Roasted langoustine with spring onion and garlic butter
I often get asked that dreaded question of what I would choose for my last meal. I think langoustine and garlic butter would be right up there. If you have never visited the west coast of Scotland, you must. To eat fresh langoustine just off the boat along the coast is something very special. Langoustines can be difficult to get hold of and are often expensive, but you will find them in good fishmongers, so give yourself a treat whenever you come across them. Serve them piled high on a big plate in the middle of the table, and enjoy with your family or good friends for a perfect meal in my opinion. They are just delicious.
12 frozen langoustines, thawed and halved with the brains and intestines removed and discarded
Charred lemon halves, optional, to serve
For the spring onion and garlic butter
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
150g butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C/gas mark 7. Select one or two heavy-based shallow roasting tins so all the langoustine halves can be arranged in a single layer – you don’t want them piled on top of each other.
Place the langoustines into the tin(s), add a good splash of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the tin(s) in the oven and roast for 6 minutes, or until the flesh is white.
Meanwhile, to make the flavoured butter, combine the spring onions, garlic and parsley, and set aside. Heat a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, then add the butter. When it starts to foam, add the spring onion, garlic and parsley mixture, and stir for 1 minute.
Remove the tin(s) with the langoustines from the oven and pour over the butter mixture. Place the langoustine in the middle of the table and serve, with lemon halves for squeezing over – I particularly like the flavour charred lemons give, but plain ones work just as well.
Scallop tartare with orange and mint
I love to eat raw fish and shellfish, but I also understand that some people are a little dubious or hesitant to take the risk. Of course, the real secret is to make sure you always use the freshest possible produce, and that’s why it’s so important to have a great relationship with your fishmonger. I cannot stress that too much. In this recipe, I’ve used some beautiful hand-dived scallops, but it works well with salmon, tuna or just about any other very fresh fish. When I’m making this at home I get all the components ready and then just mix them together when we’re ready to eat.
Serves 4 as a starter
4 shelled scallops with corals removed, about 70g each, thawed if frozen and cut into 1cm cubes – save the shells for serving
4 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp soy sauce
8 mint leaves, chopped
1 orange, peeled and segmented
2 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the croutons
2 slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into 0.5cm cubes
First make the crotons, which will keep for up to three days in an airtight container. Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C/gas mark 7. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with a generous splash of olive oil so they are well coated. Place the baking sheet in the oven and toast the bread for 7 minutes, or until the cubes are golden brown and crispy. Tip on to a plate lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool, then set aside until required.
Place the scallop cubes in a bowl and place that bowl in a larger bowl of ice. Add the olive oil, shallots and soy sauce to the scallop pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the croutons, mint, orange segments and orange confit, and gently toss together. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. I like to serve these in scallop shells, but the mixture also looks appetising on a simple, plain plate.
Octopus, mixed bean and black olive salad
Over the past few years octopus is more popular on menus around Britain, but it’s always been a part of Mediterranean cuisine. As with many great products, the octopus is really versatile, whether it’s braised, barbecued, pickled or, as in this recipe, served in a salad. When you come across octopus in the UK it will most likely have been frozen, but that’s actually a good thing as the freezing process helps to tenderise the meat. When you’re cooking octopus, make sure the water is just simmering when you add it, or the beautiful colour will be lost.
500g raw octopus, cleaned with head and eyes removed, but the tentacles left attached (ask your fishmonger to do this for you, or if you buy it frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge)
1 lemon, cut in half
1 tbsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1kg live mussels, cleaned and soaked in cold water to cover for 20 minutes
2 shallots, finely chopped
125ml dry white wine
60g podded broad beans
2 garlic cloves, crushed
800g cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed if tinned
100g cherry tomatoes, quartered
60g stoned black olives, sliced
Handful of basil leaves, torn
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
To cook the octopus, first bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil with the lemon and peppercorns. As soon as it boils, turn the heat down so the water is just simmering. Add the octopus to the water and pop a plate on top to keep it submerged, then simmer for 90 minutes, or until it’s tender. It’s really important that the octopus does not boil, as this will ruin the lovely skin. Once cooked, leave the octopus to cool, uncovered, in the stock.
Meanwhile, cook the mussels and blanch the broad beans. First drain the mussels and discard any that do not snap shut when tapped. Heat a large heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium-high heat, then add a splash of oil. When it is hot, add half the shallots and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the mussels and wine and give them a good stir. Cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes, or until all the mussels open. Drain the mussels, then discard any that are not open. Set the remainder aside.
To blanch the broad beans, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and place a bowl of iced water in the sink. Add the beans to the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes, then drain well. Immediately tip them into the iced water to stop the cooking and set the colour. When they are cool, drain them again, shake off any excess water and set aside.
When the octopus is cool enough to handle, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a chopping board and dice the body, but leave the tentacles whole. Place it in a bowl, add the garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper and pour over enough olive oil to cover.
In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining shallots, cannellini beans, tomatoes, olives, and the blanched broad beans. Now add the octopus mixture and a couple of tablespoons of sherry vinegar, to taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Scatter with the basil leaves. The salad is best eaten fresh, but you can cover and chill for up to 4 hours, just remember to remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving.
‘Tom Kitchin’s Fish and Shellfish’ (Absolute Press, £26) is out now. Photography by Marc Millar
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