Monday, 25 October 2010

Fishy Feast

After the successful sea fishing trip, I couldn't wait to make the most of my catch in the kitchen.

Black Bream
Starting with the black bream, this is a fine eating fish (on a par with bass, I would argue) so I didn't want to do anything that would overpower its natural flavour.
Bream have large, stiff scales and these are easily removed by scraping against the grain - from tail to head - with a knife. Once I had scaled the bream, I simply stuffed the stomach cavity with a fistful of parsely and fennel from the garden, then used a knife to put three or four scores in each flank before rubbing in olive oil, salt and pepper. The tasty little fish was then cooked under the grill, for about five minutes on each side, until the skin was brown and crispy.
Served with mashed potato and peas, and washed down with a bottle of cheap plonk, it made a simple but delicious meal for two. I only wish I'd caught enough for one each!

Doggies aren't the most delicious fish so they need a bit of a boost. I made a marinade using the juice from half a lime, a slosh of olive oil, some chopped fennel and a good grind of salt and pepper. Next, I cut my skinned dogfish into little steaks of between 1cm and 2cm in thickness, then popped them in a bowl, poured the marinade over the top and left it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
The dogfish steaks were then shallow-fried for three or four minutes on each side - until golden brown. Served on a bed of salad leaves, they made a very nice snack.

Whiting is a delicious fish, very similar to cod. The trouble is, they don't grow very big so they are fiddly to fillet. Using them in a soup is much less wasteful.

Recipe for creamy whiting soup

5 whiting (because that's how many I had)
2 pints of water
1 veg stock cube
2 oz butter
1 leek
2 carrots
4 shallots
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
200ml creme fraiche
Salt and pepper

Bring water to the boil in a pan and dissolve the stock cube. Remove heads from gutted whiting and add to the pan, bring back to the boil, then remove from heat and leave to cool.

Melt butter in pan, add the finely chopped vegetables and fry until they begin to soften. Reduce heat to a thread, cover and leave for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain water from the whiting into the pan with the softened vegetables. Flake meat from whiting, removing as much skin and bone as possible and add to the soup along with the creme fraiche, caster sugar and cider vinegar. Reheat but don't allow to boil, season to taste, serve and sprinkle with chopped parsely. Delicious with crusty bread and butter.

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