by Rick Stein from Rick Stein’s Secret France (BBC Books / PenguIn Random House)
This dish comes from a restaurant in Dieppe called Le Newhaven. I wonder if there are any restaurants called Le Dieppe in Newhaven! This was a good, but not must-visit restaurant on the harbour, which also had some very lovely cheese including Neufchâtel, Camembert & Pont l’Evêque. Actually the smell of cheese in many decent restaurants in France is what differentiates them from similar good restaurants in the UK. In this recipe, it will be the smell of the bubbling Emmental cheese on the seafood gratin. I thought the accompanying caramelised apple might be a bit too ‘Normande’ for foreign consumption but it was actually really nice.
450ml fish stock
400g white fish fillets, skinned and cut into 2cm pieces
200g cleaned scallops
400g raw prawns, peeled
50ml white wine
150ml whole milk
100ml double cream
2 leeks, cut in half lengthways, washed and sliced
50g plain flour
small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
80g Emmental cheese, grated (Nigel used the award winning Pitchfork Cheddar)
50g panko breadcrumbs
salt and black pepper
3 or 4 dessert apples
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
Bring the stock to a simmer in a pan, then add the fish fillets and poach for one minute. Add the scallops and poach for another minute, then the prawns for a final minute. Remove them all with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the wine, milk and cream to the stock and bring to the boil.
Melt the 50g of butter in another large pan, add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the flour and stir well, then add the milk and stock mixture, a ladleful at a time. Keep stirring until all the liquid is incorporated and the sauce is smooth with no lumps. Bring the sauce to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. Preheat the grill.
Grease 6 shallow, ovenproof gratin dishes or one large dish measuring about 30cm x 25cm. Add the poached fish, scallops and prawns to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley, then transfer the mixture to the gratin dishes or dish. Mix the cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top, place under the hot grill for 10 minutes until golden brown.
If you’ve made the gratin in advance and let it cool down, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is brown and the filling is bubbling.
While the gratin is cooking, peel and core the apples and cut them into 2cm chunks. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan, then add the caster sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the apple chunks and stir to coat them in the butter, then cook for about 10 minutes until the apples have softened and are covered in a caramel sauce. Serve the gratin with the caramelised apples on the side and some good bread.
You can also use cooked or frozen seafood, such as prawns, scallops and lobster, if you like. Just add them to the pan with the poached white fish.