Out on the South Downs on the mountain bike I could see summer losing its grasp.
Squirrels hiding cob nuts as leaves start to turn and drop. The fields have been harvested and there is a coolness in the evening air. Autumn brings game, wild mushrooms, brassicas and squashes to the kitchen and slowly the menu changes.
As the temperature drops, the thought of braised meats, slow roasts and pots of stew come to mind, but summer is still clinging on and it’s not cold enough for those dishes yet. It’s a case of using seasonal ingredients and keeping them light at this time.
There are some beautiful cauliflowers in purple, green and white which look amazing and taste great. Don’t overcook cauliflowers as they lose their nutrition and smell unpleasant. The slightly bitter taste goes well with fish so I’ve put the cauliflowers with smoked haddock.
The haddock is served hot and the cauliflower cold with a grain mustard dressing added to cauliflower purée to make an interesting, textural and flavoursome dish.
Smoked haddock and cauliflower salad
Ingredients (serves four)
350g white cauliflower
150g purple cauliflower
150g Romanesco broccoli
2 tbsp double cream
60ml olive oil
400g smoked haddock
Tbsp grain mustard
Dessertspoon white wine Vinegar
1. Take 200g of white cauliflower and put in a saucepan with a knob of butter and 4tbsp of water.
2. Heat over a medium heat with the lid on the pan for 8-10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft.
3. Add double cream and purée in a liquidiser.
4. Add 20ml of olive oil and mustard.
5. While the purée is cooking cut the rest of the cauliflowers into florets and blanch in boiling water for three minutes. Refresh in cold running water and drain.
6. Season with sea salt, white wine vinegar and the remaining olive oil
7. Place the smoked haddock under a hot grill for three minutes until just cooked.
8. Arrange the dressed cauliflower and purée on plates and top with the haddock.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk). Call 01243 377914.