Salmon and potato bake, a quick and easy tray bake which is like a deconstructed salmon fishcake or a fish pie. Creamy topping of creme fraiche with Parmesan and dill, cooked potato slices and salmon chunks - and easy casserole cooked in the oven or under the grill.
Best selling fish
Billingsgate in east London is the largest fish market in the UK. It sells about 150 varieties of fish and shellfish from all over the world, from cod and haddock through snapper, grouper, barramundi, emperor bream to bizarre produce like gull’s eggs.
But apparently just four or five types of fish constitute the bulk of the market’s sales – and my guess will be it’s salmon, tuna, haddock and cod – the last two via the fish and chips medium most probably, tuna – because it comes in tins. Surveys and research indicate that the British are scared of cooking fish.
I can’t believe that.
How much fish should we eat?
We are an island nation after all! We should be like Japan, where fish is the key ingredient, or hero, of most meals. We have campaigns promoting sustainable fish, there’s a multitude of fish recipes all over the place, supermarkets stock all kinds, headless, head-on, filleted, diced and we’re being bombarded by information on nutritional benefits, omega 3, fatty acids and recommendations on how we should eat fish three times a week.
We don't eat enough
On the other hand there is sad evidence – a truly excellent fish restaurant in my town had to close a couple of years ago, they didn’t thrive. There used to be a fishmonger’s shop but long gone and now it’s an ice-cream parlour.
The fishmonger in the weekly market has very recently been replaced by bric-a-brac that sell lamp shades and little porcelain cats.
That's in spite of the statistics showing that people who order fish in restaurants are generally happier! God only knows how the researchers came to that conclusion.
Salmon - the most popular fish in the UK
Okay – so let’s try to tackle fish like it wasn’t fish. Like it was chicken – only slightly different colour. Let’s take salmon, which has been consistently voted the most popular fish in Britain year by year.
The recipe below is dead – FIENDISHLY – easy, cooks in ten minutes and the only prepping involved is boiling potatoes. We’re not scared of THEM, are we?
How to prepare salmon and potato bake
Okay – so preboiling potatoes does add a few minutes (hehe) to the overall prep time but then why not boil loads on the previous occasion and leave them in the fridge for just such a dish? Then it’s a ten-minute weekday supper.
Once we have the potatoes at the ready, it’s a doddle: cut the salmon fillets, skinless, into bite-sized chunks. Arrange salmon and potatoes prettily in a gratin dish or a tray and top with – respectively – with mustardy crème fraiche, and a pinch of parmesan. Scatter dill all over and preheat your oven grill.
Can it be baked instead of grilled?
Of course it can – turn the oven up to 220C and place a rack in the top part. Chicken wings notwithstanding, the result is usually not that much different whether you use the grill or the oven function.
Can you use different fish?
You can – but would you want to? Salmon doesn’t get too dry, it is more forgiving than, say, cod and cod is overfished anyway. What you could use instead of salmon, successfully, is king prawns, raw, fresh or frozen and thawed.