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Starter: Warm Salad of Ray, Butternut Squash, Apple and Pickled Red Cabbage

A recipe from Ben Tunnicliffe and Matt Smith as they celebrate the opening of their second pub, The Packet Inn near Prussia Cove.



Pickled red cabbage

200g red cabbage

1 tbsp salt

300ml red wine vinegar

125g granulated sugar

1tsp crushed coriander seeds

3 cloves, lightly crushed cinnamon stick, broken

Butternut squash

1 small butternut squash

Rapeseed oil

Cider apples

2 Braeburn or similar apples

300ml cider

100ml apple juice

A few sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

Rosemary and anchovy dressing

2 sprigs rosemary leaves picked

2 salted anchovies

2 tbsp Cabernet sauvignon vinegar

½ tsp Dijon mustard

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil/rapeseed oil


400g ray wing on the bone skinned

1 small shallot

1 small carrot

1 stick of celery

½ a small leek

A few sprigs of thyme



For the pickled red cabbage

Remove any tired outer leaves before coring the cabbage. Shred it as finely as possible. Put the shredded cabbage into a plastic or stainless-steel bowl, add the salt, then mix. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain over a bowl for 8 hours.

Boil the vinegar with the spices and sugar to dissolve. Remove from the heat, cover with cling film and leave to infuse.

After 8 hours, rinse the cabbage under a cold tap. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible then dry with a tea towel. Pack into a cold sterilised glass jar (with vinegar proof lid) or an airtight plastic container.

Re-boil the pickling vinegar and pour over the cabbage, covering all of it. Allow to cool then store in a cold dark place for up to three months.

For the cider apples

Put the cider, apple juice, chopped thyme and bay leaves into a large pan and bring to the boil.

Peel and core the apples, cutting them into eighths. Put them in the boiling cider, bring back to the boil, then take off the heat. Put into a container to cool and set aside.

For the ray

Peel and finely slice all the vegetables and put into a pan large enough to hold the ray wing. Cover with cold water and bring gently to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave for 4 to 5 mins.

Remove the ray wing from the cooking liquor and set aside on a plate until cool enough to handle.

For the butternut squash

Peel the butternut squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds using a spoon.

Cut the squash into approximately 1-inch cubes.

Heat a large frying pan or two smaller ones. Add a splash of rapeseed oil and when smoking hot add the diced squash.

Don’t overcrowd the pan or it won’t colour properly. No matter how much you are tempted don’t instantly start shaking the pan – let the squash colour on the side that has contact with the pan before turning the pieces. Continue to cook until golden brown and tender. Season and set aside.

For the rosemary and anchovy dressing

Chop the anchovies roughly and put into a pestle and mortar. Chop the rosemary leaves as finely as you can and add to the anchovies. Grind this to a fine paste, then add the vinegar and Dijon mustard. This is unlikely to need any seasoning with the salted anchovies! Mix to a paste then emulsify with the olive oil or rapeseed oil.

To serve

Remove the flesh from the bones of the ray and place in a bowl. Put some of the red cabbage on a plate (either a large serving plate or four small individual ones). Scatter a quarter of the ray flesh over this before scattering the apples and butternut squash. Finish with a little of the dressing.


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