Megrim with crushed potatoes and seaweed tartare

By Dave Watts

When asked to create a recipe to showcase megrim sole for MasterChef’s Greg Wallace, young chef Dave Watts – a former protégé of Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons – came up with this fresh and delicious fusion treat.
Serves 4


For the megrim sole

  • 4 fish (1 per portion)
  • Brine for the fish
  • 500g water
  • 50g table salt
  • 150g ice

For the pink fir apple potatoes

  • 600g pink fir or other new season mid potato
  • 3 x sprig thyme
  • 5g lemon zest (3 x peeled strip)
  • 10g lemongrass (crushed with the side of a knife)
  • 6g garlic (crushed)
  • 9g table salt
  • 1.5 litres water

For the miso nage

  • 30g banana shallot (peeled and finely sliced)
  • 4g garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 30g leek (green top, finely sliced)
  • 16g fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
  • 8g lemongrass (crushed with the side of a knife)
  • 30ml rapeseed oil
  • 4g table salt
  • 8g/4 sprigs tarragon
  • 4g/2 sprig rosemary
  • 400ml water
  • 30ml mirin
  • 20ml sake
  • 8ml grain vinegar (Mizcan)
  • 10ml Japanese light soy sauce
  • 30g light miso paste
  • 10g arrowroot

For the seaweed and green olive tartar

  • 10g banana shallot (finely diced)
  • 3g leek (bright green young middle, finely diced)
  • 25g green olives pitted (finely chopped)
  • 1g lemon zest (micro planned)
  • 10ml mirin
  • 5ml grain vinegar (Mizcan)
  • 10g dulce seaweed (blanched for 1 minute and refreshed in ice/cold running water then finely chopped)
  • 3 pinches seaweed powder (powdered nori seaweed sheets)
  • 10ml rapeseed oil

For the leek fondue

  • 100g leek (bright green young middle, finely sliced)
  • 30ml rapeseed oil
  • Small pinch table salt

For the finishing garnishes

  • 30g sea purslane
  • 30g rock samphire
  • 30g marsh samphire
  • 20g sea aster
  • 10g chives finely chopped
  • 40ml rapeseed oil plus extra for cooking the fish
  • Quarter of a lemon for the fresh juice to finish the fish cooking


Preparing and brining the fish
Begin by preparing the sole, fillet, skin and trim each fish – or ask your fishmonger to do this for you.

Prepare the ingredients for the brine, ensuring that all of the salt has dissolved into the water before adding the ice. Place the trimmed fish fillets into the solution for 12 minutes.

After 12 minutes remove from the brine and wash in fresh cold water, patting dry with a clean towel. When all the fillets are dry, place two similar sized fillets on top of each other and wrap in cling film. Continue this process with all of the remaining fillets of fish. Refrigerate until required.

Cooking the potatoes
Wash any dirt from the potatoes and place all of the ingredients into a suitable sized pan with a lid. Bring to the boil then turn down to a low simmer for approximately 20 minutes depending upon the size of your potatoes. They are cooked when tender and there is little or no resistance from a knife. When cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, strain off the water and peel the skins off the potatoes with a small knife.

Miso nage
Place the rapeseed oil, shallot, garlic, leek, ginger, lemongrass and salt into a small pan and sweat on a medium heat until soft – around 4 minutes. Add the water, tarragon and rosemary, bring back to the boil. Once boiling, cook for 1 minute then remove from the heat and place a tight-fitting lid on top or cover the pan with cling film and allow to steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes of steeping, pass the stock through a sieve into another small pan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring back to the boil to cook out the arrow root and thicken the nage. When thickened, remove from the heat and allow to cool, reserving in the fridge until required.

Seaweed and green olive tartar
Place all of the prepared ingredients together and combine. Check the seasoning, adding a little more seaweed powder or oil to your taste. Reserve in the fridge until required.

Leek fondue
Place a medium-sized pan on to a medium-high heat, add the oil, finely sliced leeks and the salt. Continue to cook quickly, stirring the leeks all the time until they are soft and tender but still bright green. Spread these out on to a tray and allow to cool slightly, then cover and place into the fridge to chill completely.

To finish
Place the potatoes into a suitable sized pan and crush slightly with the back of a fork. Add 40ml of rapeseed oil, place on to the stove to reheat on a gentle heat, stirring occasionally. Place a large non-stick frying pan on to the stove and allow to preheat, place a little oil into the pan to just cover the base, unwrap the fillets of fish and start to place them into the pan.

Cook the fish in two batches, otherwise you will loose too much heat from the pan and will not be able to colour the fish enough. Cook on one side only until golden brown then remove from the pan and place on to an oven-proof tray, coloured side up. Repeat with the remaining fillets of fish.

Place the nage into a small pan and allow to reheat gently. To finish the potatoes add the leek fondue, a grind of fresh black pepper, 50ml of the nage, a few pinches of seaweed power powder and the finely chopped chives.

To plate
Pre-heat the oven to 180C or pre-heat the grill. Place the seaweed tartar on to your plates, put the tray of fish under the grill or in the oven to reheat and finish cooking. Spoon your finished potato on to your plates. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fish and place on top of the potato and seaweed tartar, dress the sea vegetables in the juices from the fish tray and arrange around the fish. Whisk the nage with a milk frother to create aeration and dot around the plates to finish, finally spooning a little of the fish juices from the tray over each fillet of fish and serve.

Related Seafood

Lemon Sole Megrim