With the nice weather we’ve been having this week, there’s hope that summer is only just around the corner.
Warm sunshine puts a smile on your face and is the quickest way to banish the winter blues.
It’s about now that people’s thoughts start turning to food that’s lighter on the stomach – if not necessarily the calories – having indulged in probably one too many heavy meals over the last few months.
Fish is a wonderful ingredient. Not only is it packed full of many essential vitamins and minerals, but it’s versatile, packed with flavour and is easy on the digestion.
We’re lucky to have the North Sea on our doorstep which offers up an abundance of sea food from crabs, lobsters and langoustines – all currently in season – to a huge variety of fish.
One flavoursome fish that’s just coming into season is sea trout.
It’s a key ingredient in John Chilley’s delicious pan fried trout and smoked tagliatelle recipe – one of 14 produced by Northumberland and Durham-based chefs celebrating the fresh, local foods on their doorstep.
The recipes go hand-in-hand with four Tasty Trails that take in some of Northumberland and County Durham’s most stunning and gastronomically inspiring countryside.
The trails, which we have featured in Journal Taste and are available to download online from both the Visit Northumberland (www.visitnorthumberland.com) and This is Durham (www.thisisdurham.com) websites, have been created to highlight the culinary delights and magnificent scenery on offer in both areas.
They have been produced as part of a Northern Lands initiative funded by DEFRA with the aim of encouraging food tourism in the two counties.
The Tasty Trails take in the north Northumberland coast, the south west of the county as well as Teesdale and Weardale and Derwent Valley. The suggested routes offer places to stop along the way where you will be guaranteed both a warm welcome and delicious fare.
John Chilley is head chef at the award-winning Duke of Wellington Inn which stands on a hill overlooking Northumberland’s beautiful Tyne Valley.
He’s worked in some of the best kitchens in the North and his forte is cooking traditional British food.
He makes extensive use of local and seasonal ingredients on the Duke of Wellington’s menus, whether that be in a soup of the day, a steak served with chunky chips or the dessert cheeseboard.
If you fancy trying more of John’s food for yourself, then the Duke of Wellington is one of the recommended stop-off points on the south west Northumberland Tasty Trail. Visit www.thedukeofwellingtoninn.co.uk for more information.
Pan Fried Locally Caught Trout with Smoked Tagliatelle and Chowder, created by Duke of Wellington head chef John Chilley
For the Sauce:
100g white wine
5 drops hickory liquid smoke
100g mixed clams and mussels
100g carrot and onion, diced and cooked
Cook the leeks in half of the white wine until the wine has evaporated.
Cook the clams and mussels in the other half of the wine for about four minutes.
Mix the shellfish, leeks, cream and hickory smoke drops and bring to the boil.
Add the cooked diced carrot and onion and season to taste.
For the Pea puree:
2 garlic cloves, peeled
75g unsalted butter
Bring the milk to the boil and add the peas and garlic.
Cook for eight minutes.
Blend the mixture with the butter until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste.
For the Pasta:
(Quantities are for more than three servings)
500g pasta flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp olive oil
6 egg yolks
5 drops hickory liquid smoke
In a food processor, pulse the flour, oil, hickory smoke drops and salt and slowly add the eggs and egg yolks.
When finished the dough should form a ball.
Knead on a flat surface until smooth.
Rest for 20 minutes.
Using a pasta maker or rolling pin, roll until thin and cut into strips.
Add the pasta to a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for one to two minutes until al denté.
For the Final Dish:
3 medium size locally caught trout fillets
Pea spouts to garnish
Pan fry the trout for a few minutes on each side.
Mix the pasta and the sauce together and form into a neat cylinder for presentation.
Assemble the dish by placing some pea puree on a plate, add the pasta cylinder and layer on the trout fillet.
Garnish with pea shoots.
Why not continue the gastronomic journey through the region by downloading the food trails from either www.thisisdurham.com/food-and-drink/Tasty-Trails or www.visitnorthumberland.com/eat/food-trails . Alternatively, you can pick one up from a Tourist Information Centre. And look out for the next regional recipe in Journal Taste on April 25.