin dish, or 2 smaller dishes man­dolin

800g skate, re­moved from both sides of the car­ti­lage to give ap­prox­i­mately 375g 600g pota­toes

2 Cox's ap­ples, peeled and cored

2tsp raw ap­ple cider vine­gar 200g young leaf spinach 100g full-fat crème fraîche 20g salted but­ter, plus ex­tra for but­ter­ing the dish

Cut the skate into strips, sea­son with salt and freshly ground black pep­per and set aside. Put the car­ti­lage in a pan, sea­son with salt and cover with 1.25 litres of wa­ter. Bring to a sim­mer for around 10 min­utes.

Us­ing a man­dolin, thinly slice the pota­toes and put into cold wa­ter. Halve and slice the ap­ple in the same way, then place in ap­ple cider vine­gar. Toss to coat.

Put the spinach in a bowl with a good pinch of sea salt and pour over boil­ing wa­ter to cover. Leave for 3 min­utes, re­fresh un­der cold wa­ter and drain well. Squeeze out as much liq­uid as pos­si­ble and set aside.

Lift the car­ti­lage from the wa­ter with a slot­ted spoon and dis­card (un­cooked, this can be frozen and added to other bones and prawn shells to make fish stock). Add the pota­toes, cook over a medium heat for about 4 min­utes un­til heated through then trans­fer from the wa­ter into a colan­der. Add ap­ple to the pan and cook for a few min­utes, then drain through a colan­der set over a bowl to col­lect the liq­uid. Lift out a third of the ap­ple and purée in a mini-blender. When cold, add to the crème fraîche and chill. Put the liq­uid back in the pan and boil for 10 min­utes un­til re­duced a lit­tle. Pre­heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and but­ter the gratin dish.

Layer up the in­gre­di­ents start­ing with a third of the pota­toes. Squeeze the spinach again, chop roughly and add half to the potato layer. Add half the ap­ple slices and half the fish. Re­peat with the same pro­por­tions, then fin­ish the top with the fi­nal third of potato.

Spoon over a few ta­ble­spoons of the re­duced cook­ing liq­uid. Top with knobs of but­ter and grind over a lit­tle freshly ground black pep­per. Cook for about 20 min­utes, then turn the oven onto a grill set­ting and cook for a few more min­utes (keep a close eye on it) un­til golden. Serve with the ap­ple crème fraîche.

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