Damn that Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. I am sure he is a lovely man and I did enjoy my visit to his River Cottage headquarters, but ever since Hugh’s Fish Fight was on television I have been spending a fortune on fish. I have even taken to paying in cash so MTV boyfriend does not get suspicious about the amounts I am transacting at my local fish mongers. The cost is one thing but then there is the time spent quizzing the fish mongers and frantic internet research on the Marine Conservation Society’s (excellent) website.
Each visit poses a new ethical conundrum between fish I have barely heard of before, such as the merits of ling versus pollock. I wanted to cook a recipe from Mark Hix’s, Hix Oyster & Chop House book, however although Hix describes the ling suggested in the recipe as a “third division fish” it turns out there are issues with ling so I made a last minute substitution for pollock. I hope Hix forgives me as I can only blame Hugh.
The book itself is fantastic with a simple brown paper, retro design. The highlight of the cookbook are the sections describing the different oysters and cuts of meat. Each description is paired with clear photographs and I can see Hix Oyster & Chop House becoming a much used reference book in my kitchen for these sections rather than the recipes. Lots of the recipes are fairly involved but this recipe is simple enough for a quick week night supper and the creamy sauce and excessive use of butter adds a touch of luxury to the fish.
4 fillets of pollock, about 200g each with skin. Or use whichever white fish is sustainable in your part of the world.
Salt and pepper
150g peas, frozen are fine
6 rashers of bacon, derinded and chopped
2 leeks trimmed and cut into rough squares
200ml double cream
2 tsp vegetable oil
Cooking the leeks, bacon and mushrooms
1. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add the peas to a pan of salted water and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until tender and then drain.
2. Melt half of the butter in a heavy based saucepan and add the bacon, mushrooms and leek. Cover and cook gently over a medium low heat for 3-4 minutes stirring until the leek is soft.
3. Add the peas and cream to the bacon and leek and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until the cream is reduced and is just coating the fries.
4. In another pan cook the fish fillets over a medium high heat, ski side down first. Cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly coloured then turn the fillets and add the rest of the butter to the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes until the fish is cooked through.
5. Serve the fish on top of the leek, bacon and pea mixture.
Serves four. Recipe adapted from Hix Oyster & Chop House. You can still sign the Fish Fight petition here.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in another seafood recipe for seafood linguine in a parcel or my review of Hix Soho.
Gourmet Chick received a review copy of the cookbook.