Friday, 26 February 2016

Simple Fish

Fish should be easy to prepare and enjoy.

I know that catching it, scaling it and filleting it are not that simple- I watched this poor little fella being landed on the port, then prepared for sale with brutal efficiency- but once you have your fillets, then the rest doesn't need a lot of messing about.
I've put together a few ideas this week that use prepared fish and other fishy things (and their leftovers) in easy recipes which I hope you will like.

I'm starting with whiting fillets en chapelure.
Chapelure is the fancy name for toasted breadcrumbs. I make mine by blitzing biscotte toasts into crumbs, but that's easy in France. If you don't have biscottes where you are, then toast stale bread or bake it until crispy when you have the oven on for something else and then blitz it and store it in an airtight container.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees and lightly oil a baking tray.
Lay out three plates- one with seasoned flour, one with milk and one with the chapelure.

Dip your fillets first in the flour, then the milk and then the breadcrumbs. Coat both sides.

Lay the fillets on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until just cooked through.

Whiting Fillets en Chapelure

You can make this fancier by adding Parmesan to the crumbs - as here, atop salmon fillets.

Parmesan Crusted Salmon

Salmon of course, is one of the easiest and nowadays most reasonably priced fish to use. You can flake a cooked fillet into a quiche:

Salmon and Leek Quiche

Or make it into fishcakes- like these Salmon-Broccoli Galettes:
Slice 250g of salmon into small cubes

Finely slice 1 leek and 200g broccoli and soften in a pan with some crushed garlic
Mix the fish and the veg in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs, 1 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tsp curry powder, a squeeze of lemon and plenty of salt and pepper

Place spoonfuls of the mixture into a pan with some hot oil and fry gently on one side for 4-5 minutes

The galettes will be easy to turn and cook on the other side.

Salmon-Broccoli Galettes
Every Friday in this part of Provence, cafes and bistros have Aioli as their Plat du Jour- a dish of poached white fish and prawns with veg with a pungent garlic mayonnaise which makes the simple ingredients sing.
The table laid with Aioli

I am grateful to blog follower laBarbe for both the recipe and the demonstration of how to prepare it:
First make your Aioli sauce.
Crush as many garlic cloves as you dare into a bowl. I suggest 3, but if you really like garlic and live alone then you can go up to 6.

Crush as many garlic cloves as you dare!

Beat in two egg yolks, a tablespoon of mustard and a thin stream of olive oil until the mixture becomes creamy. Add a squeeze of lemon.
Poach your white fish in water or milk until just starting to flake.
Boil your veg- potatoes, carrots, courgettes, cauliflower etc

Serve all the plain poached ingredients warm with the sauce.

There were leftovers of course- and I put them into a Gratin Terre-Mer (Fish Pie to you and me):

Make a sauce from white wine, cream, a cooked leek and parsley gently heated and reduced slightly.
Mix in your leftover fish and shellfish
Top with mashed potatoes and some grated flavoursome cheese.
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees until brown and bubbling.

Gratin Terre-Mer

Finally, and I know my in-house Biologist takes issue with me as to the fishy nature of this- I'm making some mussel dishes.

My all-time favourite food- and desert island dish of preference- is Moules Marinieres- made simply with white wine, lemon, onion, garlic and parsley. Definitely no cream.
I like to clean, debeard and rinse the mussels then cook some onion and garlic in a deep pan until soft. Tip the mussels into the hot pan and add 1-2 glasses of white wine, a good handful of chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or so, or until all the mussels have opened.

Moules Marinieres

Leftover mussels can be kept for up to 3 days in the fridge- so I used them up in a Seafood Risotto.
If you prefer, you can make this dish with pasta ( little rice-shaped stuff called orzo is good). The same methods apply. Cook it from dry like rice and add the liquid bit by bit until it is tender.

For the risotto you need 200g of risotto rice, 1 litre of hot fish stock - either fish bouillon enriched with a tbsp of tomato puree and a pinch of saffron, or (as I prefer) left over fish soup and hot water- 1 shallot and 1 clove of garlic, leftover seafood and some creamy cheese (I used Boursin).
Soften the shallot and the garlic in olive oil and then add the risotto rice and coat.
Ladle in the stock, bit by bit, stirring all the time and adding it as it becomes absorbed by the rice.
When the stock has all been absorbed, test to see if the rice is tender. If not, add more hot water or stock and keep stirring. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
Take the mussels out of their shells ( keeping a few for decoration) and mix into the rice. Finally stir in some creamy cheese and serve.

Seafood Risotto/Pastotto
And so here ends my fishy tale. I hope you like the sound of some of the recipes and make tonight Fish Night.
Here's looking at you!

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