From Heston’s latest recipe book, Heston Blumenthal At Home is Heston’s recipe for Crispy Lemon Sole.

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

As soon as we got our hands on Heston’s latest book we wanted to start trying the recipes. As expected a lot of them take over 8 hours and ask for some pretty obscure ingredients. We quite fancied this easy-looking one. It’s a variant of a dish that used to be served at the Hind’s Head, and now features on the menu at Heston’s other pub in Bray, The Crown.

Lemon sole and potted shrimps won’t be stocked in everyone’s local Asda. Luckily, I work opposite Media City and got to attend the opening of the new Booths supermarket there (vastly better than Waitrose). They had both ingredients at their magnificent fish counter.

SUMMARY

Recipe: Heston’s Crispy Lemon Sole with Shrimp and Cucumber recipe

Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: Lemon Sole, Potted Shrimp, Pea Shoots

Time: 20 – 30 minutes
Cost: About £5 per person (those shrimp are pricey)

Serves: 2
Difficulty: Medium

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

COOKING

STEP 1: Rolling out the Bread

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

This is the “crispy” bit of the recipe. Lemon sole is very delicate, so to protect it there’s a slice of thinly-rolled bread in between the fish and the hot surface of the pan.

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

Heston claims you should be able to roll one slice thinly enough to fit two fillets of fish. We were rolling hard enough to wear a groove in the counter but only managed to cover one. Have spare slices of bread handy in case this happens to you.

 

STEP 2: Preparing the Fish

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

Trimming the fish and bread feels a bit wasteful. But we were only cutting away the thinnest, least filling bits of the fillet so you don’t lose all that much (at least that’s what I told myself when I was hacking them away to make mine look as neat as the book’s photo).

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

Neat cutting was harder than expected. Sharpest knives, please.

 

STEP 3: Preparing the Sauce

I’d forgotten that potted shrimps come with their own butter, and had been criticising Heston for missing it off the ingredient list. That showed me.

Slicing the cucumber on the mandolin is loads of fun, but if you cut it too thinly they won’t have much texture in the finished dish. We used dried dill instead of fresh, it didn’t seem to make a huge difference.

 

STEP 4: Frying and Baking the Fish

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

No photos of the fish in the pan, I’m afraid. Heston and I clearly understand a “hot” pan to be two different things. Not enough oil either. The bread started burning and blistering as soon as we put it in. We took it off the heat immediately but you could already see corners of the fish curling away from the bread. Disheartening to see my precise cutting work undone.

In spite of this the fish made it onto the greaseproof-lined baking tray relatively unscathed. It was perhaps in the oven for a bit too long, when it came out we could see it had shrunk even more. Evidence of more lost moisture.

 

VERDICT

heston blumenthal heston at home cripsy lemon sole with shrimp cucumber recipe

Even with my clumsy handling (hey, it’s our first time cooking lemon sole, I didn’t know it was that delicate) this turned out great. Amazingly light flavours, but a satisfying range of textures. The crispy bread, delicate fish, meaty shrimp and crunchy cucumber all work perfectly together.

Granted, it’s not a big portion. But, with a decent side dish and as part of a two or three course meal, it’d work.

Speaking of side dishes, we made a simpler version of Heston’s Crushed Potato recipe to go with this. If you do make this then avoid using a really waxy variety like charlottes. Even after halving the amount of oil they didn’t absorb much, the result was unpleasantly greasy.

Incidentally, this was a two course meal. We followed it up with Heston’s Chamomile Panna Cotta recipe. (clock to see how we got on there).

Overall: simple but original. If you can find the ingredients, and they’re good quality, we highly recommend making this.

NEXT TIME:

 A brilliant recipe. And one we’ll be cooking again when the ingredients are to hand. We’d only make the following adjustments:

 

  1. Paint the bread with oil. To ensure a more even crispness.
  2. A not-so-hot pan. To avoid blistering the bread.
  3. Remember we have a fan oven. And that the recipe’s 3 minutes in it at 110º is slightly too much in our case.