Windermere Char, asparagus, peas and smoked pancetta

North West Young Chef of the Year

North West Young Chef of the Year

Premium Supplier 12th January 2011

Windermere Char, asparagus, peas and smoked pancetta

Starter cooked by Andrew Postlethwaite, representing Cumbria, during the 2010 final of the North West Young Chef Competition.


  • 1 Windermere char
  • 10 asparagus spears
  • 200g peas (not including pod weight)
  • 50ml cream
  • 5 g butter
  • 50g smoked pancetta block
  • 1 punnet of pea shoots
  • For the mayonnaise
  • 30g egg yolk
  • 60g eggs
  • 2.5g dijon mustard
  • 2.5g salt
  • 100g sunflower oil
  • 25g olive oil
  • Few drops of bacon essence


To prepare the char
Cut off any fins using scissors, then scale the fish, wash and pat dry.
Fillet the char and trim off the bellies. Remove all the pin bones. Cut into 2 starter sized portions (depending of how big the fish is) then score the skin and set aside.
Cut the spears off the asparagus and set aside.
Remove the peas from the pods and set 12 peas aside.
Place the remaining peas in a pan with the cream and butter and bring to the boil. Simmer until the peas are soft, then blend and season to taste. Push through a fine sieve to remove the shells.
Remove the rind from the pancetta. Cut into a small dice. Gently fry without oil until golden brown.
Trim the pea shoots from the punnet, wash and set aside.
For the mayonnaise
Blitz the yolks, eggs, mustard, and salt together. Slowly add both of the oils until combined. Add the bacon essence to taste. Pour the mayonnaise into an ISI gun and double charge. Place in a water bath and heat up to 60ºC.
To serve, season the char and heat a little vegetable oil in a non stick frying pan. Cook skin side down on a medium heat until the flesh starts to turn white halfway up, then turn over and remove from the heat. The residual heat from the pan will cook the char.
Cook the asparagus and peas in boiling salted water.
Reheat the pea puree and the smoked pancetta.
To plate up, spoon the pea puree onto the plate. Arrange 5 asparagus spears, 6 peas and the smoked pancetta on each plate.
Place the char on top, and place a few squirts of the warm bacon mayonnaise around.
Place the pea shoots around the plate.

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