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Smoked eel and saffron pasta

Serves: 4

Cooking time: eg Prep 1.5hr Cook 10mins

Difficulty: Intermediate

Difficulty

For the pasta:

  • 500g pasta flour
  • 5g Cheshire saffron
  • 20 egg yolks
  • 100g water
For the dish:
  • 1 smoked eel
  • 2 chicken skins
  • 2 banana shallots
  • 250g hard cheese, such as Grana Padano PDO
  • 10 Navet baby turnips, sliced
  • 2kg white turnips, juiced
  • 500g unsalted butter
  • Selection of cresses
  • Dashi
  • Pinch of salt
  • White wine vinegar
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Anise hyssop oil (optional)

As part of the AEG Tasteology series we headed to Manchester where we caught up with chef Adam Reid to learn how he balances technical process with simple flavours and superior ingredients at his restaurant, Adam Reid at The French. Check out the video to pick up expert tips while you cook along to his smoked eel and saffron pasta recipe.

1. Begin by making the pasta dough. Start by making a saffron reduction with the oil, water and saffron, and simmer until reduced by half.

2. Once cooled, add this liquid to the eggs and combine with pasta flour, kneading to combine thoroughly. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge.

3. Next, prep the eel. Take both the head and tail off and cut down the backbone. Peel the skin off both sections and cut the belly into portions.

4. Make a stock by boiling the skin, bones, head and tail of the eel. Pass through a sieve and season with dashi. Use this stock to gently poach the eel portions.

5. Juice the peeled turnips, then slowly add in the butter, blending to emulsify the two. Season the sauce with salt, white wine vinegar and more dashi. Xantham gum can be used to thicken the sauce.

6. Next, prepare the chicken skins; carefully remove the skins from chicken portions and save the meat for another dish. Take the skins and with a knife, carefully scrape away any excess fat. Spread the skins out on some grease proof paper, layering another sheet on top and place a second baking tray on top keeping the skins flat. Cook these at 160 degrees for around 20-30 minutes or until crispy.

7. Once the pasta has adequately rested, use a pasta machine to roll it out and cut into a linguine shape.

8. Cook the pasta on a rolling boil remembering that fresh pasta cooks a lot quicker than dried. Drain the pasta and add a little unflavoured oil so it doesn’t stick together.

9. Prepare the finishing ingredients by chopping some shallots, grating Parmesan, hazelnuts and pick some cresses if available.

10. Mix in the turnip sauce to the cooked pasta, reheating in the pan.

11. Serve the pasta, flaking over the smoked eel and chicken skins.

12. Finally, plate with some finely chopped shallots, sliced raw turnips, freshly grated hard cheese and hazelnuts. Garnish with the cresses.

13. To finish, drizzle over some oil such as anise hyssop oil and serve.

Ingredients

For the pasta:

  • 500g pasta flour
  • 5g Cheshire saffron
  • 20 egg yolks
  • 100g water
For the dish:
  • 1 smoked eel
  • 2 chicken skins
  • 2 banana shallots
  • 250g hard cheese, such as Grana Padano PDO
  • 10 Navet baby turnips, sliced
  • 2kg white turnips, juiced
  • 500g unsalted butter
  • Selection of cresses
  • Dashi
  • Pinch of salt
  • White wine vinegar
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Anise hyssop oil (optional)

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