Food & Drink: Fish has never looked so good - in 12 easy stages Gordon Ramsay shows how to prepare a colourful piece de resistance for the dinner-party table
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The Independent Culture
THE SECRET of a dramatic layered terrine is to prepare and arrange the ingredients very neatly and to use a good, well-flavoured stock. A useful tip as you arrange the vegetables and fish is to think of how the layers will look cut in slices. Also, as the terrine is to be served cold, it needs to be seasoned well between each layer.

Serves 6-8

500ml/18fl oz clear good, strong fish stock, preferably clarified

10 leaves gelatine or 40g/112oz gelatine crystals

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

3 large red peppers

3 large yellow peppers

3 medium courgettes

about 100ml/2fl oz olive oil for frying

1 fat clove garlic, lightly crushed

few sprigs fresh thyme

1 side-filleted salmon, about 500g/1lb 2oz weight

4 fillets red mullet, each about 50g/2oz

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

For the vegetables: Using a swivel vegetable peeler skin the peppers then halve, core, de-seed and trim off the ribs. For the courgettes, cut down lengthways in four thick strips leaving the central seed core as a rectangle which can be discarded. You should have 12 thick strips of courgette for the terrine.

For the fish jelly: First, reheat the clear fish stock until boiling and remove from the heat. Dissolve the gelatine in the stock - if using leaf gelatine, soak the sheets in a bowl of ice-cold water until very soft, then drain and squeeze dry. Stir briskly into the just boiled stock until dissolved. If using crystals, place about four tablespoons of cold water into a medium basin. Sprinkle the gelatine over and stir once. Leave to firm up, ie "sponge" then pour on the hot stock, stirring until dissolved. Mix in the tarragon then set aside until cold but not set.

Step 1: assemble the ingredients.

Step 2: skin the side of salmon fillets.

Step 3: using a long sharp knife, slit it in half lengthways. Step 4: trim the fillets neatly into four, so that they fit the terrine along its length. After the salmon, neaten the red mullet fillets too, if necessary.

Step 5: heat a large non-stick frying pan until quite hot, lightly brush with some additional olive oil and quickly fry fish fillets for just half a minute on each side so they are sealed, but not coloured, and still pink inside. Drain on kitchen paper towels and leave until cold.

Step 6: pour the oil into a wide, shallow pan to the depth of about 1cm (12in). Heat with the crushed garlic and thyme sprigs to a medium hot heat. Gently fry the peppers and courgettes in batches for about five to seven minutes until just tender but still with a good texture. You may have to do this in relays. Drain on kitchen paper towel, season, then place on a wire cooling rack until cold. If pepper skin remains, then this can be peeled off with a sharp knife. Trim peppers to neat rectangles.

Step 7: line a 1 litre (134 pint) loaf tin with clingfilm, allowing it to overhang the edges. Make sure the sides and base are as smooth as possible. Pour a thin layer of jelly stock onto the base and arrange red- pepper slices, skinned side down. Season lightly then pour over a little more stock to just cover.

Step 8: layer the salmon fillet on top, seasoning-well. Step 9: pour over more jelly in a thin layer then yellow pepper slices and more jelly. Season again.

Step 10: arrange courgette slices, skin side down, on top. Fit in red- mullet slices (also skin side down), and more courgette slices skin side up). This is because when the terrine is cut the mullet looks as if it is sandwiched between the courgettes.

Step 11: repeat the layers of vegetables and fish fillets in the same sequence, pouring jelly stock in between each layer and seasoning well. Finish with a layer of red pepper leaving just a 5mm (14in) headspace at the top and pour over what should by now, be the last of the jelly stock. Leave to set overnight in the fridge.

Step 12: to serve, dip terrine briefly (to the count of three) in a basin of very hot water then shake out onto a board. At the Aubergine, I cut this terrine with an electric carving knife for smooth slices. Lift on to serving plates with a fish slice and serve with a lightly dressed green salad.