Pan-fried salmon fillet on beetroot and horse radish risotto with roquette and English radish

BRENDAN TIMMS, a graduate of the Colchester Institute and now head chef at The Peldon Rose, has given us a recipe this month which will always stick firmly in his mind, but more on that in a moment. As a youngster, cooking was all he wanted to do. ‘I just love it,’ says Brendan. ‘I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.’

Brendan has been head chef at The Peldon Rose for almost a year now and lives nearby in Stanway. He worked at The Peldon Rose during his time at college and then once he graduated he headed across to Maryland in America, to the village of St Michaels. ‘I worked for an English head chef out there, in a fairly rural town, cooking mainly classic English dishes with a modern American twist.’

Sadly when his work visa ran out he had to return to England, but luckily for Brendan he was welcomed back to The Peldon Rose. He worked there for a while and worked his way up to senior chef de partie before moving across to Pattiswick where he took up the role of sous chef, becoming head chef within six months. During his time at Pattiswick the establishment won Great British Pub of the Year and Brendan worked there for a total of eight months before being tempted back for the third time to The Peldon Rose as head chef.

‘It’s nice to come back to familiar surroundings, although this time under new ownership. The new management team give me much more flexibility with the menu.’ Don’t be fooled by The Peldon Rose’s traditional country inn exterior, this eatery has a menu which spans many different countries. ‘We have some Thai, European and English dishes on the menu, plus you’ll sometimes find Indian, Italian and even Chinese listed too,’ explains Brendan. And this Rose has plans to blossom still further. ‘We’re hoping to go for some Rosettes this year.’

As for that recipe? Well it’s the very first dish Brendan ever had to cook professionally. ‘I went for an interview while still at college before I started at The Peldon Rose. I didn’t even take my whites with me, but the owners of the pub said, “Off you go into the kitchen and see what you can find to cook us a meal”. I was terrified but managed to do a good job of a smoked haddock risotto and got the job.’ Try it for yourself, this time made with salmon and with a few touches he’s added over the years.


Serves 4•           4 salmon fillets•           350g of Arborio rice•           4 shallots•           1 stick of celery•           2 cloves of garlic•           1 large glass of white wine•           500ml of vegetable stock•           1 knob of butter•           4 medium to large red beetroots•           Olive oil•           Balsamic vinegar•           Fresh horseradish•           Seasoning•           2 handfuls of roquette•           5 English radishes

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To prepare

First peel the beetroot and dice, place in the middle of a large square of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Wrap the beetroot up into a parcel. Just before sealing, add a splash of water. Bake in a medium oven until tender. This will take about an hour to an hour and a half.

When the beetroot is soft, add it to a food processor along with any liquid left in the bag. Blend until smooth. Add a little olive oil to loosen if necessary. Decant into a bowl to use later (this can all be done well in advance).

Next, finely dice the shallot, celery and garlic. Add the diced vegetable to a saucepan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat until soft but not coloured.

Now add the rice and stir until all of the grains are coated in olive oil. At this stage start to warm a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil, season the salmon fillets and add them to the pan skin side down. Add the wine to the rice and stir. Keep an eye on the salmon. You want the skin to be crisp and dark brown.

When the wine has disappeared into the rice, start to add the vegetable stock one ladle at a time while stirring.

When the salmon skin is nicely coloured, turn it over and transfer to a medium oven to finish cooking (8 to 12 minutes). By the time the salmon is cooked, the rice should be tender.

To finish the dish, fold the beetroot puree into the risotto, adjust the seasoning and add a handful of roquette and a couple of gratings of fresh horseradish.

To serve, first place the risotto onto the plates then top with the salmon and garnish with more roquette, thinly sliced English radish and a drizzle of olive oil.

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