We celebrate the Hillsborough Oyster Festival with some superb seafood recipes from three of the town’s top restaurants.
What you'll need
FOR THE BALLOTINE
1 side of salmon, skinned and all fat removed
1 tsp Maldon salt
FOR THE GNOCCHI
500g very dry mash potato, still warm
2 medium eggs
75g fine semolina
50g plain flour
Seasoning to taste
FOR THE VELOUTE
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, white part only finely diced
500ml fish stock
500ml double cream
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 head of garlic, cut through the centre
1 lemon, cut in half
12 oysters, removed from their shells and juice reserved
120g fresh peas
A little fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
To make the ballotine, trim the salmon, remove the tail and the top piece to leave the salmon in a perfect rectangle, remove all of the fat and brown flesh from the belly and all of the pin bones, and sprinkle with a little salt.
Cut the salmon in half. Place one piece of salmon on top of a board and roll into a perfect barrel shape in cling film, making sure it’s very tight. Allow to set for two hours.
Place the salmon into a water bath set at 47°C/115°F and cook for one minute for every 100g of the salmon’s weight, plus 20 minutes extra. Remove from the water and chill until cold. Slice the salmon into 4cm-thick slices and reserve.
To make the gnocchi, place the mash into a large bowl and season well. Add the eggs and mix until all the egg has been absorbed by the potato. Add the two types of flour and mix to incorporate, do not overmix as the potato will become very heavy.
Lightly flour a work surface and place the gnocchi mix on top, knead very lightly until the dough feels barely sticky and has come together. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Pull sections of the dough and roll into a long sausage shape. Cut to desired size and place on a floured tray.
Have a large tub of iced water ready. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes. When the gnocchi is ready it will have risen to the surface of the pot. Remove from the water and plunge into the iced water. Allow to cool completely, then drain them thoroughly. Toss the cooked gnocchi in olive oil and store in the fridge ready for service.
To make the veloute, melt a little butter in a pan and add the onion and the leek, cook until translucent, pour in the vermouth and reduce until almost dry, add the stock and reduce by half then add the cream and simmer for five minutes, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, cover and leave to infuse for one hour. After one hour add all of the oyster juice, mix well and then strain. Cool and reserve.
To serve, rub the portions of salmon with a little olive oil and place onto greaseproof paper, place a piece of greaseproof paper on top and warm the salmon portions in a low oven to heat through.
Place a pan over medium heat and add a little butter. Add the gnocchi and pan-fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper. Add a little more butter and add the oysters, peas and gnocchi, cook for a minute then add some velouté, bring it to the boil and remove from the heat, season to taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice and the chopped parsley.
Place the salmon in the centre of a serving plate and spoon the gnocchi, oysters, peas and velouté around. Serve at once.