Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paprika Pollack Almondine with Sephardic style spuds

OK - its been a while since I did a meal plan, having been stuck doing jams and pickles.
Becuase the fish was caught locally, and nearly all the veg came from the garden, this cost very little to make.

Serves 4 people.

Pollock is a great fish. Its very versitile, abundant and cheap at fish shops, or in my case, free off the rocks.
Whiting, Pouting and Coley can also be used for this recipe.

When we get a recipe we stick to it as if it were some sacred text rather than experiment or adjust for the seasons.

You can eat what you want all year round - and that is sometimes a great thing, but we need to draw the line somewhere.
When I go to the supermarket in Ireland there is Garlic from China! In Holland there were Onions from New Zealand !!!!!
What has happened to Irish and EU prduction for such basic staples. One of the primary reasons I set up the kitchen garden was to reduce food miles, not because I am super Green, but just as a damn point of principle, I think it is insane to buy something as simple as garlic from China.
Good examples of sustainale fish are Pollock, Whiting, Pouting and Coley that can also be used in place of Cod in most recipes, and a lot of restraunts label these fish, haddock and ling as cod.
At this time, we are wiping out stocks of cod.
Our ability with electronics, engine size, winch strength and net size means we have far outstripped natures ability to replace what we take.

When I look at what is happening in fishing, I do worry - I like fish as food, and like having them around.

And the plastic pollution from fisheries is utterly out of control. The first Nylon net that went into the oceans in the 40's is still there, it breaks up but des not degrade so we are turning the seas into a toxic plastic soup.

Nearly 75% of the world's fisheries are either overfished or fully fished.

As I have said before, I am not a religious person, but there are passages in several religious texts.
A lot of free market, christian right wing capitalist groups are also self declared 'people of faith'.
I think they would do well to remember that according to Genisis that we have dominion over the seas and the fish, but having dominion is not a licence to destroy all and sundry.
With what some claim as a god given right, as with all rights, comes responsibility.
One of those responsibilities must surely be to harvest the oceans in a sustainable way.

Governments can do it, especially here in the EU by limiting engine size, net size, incorporating square mesh panels in the cod end of nets, having strictly enforced zones that are not exploited, stopping bottom trawling, bio degradable plastics, pot escape panels and other simple measures in co-operation with the fishing industry.

But we can change ourselves, by selecting sustainable fish types. There is no pont in demanding that fisheries policy changes if we do not start to change our own attitudes.
We can eat mackerel instead of blue fin tuna, pollack or whiting instead of cod

For an excellent guide to sustainable and non sustainable choices please click here for a handy print-off from the UK.

BIM do an excellent job, out here they just completed a free course for leaving cert students for entry into fisheries, but I would really like them to produce something of this nature.
The good news on the cod front is that here in South Connemara they are beginning to farm them, sustainable cod, good thinking.
Anyway, on with the food
Paprika Pollock Almondine
2 lb. Pollock, filleted
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. sliced almonds
2 tbsp. lemon juice
5 drops Tobasco
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fennel leaf

Cut fish into 6 portions. Combine flour, salt, and paprika.
Coat fish in mixture and place in single layer, skin side down, in well greased baking pan.

Tip I find the best way to flour coat anything is put the flour mix in a palstic bag with no holes, put in meat, fish, poultry or veg to be dusted and give it a quick shake

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the fish. Bake 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Meanwhile, saute almonds in remaining butter until golden brown, add fennel.
Remove from heat. Add lemon juice, hot pepper sauce and parsley.

Pour over fish and serve at once.

Sephardic style spuds
After my disastrous attempt to pickle turnips to a sephardic recipe, I was determined to make a go of something with a sephardic theme.

This recipe for potatoes, if not strictly a sephardic one certainly has all the right elements, horseradish and lemon.

At Seder, or Passover, horseradish is chewed - this is to symbolize the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Jews endured in Egypt.

I like the idea of the Seder plate, where you have bitter herbs and sweets - it is used as a way of explaining to children that in life you have to take the bitter as well as the sweet.

Lemon is used during rituals in the Yom Kippur fast, often as a kind of posie to smell, apparently this helps while fasting.

Of the potatos I grew this year, my pride and joy are the Mr. Little's Yetholm Gypsies, a rare old English variety that were very hard to get,
But thanks to JJ in Coventry I got them and they grew reasonably well - even if the yield was a little disappointing, but I put that down to the dry early part of the summer.
They are a waxy potato that are a riot of colour, the skins being 3 tone.

It was developed in the Border Village of Yetholm, which is the Gypsy capital of the borders, by the Little Brothers.
It is unusual because it is the only potato to show red white and blue skin. It is best boiled, steamed or baked with the skin on ,the colour remains , and the flavour is quite delicious.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes, unpeeled

I always throw in a pinch of Rosemary and Caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
Melt butter in a casserole dish in the oven.
Stir in salt, pepper, horseradish and lemon juice.
Place potatoes in dish and toss to coat with butter mixture.

Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.
I was going to have it with broccoli and hollandaise sauce, but ran out of lemons (hazard of our climate) so I served it with a really nice French style warm goats cheese salad

Make sure the oven is set up to take the potato's in the centre, and fish on top.

00:00 Put dish and butter into pre-heated oven, prepare lemon and horseradish
00:05 Remove dish from oven, put in potato's, lemon juice, horseradish, salt and pepper - stir and coat
00:07 Return dish to oven
00:10 Prepare fish
00:20 Prepare fish coating, melt some butter, have a glass of wine for yourself, relax
00:35 Coat fish in flour in a plastic bag - place fillets on baking tray
00:40 Put fish in oven top shelf
00:45 Saute almonds and fennel - prepare lemon juice, Tabasco and parsley
00:50 Remove almonds from heat, pour lemon, Tabasco and parsley mix over almonds
00:55 Plate up fish and potatos - pour Almondine sauce over fish fillet
00:60 Serve and enjoy

This way of doing spuds is also great with beef.
Steak on a bed of caramelised onion with Sephardic spuds (Kerr Pinks)

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1 comment:

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