My father worked in the wholesale supply of fruit and vegetables. He would often come home with a box of the day’s best produce, and so I became interested in what was in season. Both my parents often worked late, so cooking dinner to help take some weight off them inspired me to want to learn more.
My first kitchen job at age 14 was at a Greek restaurant in Southampton, and it inspired my love for foods of the eastern Mediterranean. Today, I’m lucky to be able to obtain the best produce from ‘Our Farm’ in Cartmel, run by our farmer John Rowland. The beautiful garnish for this simple, Med-inspired summer recipe came straight from Our Farm, and the roe from Cornwall.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve been blessed with the produce of the UK and our focus every day at our restaurants is to do it justice. From food to wine and tableware, we want to use everything around us. Our goal is to ensure what we offer our guests is not just seasonal, but also sustainable – wherever possible.
‘The wine programmes across our restaurants focus on that core value also,’ writes Charles Carron Brown, ‘following the route of organic, biodynamic and natural. We always try to look for the best wine pairing within a given price point to accompany a specific dish on the menu. These can range from the “somewhat” strange to something super-classic and more traditional. No hard-and-fast rules: if the wine works well with the dish, then we will go for it.’
Flatbread and cod roe emulsion recipe
Serves 5-6 as an appetiser
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
For the cod roe emulsion
- 50g smoked cod roe
- 300ml sunflower oil
- 30g egg yolks
- 15g egg whites
- lemon juice
- pinch of salt
For the flatbread
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1⁄2tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 145g natural yoghurt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil melted butter, for brushing
- Peel the cod roe and pass through a fine sieve, then blend with the sunflower oil in a blender. Set aside.
- Mix the egg yolks, egg whites, lemon juice and salt in a blender and, on a low speed, slowly incorporate the oil until it is thick.
- Pass the emulsion through a sieve and adjust the seasoning if required. Chill down.
- To make the flatbreads, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, yoghurt and vegetable oil with 2 tbsp water, and bring together into a rough dough.
- Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until slightly smooth, then divide into six balls.
- Heat a frying pan. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough out into a circle then fry for a few minutes on either side until golden brown. Brush with the melted butter before serving.
- To serve, spread the cod roe emulsion generously onto the flatbreads, and garnish with fresh salmon roe and your choice of fresh herbs/edible flowers.
The wines to drink with flatbread and cod roe emulsion
Given the emphasis Rogan puts on local sourcing, it seems appropriate to serve an English wine with this dish, even if you’re not terribly likely to find one from Cumbria. Crisp, zesty Bacchus or a Bacchus blend, with its fresh citrussy, almost Sauvignon-like character would work perfectly, accentuating the touch of lemon in the dish.
Nutbourne Vineyards, Bacchus, West Sussex, England 2019
Pungent notes of grass, elderflower, basil and asparagus. Pleasingly dry, crisp and fresh, with a very persistent finish. 92 points.
Drink 2022-2036 | Alcohol 12%
Here, the wine match is by association. The cod roe emulsion isn’t unlike a taramasalata, so why not look to Greece for the pairing? The pure, intense, mineral flavours of Assyrtiko, the country’s most famous white wine, would cut through the dish’s richness and slight smokiness. Those from Santorini are particularly fine.
Argyros, Cuvée Monsignori, Santorini, Greece 2018
Fresh, intense aromas of grapefruit peel, lime, oyster shell and a touch of brie rind. Great depth and drive, an ethereal lightness and deep mineral energy, with tension on the gently smoky finish. 97 points.
Drink 2022-2055 | Alcohol 13.9%
Wine choices: Fiona Beckett
Award-winning chef Simon Rogan owns restaurants in the Lake District, London and Hong Kong. His flagship restaurant L’Enclume, in the Lake District village of Cartmel, currently holds three Michelin stars and was named The Good Food Guide’s No1 Restaurant in the UK from 2014 to 2017 and in 2020. In 2021, the newly introduced Michelin Green Star for sustainability was awarded to both L’Enclume and Roganic Hong Kong. Simon’s book Rogan: The Cookbook is available for £30 at simonrogan.co.uk (HarperCollins 2018).
Charles Carron Brown is head sommelier at Henrock, which opened in 2019 in the grounds of Linthwaite House in Windermere, in the Lake District.