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Digging for Gold: Langoustines with pineappleweed

This dish is going down a storm at my new place, a wee foraging-type cafe at a brewery visitors centre called Born in the Borders. 

The idea behind the place is that all the ingredients come from the Borders, not too difficult with the produce around here and the foraging is pretty good too.

Its kind of like the Flanders region in Belgium where I was working this time last year; lots of farmland, and as the season progresses the memories come flooding back.

When I first went down to see the place, glancing around I noticed amongst all the white nettle, hedge garlic, hogweed and there was some  young pineappleweed, something I don't have lots of to hand in Argyll where I live.

It was on the first dish on the menu, simply with crab. That was popular and now I have it on with langoustines from Eyemouth. There's lots of lovely stuff around that would be nice with this, the fat hen or shepherd's purse but I like the fact it's just the two elements.

Serves 4 for a starter

Ingredients 

12 large langoustines

1 small onion

1 small Leek

2 stalks of celery

200 ml fish stock

200 ml  double cream

Pineappleweed

Method

1. Split the langoustines in two by twisting and pulling off the tail, shell the tail removing the black intestinal thread, set the tails aside.

2. Clean and chop the langoustine heads.

3. Put all the ingredients except the cream and pineappleweed in a pan, add water to almost cover, bring to boil and simmer, skimming off the surface and cook for 20 minutes. Pass off through a fine sieve or muslin cloth.

4. Pick some tender leafs of pineappleweed with the little white unformed flowers, then with scissors snip of the flower head balls, the rest of the pineappleweed can be used for other ideas (it makes a nice syrup and a very interesting ice cream).

Presentation

Reduce the langoustine stock by one third, add the cream and bring to the boil.

Fry the tails in oil until caramelised, add a knob of butter and spoon the foam over the tails. Just before they are cooked add a handful of the pineappleweed flower heads, let sizzle for 2 seconds and remove all to a jiffy cloth.

Put the tails in bowls with the flower heads, then some tender leaves on top. Foam the sauce spooning it over and add some more tender leaves to finish.

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