It’s been a while since I chose a recipe out of a book and then set out to buy the necessary ingredients and follow it as closely as possible. Post-Christmas, having received a few books as presents it’s time to break out of the making it up as I go along groove I”ve been in lately.
The excellent River Cottage Fish book is the one I decided would supply tonight’s dinner and I settled on a recipe for steamed/braised ling. Because Tesco’s is shit and it didn’t have any of the white fish Hugh recommended I decided to go for haddock. It was either that or Vietnamese cobbler. Seemed a better idea to go for the fish that had only travelled a few hundred miles instead of a few thousand.
I picked up a bag of kale to go with the fish and delved into my books for a second recipe for the accompaniment. I’d already been thinking of having mashed tatties with it so Richard Corrigan’s recipe for Irish colcannon in The Clatter of Forks and Spoons fit perfectly.
Regular readers will know we’re on a low-fat diet and the reasons why so won’t be surprised to hear that we left out most of the oil and butter in this recipe. If you’re following it at home then add a knob of butter and some more olive oil into the pan with the fish.
The combined steaming/braising cooking method works pretty well. Hugh says in the book that it’s a technique he thinks he’s invented alongside his colleague Nick Fisher, however I’m sure I’ve seen similar techniques used in other recipes and in Asian cooking. Anyway it’s a great technique for fish. The haddock was lovely and moist and took on loads of flavour from the wine, lemon and garlic sauce.
For the fish:
2 large, skinned fillets of haddock cut into medallions
2 bay leaves
1 small garlic clove, sliced
For the colcannon:
3 or 4 small to medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut to equal size
A couple of handfuls of chopped kale
3 spring onions, chopped
A knob of butter or low-fat margarine in our case
Start by sticking the tatties into some boiling, salted water for about 15 minutes until they’re soft (you can stick a fork in them with ease).
When they’re about done then put a large pan on a medium heat and add a little olive oil, a good splash of white wine, the same splash of water as well as the garlic, bay leaves and thyme.
Grate in a little lemon zest, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice from one half.
Season the fish and place on the bottom of the pan in a single layer.
Bring to a simmer and cover.
The fish will cook for 4-6 minutes. Check it after about 3 minutes and carefully turn the fish chunks over without them breaking apart.
Take the tatties off the heat, drain and cover with a tea towel. They’ll dry off and keep warm while you sort out the kale.
Put the kale in some salted boiling water for 3 minutes until it’s just cooked. It should still have some crunch to it.
Heat the milk in a small pan with the knob of butter until the butter melts. Don’t boil the milk.
Once the butter has melted add the spring onions and take it off the heat.
Check the fish and take it off the heat if it’s cooked.
Put the tatties in a bowl and break them up with a fork.
Add half the milk and the spring onions.
Beat the milk in and add more of the milk if the mash is still a bit thick and stodgy.
Drain the kale and stir it into the colcannon with some salt and pepper.
Serve the colcannon on a warm plate, arrange the fish on top and carefully spoon over the sauce from the pan.