Petersham in the evening is a truly magical place to be at this time of year, when the sun doesn't set until late in the evening; there is a sense of mystery about it – a misty glow in the air. The nursery in particular is looking spectacular, with glorious displays of flowers – roses, poppies, dahlias and purple-headed scabiosas – while the herbs in our kitchen garden are abundant and at their best, too, ready to be picked and used at will. This summer we have been hosting a handful of supper clubs – and here I've recreated what we cooked on one of those special nights.
Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com. From 15-17 September, to mark the launch of Petersham Playhouse, an arts space in Petersham House, diners can enjoy the Playhouse's debut performance, a new chamber opera, before a special three-course banquet is served. For more details, visit petershamplayhouse.com
Pan-fried scallops with roasted red peppers and marjoram salmoriglio
24 scallops, cleaned
Salt and pepper
tbsp olive oil
For the roasted red peppers
1 large Italian red pepper
20 Datterini tomatoes
1 tbsp good-quality olive oil
A splash of Volpaia red-wine vinegar
1 pinch sea salt
A few tinned anchovies
For the salmoriglio
4 small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly diced
tsp sea salt
Bunch of marjoram, leaves only
tsp dried red chilli flakes
220ml/7 fl oz good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
First, pre-heat the oven to 100C/225F/ Gas ¼. Halve, core, and deseed the red pepper, making sure you remove all the white pith and membrane. Place in a roasting pan with the tomatoes and add olive oil, a splash of red-wine vinegar and salt, scattering a few tinned anchovies across the pan. Slow-roast in the oven for an hour or so.
Meanwhile, make the marjoram salmoriglio (a sauce from southern Italy). Pound the garlic to a rough paste using a pestle and mortar, then add the salt and continue to pound until smooth. Add the marjoram leaves and chilli and pound lightly, then pour in the olive oil and stir well to combine. Cover and set aside until it is ready to use, adding the lemon juice just before serving.
It is best to have the scallops ready at room temperature and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Towards the very end of the roasting time, place a heavy-based (ideally non-stick) frying pan on a high heat and allow it to get very hot. Drizzle half a tablespoon of oil into the pan and when the oil begins to smoke, add the scallops, arranging them in a single layer. It is important not to overcrowd the pan (if you do, the scallops will stew, not fry), so cook in two batches if necessary. Cook for one minute only, then turn and cook for the same amount of time on the other side. The scallops should be crunchy and golden on the surface, with a sweet and delicious taste.
Serve the scallops with the roasted red peppers and some seasonal salad leaves, drizzling the salmoriglio over the entire dish. Serve straight away with a wedge or two of lemon on the side.
Salt-baked Cornish turbot with new potatoes, broad beans and spinach
10kg/22lb rock salt (not sea salt)
1 whole turbot, weighing approximately 2 kg/5 lb, gutted but left whole
600g/1¼lb little new potatoes
200g/7oz freshly podded broad beans
150g/5oz young-leaf spinach
For the mayonnaise
3 egg yolks
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml/7fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and pour the rock salt into a mixing bowl. Using your hand to combine, add enough water to give the consistency of wet sand (as much as a litre, depending on the type of salt). Spread half of the salt-mix evenly on a baking tray, laying the fish on top. Cover with the rest of the salt and tightly pack in the fish as if you were burying someone at the beach. Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. You can test whether the fish is cooked by piercing the thickest part through to the bone with a sharp knife. If the knife tip feels warm to the touch, the fish is ready. To serve, crack the salt crust, carefully peel off the skin, and discard.
While the fish is cooking, make the mayonnaise. Place the egg yolks in a food processor and add the lemon juice, mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper and whiz briefly to combine. Next, with the motor running, pour the olive oil slowly into the funnel until it is all incorporated and the mayonnaise has a glossy sheen.
Once that is done, cook the potatoes in well-salted boiling water until tender, for about 10-15 minutes. At the same time, bring a separate pan of water to the boil and add the broad beans. Allow the water to come back to the boil and cook for 45 seconds. Remove the beans and refresh under cold water. When cool, slip off the dull grey skins to reveal the lime-green bean inside.
While the fish is resting, place the washed spinach leaves in a large saucepan and cook over a high heat until just wilted (this will take no longer than a minute) then drain.
Serve the succulent fish flesh in large chunks drizzled with the mayonnaise and the seasonal vegetables.
For the pastry
250g/8oz plain white flour, plus a little extra to dust
140g/4 oz chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tbsp caster sugar
tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg yolk
A little iced water
For the filling
200g/7oz blanched almonds
200g/7oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
To make the pastry, tip the flour into a food processor and add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Pulse until you have the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and one teaspoon of iced water and pulse again; the pastry should now begin to come together. Add a little more iced water as necessary and continue to pulse until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in baking parchment or cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface into a large circle approximately 3mm thick. Carefully lift the dough and drape it over a 25cm fluted flan tin. Gently press the pastry into the tin and prick the base with a fork. Return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. Once chilled, line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the pastry case is golden-brown. Remove and allow to cool.
For the filling, spread the nuts on a baking tray and warm for 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool then grind very coarsely using a pestle and mortar or blender. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl then add the vanilla extract. Next, add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking until just combined, then finally incorporate the ground almonds.
Slice the apricots in half, remove the core and place the halves around the pastry base, bottom-side up. Pour the filling into the case, making sure the apricots are visible through the filling. It is best to use the very ripest apricots as this is when they are at their sweetest. If you cannot find these, roast the apricots with 50g/2oz sugar and a halved vanilla pod for 10 minutes to sweeten them.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is golden-brown and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with a generous dollop of crème fraîche.
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