The leaves are turning, there’s a slight chill to the morning air and, with the clocks changing this weekend, the nights will soon be drawing in. It’s also that time of year when pumpkins line the aisles of every supermarket, so throw one in the trolley (or two if you’re also planning on some pumpkin carving), and celebrate both autumn and Halloween with this warming recipe from chef Tom Shepherd.
Tandoori Plaice and Spiced Pumpkin
4 x 200g plaice fillets
1 small pumpkin
2 cloves of garlic
40g thumb of ginger
1 tbsp tandoori powder
1 tbsp garam masala
40g pumpkin seeds
40ml pumpkin oil
1lt vegetable stock
· Carefully peel the pumpkin and chop into 1cm pieces. Set aside the seeds and 250g of the diced pumpkin.
· Finely chop the shallots, garlic, and ginger.
· In a pan, start to melt 60g of butter. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger once the butter is foaming.
· Sweat the shallot mix down with a little salt, add the tandoori and garam powders, and cook out for 4-5 minutes.
· Add most of the diced pumpkin, ensuring it’s completely covered in the spices.
· Add the stock and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
· Blend the soup and adjust the seasoning before passing through a sieve, then set aside.
· Add 20g of butter to a small frying pan, along with the remaining pumpkin. Gently fry, until colour can be seen, then transfer to an oven (set at 180°C) for 6-8 minutes.
· Place the seeds on a baking tray alongside the pumpkin and bake until dry and crisp.
· Finally, lightly dust one side of the plaice fillet in tandoori spice, season and cook in a medium to high heated frying pan, until the one side is beautifully caramelised. Add some butter and lemon juice, flip over and rest in the pan for 1-2 minutes.
· Reheat the soup and build the dish.
This recipe is a simplified ‘cook-at-home’ version of a dish currently on the menu at Upstairs by Tom Shepherd.
The restaurant is the realisation of a dream for Tom, whose ultimate goal was to run his own place, and it has all the more meaning because it sits above his father’s jewellery shop in what was once his workshop. The space is warm and welcoming, and comes with plenty of wood, cosy grey hues, and a chef’s table looking into the open kitchen.
The modern British menus take on a tasting format and are accompanied by either a wine flight or some great quality wines by the glass. Cooking is confident yet restrained, and dishes have well-conceived flavour combinations and are beautifully and colourfully presented. The cheerful young team further add to the atmosphere, which is contented and relaxed.