Oven baked mackerel fillets stuffed with capers and olives. This turned out to be such a fantastic thing that I might give up on my sticky pan-fried fillets and do this whenever I cook mackerel, it’s so good.
These are baked sardine fillets, with garlic, lemon and basil. I’m a bit fussy about sardines – even though I like the taste, like miniature mackerels, with crispy grilled skin – but the bones! The bones! Now the other day my fishmonger had some filleted fresh sardines...
Beet, horseradish and dill cured salmon, it takes only three days and the taste is unparallelled. Beetroot doesn't do much for the taste but the colour is to die for. Next - pork belly!
Sea bream baked in a herby salt crust. WARNING: there will be mess. You might end up with the kitchen covered in salt chipping merrily off the crust while trying to chisel in. You may well be serving scraps of fish gone cold.
Fish poached in herby butter, a fantastic way to cook it. The fish is lovely, flaky and slimy, in a good way, not easy to overcook it and it has a lovely buttery flavour. Delishh
Cod and crisp, herby potato bake. This is awesome – deconstructed fish and chips without the need for vats of boiling oil, batter or the all-permeating smell.
Cured salmon, homemade gravlax, flavoured with fennel, caraway and lemon zest. Three minutes work, four days wait and you have an astonishing party starter or a sandwich filling. Good value too, obviously.
Classic English fish and chips: crispy chip shop style batter and double cooked chips. I consulted Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for perfect fish and chips in order to produce mine; with the batter sans vodka (we don’t waste spirits in cooking).
Fish pie topped with a crispy layer of sliced potatoes. Use the best fish you can, not just sad offcuts from the bottom of the freezer. The combination of ingredients is anyone’s flight of fancy and I have stuck to the classic selection: haddock fresh, haddock smoked, salmon and prawns.
Grilled sea bream with balsamic marinade. Whole fish is much more fun – you have to gut it (which smells) and scale it (which covers the WHOLE place in invisible crap), unless you’re boring and ask the fishmonger to do it for you.
Grilled skinned Dover sole with caper lemon butter. If turbot is the king of fish, Dover sole surely must be the queen. It’s actually easier to cook than turbot, which is big beast and there’s a quandary how to cook it. With sole there’s no problem – simple grilled is the best...
Grilled whole mackerel with spice crust: it’s healthy, it’s cheap and it takes fifteen minutes to prepare. With a squeeze of lemon and a simple salad, it’s an easy and delightful dish.
Grilled red mullet brushed with anchovy and coriander butter. It is not frequently that the smaller the fish the better it tastes, bones becoming too much of a key player usually, but it’s completely the case with red mullet.
Smoked mackerel and prawn kedgeree. Haddock seems too much of a northern fish to go into a dish of Indian of origin so I’ve replaced it with hot smoked mackerel. Breakfast? I don’t know but it’s an excellent lunch dish and a brilliant starter.
Salmon and spinach baked in a parcel of lettuce leaves. I guess you could use cabbage leaves for this, or banana leaves, or those exotic ones they wrap stuff into in Thai restaurants (the latter two inedible though, just look pretty).
Whole lemon sole roasted on a bed of lemon slices. I’ve attempted to bring the lemon sole a bit upmarket here, roasting it whole on a bed of lemons, lavishly basted with butter. This approach works well for its more affluent relatives as well as the likes of sea bass and sea bream. Surprise, surprise – it’s really tasty and, unless you keep that poor thing in the oven for inordinately long, not mushy.
Warm salad of poached fish and raw samphire with lemongrass dressing. Samphire, or sea asparagus, is the salty marshland grass and not actually seaweed as some may think.
Linguine with smoked salmon and homemade pesto - and lots of parmesan. This recipe uses, admittedly, fancy pasta from Carluccio. But to be honest, any good quality linguine will do, even if not sexily stripy pink, yellow and green…
Miso marinated haddock seared and baked to a succulent, golden beauty. Inspired by Nobu black cod, it is truly an outstanding fish dish.
Pan fried monkfish bites in spicy coating, with mushroom sauce and chorizo slices. They have this thing on Saturday Kitchen television programme where guest celebrities specify their food heaven and hell.
Steamed whole sea bass oriental style, with coriander and spring onions. Wok’s shape makes it possible to simply prop up a plate against the sides so it’s beautifully suspended over the water, no rack or even steaming basket needed.
Oven baked fish in panko breadcrumbs with baked string fries - a healthier version of fish and chips. The baked fish and chips is all right, plus you’re not stinking out the kitchen or splattering everything in grease and plugging the sink with oil. But don’t expect it to for ever replace your deep fried haddock or cod in crispy batter.
Sea trout fillets oven steamed at low temperature. This works for salmon, trout and sea trout – the last in my experience particularly prone to drying out. Season ad lib, brown some butter and serve with samphire – or green veg if you’re not partial to seaweed.
Pan fried skin-on fish fillets with creamed spinach. It’s simple: all you need is for the fish fillet skin to be perfectly dry and the pan to be really hot. No flour on the fish, the skin will be heavenly crisp anyway.
Hawaiian poke bowl with yellowfin tuna, seasoned with shichimi togarashi. Originating from Hawaii, it’s a salad/starter/appetiser of raw fish, sliced (which is what ‘poke’ literally means in Hawaiian).
Scottish smoked haddock known as Arbroath smokie in a rice pilaf with Middle Eastern flavours. Pilaf is the way of cooking rice initially in a little hot oil before it is boiled in stock or plain water.
Salmon, broccoli and courgette baked with creme fraiche, mustard and dill. One pot wonder – courgettes and broccoli will do for veg, and if you really need a filler, return those spuds into the equation. Tasty. Very tasty.
Salmon and potato tray bake with dill and mustard; it's a deconstructed salmon fishcake or fish pie, with full flavour, fewer calories and zero effort.
Salmon fillet cooked with oyster sauce and brown sugar. Oyster sauce is a weird and wonderful thing that makes boring food suddenly taste fantastic. Simple green vegetables, boring broccoli and beans, get a sudden oomph when drizzled over with a bit of that pungent salty gunk, and a spoonful of sesame oil.
Baked salmon pâté with tarragon and chopped gherkins. Fresh salmon marinated in soy sauce and honey is turned into flavoursome pâté in this simple recipe.
Salmon fillets with blue cheese topping baked in foil parcels. Easy – fiendishly easy cooked like below, just stick some blue cheese on it, wrap in foil and sling in the oven for ten. And you can even call it fancy: en papilotte!
Baked salmon fillets in maple syrup, soya sauce and garlic marinade. Salmon is pretty versatile and can happily take various treatments – see my recipes for steamed salmon and baked with potatoes. With all the cooking techniques I find the timing is the trick.
Salt and pepper halibut, seared in a flash. Halibut used to be my all time favourite fish. But now it's apparently overfished, not sustainable and it just makes you feel plain bad eating it. So it's a rare treat for me. But I've noticed it doesn't taste as lovely as it used to. So I've figured - cook it as quick as I can...
Sea bass fillets baked in a creamy spinach sauce. Spinach is rich in iron and has lots of vitamins C and K. Great stuff. And another good thing about it is that prepared as below, it keeps the fish succulent and moist even if you use defrosted fillets.
Fresh mackerel fillets stuffed with samphire, anchovy and breadcrumb mix, grilled and served with parsley butter. Tom Kerridge, whose recipe features below (from Best Ever Dishes cookbook), is clearly a masterful chef.
Salmon shakshuka: spicy tomato and pepper base with chunks of fresh salmon poached in the sauce. Swap the eggs for salmon and serve shakshuka for dinner!
Pan fried skate wing fillet with caper butter and crispy garlic. Skate or ray wings can be cooked as they are but much nicer filleted – and it’s really easy to do.
Perfect oven baked haddock fillet with saffron sauce, roasted at a very low temperature. That really is the best fish you’ll have ever eaten!
Slow roasted salmon with easy dill sauce. It’s flavoursome – at low temperature just a little salt and olive oil is sufficient to enhance the salmoney taste. It can be served hot, warm or cold and the bed of aromatics.
Smoked fish and rice salad bowl with Arbroath smokie and Vietnamese dressing. Arbroath smokie is a whole small haddock fish, dry salted in tubs and smoked over smoking pits.
Roasted turnips with flaky smoked fish, olives and capers make an exciting salad. Turnips deserve better: full of fibre and over four times less calorific than potatoes.
Salad of smoked mackerel, avocado, cucumber and celeriac; tasty and super-healthy. Tonnes of omega 3 from the mackerel - and it's mighty tasty!
Monkfish tail fillet cooked in a curried sauce with ginger and saffron. The fish are basically a tasty tail (a bit like lobster tail, hence probably the comparisons) attached to an enormous gaping mouth.
Deep fried sprats can be eaten whole, head, tail and all but it’s very easy to lop the heads off and clean the sprats a bit. An easy, cheap and delicious treat.
Steamed salmon in a parcel is truly delicious – I had it warm, almost straight from the steamer (bar shooting a few pictures) but it tasted even better the next day, provided you bring it up to room temperature.
Pan fried mackerel fillet with sweet sticky sauce. There are two secrets to successfully pan-frying fish. One is a smoking hot pan and the other – the skin of the fish PERFECTLY dry. Otherwise you’ll be scraping the fish bits off the pan forever.
Salmon stir fried with ginger, lemon and palm sugar served with green veg. I was a bit worried that my nice bit of salmon I had my mind set on this time would disintegrate. So I had to watch that bit of the documentary again. How did they do it? Below's how – just leave it alone for a while, then turn and that’s it.
Thai fish stir fry with mushrooms, beans and noodles. The secret is to marinate it senseless, cook it on medium heat and handle it with (chopsticks and) care when in and out of (and then in again) the wok.
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