Russell Brown Kitchen Confidential

Russell Brown, head chef of Dorset’s Michelin-starred Sienna, revels in the salad days of early summer with lamb, scallops and asparagus

Cooking With

Summer takes longer to get going than you’d think, and it’s not until June comes around that you get the real wealth of British fruit and vegetables like new potatoes, peas, aubergines, spinach, carrots and tomatoes. During this time, we use peas and broad beans in the restaurant and I find they go well in a ragù or a light summer stew with lettuce, pancetta and crushed Jersey Royals to accompany a fish dish. Tomatoes are very versatile and there are so many heritage varieties to choose from. I particularly like to use them in salads with fresh mozzarella. I use aubergines for a type of Italian relish known as caponata. Classically this is made with pine nuts, raisins, passata, olive oil and garlic, and can be served as an antipasto or to accompany meat dishes.

My absolute favourite fish is John Dory, but it’s quite an erratic catch so not often found on my menu. There will, however, be a lot of hand-dive scallops, Cornish hake and lemon sole. Most of the fish comes from the day boats that dock in West Bay, but I also work with the recommendations from the local fishmonger. I tend to serve lemon sole as fillets rather than whole, so I fillet and trim the fish and pan-fry it on one side with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Next, I’ll foam some butter in the pan and use that to baste the top of the fillet. I’ll then serve the fish with English asparagus, crushed Jersey Royals and truffle cream sauce.

Hopefully by this time of year we’ll be looking at genuine new-season lamb, which will take us right through to autumn. Our lamb comes from a local butcher who is based about half a mile down the road from the restaurant. In the past I’ve prepared the lamb as a trio: poached loin, miniature shepherd’s pie and a bruschetta of the lamb fillet and the kidney, finished off and served with a very smooth carrot purée and light pea-shoot salad.

Who i'm using

One of our stand-out suppliers is the fishmonger Samways in Bridport. I’ve worked with them since the restaurant opened. Slightly further afield we use Spanish supplier Mediteria from where we source chorizo, as well as high-quality couverture chocolate for our petit fours and chocolate tasting plates – one of our signature desserts.



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