Kitchen confidential: John Haywood, OXO


Oxo's John Haywood with his pan-seared snapper with velouté, creamed leeks, and salsify (the root of a type of flower)

The secret to great cooking is... working hard, being at the top of your game every day. 


The secret to success in the restaurant business is...  being consistent about the dining experience. If your service sucks and the restaurant isn't clean, it doesn't matter how good the food is.

The secret to making Oxo's pan-seared snapper with velouté, creamed leeks, and salsify... the slower the fish stock comes to a boil, the more flavor you'll get from the sauce.


Oxo's pan-seared snapper with velouté, creamed leeks and salsify

2 snapper fillets (or a similar white fish) 4-7 oz. each

4 leeks, washed thoroughly and diced into large pieces

4 salsify, washed thoroughly, peeled, and chopped

1 garlic, diced

1 shallot, diced

6 cups heavy cream 



Star anise

White wine




-Salt and pepper the fillets on both sides. Sear 3-4 minutes on each side. If you filleted the fish yourself, save the bones. If not, purchase your fish from a local fishmonger and ask that the bones be included.

-Sauté leeks, salsify, garlic, and shallot. Add two cups heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook until salsify is tender. 

-Make a fish stock by placing fish bones in cold water and/or ice (2 quarts) with fennel, onions, star anise, and white wine. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain.

-Reduce fish stock by half (or until you have approximately one quart of liquid).  

-Add one quart heavy cream and reduce by half. Pass through fine strainer. Add salt and pepper. This is your fish-topping velouté.


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