For the stock:
1.4Kg MSC certified Gurnard bones and heads
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
3 litres of water
For the sauce:
8 Rock oysters
500ml dry cider
500ml fish stock
250ml organic cream
1-2 fillets of MSC certified Gurnard
Handful of ramson (wild garlic)
Knob of butter
This is a dish that uses one of the UK’s most underutilised fish, the gurnard, together with one of the world’s most sustainable food sources, the oyster. Gurnard is often overlooked, is plentiful off the Cornish coast at this time of year, and when filleted leaves you with a beautiful, moist, flaky white fish that works with rich sauces perfectly. The oyster is considered one of the most sustainable seafood options in the world as it can be farmed (or at least the Rock oyster can) without the need for chemical intervention and actually has a positive impact on it’s surrounding environment – as not only do they sequester nitrogen and CO2 from the atmosphere – but they can also filter up to 55 litres of water a day per oyster.
Method For the fish stock.
Ask your fishmonger to fillet and pin bone the MSC certified Gurnard and give you the head, bones and what is left of the fish. To add extra flavour you can supplement this with any fish bones they are willing to give you. Roast the bones in the oven for 20 minutes. Peel and slice the vegetables into thin slices. Place the vegetables in a pan, alongside the fish bones and top with three litres of cold water. Bring to the boil and lightly simmer for 15 minutes. Let the stock go cold before straining through a fine sieve.
To make the sauce:
In a clean pan add 500ml of dry cider (we use the wonderful Stour Valley cider) and reduce by half. Add to this 500ml of the fish stock you made earlier and reduce by half. Finally add 250ml of cream and reduce by half again. Remove from the heat and add eight oysters, shucked, making sure you add the liquor from inside. Stand for two minutes and blitz together to make a smooth sauce, pass through a fine sieve. This can be made in advance and when ready to serve reduce until it coats the back of a spoon and season with lemon (not salt, the oysters provide plenty of salty flavour).
Peel and slice the celeriac to create 1cm thick slices and roast at 180°C until cooked through and starting to caremelise. We use our charcoal oven for this. Pan fry the fillets of gurnard for three minutes, skin side down, turn over and for one further minute. Put aside and wilt the ramson for one minute in a clean pan with a little butter, if you can’t find ramson, spinach makes an excellent alternative. To assemble put the sauce into a deep plate, add the celeriac slices, ramson and top with the fillets of gurnard.
Angela’s of Margate