Runner Beans, Mackerel, Calves' Liver

20 July 2006
Runner Beans, Mackerel, Calves' Liver

Fresh Produce

Native crops of podded vegetales are all very good at the moment including runner beans,broad beans and peas. British courgettes and corn on the cob are also on the market. Hisby cabbages are also in plentifuls upply. European figs are delicious, as are greengages from France. These are very good for bottling and preserving. Watermelons from Spain and Italy are also worth eating now. British soft fruits are still at their peak including rasperries and strawberries

Source: Chef's Connection 0207 4809


Everybody should be using British summer species on their menus now. Mackerel, megrim sole, Cornish sardines and plaice are all in ready supply and excellent quality. With the Cornish sardines chefs can also get them a day fresher than imported fish from the Continent. You wild salmon - known as grilse - are also now available. These are the one - to two year- old salmons that have spent their first winter at sea but haven't yet gone with the older adults to the Northern feeding grounds. At this time of year they stay around the mouth of the estuaries, but don't follow the older fish up rivers for spawning. Diver - caught scallops are in good supply, and the short saltwater crayfish season has started in Cronwall and the Scilly Isles. And although people don't associate them with warmer water months, there's a good supply of excellent native mussels at the moment

Source: Chefs Direct 01275 474707


Calves' liver is now entering the short period every year (until ethe end of August) when it becomes very good value. Although chefs don't tend to see liver as a summer dish, it my be worth considering how to use it in salads or other lighter dishes, especially considering how deer beef still is. Although beef doesn't seem to be getting any more expensive, prime cuts are very high in price. The situation in unlikely to ease untill September, when more people start writing their autumn menus and offering different cuts. The fantastic weather means it's turning into a very good season for lamb. Prices are easing slightly, and the meat is excellent quality and plentiful, Free-range pork is also still excellent value.

Source: Aubrey Allen 024 7842 2222


Pressing of vine tomatoes with seared sea scallops, ratatouille and fine green beans

(Serves two)

6 scallops, peferable hand dived
50ml olive oil
6 ripe vine tomatoes
Handful of basil
2 red peppers
1 yellow pepper
2 courgettes
Handoul of fine beans, blanched
30g finely diced shallots
1tbs white balsamic vinaigrette


Blanch the tomatoes, remove the skin and deseed. Season with salt and pepper, and add torn basil and a splash of olive oil. Press into two ring moulds, or other suitably shaped container overnight until very firm and take shape of mould. Seat off the peppers and courgettes in 30ml of the oil, season and arrange in a ring on the plates. Turn out the tomatoes in the centre of the ring. Pan fry scallops in the rest of the oil for about one and a half minutes each side, or untill they're cooked. Season and dress on the top of the tomatoes. Dress the blanched fine beans with the vinaigrette. Garnish the scallops with the fine beans and shallots.

John Williams, head chef, Bodysgallen Hall, Llandudno, North Wales

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