Some of the most delicious dishes that stay in your memory are the simplest. More than ten years ago eating out at Fishworks in Bath I had a salad of thinly sliced fennel with sliced red chillis, Maldon salt, lemon juice and olive oil. I can’t remember the fish dish it accompanied because I was so bowled over by the salad.
Fennel is a curious vegetable, strong crunchy and refreshing raw, subtle soft and aromatic cooked. I often use it when cooking chicken (with a splash of white wine) to absorb the delicious juices and impart its aniseed flavour. I find a classic white such as a Montlouis Sec compliments such a fragrant dish.
More earthy flavours can be equally subtle. A Jerusalem artichoke puree served with scallops is a delight. This cheap, easy-to-grow, tubor has such a delicate flavour but is woefully under used. A light red such as Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil would be the perfect accompaniment.
British cheese Blue Vinney, homemade oatcakes and a fruity chutney are a very simple and easy way to end a dinner party. They go very well with a good stonking red like a Costières de Nîmes, Chateauneuf' or Gigondas.
By: Pippa Goldfinger