Alex Bluett

Alex Bluett is resident chef at The Old Bookshop which serves tapas-style dishes in a quirky, vintage café-bar with a relaxed atmosphere. He works with small, local and ethical suppliers such as Grow Bristol, Homewood Cheese & Powells of Olvelston to create a diverse, sustainable and exciting menu that is continually evolving and includes vegetarian and gluten-free options

He is also co-owner of Forage & Fire (with business partner Kieran Jefferson) which is an outside-based events company focused on open fire cookery and foraged ingredients from a farm in Cornwall. Using free-range meat and fish from trusted butchers, farms and suppliers, Forage & Fire combines fresh local ingredients with responsibly foraged wild ingredients. The business has become popular for weddings and catering events and has seen Alex and Kieran become experts in the art of foraging. The also hold their own regular outdoor events.

Alex was previously the head of food at Friska, in Bristol, and has won multiple awards, nationally and regionally, including winning Observer Food Monthly Ethical Restaurant of the Year 2014 and became a champion for the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Alex is passionate about food, the culture surrounding it and sustainable food systems. He has also written and contributed recipes to the Guardian Cook Magazine.

The Old Bookshop
Tapas-style dishes served in a cosy cafe-bar with quirky vintage decor and live music nights.
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Sea Trout

By chef Alex Bluett


To make the asparagus dashi, place the sheet of kelp into 750ml of water and bring to just below a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow to steep for 45 minutes. Snap the asparagus to separate the tender part from the woody part. Reserve the tender parts for the asparagus noodle. Remove the kelp and add the bacon and asparagus ends. Bring back to just below a simmer and allow to slowly bubble for 30 minutes. Add the soy sauce and mirin; season with a little salt. Pass the stock and reserve.

For the seaweed crumb begin by cutting the sea trout skin into 2-3 inch pieces and placing on a lined baking tray. Bake the skin at 170°C for 3-4 minutes to dry it out, flip halfway through. Heat the oil to 180°C and fry off the seaweed until crispy and dark green. Place on an absorbent cloth to remove the excess oil. Repeat with the trout skin until crisp. Lightly break up the fish skin, gently mix into the seaweed and season with the salt and caster sugar. Place in an airtight container and reserve

Using a peeler, peel the asparagus as thinly as possible into ribbons. Cover with a clean damp cloth and reserve.

To make the black oil, place the squid ink and the rapeseed oil in a small jar and shake to incorporate.

To serve, reheat the dashi and portion the sea trout fillets into 4 equal pieces. Heat a little rapeseed oil in a non-stick pan on a high heat. Season the fillets with a little salt and place in the pan. Cook on one side and then remove, leaving one side uncooked.

Divide the asparagus ribbons equally into 4 bowls and pour 200ml of the asparagus dashi into each one.

Add a piece of the pan fried sea trout to each of the bowls cooked side up. Sprinkle with the seaweed crumb, lightly place the trout roe around the dish, and slowly spoon drops of the black oil into the dashi.

Garnish with a few sprigs of coriander cress and serve immediately.

Alternatively to retain the definition of the dish the dashi can be served on the side in a small jug and poured at the table side.

The Old Bookshop Bristol

This recipe is featured in our book Signature Chefs South West & Channel Islands. Click here for more information

Ingredients for four servings:

Asparagus Dashi

  • 1/2 A Sheet Of Kelp (20G Dried)
  • 2 Bunches Of Asparagus
  • 50G Smoked Bacon
  • 250Ml Light Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Mirin
  • Salt

Seaweed Crumb

  • 50G Gutweed Or Kale
  • Sea Trout Skin Lightly Scraped Of All Meat, Scales And Fat
  • Rapeseed Oil For Frying
  • A Pinch Of Salt
  • A Pinch Of Caster Sugar

Asparagus Ribbons

  • Reserved Asparagus Tips - From Dashi Recipe

Black Oil

  • 1 x 4G Sachet Of Squid Ink
  • 2 Tbsp. Rapeseed Oil

To Assemble

  • 1 1Kg Sea Trout Scaled, Filleted & Skinned
  • 1 Tbsp. Rapeseed Oil
  • Asparagus Dashi
  • Seaweed Crumb
  • 20G Trout Or Salmon Roe
  • Asparagus Ribbons
  • Black Oil
  • Coriander Cress

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