Monday, 10 October 2011

A fishy diversion..

The best fish is simple fish, all you need to do to make it nice is take some fresh fish, dry the skin and then cook it a little. Ratatouille is an amazing accompaniment to lots of things and kids love it, make it in big batches and keep tubs as a standby in the freezer.

·         8 small (or 4 large) fillets of white fish – Sea Bream, Red Mullet, whatever you want – just make 
        sure it’s fresh, ask the fishmonger to pin bone the fish.
·         1 Aubergine
·         1 Onion
·         2 Courgettes
·         1 tin of chopped tomatoes
·         2 bell peppers
·         Garlic
·         Oregano
·         Chilli (fresh or powdered, optional)

First, make the ratatouille, chop the onion and soften in oil then add chopped courgette and cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, add chopped aubergine and sliced peppers and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, some sliced garlic and a pinch of oregano, season with salt and pepper and simmer for half an hour.  Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Check the fish for bones and remove with tweezers if necessary, score the skin a few times with a diagonal cut (this helps stop the skin from contracting too much in the pan), salt the skin side only liberally and place skin side down on kitchen towel or a clean Jcloth for half an hour – this dries the skin making it crispier and allows the fish to come to room temperature before cooking.
Heat some oil in a non-stick pan over a medium high heat and place the fish in skin side down, cook for about three minutes or until crispy, then turn the fillet over for no more than 40 seconds. A good rule is cook on the skin side for 80% of the time.
Place a mound of the ratatouille on a warm plate and put the fish on top (skin side up or that lovely crispy skin will soften) and serve to some lucky people. If you want to posh this up for a dinner party then drizzle some tapenade* around the plate.
* blitz 100g black olives, some fresh thyme leaves, 150ml olive oil, 1 small garlic clove and 1 anchovy into a loose tapenade dressing.

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