Chef’s Special: The Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay.

Neil Haydock

Calves liver with potato dumplings

Cornish rose calves liver with potato and turnip top dumplings, raisins, pine nuts and balsamic

Recipe by: Neil Haydock, Executive Chef, The Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay.

Neil’s recent move from his last job as the executive chef at Fifteen has been “practically only as far as across the car park,” he says. “But with the challenge of overseeing three restaurants: The Beach Hut, The Living Space and The Brasserie, with some new and exciting changes happening at the hotel, it was an opportunity too irresistible to miss.”

Just before taking up the post, he had a trip to London to ‘update’ himself as to what the most recent dining styles and trends in the capital had become. “Presently, there is a growing resurgence for cooking dishes with offal, explains Neil. “There’s a move towards using the whole animal, hence a revival of interest for sweetbreads, kidneys and liver becoming increasingly popular. It’s unfortunate that recent generations have got out of the habit of eating offal, since the traditional British habit of over-cooking them resulted in granular textures and rather strong and metallic flavours. I used to demonstrate to trainee chefs at Fifteen with flash frying duck liver and serving it with pasta. They were always amazed how delicious they were.”

“Chefs have learnt to adopt a lighter approach form the continent – cutting thin slices of heart or liver cooking quickly so that they remain tender. Similarly,” Neil expounds, “using the turnip tops, as in this recipe, is a European habit since Roman times. The English grew beets for the leaves and left the English to grub around for the roots.”

There are lots of flavours going on this perfect hearty dish for the autumn. Richer, spinach tastes in the potato dumplings, sweetness and nuttiness from the pine nuts and raisins, and by deglazing the pan at the end and adding a little butter it takes the bitterness out of the balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

4 x 120g Calves liver steaks around 1cm thick

200ml             Balsamic vinegar

100g             Unsalted butter

75g             Golden raisins, soaked

75g             Toasted pine nuts

20g             Tarragon leaves

150ml             Olive oil

500g             Floury potatoes (desiree)

60g             Potato flour

60g             Flour

200g             Semolina flour for dusting

400g             Turnip tops (or purple sprouting broccoli as an alternative)

150ml             Olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced

2 Eggs Beaten

Salt & white pepper

First make the dumplings by baking the potatoes until cooked through.

When manageable, but still hot, remove the flesh from the skins and push through a ricer immediately. In a bowl, mix the flour and beaten eggs gently but do not over work. Season with salt and white pepper. Divide the mix into 4 and form a long sausage on a lightly floured board. Cut into 3 cm lengths and store in a tray dusted with semolina.

In a pan of boiling water, cook the turnip tops until cooked through and drain.

Heat a frying pan, add the olive oil followed by the sliced garlic and cook without colouring until soft. Add the cooked turnip tops and finely diced chilli. Allow the turnip tops to breakdown to make a mixture looking like a pesto and season. (This can be made in advance). In a pan of simmering salted water cook the dumplings until they rise to the top, drain and add gently to the turnip tops.

In a hot frying pan, add the olive oil and place in the liver and cook for 1 minute before turning. Add half of the butter and cook for a further minute before removing the liver and keeping warm. Add the balsamic to the pan and reduce by half before adding the remaining butter, raisins, pine nuts and chopped tarragon.

Gently divide the warm dumplings and turnip top mix between four plates, top with the liver and spoon over the balsamic, raisin, pine nut and tarragon sauce.

For further information:

The Hotel & Extreme Academy, On The Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, TR8 4AA

Tel: +44 (0) 1637 860543

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