This is a dish that sings of the ocean, and is brought back to earth with meaty sweetbreads and fresh vegetables.
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
head and bones from Dover sole
3 bay leaves
350ml/12fl oz white wine
1 sprig fresh thyme
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
8 mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
8 clams, cleaned
100ml/3½fl oz double cream
50g/2oz cold butter
25g/1oz farmed Sevruga caviar
For the Dover sole, fillet the fish and cut each fillet into two pieces. Set aside. Reserve the fish heads and bones for the sauce.
For the caviar sauce, place the fennel, one of the onions, celery, one of the leeks and two garlic cloves into a pan. Rinse the reserved fish heads and bones and add to the pan, along with the peppercorns, two bay leaves, star anise, 250ml/9fl oz of the white wine and the thyme. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and strain the stock through a sieve, discarding the solids. Return the stock to the pan.
In another deep pan, heat the olive oil and fry the carrots, the remaining onion, remaining leek and remaining garlic until golden-brown. Add the mussels and clams to the pan, followed by the remaining bay leaf and the remaining white wine. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until all of the mussels and clams have opened.
Discard any unopened mussels and clams, pick the meat from the open shells and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve, discarding the solids. Add the strained liquid to the fish stock.
Bring the stock back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming away any scum that rises to the surface, until the liquid has reduced and thickened. Whisk in the cream and butter and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the caviar.
Preheat oven to 100C/210F/Gas 1.
For the courgettes, use a mandoline to slice long thin slices of courgette. Place the slices into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and salt to taste. Mix well, then place into the fridge to chill for ten minutes.
Once chilled, spread the courgette slices out onto a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the sweetbreads, thickly slice the sweetbreads. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the sweetbreads for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over and just cooked. Deglaze the pan with the lamb stock, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the Swiss chard, blanch the Swiss chard in a pan of boiling water until wilted, then drain and refresh in cold water. Just before serving, fry the chard in butter and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the mussel and clam ragoût, chop the mussels and clams into four. Peel the hard-boiled egg and chop into pieces the same size as the mussels and clams. Mix the seafood and egg together with the two tablespoons of the caviar sauce.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the sourdough bread for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over. Set aside to cool, then cut into 1cm/½in cubes. Toss with the freshly chopped dill and set aside.
For the Dover sole, heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the fillets for 1-2 minutes. Add the butter to the pan, then turn the fish over and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, basting the fish with the butter. Set aside to rest for a few minutes before serving.
To serve, place a spoonful of mussel and clam ragoût to one side of the plate and Swiss chard to the other with courgette ribbons on top. Lay the Dover sole fillets alongside with a slice of lamb sweetbreads. Spoon the sauce around the plate and garnish with the sourdough croutons and dill.
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