• 4 skinless cod cheeks, patted dry with kitchen paper
  • for frying vegetable oil
  • ¼ lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ a bunch dill, chopped
  • 1 gherkin, chopped
  • grated to make 1 tsp fresh horseradish root


  • 10 leaves mint, chopped 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 15g golden caster sugar
  • 6g salt
  • 50ml sauternes wine
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced with a veg peeler


  • 150ml kefir
  • 50g crème fraîche


  • 50ml (from the jar) gherkin brine
  • a small handful of leaves chervil or parsley
  • ½ a handful sorrel or rocket
  • 50ml olive oil


  • for frying olive oil
  • 4 tbsp panko breadcrumbs


  • STEP 1

    To make the pickle, put everything except the cucumber into a small pan with 200ml of water, and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the cucumber, leave to cool, then cover in clingfilm and chill.

  • STEP 2

    Mix the kefir and crème fraîche and season. Cover and chill.

  • STEP 3

    To make the split dressing, put all the ingredients into a small blender and whizz until it forms a purée. Season and chill.

  • STEP 4

    Remove the cod from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to bring up to room temperature.

  • STEP 5

    For the crumb, heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan, then add the breadcrumbs and fry until lightly golden. Scoop out, drain on kitchen paper, and season.

  • STEP 6

    Lightly season the cod cheeks with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan to very hot, and add 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Put the cod cheeks into the pan, and once golden (about a minute), turn them over, take the pan off the hob and leave the cheeks in the pan for 5 minutes, to cook in the residual heat. Put the cheeks in a small bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pan, put back on the heat, and deglaze it. Pour over the cod cheeks. Add the dill, gherkins, lemon zest and grated horseradish, and toss gently with the cod.

  • STEP 7

    Spoon the kefir across half the bases of 4 small, shallow bowls, drizzle the dressing over and marble with a spoon.

  • STEP 8

    Put 2 pickled cucumber pieces on the uncovered side of plate. Spoon the cod cheeks on and lightly sprinkle the crumb over.


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