Patient: I am on this new diet, but I don’t seem to be losing any weight…
Doctor: Right, tell me a little more about this diet.
Patient: Well its a sea food diet, if I see food, I eat it!
All right all right, I know its a crap joke but I never was any good at them (just ask my OH…). Sea food is however a very important part of my diet, I love the stuff, and not just the eating. I love catching it, studying it, cooking it AND eating it.
I am a marine biologist still at heart after all. So pulling apart little squiddly diddlies is not just an exercise in gutting cephalopods, oh no! Its a hunt to find the neuron that changed how we look at nerves. And mussles, Mytilus edulis, have the most fascinating gill structures…sorry, moving swiftly on. Catching fish and cooking it is one of my favourite past times, you can spend a whole day fishing (i.e. waiting for a fish to bite while reading a whole book) and it sounds like you’ve had an adventurous day. I must admit I spend all day thinking about how I’m going to cook it when I get home only to find I don’t catch anything, talk about disappointment! But for those days when you do catch something, or perhaps pass a fishmongers with lots of sustainably caught fish, you will now know what to do with it.
Fish baked in Lemon, Wine and Herbs
The most simple recipe that works with practically any fish you might bring home – mackerel, bream, salmon, trout, even gurnard.
Whole fish (gutted and cleaned of scales), EVOO, bay leaf, mixed herbs, slice of lemon, white wine, salt, pepper.
Lightly scored the skin of the fish and rub, olive oil, salt and mixed herbs into the scores. Place the bay leaf and the lemon slice in the cavity where the guts were. Lay out a piece of tinfoil that is a couple of inches longer than your fish. Put the fish in the middle of it and make a parcel, leaving the top open. Pour in a slosh of white wine and then seal. Place in the oven for approximately twenty minutes, or until the fishes flesh is opaque and flaky.
Salmon with Fennelly Brown Butter
Salmon fillet, fennel seeds, salted butter, salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the fennel seeds, the butter will take on a little of the aniseed flavour. Season the salmon fillet and place skin side down in the frothy butter. Spoon butter over the fillet carefully. Turn it gently, cooking until the middle is just pink but the rest is opaque and flaky. Pour the butter over the top to serve.
*If cooking for a few people, wipe the pan out between batches as the butter will burn if it is fried for too long and it will taste bitter instead of nutty and sweet.
Mixed shellfish (i.e. mussels, clams, prawns), squid, risotto rice (arborio or similar), cherry tomatoes, butter, onion, garlic, white wine, olive oil, stock, seasoning, Parmesan
In a large saucepan, fry the onions and garlic in the butter until soft and sweet. Add the rice and stir to coat in the melted butter. Fry for two to three minutes and then add a glass of white wine. Stir continuously, adding a little stock every time the liquid is absorbed. Keep going until the rice is sticky with a starchy sauce, but still has a slightly chalky bite when eaten. If you just add Parmesan now its a basic Risotto Bianco.
For Seafood Risotto, gently fry the seafood in butter and garlic, until just cooked. No more than four or five minutes. When the risotto rice is cooked stir in the seafood, but reserve a little for serving, and the halved cherry tomatoes. Turn the heat off under the pan and cover. Leave for ten minutes before serving with a spoon of seafood on top, a dusting of Parmesan and loads of cracked black pepper.
Incredibly easy dinner and a great one for the family. I have been eating this since I was five or six years old, my sister and I would share a plate of them at the pub with my parents and grandparents watching in astonishment as we cleared the plate in like 3 seconds flat…
Cleaned (de-bearded) mussels, onion, loads of garlic, white wine, two bay leaves, black peppercorns, rock salt
Fry the onions and garlic in butter or olive oil. Add half a bottle of white wine, the bay leaves and peppercorns then allow to reduce by about a third. Add the mussels, bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Stir occassionally, they are cooked when all the shells are open, about 15 minutes. Do not eat the un-opened ones, they’re not good for you. Serve with crusty bread and/or chips, and the other half of the white wine 🙂