One fish, four different meal ideas | Food – The Guardian
It’s true that an entire fish can be pretty daunting: guts, scales, fins, and eyeballs to look at you. But the fact is that bone-cooked fish, like meat, is more succulent, moist and tasty, and provides a shiny centerpiece for any meal. Gurnard, stew, pollock, hake (pictured) or coley are good sustainable options with a good amount of meat and round frame. Buy line-caught fish whenever possible, as it is a low-impact fishing method and unfortunately it is also one of the only fishing methods advertised by a fishmonger. I would always recommend shopping at your local fishmonger, but when shopping at the supermarket, look for the Marine Stewardship Council’s MSC sustainability seal.
Any fish left in the bone after the main event can be kept for use in any (or all) of the following three recipes. After the meal, wipe all meat flakes from the carcass. It will be stored in a sealed container for up to five days in the refrigerator.
The Main Event: Fish in Papillote with Fennel and Lemon (pictured above)
A simple way to cook a whole fish is sealed and wrapped inside parchment, or “en papillote.” The package acts like a mini oven, steaming the fish and helping to keep it very moist. All the flavors trapped in the bag are infused with the meat. This method will work with all whole fish, although cooking times will vary depending on the size.
Serves 5-7 1.5-2kgwhole round fish, gillless, gutted and scales1 lemon without wax, sliced4 garlic cloves, crushed, with skin in1 fennel bulb, cut in half and thinly slicedExtra virgin olive oil, to tasteSalt and black pepperPotatoes, green sauce and/or aioli to serve (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas brand 4. Pluck a piece of parchment that is about 21/2 times the length of your fish. Create a bed of lemon, garlic and fennel slices along the center of the parchment. Place the fish on top of this bed, then fill the cavity with a little fennel and garlic.
2. Drizzle some olive oil over the fish and season with plenty of salt and black pepper. Fold the ends of the scroll, then pull it around the fish. Bend the edges to form a sealed bag.
3. Put the packet of fish in the oven for 25 minutes for the first 1 kg, then 5 minutes for every additional 500 g. A 2kg fish, for example, should take about 35 minutes to cook, but all fish have a slightly different shape, so some may take a little longer. To check that the fish is well cooked, take it out of the oven, unwrap the parchment, being careful with the steam, and remove the meat from the bone at the thick end of the neck. If he walks away, he is ready to eat. Serve as a centerpiece with fennel, some potatoes and salsa verde or aioli.
The tasty tapa: Fish and potato
We serve these croquettes by the dozen in my restaurant, Poco. They are quick to make and satisfying to eat.
Yields 12-15300 g of mealy potatoes, like a wish or King Edward, skins in1/2 small onion, grated, strained 2 sprigs of parsley, leaves chopped into thick pieces, finely chopped stemsA small pinch of chili flakes 200g of fish scraps or cooked white fish1 small egg11/2 tablespoon wholemeal or common flour500ml oil, for frying Sea saltLemon plates, to serve
1 Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain, let cool a little, then peel the skins.
2 Crush the peeled potatoes with the grated onion, parsley leaves and stalks, chili flakes and flour, then add the fish and egg with a generous amount of seasoning. You can prepare the croquettes until this stage in advance.
3 When you are ready to eat, put the oil in a saucepan, making sure the oil does not reach more than 1/3 of the way to the sides. Set on medium-high heat and carry up to 160-170C / 320-340F. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small portion of the mixture into the oil. If you bubble and climb to the top, you’re ready. Carefully place large teaspoons of the mixture in the oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes, turning them if necessary. When the croquettes are golden, remove them from the oil and rest on a piece of kitchen roll. Season with sea salt and serve with lemon slices.
Light lunch: potted fish pate topped with tarragon butter
This is a quick way to preserve leftover fish and turn them into something perhaps even tastier than the original dish. This method preserves the fish for a good week, sealed by a butter lid on top. Eat on brown toast as a simple snack. Some recipes call for additional seasonings of mace, allspice and nutmeg, but I think these spices are excessive. Such delicious flavors need little more.
Serve 2 100g butter1 sprig of tarragon, picked, chopped200g fish flakes1/2 lemon juice or drizzle vinegarSea salt and black pepper
1 Melt the butter with the tarragon leaves in a skillet over very low heat. Pour half over the flakes fish, along with lemon juice or vinegar, if you use it, as well as a good pinch of salt and pepper, then mix well.
2 Find a small ceramic pot or jar large enough to hold the fish. Press the fish into the jar and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Pour the remaining butter on top to seal the fish inside.
The Substantial Brunch
This is my perfect brunch; healthy, sustained and deeply full of flavor. Kedgeree is usually made with smoked haddock, but it fits well and can be made with any flaked white fish. I’ve added some smoked paprika to the recipe to give it the smoke it needs.
Serves2 A generous drizzle of light olive oil1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped into thick pieces3 sprigs of parsley, leaves chopped into thick pieces, finely chopped stalks1 teaspoon curry powder 1 teaspoon smoked paprika1 teaspoon turmericSea salt and black pepper 150g wholemeal basmati rice450-500ml fish broth or water200 g flakesed fish leftover or cooked smoked haddock50 g peas A splash of lemon juice, plus ∫ lemon, cut into two segments, to serve1 hard-boiled eggYogurt, to serve
For the broth (makes 1 liter)1 small white onion, cut into thick slices1 celery stick, thickly sliced1
small carrot, cut into thick slices1 garlic clove, crushed3 parsley stalks1 skeleton of large fish and fish head (without gills)1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, black peppercorns, Mustard seeds
1 First, make the broth. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan, push them down to make sure they are compact. Cover with at least a liter of water, making sure the ingredients are more or less covered. Bring to a simmer making sure it doesn’t boil, as this can make your broth too cloudy. Simmer gently for half an hour, rubbing against any particles from the top as they appear. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain through a sieve keeping the liquid. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
2 Next, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring.
3. Add the garlic, parsley stalks, spices and 1 teaspoon of salt. Fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the rice and stir to cover the grains with the spiced oil and onions.
5. Add the fish broth, place a lid on top and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer for 25-30 minutes. Check if the rice is cooked from time to time to make sure it does not boil dry; Add a little more broth or water, if necessary.
6. When the rice is cooked, remove from heat, add fish, peas, parsley leaves and a generous splash of lemon. Adjust the seasoning, adding plenty of black pepper. Serve with half a boiled egg and lemon slices.
Tom Hunt is an eco-chef, director of Poco restaurant in Bristol and author of The Natural Cook (Quadrille)