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Terrine of john dory and smoked eel with sea water jellies, oyster beignets and caviar

This is a simple, yet delicious, terrine served with modern and traditional garnishes. The terrine should be made the day before or on the morning even, of the day it is to be served. The tartare sauce, jellies and dressing can all be made in advance, but preferably on the day of serving. The beer batter should have at least one hour of maturing time.


  • 6 john dory - 350g each

  • 1 onion, finely sliced

  • ½ leek, finely sliced

  • 1 stick celery, finely sliced

  • splash of grape-seed oil

  • 2 gelatine leaves

  • 75g crème fraiche

  • 1 wedge of lemon

  • 1 smoked eel - filleted all, trim reserved

  • 36 oysters

  • 1 cucumber, peeled

  • 50g sugar

  • 100ml chardonnay vinegar

  • 100ml lemon oil

  • 1 tbsp chives- finely chopped

  • 2 long slim leeks

  • 1 bunch of lemon thyme

  • 50g caviar (oscietra)

  • Equipment

  • fryer

  • small terrine – approx 15cm long, 5cm wide, 5cm tall.

  • sheet of 2cm half sphere moulds - rubber

  • japanese mandolin

  • Tartare sauce

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 10g dijon mustard

  • 5ml white wine vinegar

  • salt and pepper

  • 200ml grape seed oil

  • squeeze of lemon juice

  • ½ tbsp super fine capers

  • ½ tbsp cornichons, chopped

  • ½ tbsp flat parsley, chopped

  • ½ shallot, finely chopped

  • Jellies

  • 200ml oyster juice

  • gelesspressa(sosa)

  • vege gel (sosa)

  • eel stock

  • Base Butter

  • 1 bottle beer (330ml)

  • 15g fresh yeast

  • 300g plain flour

  • pinch of salt and cayenne

  • generous pinch of sugar


  • 1.

    Remove the head, gut and trim the John Dory

  • 2.

    Season and vacuum pack them

  • 3.

    Cook in a water bath set to 65˚C for 15 minutes Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes in the bag

  • 4.

    While this is happening make a quick and simple stock by briefly sweating the onions, leeks and celery in a splash of grape seed oil with a generous pinch of salt. Add the eel trim and cover with 500ml water. Bring to the simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes. Pass through a chinois, adjust the seasoning and reserve

  • 5.

    Line a small terrine mould with clean film. Lift the Dory fillets from the bone, gently season

  • 6.

    Warm 75ml eel stock. Soak 2 leaves of gelatine in cold water. Once softened add to the eel stock and dissolve. Add 75ml crème fraiche Add a few drops of lemon juice. Build the terrine by layering up the Dory and eel, adding just enough gelatine mix at each level to “glue” the fillets in place. This jelly is functional and is not intended to be visible

  • 7.

    Once the fish is all used, seal the terrine with clean film, cover with a snug fitting template and place in a fridge with a gentle press

  • Tartare sauce:

  • 1.

    Make a mayonnaise, by hand, using the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and grape seed oil

  • 2.

    Finish to taste with lemon juice and adjust the seasoning

  • 3.

    Add the capers, cornichons, parsley and shallot

  • Jellies:

  • 1.

    Open the oysters. Keep the juice and pass through a fine sieve. Place the oysters in a fridge, drained and on a cloth

  • 2.

    Take 200 mls, add 5g gelesspressa and blend with a hand blender at room temperature. This will thicken the juice

  • 3.

    Pour into 8 of the half sphere moulds and freeze

  • 4.

    Once frozen pop out of the moulds and reserve on a plate in the freezer

  • 5.

    Take 300ml eel stock and add 30g vege gel Bring to the boil, whisking to ensure an even and thorough mix

  • 6.

    Now, one by one, and with the use of a safety pin, dip the oyster juice half spheres into the gel, twice, to ensure a thorough coating. Gently remove the pin and reserve on a plate in the

  • 7.


  • Cucumber Vinaigrette:

  • 1.

    Using a Japanese mandolin with the fine blade attached cut the cucumber into full length julienne. Season with salt and allow to purge for half an hour. Rinse

  • 2.

    Dissolve the sugar into the chardonnay vinegar and add the cucumber

  • 3.

    To make the dressing take 100ml oyster juice and thicken as above with 1.5g gelesspressa

  • 4.

    Add 50ml lemon oil and the chives. Stir with a spoon but do not whisk; it will emulsify if you do which is not desired. Reserve in the fridge

  • 5.

    Cut the leeks into ½ cm rounds, steam until tender. Do not refresh. Reserve in the fridge

  • Beer Batter:

  • 1.

    Make a simple beer batter by dissolving the yeast in the beer and whisking in the flour. Add a pinch of salt, a small pinch of cayenne and a generous pinch of sugar

  • 2.

    Allow to mature in a warmish place for 1 hour

  • To Serve:

  • 1.

    Remove the terrine from the mould and place on a small chopping board

  • 2.

    Heat the fryer to 180°C

  • 3.

    Lay out 8 plates. Depending on the size of the terrine used either cut 16 slices (of a terrine as specified) or 8 slices (if the terrine is larger) and cutting the 8 slices in half. Place two pieces on each plate. Glaze with lemon oil

  • 4.

    Using a small roasting fork roll up the cucumber into 8 little bob bins, placing one on each plate.

  • 5.

    Place two pieces of leek and three teaspoons of tartare sauce on each plate

  • 6.

    Quickly and carefully deep fry the oysters having lightly coated them in beer batter. Place one on each pool of tartare sauce

  • 7.

    Add the caviar to the dressing and spoon this over the terrine. Garnish with a few sprigs of lemon thyme


Courtesy of Philip Howard at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival's Langham Melbourne Masterclass.

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