Steak and oyster salad

Serves 4

You can use any good-quality steak for this dish, even flank or bavette. This is where my oyster leaves come into play, as they emulate the flavour of a raw oyster, and are great with the crisp oyster fritters. You could add some asparagus tips if you like, or perhaps some broad beans.

Ingredients

400g steak of your choice
A little vegetable or corn oil for deep frying
8 or so rock oysters, shucked
3tbsp Dove Farm gluten-free self-raising flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of handfuls of tasty salad leaves, or oyster leaf if available, washed and dried

For the dressing

1 medium shallot, peeled, halved and very finely chopped
1tbsp good-quality red-wine vinegar, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1tsp Dijon or Tewkesbury mustard
2tbsp rapeseed or extra-virgin olive oil
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil

Method

Season the steak and lightly brush with oil. Heat a ribbed griddle, barbeque or heavy frying pan and cook the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness, keeping it nice and rare. Meanwhile, preheat about 8cm (3in) of oil to 160˚-180˚C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer.

In a bowl, mix the flour with enough cold water to make a thin batter, then season. Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing and season.

To serve, dip the oysters in the batter and fry them for a minute or so until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Slice the steak and arrange on serving plates with the leaves, spoon the dressing over, then place the oysters on top.

Prawn and asparagus salad

Serves 4

We’ve been serving these prawn and-laverbread fritters as a starter recently, using prawns caught in King’s Lynn. Like the oysters in the previous recipe, they make a great addition to a salad, giving it a different texture. You can buy laverbread in little tubs fresh or frozen, or in cans.

Ingredients

20 medium-sized prawns, cooked and peeled
200g-250g asparagus, with the woody ends removed
A couple of handfuls of salad leaves
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying

For the dressing

The shells from the prawns
1tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
1tsp Dijon or Tewkesbury mustard
4tbsp rapeseed oil

For the fritters

1tbsp laverbread
2tbsp Dove Farm gluten-free self-raising flour
60g peeled weight of cooked prawns, chopped
Cider to mix

Method

First make the dressing. Heat a tablespoon of the rapeseed oil in a pan, and fry the prawn shells for a minute or so, then add 200ml of water and simmer very gently for about 5-6 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan, and simmer until it’s reduced to about half a tablespoon. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the vinegar, mustard and the rest of the rapeseed oil, and season to taste.

Mix the prawns, laverbread and flour in a mixing bowl, then gradually add enough cider to make a thick batter and season. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until just cooked with a little bite, then drain and leave to cool a little.

Meanwhile, preheat about 8cm (3in) of oil to 160˚-180˚C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Spoon the prawn-fritter mix into the hot fat with a teaspoon, moving them around in the hot fat with a slotted spoon for a couple of minutes until golden, then drain them on some kitchen paper.

To assemble the salad, cut the asparagus in half and arrange on serving plates with the prawns and salad leaves, then season. Spoon the dressing over and arrange the fritters in among the leaves.

Mark Hix’s ‘Seasonal Food’ is available from Quadrille at £25