PERHAPS because we have recently come through Petertide, with its focus on fishing, or the hot summer spell we are having, or just the health benefits, I have been reaching for fish, of late. They often make for lighter dishes, and can be prepared with relative speed and ease. Freshness is key, and this can often yield the odd bargain at wet-fish counters.
A regular favourite is Sole meunière. Fillets of lemon sole are the cheapest, but, if you can stretch to the more pricey Dover sole, then do. Recently, I have often found turbot to be on offer (perhaps because people are not sure what to do with it?) and its creamy fillets respond well to this recipe. Likewise, you can use plaice. Explain to the fishmonger that you are frying, and they will prepare as necessary.
two sole, filleted
flour, salt, and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large lemon
1 tablespoon capers, (drained/rinsed)
Wash each fillet in cold water, and then pat with kitchen towel. On a dinner plate, dredge each fillet on both sides with flour, salt, and pepper to coat lightly.
Melt a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan, preferably non-stick, and, once hot enough, slide in the fillets (two at a time), skin-side down. This colours the flesh and, after about 60-90 seconds, turn it over and continue cooking through the skin on a moderate heat for about five minutes, depending on size.
Once the flesh is firm but springy, and not drying out, transfer to plates. Now melt the remaining butter in the pan with the lemon juice and capers. Bring together for about 30 seconds, then pour over the fish and serve.
These smoked salmon Scotch eggs make for a tasty starter, or even a picnic bite. Use salmon trimmings.
4 slices white toast
300g (11 oz) smoked salmon
6 spring onions, trimmed
zest of 1 lemon
250g (9 oz) cream cheese
150g (5 oz) crème fraîche
1 tbsp mayonnaise
The day before, toast four slices of white bread and leave them out to harden. Break them up into the food processor and whizz to give breadcrumbs. Fry these in oil and butter until golden brown.
Hardboil the eggs, and set aside to cool.
When ready to assemble, briefly combine the salmon, chopped onions, zest, cheese, crème fraîche, and mayonnaise in a blender. Season, and add some tabasco if desired.
Peel the eggs, and take a large spoonful of the salmon mixture to coat around each one, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Place in the fridge for a good hour to firm up. Spritz with lemon before serving.