From sumptuous scallops to marvellous monkfish, there’s all sorts to catch in your net this season. Ashley Wright, head chef at The Horn of Plenty in Tavistock, shares his top tips for cooking up a seafood storm this autumn
‘Some of my favourite fish are at their best in October from the shellfish family: crab, mussels, oysters and scallops are all fantastic,‘ says Ashley. ‘Perfectly cooked scallops are always going to be delicious.‘
A scallop spread
Preparation: Soggy scallops never cook well. Ashley suggests drying them off by leaving them on a jay cloth or towel after cleaning to remove any excess moisture.
Cooking: Make sure your pan is super hot so that when the scallops hit the deck, they’ll sear and caramelise the natural sugars for that divine flavour. Add some butter halfway through cooking and baste to finish off – it adds real depth of flavour.
‘Other meaty fish that are wonderful in October are seabass, mackerel, turbot and monkfish,‘ explains Ashley. Here are his top tips for preparing the perfect monkfish meal.
A monkfish meal
Preparation: Remove every last bit of membrane from the tail and cut the fish into medallions to ensure evenly cooked pieces. Similar to scallops, you want them dry so that moisture doesn’t seep out when you add to the pan.
Cooking: Cook until golden brown and almost ready. Add some butter in halfway through. Turn over to allow them to finish cooking and then remove from the heat. Baste in melted butter. Let the medallions rest for a few minutes to get the tastiest results.
Pairing: Monkfish is a really robust flavour, so it pairs really well with other meats such as pancetta or chorizo. Add some wild mushrooms (which are in season in autumn) to complement the fish further.
If you’re more fine dining thrills than fishy fuss, you can always let Ashley do the hard work for you this autumn. The Horn of Plenty’s gorgeous October seafood special menu is available throughout the month. Lunch highlights include crab, mackerel and monkfish, while evening diners can enjoy seared scallops and wild sea bass.