25 mins (plus chilling)
- 4 lemons, halved
- 6 small violet artichokes
- 4 x 400-600g lemon soles, skinned and filleted
- 4 medium porcini mushrooms, halved lengthways
- 50g salted butter
- 20ml olive oil
- 30ml rapeseed oil
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- 16 large British mussels
For the pickling stock
- 200ml lemon juice
- 400ml white vinegar
- 200ml olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 3 small dried chilies
- 10 juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp sea salt
Fill a large bowl with cold water, squeeze in the juice of 2 lemons and drop the spent lemon halves into the bowl.
Peel the tough outer leaves from the artichokes, leaving only the ones that are tightly attached and yellow at the base. Slice off the top of the artichokes, and trim the outer layer of the choke bottom with a peeler, leaving as much as you can. Trim the stalks to about 5cm long.
Rub the artichokes all over with the remaining cut lemons and drop them into the bowl of lemon water – this prevents them from turning brown.
Bring all the ingredients for the pickling stock to the boil in a medium saucepan, add the artichokes and cook for 10 mins covered with baking paper (a cartouche) until tender. To prevent over-cooking, cool quickly by pouring into a large tray.
Take the four fillets from each lemon sole, cut them in half then stack them on top of each other to make a firm ‘brick’ of fish. Pin the fillets together at four evenly spaced spots using the cocktail sticks. Chill them in the fridge to firm up, then trim the ends with a very sharp knife to make uniform brick shapes.
Heat the oven to 200C. Take the sole out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
Cut a fine cross hatch into the exposed face of the porcini, then cook face down in the salted butter and olive oil, season and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Allow them to rest in the pan.
Place the mussels in a very hot saucepan with a splash of boiling water and seal with a lid. As soon as the mussels open remove the meat from the shells and leave it to cool in the cooking juices.
Start cooking the bricks of sole by searing the layered face of each in a hot pan with the rapeseed oil and unsalted butter until golden, then flip them over and transfer to the oven to roast for around 5 mins. The thickness of the brick prevents the sole overcooking.
When the fish is cooked, rest it on a warm dish while you caramelise the artichokes face down in the fish pan.
Remove the cocktail sticks and plate the fish with the artichokes, mussels and porcini, using a little of the mussel stock as a broth on the bottom of the plate.
Images: John Holdship
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