Ingredients 16 rock oysters, shucked and removed from the shells (clean the shells and keep to one side)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50ml light soya sauce
3cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
For the tempura batter 150ml tempura flour
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into small pieces
½ cucumber, skin on, seeds removed and cut into small cubes
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 medium red chilli, finely diced
2 spring onions, finely chopped
½ small bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp wasabi
1 Bring soya, mirin and ginger to the boil in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 min. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and allow to cool on one side.
2 Once base is completely cool, transfer into a bowl and add all the dressing ingredients.
3 For the batter, slowly add iced water to tempura flour in a large bowl. Whisk continuously until you get a pouring cream consistency.
4 Pour 6cm of oil into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan or a deep fat fryer. Heat to 160C. If using a saucepan, please be careful as the oil will be very hot. Dip the oysters into the batter. Fry in small batches until golden brown. Remove with tongs and place on to kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.
5 Warm the oyster shells under the grill. Place a spoonful of the dressing into each shell. Place the oyster on top and serve.
Bucatini with clams and minty potatoes
“The real value of an ingredient lies in its quality — particularly true with a dish like this one. To make this saucy paradise, I visit my fishmonger and, with exquisite stubbornness, ask for the freshest clams. Once I’m home, the first thing I do is check them for sand. Arm yourself with the same devoted patience you show your significant other and tap each clam, with the opening facing down, against a cutting board. If dark sand comes out, throw the clam away.
Also, get rid of those with broken shells — you only want the best. After all, it’s romance you’re after. This dish is best served piping hot.”
1 charlotte potato or other waxy potato, peeled
500g fresh clams
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
Knob of unsalted butter
Small handful of mint leaves, very finely chopped
150g bucatini or spaghetti
Handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salted capers, rinsed, to garnish
Salt and pepper
1 To remove excess starch from the potato, peel and leave to soak in a bowl of water for 15 min, then drain it and cut it into 5mm (¼in) cubes. Meanwhile, put the clams in a colander and rinse them well under running water over. Drain well and set aside.
2 Gently heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add one whole garlic clove and leave for 2-3 min to brown, then tip in the clams, cover with the lid and cook over a high heat for 5 min, or until the clams are completely open. Remove from the heat and drain the clams in a colander over a bowl, reserving the precious cooking liquid. Extract the clam meat from half of the shells and discard any clams that haven’t opened.
3 Add the potato cubes to a small saucepan of salted water, bring to a simmer and cook over a medium-high heat for 10 min until tender, then drain. Melt a little butter in the same pan, add the potato pieces along with the mint, season to taste and cook for a further 5 min until the potatoes have softened further and the flavours have mingled together.
4 Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions until al dente, then drain, reserving a few ladlefuls of the pasta cooking water. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in another large saucepan with the remaining whole garlic clove for 2-3 min until the garlic clove has browned, then pour over the clam cooking liquid, bring to a simmer and cook for roughly 5 min or until reduced by half.
5 Add the drained pasta to the pan along with the shelled clams, minty potatoes and parsley, then gradually add the reserved pasta cooking water along with the remaining clams still in their shells. Spoon into bowls and scatter over the capers to garnish.
Octopus ‘kebab’ with potato and celery salad
“Fishermen used to beat the octopus they’d just caught against a rock to tenderise it, but I suggest you get your fishmonger to do the hard work for you. Freezing your octopus following the method outlined here will also help to kickstart the tenderising process. Once ready, you can slice the octopus thinly to serve it as a carpaccio or turn it into a lunch on the run by cutting it into thicker slices and using it to fill a panini. Octopus rules.”
Ingredients 1 small carrot
1 celery stick, trimmed
1 white onion
2 bay leaves
1 tsp white vinegar
10 black peppercorns
3 juniper berries
100g coarse rock salt
1.5kg fresh octopus, eyes and beak removed
2 large charlotte or other waxy potatoes, peeled
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Handful of dill fronds, finely chopped
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the dressing
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 Fill a large saucepan with water, add the carrot, celery, onion, tomato, bay leaves, vinegar, peppercorns, juniper berries, cloves and salt, and bring to a boil. Carefully lower the octopus briefly into the water until fully submerged, then lift it out of the pan. Repeat this process nine more times, until the tentacles have curled up and softened, then lower the octopus once more into the water. Cover with a lid, and leave to simmer gently over a very low heat for 50 min, then add the potatoes and cook for a further 30 min.
2 Once the cooking time is up, remove the vegetables from the cooking liquid. Finely slice the celery and dice the potatoes into 1cm cubes, put in a bowl and leave to chill in the refrigerator. Leave the octopus to cool in its cooking liquid for 30 min (this will prevent it from getting chewy), then drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut the octopus into six big chunks, leaving the tentacles intact.
3 With a sharp knife, cut off the tapered end of an empty 1.5-litre plastic bottle and pierce the bottom with a pair of scissors or the tip of a sharp knife. Resting the bottle in the sink, insert the octopus and let the excess water drain through the holes you’ve made at the bottom of the bottle. Using something heavy like a meat tenderiser or a pestle, push the octopus as far down into the bottle as it can go, then cover with clingfilm and place a can of beans or tomatoes on top to act as a weight. Transfer to the freezer and leave for at least ten hours.
4 When ready to serve, remove the octopus bottle from the freezer, turn the bottle upside down and let the octopus slide out. Using a sharp knife, cut the octopus “kebab” into either thin or thick slices, according to your taste. For the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Drizzle over the octopus slices. Arrange the potatoes and celery in a serving dish and top with the dressed octopus slices. Scatter over the parsley and dill, sprinkle over the nutmeg and drizzle with olive oil.
Prawn, tenderstem broccoli, feta and almond salad
“I absolutely love broccoli and wouldn’t usually think to pair it with seafood, but the combination works well. There is so much flavour and texture in this salad that it is terribly moreish. This dish works well as a starter, for lunch or as part of a main meal. I can happily eat half of it in one sitting, then save the other half to eat on the following day. It’s a great salad for picnics too, because even when chilled, it is really quite satisfying.”
100g blanched almonds
400g tenderstem broccoli
400g raw, large madagascar prawns, peeled but with tails left on
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
1 heaped tsp rose harissa
4 tbsp olive oil
200g block of feta cheese
20g dill, fronds and stems finely chopped
For the dressing
4 heaped tbsp clear honey
Juice of 1½ lemons
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the almonds on the prepared baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10 min, then remove and set aside.
2 Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the broccoli for 5 min. Drain and plunge the broccoli stems into cold (but not iced) water to arrest cooking. Drain and set aside.
3 Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl, seasoning well with salt and pepper, and set aside.
4 Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Place the prawns in a large bowl, add the lemon zest, rose harissa and olive oil, season well with salt and work the mixture into the prawns. Leave the prawns to marinate for a few minutes, then lay them on the hot griddle pan and cook for 2 min on each side or until they turn pink and are cooked through. Remove the prawns from the heat.
5 Arrange the broccoli and prawns on a platter. Crumble over the feta cheese and scatter the almonds on top. Give the dressing a final stir and drizzle it over the salad. Scatter over the chopped dill and serve.
“Mussels hold their own wonderfully in so many dishes, from risottos and paellas to pies and pastas, and work well with many different flavours. The first time I ever ate them was in Paris — moules marinière with french fries — what a perfect combination. I’ve been hooked on them ever since. I have tried many different flavourings with mussels, from Italian and Thai to Caribbean and Spanish, and every single time my favourite versions include chilli, so — naturally — a version with harissa had to be on the horizon. This dish is nicely spicy, and with a hunk of crusty bread to mop up the juices, it’s a total winner.”
Olive oil, for frying
50g salted butter
1 large onion, halved and sliced into half-moons
6 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 heaped tsp rose harissa
1kg mussels, cleaned and beards removed
300ml white wine
1 heaped tsp clear honey
1 tbsp sea salt flakes
½ small packet (about 15g) of dill, fronds finely chopped
1 You’ll need a saucepan that’s large enough to fit all the mussels. Heat it up over a high heat.
2 Drizzle in enough olive oil to coat the base of the pan, add the butter and onion and fry the onion until just beginning to colour. Add the garlic and stir constantly to avoid burning it. Mix in the harissa, then add the mussels and coat them in the spicy mixture as best you can. Stir in the wine, honey and salt, mixing well. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the mussels to open and cook through. This should take no more than 5 min.
3 Remove the lid, give the mussels a good stir and discard any unopened ones. Mix in the chopped dill and serve.