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Dover sole with vanilla sabayon and red pepper oil


Andrew Maxwell

Dover sole with vanilla sabayon and red pepper oil

I was recently at the home of a dear friend who has a regular column or two in this magazine, is covered in tattoos and rides a motorbike, or two (when he remembers his keys).

Said friend, also drives a somewhat obnoxious Mitsubishi Warrior and I think that it is fair to say that aside from his overriding passion for two wheels, if he does have to subject himself to four, his Warrior is his pride and joy.

Interestingly, Mitsubishi also features heavily in the film, The End of the Line. 'Mitsubishi?' I hear you say...
Halcyon Eclipse Infinity
Yes, that is correct – the Japanese car manufacturer, in a film about the global fishing crisis.

The reason for this, is a shocking story which the film describes in detail, (and has also been reported extensively in the press – Google 'Mitsubishi blue fin tuna' and read the article written by the Independent, which comes up top of the search).

The story basically implies that Mitsubishi controls 40% of the global trade in Blue Fin tuna. The company is stockpiling the fish in giant freezers – it currently has 60,000 tonnes of the fish and is storing more every day. It is building massive new fishing vessels to catch more and more of the fish. Why?

Well, once Blue Fin tuna becomes extinct, which it is looking like doing, Mitsubishi will be able to name their price.

Still love your Warrior?

Last year, the EU Fisheries Commission sought advice from experts as to what would be an appropriate level at which to set the annual quota for Mediterranean Blue Fin, such that the species was allowed sufficient opportunity to increase its numbers. The research was carried out and the EU Fisheries suits were duly advised that an annual quota of 15,000 tonnes would allow stocks to be maintained at their current level, but that the ideal limit should be 10,000 tonnes, which would allow stocks to recover.
The limit was then set at 30,000 tonnes!

The End of the Line came out at the beginning of February. See their website for details and also for a list of cinemas which are screening the film.

I thought I'd just share this with you too – it is from a weekly hospitality magazine which I get at work, called Caterer and Hotelkeeper and is a guideline as to what fish to avoid and what fish is safe to eat at the moment:
  • Avoid:
  • Wild caught turbot
  • Herring from South Clyde, west Ireland and Great Sole fisheries
  • Buy very occasionally:
  • Atlantic Cod – wild caught from the north–east Arctic, Iceland, west English Channel, Bristol Channel, south-east
  • Ireland and Sole. Avoid all other stocks
  • Ling – hand line-caught from the Faroes. Avoid all other stock
  • Buy occasionally:
  • Lobster – European pot-caught
  • Monkfish – from the southwest. Avoid fish from north and north-west Spain and Portugal
  • Dover sole – MSC-certified from Hastings fleet trammel net fishery within the eastern English Channel. Avoid North Sea and Irish Sea
  • Good choices:
  • Pollack – otter trawled and handline caught
  • Sardines from Cornwall
  • Sea Bass – Line-caught is fine, but avoid pelagic-trawled
  • Best choices:
  • Brown crab – pot-caught from south Devon
  • Langoustine – from MSC certified fishery in Loch Torridon and the Inner Sound of Rona. Avoid from Spain and Portugal
  • Mussels – Rope grown or hand gathered
And now for this edition's recipe...

Dover sole with vanilla sabayon and red pepper oil

Serves four.

Dover sole is one of my favourite fish, and this dish brings out the best in it. Vanilla sounds like a slightly odd combination with fish, but it actually works really well, and the peppers provide just enough acidity to cut through the mellow vanilla sauce.
  • 8 small or 4 large fillets Dover sole, skinned (make sure it is not from the North Sea or Irish Sea)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 100ml fish stock
  • Plain flour, seasoned with a little salt and black pepper
  • 75g butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 250g girolle or oyster mushrooms
  • Chervil to garnish
Brush the red pepper with a little oil and grill until the skin is charred. Place in a polythene bag and tie the neck. Leave until cool enough to handle then remove the skin. Discard the pips and pith and chop the pepper finely. Sweat in the remaining oil gently until really tender, season and keep on one side.

Split the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds. Reserve the seeds and put the pods in a saucepan with the cream.

Bring to boiling point; remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

Put the shallot and wine in a small pan and simmer gently until the shallot is tender and the wine has reduced by half. Add the stock and boil hard until reduced by half.

Add the infused cream and half of the vanilla seeds.
The Underwater Channel
Boil again until the sauce is a coating consistency (similar to double cream). Taste and adjust the seasoning. The remaining vanilla seeds can be added if required. Keep warm in a bain marie if you are not serving it immediately.

Clean the mushrooms if they are dirty. They may be sliced or left whole. Melt 25g of the butter in a small saucepan and cook the mushrooms in this, keep the mushrooms warm. Coat the fish in the seasoned flour and fry quickly in the remaining melted butter.

Arrange the mushrooms on individual serving plates and place the fish fillets on top.

Whisk the sauce hard until it becomes foamy or mix with a hand–held blender.

Spoon the sauce over the fish and drizzle red pepper and oil on the plate. Garnish with chervil sprigs. Serve immediately.
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