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Off the Cornish coast, Valentine finds steamed sea trout to serve with pickled cucumber and hollandaise sauce.


  • 2 fillets of sea trout, skin on (alternatively you can use rainbow trout)

  • Sea salt

  • White pepper

  • For the pickled cucumber:

  • 1 whole cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

  • Rock salt

  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar

  • Pinch caster sugar

  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag

  • Handful fresh mint leaves

  • For the Hollandaise sauce:

  • 200g butter cut into 6 chunks

  • 20ml white wine vinegar

  • 1 banana shallot peeled and very finely chopped

  • 5 black peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • ½ lemon, juice only


  • For the Earl Grey Pickled Cucumbers::

  • 1.

    Put the sliced cucumber into a bowl, sprinkle with a tablespoon of rock salt and leave for 30 minutes to draw out the juices.

  • 2.

    After thirty minutes place the cucumbers in a colander. Squeeze out and discard all the juices and place the cucumbers in a clean bowl.

  • 3.

    Pour approximately four tablespoons of vinegar into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and the tea bag. Gently heat the mixture and allow the sugar to dissolve. Squeeze and remove the tea bag after 45 seconds.

  • 4.

    Allow the mixture to cool.

  • 5.

    Once cooled, pour onto the cucumber and stir. Set aside to infuse.

  • For the Hollandaise Sauce::

  • 1.

    Melt the butter slowly in a pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug.

  • 2.

    Place the vinegar, shallot, peppercorns and bay leaf in a small saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to approximately one and half tablespoons.

  • 3.

    Fill a medium saucepan one third with water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until the water simmers. Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water. Pour the vinegar from the pan through a sieve into the bowl with the eggs. Whisk until pale, thickened and glossy.

  • 4.

    Gradually add the warm melted butter in a steady stream, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth, thick and shiny. Add a pinch of salt and the juice of half a lemon and whisk again. To avoid the sauce from splitting you may need to lift the bowl off the heat every now and then.

  • 5.

    Leave to one side while you cook the sea trout.

  • For the Steamed Sea Trout::

  • 1.

    Place a steamer rack in a saucepan over approximately 3/4inch of simmering water. Place the fish in the steamer, skin side up and steam for 6 minutes. This will leave the very middle of the fish slightly raw, avoiding overcooking. By the time you have plated up it will have cooked through and be perfect.

  • To finish::

  • 1.

    Take 4 or 5 mint leaves and roll into a cigar shape, slice them finely.

  • 2.

    Drain the cucumber, squeezing the liquid out as before. Add the mint and mix through.

  • 3.

    Spoon the cucumber on to the serving plates.

  • 4.

    Remove the trout from the steamer and gently pull off the skin.

  • 5.

    Place the trout on top of the cucumber and season with a pinch of sea salt and some white pepper.

  • 6.

    Add a large dollop of hollandaise on top of the fish and serve immediately.

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