Mark Hix’s new mobile menu
- Credit: Archant
Chef Mark Hix reveals how he reinvented his business by taking it on the road, and shares a recipe for one of the dishes he is serving from the HIX Oyster & Fish Truck at Felicity’s Farm Shop
Early this summer I bought an American Chevrolet ambulance, fully fitted-out with a stainless kitchen including fridges, with the aim of selling fresh fish caught by local fishmen from Lyme Bay Reserve. At that time local fishermen were struggling to get a decent price for their catch as there was no demand from restaurant or hotels. I asked Felicity Perkin, who owns Felicity’s Farm Shop in Morcombelake, just up the road from me, if I could pitch up in their car park a few days a week and ply my fishy wares, she loved the idea as they didn’t sell wet fish.
I started my new business, HIX Oyster & Fish Truck, in early June, buying direct from three fishermen who I already knew. I also bought their by-catch, which helps them out and gives good value to the customers who don’t want to splash out on a sea bass or lobster. Pouting, which normally gets used for lobster and crab pot bait, is a cracking choice for a cheap fish supper. I take the top fillets off and wash them in sea water. It’s been popular choice with customers after a tasty budget meal and, what’s more, I give the remains of the pouting back to the fishermen for their pots - so everyone wins.
I’ve had great feedback on the HIX Oyster & Fish Truck and lots of people stopping for some of our hot fishy snacks like by-catch burgers and oyster po’boy (a type of New Orleans sandwich). I even made Caprice salmon fish cakes using my home-smoked salmon trimmings, a nod towards the now closed restaurant that helped shape my career. I’m trading from Thursday to Saturday so swing by or make a little detour for super fresh fish straight out of Lyme Bay
Salmon fishcakes with sorrel sauce
325g potato, mashed (without milk or butter)
325g salmon fillet, poached in salted water for 3-4 minutes
1tbsp tomato ketchup
1⁄2 tbsp anchovy essence
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1⁄2 tbsp English mustard
salt and pepper
For the sauce
250-300ml strong fish stock (a cube will do)
25ml white wine
100ml double cream
fresh sorrel leaves (about five), shredded
salt and pepper
700-800g spinach, picked over, washed and dried
1 To make the fishcakes:Mix together the mashed potato, half the poached salmon, ketchup, anchovy essence, mustard and seasoning until it is smooth. Flake the remaining salmon and fold in gently. Mould into eight round cakes and refrigerate.
2 To make the sauce:Bring the fish stock to the boil in a thick-bottomed pan. In another pan melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook very slowly over a low heat for 30 seconds, then whisk the fish stock into the flour mixture. Pour in the white wine and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the cream and reduce the sauce until it is of a thick pouring consistency, then stir in the sorrel and season.
3 Lightly flour the fishcakes and fry in vegetable oil until coloured on both sides, or brush them with oil and cook for 10-15 minutes in a moderately hot oven (200°C/gas mark 6).
4 Remove the stalks from the spinach leaves, wash the leaves and shake off as much water as possible. Heat a large saucepan over a medium flame, add the spinach, lightly season with salt and pepper and cover tightly with a lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are tender. Drain in a colander to remove excess water.
5 Divide the spinach between four warmed plates, place two of the fishcakes on top and pour over the sauce. Serve immediately.
Book a table at Mark’s newly opened Lyme Regis restaurant The Fish & Oyster House