This is the Gurnard recipe you have to try!

Gurnard, nettles, artichokes, toasted cream & crab head sauce by Aaron Ward

Preparation time: 2 hours

Skills needed: Medium

Serves: 4


2  Gurnard fillets 400g each

400g picked stinging nettles

500ml pouring cream

400g Jerusalem artichokes

250g unsalted butter

2  live blue swimmer crabs

3 eggs

2 lemons

1 clove garlic

2 sprigs thyme

100g macadamia nuts roughly chopped

2tbs virgin olive oil


  • Ask your fishmonger to scale, fillet, and skin the Gurnard into 4 x fillets and keep the frames so you can use for fish stock at home. Make sure they are at room temperature before cooking – about 30 minutes.
  • Wash the artichokes, and steam for 20 minutes or until soft. Once cooked cut in half place cut side down in a frying pan, add 150g butter, garlic and thyme, place in the oven and slowly cook at 160°C for about 30-45 until golden and allow to rest in the butter.
  • For the toasted cream, place the cream in a large saucepan and boil making sure that the cream doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn by stirring frequently, every few minutes. Continue to reduce until the cream splits into a yellow butter and milk solids which is like a granular golden brown in colour. This takes about 35 minutes. Be careful not to cook it too long or it will burn. You need to have a buttery & nut colour and nutty aroma
  • For the Nettle Sauce. Chop the nettle finely. Fry in a shallow pan in a little olive oil on a medium heat until soft which takes about 5 minutes.  Add macadamia nuts and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and squeeze juice of 1 lemon into nettles. Set aside and begin cooking the fish
  • In a non stick pan, warm the pan on a medium heat and add olive oil. Fry the Gurnard and cook about 2-3minutes each side. Remove from heat, leave in fry pan to rest for 2 minutes.
  • To finish coat the fish generously in the pan first with the toasted cream sauce, then baste with the nettle sauce. Place the fish onto warmed plates. Season artichokes with salt and lemon zest placing a few on each plate. Serve immediately.

Chef’s tips

  • Don’t discard the left over crab, use to make chili crab or a curry or freeze the shell and meat to use at a later date.
  • Nettles are hard to handle so wear gloves when handling, and once the nettles are cooked on a high heat the sting disappears.
  • Use the fish heads and frames to make stocks, just add onion, celery, fennel and leek and simmer in water for 20 minutes. Strain and discard the solids keeping the liquid. Allow to cool and freeze for future use.

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