Recipe With The fishmarket Restaurant & Seafood bar, Benfleet

THERE’S been a fish stall in Benfleet for more than 60 years, which was previously owned by the Clarke family. But seven years ago, Maggi Barton and her daughter, Amanda, took it over and created the popular Fish Market Restaurant and Seafood Bar.

The mother and daughter duo certainly know their seafood, having both worked previously at Billingsgate Fish Market. They still have strong connections with the world-renowned market, purchasing their fresh fish from Billingsgate every day. Since it opened, they’ve worked hard on the interior to create an attractive 40-seater restaurant, with bijou terrace which is now as popular as the traditional seafood bar at the front of the building.

‘Customers still visit us to purchase our fresh seafood platters, lobsters and even just a pot of cockles, however, now they tend to stop and maybe have a drink outside or at the bar and then return for a full-blown meal,’ Maggi explains. Currently a special set price menu for lunches and early evening meals costs just £9.95 for two courses and £12.95 for three courses between Tuesdays and Fridays. And it’s not only seafood on the menu. Booking is advised on Sundays as word of the traditional roast dinners has spread far and wide. The seafood bar sells plenty of fresh seafood to take away, but there’s also a choice of pie, mash and liquor to take away every Friday, Saturday and Sunday too. Here head chef Paul Little shares his recipe for a deliciously smoky supper.

IngredientsServes 4

4x 225-250g portions of hake

For the chorizo crust• 25g of unsalted butter• 150g of chorizo• 150g of brown bread (crusts removed)• ½ tsp of smoked paprika• 1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed) • 2 tablespoons of blanched almonds (toasted and finely chopped)• A pinch of table salt

Smokey beans• Olive oil• 2 red peppers (chard, skins removed and diced)• 1 red onion (finely diced)• 2 garlic cloves (crushed)• 1x400g tin of borlotti beans (rinsed and drained)• 1x400g tin of butter beans (rinsed and drained)• 300ml of chicken stock• 4 tomatoes (chopped)• 1tbsp of smoked paprika• Chopped parsley

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MethodTo make the crust, peel the chorizo and chop. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till it becomes a paste. Divide the crust between the four fillets, skin side up, and place them in the fridge until ready to cook.

For the smoky beans, cook the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened, add the paprika and cook for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for a few minutes before finally adding the beans and chopped red peppers. Allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season with a little salt and finish with the chopped parsley.While the beans are simmering, cook the hake. Grill under a medium/low grill crust side up for 6-8 minutes.

To serve, spoon the beans into the bottom of your serving plate and carefully, as the hake will be very delicate when cooked, place the cooked hake on top of it. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

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The Fishmarket Restaurant and Seafood Bar42 High StreetBenfleet SS7 1NA 

01268 794869