Paul Flynn: Three great dishes for when we entertain again
Serve up these crowd pleasers family style as we need all the conviviality we can get these days
Steak with slow-roasted onions, Boursin and raisins. Photograph: Patrick Browne
So we’re back, with a small new team, feeding our overnight guests at the Tannery restaurant and townhouse. I know we are luckier than a lot of restauranteurs who don’t have rooms to offer people.
I welcome a fresh perspective in the kitchen, keeping current is so important. It’s all too easy to get bored of one’s own ideas, especially when you’ve been knocking round a kitchen as long as I have. I greedily soak up something new at every opportunity.
I never quite got round to mastering the foam business though. It’s too technical for me. Any attempt always ended up with sauce in my hair or splattering the ceiling like a gory John Carpenter movie. That and the fact that my cooking veers more towards Fergus Henderson rather than Ferrari Adrià left me distinctly disinterested in this craze.
The dishes on these pages today are designed for entertaining on a bank holiday weekend. Hallelujah. I’ve missed having people at home. We’ve modified a shed into a funky outside space. The joys of country living really kick in when the music gets turned up. The sheep don’t complain.
I adore hake’s fleshy goodness and the roasted garlic cream takes it to another level without overpowering it. Orzo’s slippery subtlety is a perfect coupling. Anything rich, I balance with vibrancy, this time in the guise of this roasted pepper dressing. I am using a packet of multi-coloured mini peppers for a pop of colour and serving it family style as we need all the conviviality we can get these days.
I’ve been a bit obsessed with tenderstem broccoli for a few years now. I need a break. I also need to embrace the humble and maligned old-fashioned stuff. I leave the stems on as they provide solid and flavourful contrast. The crab butter is fancy because of the saffron, but it’s worth a pinch to elevate the crab for this elegant starter.
The steak plays second fiddle to the onions in this dish. I’ll never get to the stage where I eat no meat, but I’m certainly eating less of it. The onions are sweet and unctuous. The Boursin cheese and rocket leaves bring just the right amount of kick to liven up proceedings. Use goat’s cheese if you’re not a fan of Boursin.