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As students up and down the country prepare themselves to move into their Freshmen’s halls or flat-shares, this is a cheap and very tasty recipe to warm up an autumn evening in a new city! A fast and healthy recipe, all cupboard based, to save time and money. The flavours are inspired by a couple of recent Spanish week-ends and the endless and delicious tapas tasted, where only a few but excellent ingredients help produce food that sing in the soul!
Haddock is a firm fleshed fish with no bones and a great source of omegas, lean protein and important minerals to nurture hungry young brains. It is very nice frozen so no need to look for fresh one unless you are near the sea. This dish is all cupboard or frozen ingredients so easy and cheap to source and it only boasts 3 to 4 ingredients (plus some seasoning) so it is real quick to put together. Hardware wise, all you need is an oven proof dish and the oven that goes with it.
- Frozen haddock, 1 filet per person
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- Sweet paprika, 1 tsp
- salt and pepper
- A little olive oil
- Quarter of a lemon to serve
Lay the fillet (still frozen) in a dish and pour all the ingredients on top.
Swing it into the oven at 180° and bake for 30min or until the fish is tender and totally defrosted. Cooking frozen fish without defrosting is key to getting a tender but firm and tasty end dish rather than soggy and unappetising flesh… Unlike meat, fish should always be cooked frozen!
Fish dishes are a great entertaining menu and if you are able to serve a whole wild salmon – as I did here- then it is worth doing a little bit of a show about it. Salmon is such a good looking fish that I would advise to serve it intact and without cutting up its head – plus this will give more taste to the sauce eventually.
- One whole salmon or 6 salmon steaks
- Water 500ml
- Bouquet garni made with bay leaves, tarragon or basil and mint
- Star anis 2 to 4 heads
- Turmeric 1 Tbsp
- Saffron 2 strands
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the glaze:
- Shiro Miso paste 100 g
- Mirin vinegar 1 tsp (sweet Japanese vinegar)
- Soy sauce 2 tbsp
- Olive or sesame oil 4 Tbsp
First clean the fish or cut it up into steaks.
Put it into a deep roasting dish and cover with water about half-way up. I line my dish with foil because it is easier to clean afterwards but you do not have to and it is probably not very “macrobiotic” to use foil… But practical!
Chuck in the “bouquet garni” and the spices. Do try to get fresh tarragon because combined with the star anis it will give the flesh a very subtle and sweet flavour that I find irresistible.
Warm the saffron strands into some hot water and chuck that in too. The saffron and turmeric give this dish its warm colour.
Put the fish in a hot oven and bake until you can insert a knife into the flesh all the way to the bone. I prefer to slightly undercook it to allow for the second grilling.
When it is baked, reserve until your guests arrive and prepare the glaze by mixing the miso with a bit of Japanese vinegar, some sesame oil and soy sauce.
If doing a whole fish, cut up the skin in the middle and push it back to uncover the flesh.
Then spread the miso marinade abundantly over it- Or just on one side of the steaks if doing individual portions.
Put the dish back in the oven at the last minute and grill for 5 to 8 minutes, watching over it carefully so it does not burn!
Serve with ladle-full of the very fragrant sauce and some rice salad or quinoa.
Baked in the juice, the salmon remains very moist. Best to baste it from time to time during the cooking, though. For the flavours need to penetrate the flesh.
The other plus point is you can also prepare most of this dish in advance, which makes for a great entertaining plan. We served a Chablis over this but a Sancerre would have been lovely too ; and in the summer I would serve it with a good rosé! My winemaker mother reckons anything pink is greatly enhanced by rosé and she should know… Do try because it is a fantastic idea and it works: from shrimps to pork, from ham to strawberries – and smoked salmon. If you can’t source my favourite at Chateau de la Tuilerie, then try the delicious “English rose” from Chapel Down in Kent. Both world-class!
A quick and healthy recipe for the week-end? This is for when you are not feeling up to much and looking at the left-overs in the fridge without much inspiration… Been there? Me too… But a nice easy little dish would cheer you up, and this is it.
This will make a dozen croquettes.
- Firm tofu, 200g
- Flaked cooked fish (salmon, cod, trout…), 200g
- Basil leaves, 5
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Worcester sauce, 1 dash
This is a nice dish to use up left overs of any fish you have been enjoying that week. I make it with trout when it is in season and my other half has stuffed the freezer full of his catch! I might bake a trout with almonds and then use the flesh to make this the next day.
Blend the trout fillets with the tofu and seasoning in a food processor.
Add the eggs and mix. You will have a mix like a dough or a bit firmer.
Then shape some egg-sized balls in oiled hands and roll them in rice flour before frying them in a bit of sunflower oil. Turn them around to have it nicely brown all around.
Enjoy with a side salad.
A long week end in Belle Ile, off the coast of Brittany, provided some inspiration for a kind of sea-born tapas.
Chez Loulou, on the tiny island of Houat, we were served a trio of delicious fish pastes with small but perfectly formed blinis. It was a windy and invigorating day on the Catamaran and this lunch solace in Houat remains a cherished moment!
Ingredients for the blinis (this is my old own trusted recipe):
- Buckwheat flour 100g
- Wholemeal flour 100g
- sea salt to taste
- Baking powder or bicarbonate of soda 1tsp
- Olive oil 1 Tbsp
- Eggs 2
- Water 300ml
Mix the flours, salt and baking powder together with a large drop of olive oil.
Blend in the whole eggs, bit by bit and add enough water to make a thin runny batter.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan or use a cast iron plate if you have one. I love mine, found in a market in the Cevennes last year. It is light and super useful.
Drop the batter in ladle-ful and turn each blinis once, as soon as they come off the pan.
The best pancakes are to be tasted in Brittany and so blinis seemed a natural guest on the menu. We followed this with more savoury pancakes and then a wonderful crepe stuffed with melting chocolate and Salidou, this divine toffee with sea salt that is a Breton delicacy…
Serve with a choice of 3 fish pastes as below.
- Ingredients for the Mackerel and caper paste:
- Smoked mackerel
- lemon juice
- parsley and dill
- Little cream cheese or mascarpone
- Horseradish cream, a little (or “raifort”)
- Ingredients for the Tuna and tomatoes paste:
- Fresh or tinned tuna
- olive oil
- passata or crushed tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- Sweet paprika
- Dash of vinegar
- Ingredients for the Taramosalata:
I will not insult your sense of taste by giving out any measurements on these ones! The best results are very much how you will like it. There is no right and wrong when mixing dips and it is all up to taste. Hope your enjoy those as much as we did, by the sea or in town- they taste of holiday and you certainly can’t beat that …