We dissect what London’s much-loved dishes are made from.
For Florence Knight – the chef behind Clerkenwell’s recently opened Sessions Arts Club – fine food is all about finding an equilibrium. Her eel-and-potato dish embodies this philosophy to a tee. ‘It’s got a lightness to it, but a heaviness at the same time,’ she says. It’s delicate-looking with a bold flavour, like an elevated take on a confit potato chip. ‘The finished dish is well-balanced: smoky, citrusy and a bit fishy, but nothing too strong,’ says Knight. She talks us through what goes into it.
‘We peel King Edward potatoes and cut them very thinly on a mandolin slicer, then marinate them in smoked rapeseed oil that has a similar flavour to the eel.’
‘We fillet smoked eels and slice them to the same thickness as the potato. It’s nothing like jellied eel, it’s quite meaty and similar to smoky bacon. It’s got a richness to it.’
‘The roe adds acidity and sharpness. It kind of bursts and pops in your mouth, adding another texture to the dish. And obviously, it looks beautiful, like little orange pearls.’
‘We dress the dish with rocket, edible flowers, lemon and crème fraîche from Neal’s Yard. A lot of the flowers are picked by my children from my mother’s garden.’
‘We layer the potato with the eel, bake it, press it overnight, then slice it into shape before deep frying. The layers make the dish quite pretty – all golden with a crisp texture.’
24 Clerkenwell Green. £18.