The recipes here are my own versions of ones that I have loved throughout my life and which I return to time and time again. Recipes that never fail me, bringing comfort and pleasure and sometimes simply reminding me of moments shared with friends and family.
For those who are anticipating purity or unadulterated authenticity then there is, I’m sorry to say, disappointment ahead – most of the recipes here have been finessed by me, sometimes fiddled around with and occasionally radically overhauled. But the reasons for so doing have always been driven by a passion to develop the perfect flavour combination and gastro-pleasure hit. Simple deliciousness in other words!
We all have an earliest food memory. Mine is oysters! I was three or four years old and on holiday with my family in France. My elder brother, Ed, was given a fresh oyster and swallowed it whole. So I had to have one – peer pressure works not only for games and dares but also for exploring the wonders of shellfish…
I was immensely proud of my dad’s book Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, it was a rallying cry to the British public to “use or lose” bespoke and artisan
I was immensely proud of my dad’s book, Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, which came out in the early 2000s because it was a rallying cry to the British public to “use or lose” bespoke and artisan. It has helped enable my generation of chefs to have the best raw ingredients with which to build our dishes. Its influence has also ensured that the general cooking public has the same building blocks as the professionals when it comes to creating wonderful dishes in the kitchen.
So, hold on tight to the philosophy of taking the best possible ingredients, treating them with respect and having fun with them. And if you are the kind of cook who doesn’t like being bound by the old ways and enjoys experimenting with flavours from around the world, then these recipes are most definitely for you.
Jack Stein’s World on a Plate is published by Bloomsbury (£26). To order your copy for £20 call 0844 871 1514 or visit
Warm salad of new potatoes and hot-smoked salmon
This dish is a healthy and colourful addition to any barbecue table.
- 400g new potatoes
- 200g mixed salad leaves, such as frisée and radicchio
- 400g hot-smoked salmon
- 100g double cream
- 20g horseradish sauce
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 20g flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
- Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Let them cool slightly, then cut into 5mm slices. Put them in a mixing bowl along with the salad leaves.
- Warm the hot-smoked salmon under a grill or in a moderate oven for about a minute. Break it into chunks and mix it with the salad leaves and potatoes.
- Lightly whisk the cream, horseradish sauce and lemon juice together using a hand whisk. It should start to thicken. Be careful not to over-mix; you want to keep it at a pouring consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine all the ingredients together and garnish with the parsley leaves.
Lobster with chips
Today, serving lobster with chips is considered perfectly normal, but back in the early Nineties things were different. My father had recently been commissioned to do his first series for the BBC and to celebrate he brought back two things that we never usually saw at home: a lobster and a bottle of 1987 Ampeau Montrachet (a beautiful bottle of white burgundy from one of the best vintages of the Eighties). He proceeded to knock up a meal of lobster, chips and Montrachet. A combination that would have been frowned on back then by many, but to me it exemplifies his blithe disregard for what people think and his love of simple things. This sublime combination of food and drink is, for me, up there with sherry and Ibérico ham.
- 500g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and sliced into 2cm-thick batons
- Sunflower oil for deep frying
- 4 (500g) cooked lobsters
- 4 tbsp clarified butter
- 150ml fish stock (home-made or shop-bought)
- 100g butter, cold and cubed
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Handful of tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
- Some mixed salad leaves
- Few lemon wedges
- Rinse the potatoes in water to remove the starch. Immerse them in boiling water for six minutes, then drain and dry them on kitchen paper.
- Now double-fry them in the sunflower oil: first at 140C for four minutes (leaving to cool afterwards), then at 180C until crisp and golden. Season with salt.
- Preheat the grill so that it is hot. Cut the lobsters in half and season with salt; pour over the clarified butter and place the lobsters on a grill tray.
- Cook under the grill for eight to 10 minutes until cooked through; the internal temperature should have reached 68C. You may need to do this in batches; if so, keep the cooked lobsters warm on a plate under foil.
- For the sauce, heat the stock, let it boil, then whisk in the cold butter until emulsified. Finish with salt, the lemon juice and tarragon. Scoop out the cooked head meat and anything left on the grill tray and put it into the sauce.
- Serve the lobsters and chips with a green salad. Drizzle the sauce over the salad and lobsters.
Oysters with lime juice and chervil
I first came across the combination of soy and mirin while working as at a restaurant in Sydney. They served oysters with finger limes (Australian citrus fruit). My own version uses lime juice in a savoury soy and mirin dressing.
- 12 oysters
- 3 tbsp Japanese light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sake
- 3 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into batons
- 12 sprigs of chervil
- Borage flowers
- Place the oysters (make sure none have opened) in a pan with a water. Cover and steam for one minute. The shells should lift so that you can remove the top one.
- Mix the soy sauce, sake, mirin, lime juice, sugar and a tablespoon water in a saucepan and warm over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Serve the oysters in their shells, garnished with the apple batons, chervil and borage flowers. Pour over the lime and soy dressing.
Gin-cured trout with pickled cucumber
Start this recipe the day ahead of serving; the trout needs to cure overnight. I have used sea trout here rather than fresh water and cured it much as you would for gravadlax, with salt and sugar. It is quite Scandinavian in style with the pickle giving acidity and the grated horseradish adding a lovely heat. Serve with wholemeal bread.
- 1 side of sea trout or salmon
- 50g fine table salt
- 1 pinch white peppercorns, crushed
- 50g sugar
- 25g dill, finely chopped
- 100ml gin
- 750ml rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 100g sugar
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 2 star anise
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- 5g dashi granules (1 sachet)
- 1 cucumber
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp capers
- A little fresh horseradish root
- Trim the two fillets off the bone and place one of them, skin side down, on a baking tray lined with cling film, then cover liberally with salt, white pepper, sugar and dill. Place the other fillet on the tray, also skin side down, and add salt and sugar.
- Douse both fillets liberally with the gin. Place one on top of the other, flesh sides together, and wrap the cling film tightly around them so that it is airtight, being careful not to let any of the juices escape. (If using salmon, slice the side of salmon in half and trim the belly, then continue with the instructions above). Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- To make the pickling liquid, pour the vinegar and 375ml water into a large pot. Add the salt and the sugar, and then the thyme, star anise, chilli flakes and dashi granules.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds, then slice the halves into half moons 1cm thick. Add the cucumber slices to the pickle mixture, bring it to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool.
- For the capers, heat the vegetable oil in a pan and fry the capers until crisp, then leave to dry on kitchen paper.
- To portion the trout, remove it from the cling film. Rinse to remove any excess salt and thinly slice on an angle.
- Serve the slices on a plate and top with the pickled cucumber, horseradish and capers.
XO stands for “extra-old”, a sauce originally from Hong Kong. You can find ready-made XO Sauce online, but it is easy to make and well worth the little effort involved. Try XO sauce on other seafood, especially shellfish.
- 1 slice serrano ham, finely chopped
- 1 scallop (raw), minced
- 2cm piece of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 red chillies, stems removed and deseeded
- 20g dried shrimp (optional)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp ginger, finely diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely diced
- 1 tbsp chilli, finely diced
- 800g clams
- 100ml dry sherry
- 25ml soy sauce
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- A pinch of sugar
- A handful of spring onions, sliced diagonally
- First make the XO sauce. Preheat the oven to 100C/lowest gas mark.
- Place the ham and minced scallop on a baking tray and put into the oven until very dry (about one to two hours). Mix them in a bowl with the ginger, garlic, chilli and dried shrimp.
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan over a very low heat and cook the mixture in it for about 10 minutes, taking care not to let it colour. Set the sauce aside.
- Next, heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and sweat the ginger, garlic and chilli for two to three minutes. Add the XO sauce and the clams and increase the heat. Add the sherry and cover the pan; cook for one to two minutes until the clams have opened (discard any that have not). Finally stir in the soy sauce, lemon juice and sugar.
- Serve the clams with spring onions.
Cod with chard and charred sweetcorn dressing
The cod is sweet and flaky, the chard is earthy and the sweetcorn dressing has lots of savoury notes to complement the sweetness of the fish. Charring the sweetcorn gives extra depth of flavour, so either use a blowtorch or just chuck it under the grill.
- 4 cod fillets with skin on (180g each)
- 2 tsp sea salt, plus more as needed
- 30ml vegetable oil A knob of butter
- 200g chard, cut diagonally
- A drizzle of olive oil
- 2 ears of sweetcorn
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 banana shallot, minced
- 1 tsp English mustard
- A sprig of thyme
- 50ml cider vinegar
- 200ml extra-virgin olive oil
- A pinch of garam masala
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- Season the cod fillets with sea salt. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan to a medium heat and cook the fillets skin side down for two to three minutes until the tops of the fillets begin to change to white in colour (this method allows the skin to brown slowly). Add a knob of butter to the pan, flip the fish, turn off the heat and leave the fillets to finish cooking in the residual heat. Check the temperature with a probe; it should read 50C. Once the fillets have reached this temperature, remove them from the pan and leave to rest. Do not clean the pan; set it aside to use later.
- Meanwhile, make the corn vinaigrette. Husk the sweetcorn and cut the kernels from the cobs. Place the kernels in a bowl, along with the sunflower oil and the teaspoon salt, and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking tray, place under a hot grill, on the middle shelf, and grill for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the kernels start to blacken. (Or use a blowtorch for this).
- Place the minced shallot in a bowl. Add the mustard, thyme, cider vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, garam masala and soy sauce, and stir together. Then add the charred sweetcorn to the mixture and stir. Set the vinaigrette aside.
- Put the pan used to cook the fish back on the heat. Deglaze the pan with two tablespoons water, then add the corn vinaigrette to warm it up.
- Place the chard leaves in a saucepan along with water to a depth of 5cm. Cover the pan with a lid and steam the chard over a high heat for a minute. Once wilted, add salt and olive oil to taste. Remove from the heat.
- Divide the chard among four plates, dress it with the vinaigrette and place the cod fillets on top.
This content was originally published here.