From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
50 g fresh white breadcrumbs
15 g small handful fresh mixed herbs (such as basil, flat-leaf parsley and tarragon)
1 egg yolk (beaten)
4 (175g each) halibut fillets (well-trimmed and skinned)
4 small vines of cherry tomatoes
olive oil, for cooking
for the velouté:
40 g butter
1 shallot (finely chopped)
1 tblsp finely chopped leek
50 g white fish trimmings (from a turbot is perfect)
120 ml noilly prat or dry martini
120 ml double cream
120 ml fish stock
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon
1 tblsp snipped fresh chives
for the potato purée:
1 kg floury potatoes (peeled and quartered)
85 ml double cream
85 ml milk
50 g butter
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the breadcrumbs in a food processor and blend with the herbs until green and fragrant.
Season the halibut fillets on both sides and arrange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper.
Brush over the egg yolk and then sprinkle over the herb breadcrumbs in a thin even layer, pressing them down lightly.
Place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to allow the crust to set or up to 4 hours is fine, loosely covered with clingfilm.
To make the velouté, melt the butter in a pan. Add the shallot and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured.
Add the fish trimmings and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
Pour in the noilly prat or martini and reduce right down for about 5 minutes until almost all of the liquid has gone.
Pour in the fish stock and reduce for about 3 minutes until reduced by half, then stir in the cream.
Bring to the boil and simmer for another 3-4 minutes until you have achieved a nice sauce consistency.
Season with salt and add the cayenne pepper to taste.
Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard the fish trimmings.
This can now be left to go cold and kept in the fridge covered with clingfilm until needed.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
To prepare the potatoes, place them in a pan and cover with cold water, then bring to the boil.
Add a pinch of salt and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Drain well and mash until smooth.
Meanwhile, heat the cream, milk and butter together in a small pan.
Gradually, beat into the mashed potatoes and season to taste. Keep warm.
To cook the halibut, place a tiny knob of butter beside each piece of fish and arrange the tomatoes vine around the edges.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the halibut is crisp and just cooked through and the tomatoes beginning to soften.
Meanwhile, finish the sauce, pour into a pan and warm through gently, stirring occasionally, then season to taste and stir in the lemon juice and chives. Keep warm.
To serve, pipe or spoon the potato purée into centre of each warmed plate and carefully arrange crisp halibut fillets on top, then drizzle around the velouté and place a vine of cherry tomatoes to the side.