a.k.a. Fish and Chips…
I have just come back from a lovely week in France with some friends, the weather was not all that kind to us, but the scenery and food was great! Both my trusty bicycle and I survived the hills and enjoyed the benefit of active holidays – eating as much as you like. All the time.
If anyone is visiting Normandy soon and in particular Caen, the best meal of our trip was definitely from St Andrews Restaurant by the side of the river and I thoroughly recommend it, I had Gizzard salad, confit duck and tarte tatin – it was all sublime.
The other great thing was being able to get hold of cakes and pastries all day long!
We arrived home yesterday afternoon after several trains, a ferry, some more trains and a final cycle from the station. As with every time you’re away from home there was very little food left in the house, but luckily as it was the second Saturday of the month the local food market was on just up the road, so we managed to get hold of some super fresh sea bass – these guys only do this one market, the rest of their trade comes from the Manchester Smithfield market which serves the restaurants trade and other wholesale in the city.
This dish is definitely more Spanish than French in terms of the simple cooking of the fish – grilled and served with potatoes, but having spent the past week eating moules, sea bass and salmon on the French coast it’s not really that big a stretch to this:
Start with the potatoes – as they take the longest, slice a couple of handfuls of white potatoes into ring slices (about the width of a pound coin) and steam until tender, dry off any excess moisture on elephant loo roll (that’s kitchen towel to most of you) and set aside.
Cube a couple of inches of chorizo – we have some tasty free range high welfare chorizo iberico, the better bred it is the tastier it is as well as providing a better environment for the animals. Gently heat the chorizo in a large frying pan so that the oil begins to come out and slightly crisps the edges of the chorizo. Then set this aside keeping as much oil in the pan as possible and add a tbsp of duck fat to the pan (we rendered ours ourselves a couple of weeks ago from the left over skin, but you can also get goose fat in most supermarkets these days). Bring the heat up and sauté the potato slices turning them after 5 mins or until golden on both sides.
For the fish, ask your fishmonger to gut them but leave their heads and tails on – I like the rustic look of a whole fish steaming on plate, but you could just as well do this with fillets. Oil both sides of the fish with olive oil and salt fairly generously (it gives the fish a lovely crisp skin) and grill for 4 mins on each side – we used a heavy cast iron riddle pan.
When the fish is a minute or so from being ready throw the chorizo in with the potatoes and toss them around, serve with steamed broccoli, lemon and parsley.