There is a whole banquet of images of seafood in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition this year. And it made our mouths water enough to get in touch with our local seafood chefs at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill to ask them for recommendations of recipes that would allow us to create meals inspired by some of this delicious collection of painting, sculpture and original prints.

Mackerel and squid spring rolls

Serves four

Madeleine Davenport Mackerel Watercolour & mixed media 43 x 54 cm £800


  • Four fillets of mackerel
  • 250g cleaned squid

  • One onion
  • Two carrots
  • Two spring onions
  • Two celery stalks
  • Two green chillis
  • A little oil
  • One tbsp fish sauce
  • 50g roast peanuts, chopped
  • Juice of 1lime
  • A knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • One tsp sesame seeds
  • 20g flour
  • 100ml warm water
  • Ten sheets of spring roll pastry
  • Sunflower or rapeseed oil for deep frying

For the dipping sauce

  • Juice of four limes
  • 20g sugar
  • 25ml soy sauce
  • 50ml rice wine vinegar
  • 50ml mirin


Slice the squid finely and chop the mackerel. Slice all of the vegetables finely.

Heat a little oil in a wok or a pan until it is just about to smoke, then toss in the squid and cook over a very high heat for just 30 seconds before removing. Cook the mackerel similarly, but for only 20 seconds. Remove from the pan.

Add a little more oil to the pan if needed, then add all of the vegetables and fry until they start to release their aromas and become a little tender. Add the fish sauce, peanuts, lime juice, ginger and sesame seeds, and stir together for a few seconds.

Take off the heat and, after a couple of minutes, mix in the squid and the mackerel. Allow the mixture to cool.

Mix the flour with the warm water to make a thin paste and use this to brush the spring roll pastry. Place enough of the filling on each spring roll wrapper to ensure that the spring roll will be nice and plump, then fold to ensure there are no leaks.

Now make the dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients together and stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 180C and cook the spring rolls until crisp. Cut each spring roll in two, at a 45-degree angle. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Josh Gabbatiss Mackerel Woodblock print edition of 30, 48 x 54 cm £230 (unframed 36 x 42 cm £150)


Bentley’s Fish Pie

Serves four

Naila Hazell Red Snapper Oil 21 x 29 cm £600


  • 1kg fish fillets, including salmon, smoked haddock and white fish (the smoked haddock trimmings will be used in the sauce)
  • 1.5kg floury potatoes
  • 2 egg yolks


  • 100g butter, plus a little extra for sweating the vegetables
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a sprig of thyme
  • 150ml wine glass of white wine
  • smoked haddock trimmings (see above)
  • 2 pints milk
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon English mustard
  • a hand full of chives and parsley chopped

To finish:

  • a little lemon juice
  • a handful of fresh breadcrumbs
  • a little grated Parmesan


Remove the skin from the fish and cut into bite-sized pieces, reserving the skin of the smoked haddock for the sauce.

To start the sauce, heat a little butter in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic thyme and sweat until softened. Add the white wine and the smoked haddock trimmings and cook for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the and bring to just under the boil, then take the pan from the heat, pass the contents through a sieve into a bowl and keep hot.

Melt the 100g butter in a heavy saucepan, add the flour and cook over a low heat, stirring well, for 5 minutes. Pour the hot infused milk into the pan and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth and thick. Taste to make sure you can’t taste the flour. If you can, let it cook gently for a little longer.

Whisk in the mustard and add the chives and parsley. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper and more mustard if you wish. Leave to cool down while you make the mash — it is best not to assemble the pie with hot sauce as it will cook the fish too quickly.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander and allow the potatoes to steam for a couple of minutes to rid them of excess moisture, then mash and season with salt and pepper. Add the egg yolks.

Scoop the mash into a piping bag — it needs to be hot in order to pipe easily. (If you prefer not to pipe it, spoon it on carefully, then plough lines across it with the prongs of a fork.)

To assemble, spoon a little of the sauce into the bottom of each of 4 pie dishes. Arrange a selection of fish on top of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few drops of green Tabasco — the colour looks great.

Completely cover with sauce, then pipe or spoon on the mash. Mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the pies.

Place the pie dishes on a baking sheet and cook for around 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the centre of each pie is good and hot — push a skewer into the centre and it should come out hot to the touch. Serve immediately.

Anna Dennis Two Sea Bass Oil 40 x 59 cm £495

Bentley’s Oyster Crisp with Chroizo

Julia Brett Mersea Oyster Shed Etching edition of 10, 32 x 32 cm £255 (unframed 20 x 20 cm £175)


  • 6 Rock Oysters
  • 30g Sliced Chorizo
  • 30g Watercress
  • 2g Cayenne
  • 100g Rice flour


Dip Oysters in cayenne flour then fry chorizo in pan then fry the oysters and serve with watercress.

Visit Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill

With thanks to for making this collaboration happen.

Discover more food related works in the RSMA

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