Sunday, 22 September 2013

Week 32- Support Your Local Fisherman!

As dedicated blog readers will know, I live facing the ever-changing waters of the English Channel.

My morning view

I only have to look out of my bedroom window to see the fisherman at high tide laying their crab and lobster pots- and it's only a short bike ride to the fish shop to buy their catch.

I always like to look for their special offers- like lemon sole for £1 each (which will feature on another post soon)- and yesterday's bargain which was 10 freshly caught plaice for £2.50!

We had two for supper last night- and I made two into dishes for the freezer. The rest I cleaned and trimmed and froze whole in layers to make more meals as the autumn goes on.

So, today's menu is all about fish: a simple Fisherman's Salad to start, an even simpler tray baked plaice with crushed new potatoes, and a coconut rice pudding to finish (well, a fishy pud might not be that nice.) I did use local blackberries to make the coulis though.

For the salad, dress some mixed leaves with a lemon vinaigrette ( 2 parts olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar, juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of mustard, lots of salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp sugar all shaken up in a screw top jar). Add an assortment of flaked cooked fish- smoked salmon strips, cooked peeled prawns or crayfish tails, fresh anchovies, flaked cooked salmon or tuna- just little tastes of whatever you can spare. Simple as that.

Fisherman's Salad

For the main course, I am grateful to Hugh F-W for this recipe. Bring a pan of new potatoes up to the boil with some mint leaves, then drain, put back in the pan, dot with butter, salt and pepper and a handful each of chopped spring onions and chives. Put on a lid and leave to steam for a few minutes whilst you prepare the fish. Ask your fishmonger to trim the fish-  to cut off the head and sharp fins. You then just need to clean any blood from the top of the fish and pull away any innards that haven't come away with the heads. Only takes a few minutes under a running tap.

Now crush the new potatoes roughly with a masher or a fork and mix in the spring onions etc
Crushed new potato 'bed'

Lay in a baking dish with some cherry tomatoes, place your plaice on top, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and the juice of half a lemon (zest as well if you want). Dot with some more butter, cover with foil and bake in a moderate 170 degree oven until the cherry tomatoes wilt down and the skin of the fish begins to blister but not crisp too much (about 15-20 minutes.) Simples.
Place your plaice on top

This is wholesome eating- I'm sure you could make it look pretty but I didn't try!
Tray baked plaice with crushed new potatoes

For dessert, I was using up some leftover coconut milk ( from a curried courgette soup I had earlier in the week, which in turn was using up some leftover courgette flesh from my cauliflower cheese stuffed courgettes!) I dare say those recipes will feature at an appropriate moment on the blog.

Place a cupful of rice in a saucepan (arborio is good, but so is plain old long grain), add a good 1/2 cupful of sugar, two teaspoons of vanilla essence, the coconut milk (I had 2/3 of a can left rinsed out with a little milk or water if you want to stay dairy-free) and 1 tsp of mixed spice. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a bare simmer until the rice begins to show holes in its surface.  with a little icing sugar for sweetness.
Rice ready to rest
At this point, test the rice- if it isn't tender, add a tiny bit more liquid and allow to cook a little longer. If it is tender, you can do one of two things: you can spoon it into ramekins, top with grated nutmeg and place in the oven for a little while to develop a 'skin'. If you don't like a skin, just flavour it with whatever you like: nutmeg, apple, cinnamon, rum and raisins or fruit puree. I used stewed hedgerow blackberries
Coconut rice pudding with blackberries

I have deliberately made more rice pudding than I need as I have a cunning recipe for the leftovers which will feature next week. 

As for the other leftovers from today's meal: the leftover smoked salmon (can you believe there was such a thing?) went into a salad with the leftover new potatoes and a horseradish cream dip (creme fraiche and horseradish sauce mixed- scrumptious with salmon!)

Smoked salmon with horseradish and potato salad

And there's a freezer full of fish to think about too!

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