What a good catch

It's not often you see recipes from star chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Mitchell Tonks next to dishes from a fisherman's wife, but that's all set to change with the launch of a new charity cook book for fish lovers
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Indy Lifestyle Online

There are 14,000 British fishermen at sea each day, and it is a very dangerous profession. Every month, three boats are lost at sea and 10 fishermen are either killed or seriously injured. The risk of accident and death is 50 times greater in fishing than the average peacetime occupation. And this is where The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen comes in. It was founded in 1881, in the year when 130 fishermen were killed during a storm off the coast of Eyemouth. It is a charity that provides assistance to rescue operations and helps families cope with bereavement if the worst should happen.

There are 14,000 British fishermen at sea each day, and it is a very dangerous profession. Every month, three boats are lost at sea and 10 fishermen are either killed or seriously injured. The risk of accident and death is 50 times greater in fishing than the average peacetime occupation. And this is where The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen comes in. It was founded in 1881, in the year when 130 fishermen were killed during a storm off the coast of Eyemouth. It is a charity that provides assistance to rescue operations and helps families cope with bereavement if the worst should happen.

To show their support for the cause, Britain's brightest and best chefs have contributed recipes for a new book, Best of British Fish. It is edited by author Hattie Ellis and Camilla Sacchi, who works with the charity. The book includes essays by Ellis on fishing in Britain - the history of cockle picking, for example, and the appeal of the old-fashioned chippie - and there are also pictures of fishermen in action, taken by Simon Impey. For each copy sold, a donation goes to the charity.

The book divides the recipes up by area, from the South-west to Orkney and Shetland, and includes big names such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White. There are also contributions from local figures such as a mobile fishmonger (Andrew Clarke, who sells fish from a coach in the South-east), a fisherman's wife (Gertie Wiseman from Macduff in Scotland) and a gastropub chef (Andrew Pern from The Star Inn, North Yorkshire). Rebecca Pearson

SPAGHETTI WITH SEAFOOD, FRESH TOMATO, OLIVE OIL AND PARSLEY

Mitchell Tonks, food writer, chef and fishmonger for Fishworks, Bath, Bristol, Christchurch, London

Serves 2

1 small glass dry white wine
200g/7oz mussels in shells, scrubbed, beards removed
200g/7oz clams in their shells, scrubbed
75ml/3fl oz good olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
6 raw prawns (get your fishmonger to peel them for you), deveined
6 raw langoustines (get your fishmonger to peel them for you), deveined
2 scallops, sliced crossways
100g/31/2oz monkfish
fillet, sliced
6 tomatoes, skinned
Small handful of parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cooked spaghetti (let your appetite dictate, but I reckon 75g/23/4oz per person)

Put the wine in a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and clams and cover, continuing to boil. After a couple of minutes, when the shellfish have opened, remove from the heat (discard any that have not opened) and leave to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells and reserve the cooking liquid.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic, then the prawns and langoustines, scallops and monkfish, and fry gently for 2 minutes.

Add the meat from the clams and mussels, then squeeze in the tomatoes, add the parsley and the cooking liquid from the clams and mussels, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste, then add the cooked spaghetti, toss it around and serve.

CORNISH BLUE LOBSTER SALAD NICOISE WITH SEARED TUNA

Grant Nethercott, chef-patron of Alba in St Ives, Cornwall

Serves 4

450-680g/1-11/2lb lobster
450g/1lb tuna loin, trimmed into a cylindrical shape
Olive oil
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the poaching liquid
1 carrot, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 bay leaf
A few parsley sprigs
6 black peppercorns
1tbsp salt
Water

For the salad Niçoise
24 fine green beans, cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes
8 salted anchovy fillets, cut into a fine julienne
6 quail eggs, boiled for
1 minute, peeled and halved
6 vine baby plum tomatoes, halved
12 Niçoise black olives, stoned
30g/1oz baby capers
12 small new potatoes, cooked and halved
30g/1oz baby wild rocket

For the vinaigrette
3tbsp sherry vinegar
1tsp Dijon mustard
3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

Put all the poaching liquid ingredients into a pan with enough water to cover the lobster. Bring to the boil and add the lobster. Bring back to the boil and cook for 6 minutes. Allow the lobster to cool in the liquid.

When the lobster is cool, remove the tail meat from the shell and the meat from the claws, cracking them open using a nutcracker. Remove the intestine from the tail meat. Chop the meat into pieces roughly the same size as the tomatoes. Cool.

Fry the tuna on each side for 30 seconds in a hot pan in a little olive oil. Cool. Roll in clingfilm and chill for a couple of hours.

In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients and the lobster meat.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and dress the salad, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange on plates.

Slice the tuna as thinly as you can to get three or four slices per person. Arrange on top of the salad. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and Maldon sea salt.

VICHYSSOISE WITH OYSTER CROUTONS

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, food writer and broadcaster

Serves 6

50g/13/4oz unsalted butter
3-4 leeks (white only), sliced
500g/1lb 2oz floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1l/36fl oz chicken, fish or vegetable stock
Pinch of curry powder
2tbsp double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the croutons

6 thin slices white or
brown bread
Olive oil or clarified butter
Large wine glass white wine
Large wine glass water
Knob of unsalted butter
2 oysters per person
1tbsp double cream
A couple of handfuls
of chives or chervil,
finely chopped

Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the leeks in it until soft. Add the potato and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the potato is cooked. Remove the potato and rub through a sieve.

Purée the leek and potato in a blender with a little stock and the curry powder until smooth. Put everything back in the pan and stir in 2tbsp double cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stamp out small rounds of bread and fry them gently in olive oil or clarified butter until brown. Keep warm until ready to use.

Put the wine, water and butter in a large pan and bring to the boil. Put the closed oysters in the pan, cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the whole oysters carefully from the shells and pour the juices back into the pan.

Make a garnishing sauce with the wine and oyster-poaching juices by straining them through muslin or a new J-cloth and boiling to reduce to about 2-3tbsp. Add 1tbsp double cream and boil until thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and add a handful of finely chopped herbs.

To serve, reheat the soup, without boiling, and ladle it into bowls. Put an oyster on each bread crouton and place these on top of the soup. Spoon over a little sauce and garnish with chopped chives or chervil.

TURBOT MEUNIERE (WITH A SLIGHT TWIST)

Neil Savage, chef-patron of Grace Neill's in Donaghadee, Co Down

Serves 4

4tbsp plain flour, to dust fish
Salt and ground white pepper
4 turbot fillets (170-225g/
6-8oz each), skin on
4tbsp unsalted butter
50ml/11/2fl oz dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 heaped tbsp superfine capers
1tsp chopped flat-leaf Parsley time wedges,
to serve

Heat a large sauté pan on a high setting. While the pan is heating, season the flour with salt and white pepper. Dust the turbot with the seasoned flour.

Add 2tbsp butter to the pan and allow a few seconds for the butter to melt. Add the turbot fillets, making sure you do not overcrowd the pan. If you cannot fit all four pieces of fish in the pan, then only cook two pieces at a time. Overcrowding the pan will reduce the temperature and cause the fish to "stew'' and not colour properly.

Turn the fish over after about 3 minutes, cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the fish has a nice golden colour and has reached an internal temperature of around 60C/145F, or until firm to the touch. Remove the fish from the pan.

Add the remaining butter to the pan and continue to cook until the butter begins to turn slightly brown. Quickly add the white wine, lime juice, capers and parsley. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Pour the butter sauce over the turbot and serve immediately with lime wedges, boiled new potatoes and some seasonal greens.

'The Best of British Fish' is published on Thursday by Mitchell Beazley, priced £20. To order a copy for £18 (including p&p), call Independent Books Direct on 08700 798 897

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