Recipes: Seasonal in Spring
April is a time of abundance when it comes to seasonal ingredients to cook with – spring is in full flow, so lamb, cod, halibut and crab are at their best, as are punchy vege options like radish, rocket and asparagus. Keep your spring table seasonal with this selection of delicious dishes.
Souffléd crab and asparagus tart (6)
300g readymade shortcrust pastry
25g plain flour
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 good pinches chilli powder
200g white crabmeat, fresh or frozen and defrosted
140g asparagus tips
3 eggs, separated
3tbsp finely grated parmesan
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll out pastry and line a 25cm tart tin. Line the case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 mins, then remove paper and beans and cook for 5 mins more. Trim off excess pastry. Reduce oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
- Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Add nutmeg, chilli and salt and leave to cool slightly.
- Flake up the crabmeat and add to the sauce. Blanch the asparagus for 3 mins, drain well and cool under cold running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and scatter over the pastry case.
- Stir the egg yolks into the sauce. Whisk the whites until stiff, then fold into the sauce in 3 batches. Spoon into the tart case and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30-35 mins until puffed and golden.
Baked Trout with fennel, radish and rocket salad (2)
2 whole trout, scaled and gutted
½ bunch thyme
2 lemons, 1 sliced, 1 juiced
2tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 large bulb fennel, finely sliced
100g radishes, finely sliced
1tbsp capers, chopped
Large handful of rocket
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Slash the trout’s skin three times on both sides then stuff a thyme branch into each cut. Lay the fish on a baking sheet and fill the cavity with the lemon slices and remaining thyme sprigs. Season the fish, drizzle over some olive oil then bake it for 15-20 mins until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, mix lemon juice with olive oil, then pour over the fennel and allow to stand for 10 mins. Stir in the radishes and capers and season. Mix the rocket through the fennel and radish salad just before serving with big bits of the flaked trout.
Lamb biryani (6)
400g lamb neck, cut into small cubes
4 garlic cloves, grated
1tbsp, finely grated ginger
1tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
1tbsp cumin seeds
1tbsp nigella seeds
1tbsp Madras spice paste
200g basmati rice, rinsed well
8 curry leaves
400ml good-quality lamb or chicken stock
100g paneer, chopped
200g spinach, cooked and water squeezed out
Sliced green chilies
- Toss the lamb in a bowl with the garlic, ginger and a large pinch of salt. Marinate in the fridge overnight or for at least a couple of hours.
- Heat the oil in a casserole. Fry the lamb for 5-10 mins until starting to brown. Add the onion, cumin seeds and nigella seeds, and cook for 5 mins until starting to soften. Stir in the curry paste, then cook for 1 min more. Scatter in the rice and curry leaves, then pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Stir in the paneer, spinach and some seasoning. Cover the dish with a tight lid of foil, then put the lid on to ensure it’s well sealed. Cook in the oven for 20 mins, then leave to stand, covered, for 10 mins. Bring the dish to the table, remove the lid and foil, scatter with the coriander and chilies and serve with yogurt on the side.
Cod with bacon, lettuce and peas (2)
2 tsp sunflower oil
2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 shallot or small onion, very finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 x 140g/5oz thick skinless cod fillets
140g frozen peas
200ml chicken stock
2 Little Gem lettuces, thickly shredded
2tbsp crème fraîche
2 thick slices crusty wholegrain bread, to serve
- Heat the sunflower oil in a medium non-stick frying pan. Add the bacon, shallot or onion, and garlic. Cook gently, stirring, for 2 mins, then push to one side of the pan.
- Season the cod with ground black pepper. Fry in the pan for 2 mins, then turn over. Add the peas and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat for a further 2 mins, then add the lettuce and crème fraîche.
- Cook for a couple mins more, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until the fish is just cooked and the lettuce has wilted. Serve with bread to mop up the broth.
Brown butter-poached halibut with celeriac purée and caper crumbs (2)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 skinless, boneless halibut fillets, about 100-150g/4-5½oz each
Cavolo nero, kale or spinach to serve
For the puree:
Knob of butter (taken from the 200g above)
300g celeriac, peeled and cut into small cubes
75ml double cream
For the crumbs:
Knob of butter (taken from the 200g above)
4tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
1 heaped tsp capers, roughly chopped
1tbsp roughly chopped parsley
- To make the purée, melt a small knob of butter in a saucepan, add the celeriac and cook over a medium-high heat until starting to brown a little, about 5 mins. Pour over the milk and cream, and season well – the celeriac should be just covered, so add more milk if needed. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 mins or until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and transfer to a food processor. Blend until smooth, then sieve into a clean saucepan, pushing the celeriac through with the back of a spoon or spatula. Add a little of the cooking liquid to loosen the purée if needed, and taste for seasoning.
- To make the crumbs, heat a small knob of butter in a frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Throw in the capers and cook for 30 secs more. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool a little, then stir through the parsley.
- Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 2. Gently melt the butter in a small ovenproof saucepan or frying pan, big enough for the fish fillets to fit snugly. Once melted, add the shallot, bay leaf and peppercorns. Keep heating until the butter turns a light brown colour and smells nutty. Leave to cool a little. Gently lower the fish fillets into the warm butter, basting any exposed fish, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3-4 mins, depending on the thickness of the fish, then turn the fillets over and cook for a further 3-4 mins or until just opaque and feeling firm.
- While the fish cooks, reheat the purée and steam the greens. To serve, spoon the purée into the centre of each plate; use the back of the spoon to spread out slightly into a circle. Top with the greens, then carefully place the halibut on top. Drizzle with a little of the poaching butter and scatter with the crumbs.