The Crown at Woodbridge, Suffolk

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The Crown, Thoroughfare
Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 1AD
t. 01394 384242
f. 01394 387192
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Recipe from Chef-Patron Stephen David

Orford smoked haddock, streaky-wrapped new season asparagus,

poached duck egg, bubble'n'squeak and cauliflower leek cheese,

served with a sea vegetable salad

Chef's Notes: An easy dish and full of Suffolk ingredients, this is adaptable to whatever seasonal ingredients you have available – for early summer, that means asparagus and sea vegetables. A perennial favourite in different guises since we opened our boutique townhouse inn, The Crown at Woodbridge last summer, there might be a riot if we ever took it off the menu.

serves 4

500g undyed smoked haddock in 4 portions - Pinney’s of Orford
12 spears of thick asparagus, removing woody ends
6 rashers of unsmoked Suffolk streaky bacon - Lane Farm’s of Brundish
balsamic vinegar - Aspall’s
rapeseed oil - Hillfarm of Heveningham
4 duck eggs
boiling water
80ml cider vinegar - Aspall’s
600g baking potatoes, baked and cooled
75g white onion, finely sliced
100g butter
125g sea kale or savoy cabbage, finely shredded
samphire, sea purslane and watercress, a handful of each, washed and drained well
100g cauliflower, cut into mini florets
100g leek, diced small
handful grated Suffolk Gold cheese
1 small tub crème fraîche - Marybelle
1 tsp smooth Suffolk mustard
full fat milk
sea salt and black pepper mill
3 lemons, juiced
chopped chives

Bubble’n’squeak cakes: fry the onion gently in 50g of melted butter until softened; add in the cabbage, stir and put on a lid, turn up heat and cook until cabbage has wilted, stirring occasionally. Take off heat. Halve the cooked potatoes and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a fork, season well to taste and mix in the cabbage mix. Bring together and take a large tablespoonful. Roll into a ball with floury hands and then flatten into a cake on a floured board, dusting both sides lightly with flour. Repeat, put all onto a floured plate and chill for 20 minutes to firm them up. Heat some butter in a wide frying pan over a medium heat, once starting to bubble, gently place in the cakes. Leave for a few minutes until starting to brown and turn over gently to cook the other side. Flip as necessary until a good brown colour is achieved on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper.

Cauliflower cheese part 1: Blanch the cauliflower for two minutes in boiling water and then removed and dropped into iced water; followed by the leeks for one minute similarly; drain, gently mix together and reserve on one side.

Haddock: Pre-heat the oven to 200c. Put the fish portions onto an oiled sheet and bake for 8 – 10 minutes, timing accurately. Also put an oiled baking sheet in the oven and start the asparagus.  

Asparagus: Stretch the bacon with the back of a heavy knife carefully to make it thinner. Wrap each spear with half a rasher. Place onto the hot tray and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Put into the oven for 6 – 8 minutes until the asparagus is tender.

Put fish and asparagus somewhere warm once cooked.

Salad: whisk up 5 parts of rapeseed oil to the quantity of lemon juice, season and set aside

The poached eggs and cauliflower cheese need preparing at the same time. Warm four dinner plates.

Cauliflower cheese part 2: Empty crème fraiche into a small saucepan, stir in a good splash of milk as well as the mustard. Heat up and stir until steaming, sprinkle in the cheese slowly whilst beating. Keep heating and stirring, adding more milk if needed to get a pouring consistency and season well to taste. Fold in the vegetables and heat until very hot whilst gently stirring. Check flavour and adjust.

Poached eggs: Bring a litre of boiling water and the cider vinegar to the simmer in a wide deep frying pan. Crack each duck egg carefully into separate cups. Create a whirlpool in the water carefully with a whisk. Slide in the eggs in separate places quickly and continue to simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper and a tea towel. Season to taste.

To Serve: On each plate, place the haddock in the centre with a poached egg on top and a bubble cake to one side. Scatter round 3 spears of the asparagus. Ladle the cauliflower cheese equally over the top of each plate and scatter with chives to finish. Quickly toss the leaves with a good splash of dressing and serve the salad separately.

Not an easy dish to match wine with, a lot of richness and different flavours with unfriendly bedfellows for vinous harmony in asparagus and eggs. So I am going off-road and challenge you with two Suffolk wine-free bottles instead for your dinner party. Two definite fishy friends are Adnams Innovation, an American IPA styled beer full of grapefruit and tropical fruit notes and Aspall’s Dry Premier Cru Cyder, perfectly designed for food as the ‘gew┼▒rztraminer” of the cider world. Cheers and enjoy!