Recipe of the week: potato pancakes, smoked eel, poached eggs and horseradish

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These blini-like pancakes were made famous by the French chef Georges Blanc, who included them in his book Ma Cuisine des Saisons, says Jeremy Lee.

I loved the ones Alastair Little cooked at his Soho restaurant, which kindled a love of smoked eel.

Feeds two people

Ingredients 
  • 450g floury potatoes, such as King Edward
  • 95g self-raising flour 150ml double cream
  • 150ml full-fat milk
  • 3 whole organic eggs, plus 2 whites
  • 350g smoked eel fillet
  • 2 rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon
  • 2 room-temperature organic eggs, for poaching
  • 2 soup spoons of a light oil, such as sunflower
  • 150g horseradish cream (see below)
  • a small bunch of chives, very finely chopped

Horseradish cream (makes 200g)

  • 300g fresh horseradish
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 55ml organic cider vinegar
  • 100ml double cream
  • Note: the batter, smoked eel, horseradish cream and chives can all be prepared earlier in the day
Method
  • For the horseradish cream: peel and finely grate the horseradish. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar by whisking the two together in a bowl. Stir in the horseradish and avert your eyes and nose, covering the bowl quickly. Let sit for 15 minutes, then remove the covering, don’t inhale, stir in the cream, decant into a bowl, cover and refrigerate. The fresher you use this, the better, but it will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • Peel the potatoes, rinse well and cut into even-sized pieces. Place these in a steamer over a gentle heat until fully cooked. Put the potatoes, hot from the steamer, into a processor with the flour, cream, milk, a pinch of salt and black pepper, 3 whole eggs and 2 egg whites and beat vigorously until smooth. Decant batter into a container, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Cut the fillet of eel into 1cm-thick slices and sit them on a plate to one side.
  • While the batter chills, heat the oven to 160°C. Lay the rashers of bacon on a wire rack over a baking tray and bake in the oven until crisp, roughly 12 minutes. Lower the oven to 120°C to keep the bacon warm.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and gently poach the 2 eggs for 3-4 minutes, until the white is firm and the yolk runny. Place these in a dish and keep warm in the oven.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan roughly 19cm in diameter over a moderate heat. Lightly oil the pan, then pour in a large ladle of batter and cook for around 2 minutes, until puffed at the edges. Carefully flip and cook on the other side until brown. Remove to a warm dish in the oven and repeat for the other pancake.
  • Place each pancake on a plate, lay on the pieces of smoked eel and add a spoonful of horseradish cream. On this sit a warm poached egg, the rashers of bacon and finally a scattering of chives.

Taken from Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many by Jeremy Lee, published by 4th Estate at £30. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £23.99 (incl. p&p), call 020-3176 3835 or visit theweek.co.uk/bookshop.

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