THIS week Celebrity & Master Chef Steven Saunders chef-proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala de Mijas cooks for his daughter and reminisces about cooking it for rock star Rod Stewart.
My daughter Serena and boyfriend Clint visited last week before they flew off to Australia to live!
Clint is Australian and so we have had a lot of barbecues with lamb chicken and beef etc but one of the most memorable meals was my bouillabaisse of shellfish as Serena and I share the same passion for lobster and shellfish.
Back in the day, Rod Stewart was a regular client at my Pink Geranium in Melbourn near Cambridge. Whenever I make this dish, I think of cooking it for Serena as it is her favourite, but it is also Rod’s!
I will always remember the first time he walked in. The whole restaurant went stone dead quiet! He had such a presence and everybody stopped and turned to look. Nobody bothered him apart from one client wanting to know why he gave up playing football to sing!
Later on, he told them that he would have preferred to be a footballer but wasn’t good enough. He said that football was still his passion and that he could recite the entire team from the 1966 World Cup.
So, he asked me for a marker pen and started to write the English team on the table cloth listing even the reserves. He then drew a line in the centre and listed the entire German team and then signed the table cloth.
When Rod left (we took him home using our chauffeur service) he handed me the table cloth and said a little memento for you!
It was about 3am and so I put the table cloth underneath the reception desk and went to bed. The next day my cleaner came to me in despair and said that she had found a tablecloth that had been written all over and it had taken her all morning to remove the stains!
“Thank you, Yvonne,” I said fuming for not taking it home. The next time I saw Rod I told him the story and he laughed out loud and said that he would do another. But the moment had gone and I never asked him for it.
Rod loved my bouillabaisse with scallops, prawns and Scottish lobster. You can serve it with any fish or a mixture of shellfish and there is plenty to choose from here on the coast.
It’s a classic, fantastic dish and makes a great decadent sharing dish for the centre of the table. The sauce which is absolutely delicious can double up as a delicious soup.
Anyway, back to my daughter Serena and Clint because we had a fantastic time with them but it was emotional seeing them go and wondering when we can see them again as it is so far away.
With things as they are over here in Spain for hospitality, it may be sooner than they think though! We are all trying to survive here, but without some government intervention many of us may soon have to close down.
So here it is the best Bouillabaisse you will ever eat, it’s a dish that is often available on the menu at The Little Geranium with my signature on it. Not everyone knows the story of why it became a signature dish but when your recipes are endorsed by a rock star, they qualify!
Steven Saunders’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.
Lobster shells, trimmings and pieces from a lobster (Can be a frozen lobster as it’s just for sauce)
500g of whole shell-on prawns
125 ml tomato paste or tomato frito
1 litre of fish stock or shellfish bouillon (You can buy these ready-made)
3 sticks of fresh celery (chopped)
1 leek (cleaned and washed and chopped into smallish pieces)
1 onion (peeled and sliced)
4 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced)
2 pieces star anise
½ glass of Pernod to finish
2 glasses white wine
1 glass of brandy
250 ml thick cream
1 dessertspoon of corn flour
In a large pan sweat off the shells and fish pieces and add the whole prawns. Now sweat the vegetables and star anise with the shells and prawns until coloured. Now add the tomato frito and then finally the fish stock.
Cook out on a fast simmer for at least an hour.
To finish add the cream and cook and whisk it in for a few minutes, then pass the entire contents through a sieve mashing as much of the prawn and shells as possible to extract the flavour or use a blender and blend the contents and then pass through a sieve into a fresh pan and reduce a little.
Finally add the wine, brandy and Pernod. Whisk in and taste and adjust seasoning.
If you need the sauce to be a little thicker, add a little cold water to the cornflour and whisk in. Ensure that you cook the corn flour out for a few minutes.
For the bouillabaisse, you can add any fish like these suggested below simply cooked then simmered in the sauce for a few minutes.
Bouillabaisse fish for two
4 king scallops pan-fried for one minute on one side only
6 large prawns (shell on) simply grilled or fried with a little garlic
1 small whole national Spanish lobster cooked and cut in half grilled with lemon and garlic
12 cooked mussels in their shells (you can save the mussel cooking juices and add a little to the bouillabaisse sauce recipe above)
12 Galician clams in their shells
Serve with crusty bread and some Aioli on the side.
Follow Steven on Instagram ….@saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020 www.thelittlegeranium.com
For bookings: Michele@thelittlegeranium.com
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