I’ve had a great week with my family who were up for an extended stay, with the additional bonus of giving me the opportunity to cater for more than just Helen and I (I’m aware that outside of the realms of likeminded bloggers people will think I’m weird).
Being a bit of a holiday, I’ve been through a repertoire of Full English breakfasts, BBQ, handmade pizza (a big hit with the kids) and easy to create ‘al forno’ pasta.
And so as the waist line inches toward what can only be described as ‘maximum’ it’s time to ditch the dairy and retire the red meat for a little while I think. Or cut down at least.
After dropping everyone off at the train station for the trip back down to the Midlands, I headed over to my local fishmongers. I’d received a tweet that they had just landed crab, langoustines, monkfish and hake. Now THIS is how social media should be used.
I did my usual trick of ordering far too much for the two of us and then gulping at the price when it’s read out from the assistant at the scales. Of course, most people would say “sorry that’s too much, can you put some back” but not me. Like someone who does that little jog after tripping on the pavement, I act casual. “That’s great” I replied.
I’m probably embellishing this a bit, but I gave half to my in-laws so all’s well…
I actually got some really good hake fillets. These are thick and cod-like but, for me, with a subtle, sea bass like flavour. I served it with some brown shrimps – lovely salty little suckers that add an (albeit far subtler) anchovy style kick, made into a sort of egg salad with wild garlic and capers and home made salad cream.
Jersey royals are bang in season too at the moment, so I’m filling my boots whilst I can….
- 2 hake fillets
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 100g brown shrimps (they’re normally sold cooked)
- 1 egg, boiled and chopped
- 2 tbsp whole capers then chopped
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 or 5 wild garlic leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp chives + a little extra for presentation.
- 2 – 3 heaped tbsp homemade salad cream – I used this recipe from the BBC, but substituted single cream.
- 4 or 5 Jersey Royals (or other new potato) each
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F.
Bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the egg. Once done (4 minutes), remove and add the potatoes for around 15 minutes.
In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the oil until smoking hot. Rinse and thoroughly dry the fish on kitchen paper, season and carefully lay into the pan, and rub it around so it doesn’t ‘catch’. Hold it down for a few seconds to stop it curling up if necessary.
Turn the heat down a bit and allow to cook on the skin side, until the sides start to turn opaque. Transfer to an oven for about 10 minutes to cook through
In a small pan, fry the shallots and brown shrimps in the olive oil with a pinch of salt. Add the wild garlic leaves, capers and egg to warm through. Leave to cool slightly and stir through the salad cream. It should be warm but not hot.
Plate up the fish, crispy skin side up, with the shrimp/egg salad and the Jersey Royals. Sprinkle over some more chives and black pepper. They would have benefitted from butter, but not this week for me!