Clare Smyth

Episode: Six

Born in County Antrim Northern Ireland, Clare moved to England at 16 to learn the skills which would allow her to achieve her dream of becoming a top Michelin-starred chef. After working in many influential kitchens such as the Fat Duck, the Waterside Inn and the St Enodoc Hotel in Cornwall, in 2002 Clare joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and worked her way up the ranks to become Senior Sous Chef. Leaving the restaurant in 2005, she gained further experience in the kitchens at Alain Ducasse’s renowned Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo, The French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York. Returning to London and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2008, Clare was promoted to Head Chef at the tender age of just 29.

Clare is currently the Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. She is the first and only female chef to run a three Michelin Star restaurant in the UK; she is also the first female chef to be awarded a perfect 10 score by The Good Food Guide in 2014. In 2013 Smyth was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry, so it’s understable that Gordon Ramsay has described her as ‘an amazingly talented chef’.

Clare Smyth’s Wine Choice

If you’re lucky enough to ask for this remember to drawl your consonants in the Burgundian manner; ‘batarr mohn-rash-eh’. Then enjoy the mix of delicate aromas that change with every sip and a palate that mixes bright citrus with rich vanilla custard. Match with a simple white meat dish to let the wine do the talking.

Clare’s wine choice is extremely rare and equally pricey, but there are some fantastic alternatives that we’ve found if you’re looking to pair this dish:

Clare’s Recipe: Turbot Coco Beans

Serves: Four

This is a beautiful recipe, but as you would expect coming from a chef and restaurant with 3 Michelin Stars, it has quite a few stages and benefits from careful planning and preparation.

Ingredients:
Shellfish
  • 200g Razor clams
  • 200g large mussels de-bearded
  • 200g clams
  • 100g small diced mirepoix
  • 150ml white wine
For the Turbot Broth
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • ½ bottle of white wine
  • 1ltr fish stock
Turbot
  • 1 3kg wild turbot
  • 1lt water
  • 100g fine sea salt
  • 100g dulce
  • 100g sea lettuce
  • 100g butter
  • 500ml turbot stock
Coco beans and purée
  • 300g fresh coco beans
  • 350 ml chicken stock
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 bouquet garni (garlic, thyme, bay and black peppercorns)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 10ml Barolo vinegar
  • 20ml olive oil
Lovage Oil
  • 2 bunch lovage
  • 250ml olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
Sea Vegetables
  • 50g rock samphire
  • 50g marsh samphire
  • 30g sea beet
  • 30g sea purslane
Garnish
  • 12 nasturtium leaves
  • 12 borage shoots
  • 12 bronze fennel shoots
  • 12 Penny wort shoots
Method
  • 1. First prepare the shellfish. Wash all the shellfish under running cold water for 20 minutes. Drain off the water. Place three small lidded pans on the stove and get them really hot. Divide the mirepoix between the shellfish. One at a time, add the shellfish to the pans with the mirepoix and 50ml of white wine in each quickly, replacing the lids. Cook on high heat until the shellfish open. Once open, strain off the liquids and chill, along with the shellfish, quickly. Set aside in the fridge until later.
  • 2. Remove the shellfish from the shells and clean and trim them. The razor clams need to be cut on the diagonal, usually 5 slices per clam. Set aside in the fridge.
  • 3. Next make the broth. Wash and finely slice the veg. Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer till reduced. To finish the broth, use the shellfish cooking juices, strain and cool as quickly as possible.
  • 4. Now prepare the main component – the turbot. Wash the turbot and, using scissors remove the fins, tail and skirt. With a serrated knife, cut from the tail to the head along the spine and down either side of the head, remove the roe and any blood and wash again.
  • 5. Portion the fillets with the serrated knife into 200g portions. Now mix the water and salt together and brine the turbot portions for 20 minutes. When complete, remove the fillets from the brine and pat dry with a towel.
  • 6. To cook the turbot, seal off the fish in olive oil until golden on both flesh sides and then add butter. Baste and add the turbot stock until an emulsion is formed. Braise for 1 minute, turn the fish over and cook gently for another minute.
  • 7. Remove the fish and place in a large square of fata paper or aluminium foil on top of the seaweed, with the liquid of the pan and tie tightly at the top. Place in the oven at 180˚c for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
  • 8. Remove from the foil or fata paper but reserve the liquid for the glaze, remove the skin from the turbot and fillet from the bone, then glaze with the sauce.
  • 9. Next prepare the beans and puree. Place all the ingredients in a cocotte and bring to the simmer. Season and cook gently until the beans are tender. Once ready, take 100g of the beans and blend with the cream, oil and vinegar until you have a silky purée, cool the rest of the beans in the liquor and store in the fridge until later.
  • 10. Next the lovage oil garnish. Wash and pick the lovage. Place all the ingredients into a Thermo Mix or blender and blend on full speed for 3 minutes at 70˚c if using a thermomix. Or if using a conventional blender place in a pan and heat gently. Season and cool down over ice bath. Once cool, hang in muslin cloth for 12 hours in the fridge. Vacuum pac or place in a sealed jar and save for later.
  • 11. Wash, trim and pick the sea leaves and blanch in boiling water. Chill in ice water and set aside until you’re ready to serve.
  • 12. To Finish the dish, lightly warm through the coco beans and shellfish and add the blanched sea veg. Season and finish with a little lemon juice and fresh zest.
  • 13. Arrange the garnish in the centre of a bowl. Place the glazed fish on top and garnish with the fresh herbs and shoots. Bring the broth to the boil and finish with a good amount of lovage oil.
  • 14. Serve and relax with a large glass of wine!