Get a really large frying pan, or two smaller ones, on the heat and add a glug of olive oil. Score the skin of your fish fillets all over, about 1cm deep, and season. Put the fish fillets into the pan, skin side down, with the squid tentacles. Add the scallops. Run your knife down one side of each squid to open them out, then quickly and lightly score the inside in a criss-cross fashion. Lay them in the pan, scored side down. Add the asparagus and gently shake the pan. Cook for a few minutes, then turn everything over and cook on the other side. Sprinkle over the thyme tips.
You’re the one in control of the pan, so if something looks cooked, take it out and keep it warm. Don’t watch things burn! When the fish has crispy skin, the scallops are golden brown with caramelized edges and the squid has curled up and is nicely chargrilled, remove the pan from the heat. Put the squid on a chopping board and roughly slice it into pieces at an angle, then return to the pan. Lay the fish fillets on each plate. Toss the asparagus, scallops and squid with half the chilli, a good drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice. Lightly season and mix together. Divide on top of the plated fish. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped chilli and the fennel tops, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
at 5:59 AM
Bring a pot to the boil, half-filled with water, but with no salt as this makes broad beans and peas toughen. Add your garlic and allow the water to boil for a couple of minutes before adding the broad beans. Cook for around 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how young the beans are. Simply taste one to check. If you feel the skins are a little tough, which they can be sometimes, let them cool a little and then you can peel them very quickly by pinching and squeezing the bean out. Throw the skins away, and keep the garlic clove to one side. Place your pancetta on a baking tray, with the almonds spread out next to it. Place in a hot oven at 250°C/475°F/gas 9 − keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure they don't colour too much. You should be able to crisp up the pancetta at the same time as toasting the almonds, but simply remove one or the other if it is getting too far ahead.
To make the dressing, put your raw podded peas and the soft, boiled garlic clove into a pestle and mortar or a Magimix and bash or blitz until smooth. Add the cheese and most of the mint and stir or pulse to make a smooth paste. You want to turn this into a thick dressing, so add the olive oil and 4 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, to your preference. Season to taste − it should have an amazing flavour of sweet peas, twangy lemon, fragrant mint and a softness and roundness from the cheese. A balance is good, but you should also trust your own personal judgement. I generally like mine to be a bit more lemony, to cut through the smokiness of the pancetta.
Mix the dressing with the broad beans and sprinkle this over four plates. Crumble the pancetta over, followed by a sprinkling of the almonds, which can be crushed or bashed up a little. Tear a little mint over the top with a little shaved Parmesan if you like.
at 5:57 AM
Have a go at this recipe, even if you think you don’t particularly like onions in salads, as they’re quite mild. You can use sweet red onions instead of shallots if you like. And feel free to use any interesting mixed salad leaves.
Place the shallots in a small bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pour over just enough white wine vinegar to cover. You’ll pour away the excess salt and vinegar once the onions are pickled, so don’t worry if you think it’s a bit much! Scrunch everything together with your hands and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
To make the dressing, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the crème fraîche and the red wine vinegar. Whisk everything together and season to taste.
Squeeze the shallots hard with your hands and drain. Place the salad leaves on a plate. From a height, sprinkle over the shallots and the crumbled Roquefort. Scatter over the crumbled walnuts – it’s really nice if they’re still a bit warm from being toasted. I like to drizzle over the dressing at the table. Finish by throwing over some torn-up chive or allium flowers, if you have them.
at 5:51 AM