Since opening in 2006, the award-winning National Dining Rooms has established itself as a favourite with London’s National Gallery visitors, offering a great British eating experience. With the emphasis on sourcing the freshest and most flavoursome ingredients, this beautiful book celebrates British produce throughout the seasons, from young spring asparagus, to summer pudding, to Christmas roast goose.
Familiar recipes get a new look – honey-glazed ham is cooked with cider and lavender – but old favourites are not forgotten: comforting, rich, fish pie, retro coronation chicken, sticky treacle tart.
The Gallery experience is celebrated by stunning details of masterpieces from one of the greatest collections of Western European paintings in the world
The National Cookbook by Oliver Peyton, published by The National Gallery, is available from the gallery and all of Oliver Peyton’s restaurants, priced £25.
There’s a short period in the asparagus season when the spears have a deep, rich green colour, so look out for it then to enjoy it at its best. Here the silky softness of the asparagus is accentuated by the crispness of the breadcrumb-coated fritters, and the butter oozes sensuously on to your plate as you cut into them.
36 young asparagus spears
Vegetable oil, for frying and roasting
4 lemon wedges, to serve
For the lemon and herb fritters
30g fresh chervil, stalks removed
15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, stalks removed
100g soft butter
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
1tbsp lemon juice
About 125g panko breadcrumbs
About 50g plain flour
1 Cut any woody ends off the asparagus, then peel the spears with a vegetable peeler, starting about 4cm down from the tips.
2 Make the fritter mixture. Blitz the herb leaves in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and seasoning to taste until very smooth and green. Cover a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Pipe eight fingers of the herb butter onto the paper, the same size as the asparagus spears. (Put the butter in a freezer bag and cut off a corner to match the diameter of the asparagus,
then pipe.) Freeze until firm, about an hour.
3 Blitz half of the breadcrumbs in the food processor until very fine and powdery, then mix with the other half and spread out on a tray. Dip the frozen fingers of herb butter in the flour, then in the beaten egg and, finally, the breadcrumbs. Repeat with egg and crumbs to make a double coating. Keep the fritters in the fridge.
4 When you are ready to cook and serve, set the oven at 160°C. Heat 500ml oil until hot in a large, deep frying pan or wok.
5 Coat the asparagus in 1tbsp oil on a roasting tray and roast for 6-8 minutes until just tender and the tips get a little colour. Meanwhile, deep-fry the fritters in the oil for about 3 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Season the asparagus after roasting. Serve straightaway, with the fritters and lemon wedges.
20 live large Dublin Bay prawns
50ml white wine vinegar
1 carrot, diced
1 leek, diced
1 celery stick, diced
Finely shredded crisp lettuce,
For the mayonnaise
2tbsp smooth mild mustard
1tbsp lemon juice
2tsp each finely chopped fresh basil
and flat-leaf parsley
1tsp each finely chopped fresh dill
Good pinch each of cayenne pepper,
white pepper and salt
250ml vegetable oil
For the ultimate in flavour and succulence, Dublin Bay prawns should be cooked live. This is the best way to bring out their fresh taste, and it’s also why they’re served naked with just a small pot of mayonnaise for dipping. Anything more would detract from the prawns themselves.
1 Make the mayonnaise. Blend all the ingredients except the oil in a
food processor, then gradually add the oil through the funnel until
the mayonnaise is thick and smooth. Keep in a covered container
in the fridge for up to 3 days.
2 Cook the prawns. Bring 2.5 litres water to the boil in a large pan
with the vinegar and vegetables. Drop the prawns into the boiling
liquid and simmer for 2 minutes.
3 Drain the prawns into a sieve and hold under the cold tap until
they are cool enough to handle. Twist off the legs and heads, then
crack the hard shells on the tails and peel them away. Remove the
black vein from the back of each prawn.
4 Serve the prawns warm with a garnish of shredded lettuce, and
the mayonnaise in small bowls for dipping.