Summer is in full swing now. Lots of very hot, sunny days and being a summer person this is definitely my time of year. However, Shandy, our labrador, does not agree with me – he finds it just too hot. Even choosing the woods to take him for a walk, where the umbrella of the trees definitely cuts out the blazing heat of the sun, only gives a little respite. For him it’s indoors lying in a cool spot with the air conditioner turned on!
There is invariably something to see on our walks and we were surprised by a young deer with its mother wandering through the trees. They are so elegant and much larger than the muntjac deer we were used to seeing in Oxfordshire.
All that aside, the time I choose to be in the kitchen is less during the summer months and the following recipe is one from my summer collection. There was some lovely wild cod at the fish counter which is very rarely available, so I just had to buy some. It was thick and the flesh was, oh so white. I used it for this recipe. We really enjoyed it and hope you will want to try it too.
A very tasty way to serve cod that is super quick to prepare and cook.
Sun-dried tomato and butter are spread on the cod before topping with the cheese and plum tomato slices. It is then simply grilled/broiled and served with the buttery sauce, peas, green salad and crusty bread. A complete meal in no time.
You will also need a heat-resistant dish that is large enough to lay the 4 pieces of cod in a single layer.
Preheat the grill/broiler. You don’t want the heat too hot or the dish too close to the source of the heat.
Now lay the fish in a single layer in the dish. Spread the tomato paste over the fish and then dot with the butter. Next place two pieces of cheese over each piece of fish and top with the sliced tomatoes.
Grill/broil until the fish is cooked through. This should take about 10–15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill/broiler.
Increase the heat to high for a further two minutes until the tomatoes are just starting to brown.
Meanwhile, cook the peas. This will take just 2 minutes in a microwave.
Serve the fish with all the buttery juices and the peas spooned round the fish. Season.
Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil, and cook for 20 minutes, until tender.
Add the eggs during the last 10 minutes (saves on another pan!). Once the eggs are ready, remove from the pan and run them under cold water. (This will prevent a dark rim forming round the yolk while they are cooling.)
Drain and mash the potatoes with 28g (1 oz) (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick) of the butter and a little milk, until creamy. Set aside.
Next, melt the rest of the butter in a pan and, once foaming, tip the pan and quickly add the flour. Stir to form a smooth paste and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes. Warm the milk (a microwave makes this quick) and gradually stir into the roux until smooth. Stir in the wine. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and gently cook for 5–10 minutes until the sauce is very thick, stirring constantly. (The sauce needs to be very thick because once the fish is added and cooks in the sauce, its juices will thin it.) Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.
Now cut the fish into bite-sized chunks and mix into the sauce with the spinach. Spoon into the ovenproof dish.
Peel the eggs, carefully cut into quarters and scatter them evenly over the top of the fish.
Cover with the mashed potato and sprinkle with the cheese.
Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil then cook for a further 10–15 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
A simple meal of fish and chips, prepared and cooked in an hour. A chunky piece of fresh white fish (haddock or cod), coated in fresh breadcrumbs, and shallow fried for just 10 minutes. Served with home cooked fries and ready to be doused with ketchup and vinegar.
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet or sauté pan for the fish and a large baking sheet, covered with baking parchment, for the chips.
Adjust oven rack to the lowest level and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
For the chips
Peel potatoes and slice into ½ inch thick rounds and then into ½ inch thick strips. Pat dry and place in a bowl.
Drizzle with oil and season well. Toss until evenly coated.
Spread out on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times until browned.
For the fish
Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Spread the flour on a plate and season. Then spread breadcrumbs on a second plate. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
Pat dry the fish with kitchen paper. Taking one fillet at a time, coat it in the flour, gently shaking off any excess. Then dip it in the beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a clean plate and repeat with the remaining fish.
While the chips are cooking in the oven the fish can be cooked on the hob. Heat the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the fish and gently fry for about 4–5 minutes until golden and crisp on the underside. Carefully turn and repeat on the other side. The fish may have to be cooked in two batches. Lift the fish from the pan and place on a warmed plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb any oil. Cover the plate with foil and keep warm while cooking the rest of the fish.
Serve immediately garnished with the lemon wedges.
Haddock and Prawn Fish Pie with a Chive and Cheesy Mash
Prepares: 4 servings
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the fish pie
300ml (10 fl oz) full fat (whole milk) (1¼ cups)
450g (1 lb) haddock, skinned (cod will work too)
40g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp)
40g (1½ oz) flour (¼ cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 ml soured cream (⅔ cup)
200g (7 oz) frozen peeled king prawns/jumbo shrimps, thawed
115g (4 oz) frozen peas, thawed (¾ cup)
For the chive and cheesy mash
900g (2 lb) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized pieces (6 medium)
55g (2 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated (½ cup)
90ml (3 fl oz) full fat (whole milk) (⅓ cup)
8g (¼ oz) fresh chives, chopped (2 tbsp)
A green leafy vegetable
You will also need a deep sided frying pan/skillet and a 2 litre ovenproof dish.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, pour the milk into the frying pan/skillet and add the haddock. Bring slowly to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, carefully transfer the fish to a plate and set aside. Reserve the milk.
Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a separate pan. Stir in the flour to form a paste and gently cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk the reserved milk into the flour until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
Stir in the soured cream, prawns/shrimps, and peas, and gently heat for a further 2 minutes.
Break the haddock into small cubes, about 2.5cm (1 inch) and add to the sauce. Spoon the mixture into the ovenproof dish.
Mash the cooked potatoes and, when smooth, beat in the grated cheese and enough milk to make a creamy mash, then fold through the chopped chives. Spoon over the fish and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
700g (1 lb 8 oz) cod or haddock, skinned and cubed
170g (6 oz) cooked tiger prawns/shrimp
knob of butter
3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Serve with sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas
For this recipe, you'll need a 1.2 litre/2 pint shallow ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Peel the sweet potato and cut into even sized pieces. Simmer in lightly salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
Cut the florets from the head of broccoli into small pieces. You will need 170g (6 oz) of the florets (1½ cups).
Next, pour the milk in a pan and add the flour and butter. Whisk continuously over a moderate heat until the sauce begins to boil and has thickened. Remove from the heat, season. and stir in 115g (4 oz) (1 cup) of the grated cheese. Beat until the cheese has melted.
Spoon a thin layer of the sauce over the base of the ovenproof dish. Layer the cubes of fish over the sauce and scatter over the prawns/shrimp and broccoli florets. Then pour over the remaining sauce.
Mash the sweet potato with the butter and stir in the parsley. Season well. Spoon on top of the fish and then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Serve with the sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas.
Ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice, simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for one minute. Carefully, remove from the water and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. It will not be fully cooked at this point. Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and sprinkle the wine over the fish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange over the fish.
Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet add the onion and garlic, and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping golden brown.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.
When we were grocery shopping this week, our fish counter was displaying some wild cod and it looked so good – really white and chunky. I couldn’t resist buying some and I cooked it making a provençal dish. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
It is not often we see wild fish to buy here in Canada, the main one we do see being wild pacific salmon, but I buy it when I can because there is certainly a difference. Once I found out how farmed fish was produced, with all its potential toxins, it made me realise just how much we have forgone quality for quantity. But that’s another story.
Anyway, we enjoyed our fish supper and hope you will want to try it too.
A nutritious fish dish that is full of flavour. The chunky piece of cod is baked with sliced peppers, plum tomatoes and garlic in a tomato, herb and wine sauce.
675g/1 lb 8 oz cod, skinned (chunky cod, if available)
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g/28 fl oz can plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 oz butter
large sauté pan
ovenproof dish, buttered
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Cut the fish into 4 portions and place in the ovenproof dish. Season and set aside.
Heat the oil in the pan, add the peppers and, over a medium heat, sauté for 3–4 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally.
Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice, and add to the pan along with the garlic, wine, lemon juice and oregano. Season. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice, then simmer for a further 3–4 minutes.
Pour the vegetables over the fish and dot the fish with the butter.
Bake towards the top of the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Baste half way through cooking.