The first in our series of Gourmet Getaways visited the restaurant at Oxfordshire’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, to sample Raymond Blanc’s French fine dining. Now dignified country pile Lucknam Park & Spa has piqued our palates with a menu of trumped-up traditional Brit cuisine helmed by chef Hywel Jones, and their own cookery school. With such a wealth of culinary know-how to hand, we took the opportunity to wrest a recipe from the accolade-accumulating chef. He certainly delivered, and we’ve shared his elegant try-at-home turbot dish below.
Lucknam Park’s epicurean prowess ensures that sub-par stately-home dining is a thing of the past, so much so that the Park restaurant has Michelin inspectors frothing at the notepad. Set in a sprawling green estate, threaded with walkways and sprinkled with formal gardens, Lucknam Park is the kind of country manor that evokes an era of husband-hunting Austen heroines and rakish aristos supping brandy in the library. But, as far as we’re concerned, its most exciting room is the kitchen…
Our anonymous reviewer (and thespian with superb taste) Jonny Aris was equally impressed: ‘We choose the Gourmet Menu, and it’s a fabulous meal. Seven courses begin with mini ice-cream cones of salmon, take in a superb loin of local Wiltshire lamb with white asparagus and morels, and end with a show-stopping pudding of banana tart, salted caramel ice-cream and popcorn foam. The waiters have something in common with everyone working at Lucknam Park: that indefinable essence that epitomises exceptional service.’
If you want to steal a little of the chef’s mealtime magic, to breezily demonstrate your domestic Goddess (or God) aplomb, you’re in luck: the hotel runs weekday classes covering everything from professional brasserie dishes to Indian street food. Even our own Mrs Smith tried them and thoroughly enjoyed her cookery-class experience (if not being slathered in goat butter in the spa).
All up-and-coming chefs can fine-tune their skills with Smith’s exclusive members’ offer: book a two-night stay at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa – between Sunday and Friday, in a Deluxe room or above – and get £350 worth of cookery classes free (until 13 February 2014). During the class patient and passionate chefs will gently teach you how to cook a tip-top fish pie and brush up your béchamel.
We wrested a top-notch try-at-home recipe from Lucknam Park & Spa’s chef, as part of our Gourmet Getaways UK email series, which showcases the best hotel restaurants in our collection (to receive these, just sign up for free Smith membership). We’ve sampled the menus and will be featuring the recipes for stand-out favourites from these Michelin-starred feasts. Here, Hywel Jones shares his take on turbot…
Hywel Jones’ Braised Fillet of Turbot
• 4 portions of skinned turbot (around 90g each)
• Green leaves from a finely shredded iceberg lettuce
• Finely chopped chives
• 4 tablespoons of white Cornish crab meat
• 2 artichokes, cooked
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1 sprig of tarragon
• 200ml fish stock
For the macaroni:
• 550g 00 flour
• 6 egg yolks
• 4 eggs
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
For the truffle-butter sauce:
• 150ml white-wine vinegar
• 150ml white wine
• 300ml artichoke cooking liquor
• 300ml fish stock
• 2 shallots, finely chopped
• 250g butter
• A drop of truffle oil
• 1 truffle, finely chopped
1. To make the pasta, mix the combined eggs into the pasta flour with olive oil and knead into a dough. Cover in cling film and chill for an hour.
2. Use a pasta machine to roll into the thinnest sheets possible. Cut into 5cm squares, then roll around a pencil to form the macaroni, using beaten egg to stick the edges down. Cook in boiling salted water until tender, then plunge into iced water, drain, cover and set aside.
3. For the truffle butter, reduce the white wine, vinegar and shallot to a glaze on the hob, then add the artichoke liquor and fish stock. Reduce to around 150ml.
4. Whisk in the butter, season with the truffle oil, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped truffle.
5. To cook the fish, gently colour the fillets in a little olive oil in a pan, then add the fish stock, tarragon and shallots and leave to braise for 5–6 minutes. Melt a little butter in a pan, and warm through the crab. Add the shredded iceberg, cook until gently wilted, add the chives and season.
6. To serve, transfer the lettuce and crab onto a plate, place the turbot on top, garnish with the artichoke and macaroni, and spoon over the truffle-butter sauce.
Read the full review of Lucknam Park & Spa…