The Alderley Market
Great food direct from the people who made it.

One-Pot Seafood Casserole

Now if you were having this at the Alderley Restaurant I would probably be making it with offcuts of lobster, scallops, langoustines, sea bass, halibut...
But at home there is no need. I like to think mine would be better than yous, but really, you can make a stunning one-pot seafood casserole with salmon, cod, lemon sole, haddock, mussels...
Why? Because the sauce is the thing. Add the fish and vegetables and cook it all together... Turn it off... Serve with bread... Absolutely fantastic. It's the simple way of cooking seafood perfectly. Just how difficult can it be to poach a piece of fish?
I created the sauce for a friend who was genuinely scared to cook seafood. It's a citrousy chicken-based broth into which the fish releases its own natural flavour to enhance as it cooks.
And being a posh dish, of course, the sauce contains saffron - one of the most expensive ingredients you can buy. It's up there with winter truffles at going on £2,000 a kilo, but in the right hands it's an aromatic godsend.
Careful though, too much and it can produce a medicinal taste. Correctly balanced it becomes one of the building blocks in a one-pot dish that has lots of class.
The simplicity or extravagance depends on what fish you put into it. The world is your oyster.
2lbs chicken wings
3 pints chicken stock
2 glasses white wine
6oz butter
4oz flour
zest of half a lemon
2 cloves garlic
3 shallots
1 white leek
2 sticks of celery
2 bayleaves
8 peppercorns
6 sprigs thyme
¼ gram saffron strands
1½ tblsp mild curry powder
sea salt and white pepper
juice of 1 lemon
2 ½ lbs seafood – anything from cod, haddock, halibut and salmon to scallops, mussels, clams and king prawns.

Finely chop the shallots, leek, celery and garlic and sweat slowly with butter. Add the thyme, peppercorns, bayleaves, lemon zest and curry powder until tender. Add flour and gently fry for about 5 mins. Deglaze with white wine and lemon juice. Reduce by half. At this point add the saffron, chicken stock and roasted chicken wings, simmer very slowly for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt and white pepper, pass through a fine sieve and set aside to cool. The sauce is now finished and can be frozen or stored for up to 3 days in the fridge. 

Having made your choice of seafood, dice it into half-inch cubes – making sure the fish is even in size. Season with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice and place in a saucepan with a selection of precooked vegetables, cover with the sauce and  simmer for no longer than 5 mins. Then leave to sit in the sauce for 1 minute. It’s now ready to serve in large bowls with freshly baked sour dough.   


Alderley Restaurant: Emile Chandesais Pouilly Fuisse 2005
Home: a fruity, oaked white Burgundy with a bit of body such as a Macon Village, Rully St Veran or Montagny
Passionfruit with lime and ginger cream, roasted mango and warm amaretti cookies.
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