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Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

We’re loving all the simple and delicious recipes from Sabrina Ghayour’s new book, Persiana Everyday. This fish takes minutes to make and tastes amazing. We served with some sautéed potatoes and salad.

Wine Suggestion: A richer, rounder white like the Edetària “via Edetana” Blanc which combines old-vine Garnaxta Blanca with Viognier. Elegant and complex with honeysuckle, peach, tangerine and toasted nut aromas and flavours. The stonefruit flavours, in particular, seem to work with the earthy za’atar in a superb way.

Za’atar Sea Bass – serves 2

  • 1 heaped tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • veg oil, for frying
  • 2 skin-on sea bass fillets
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Mix the za’atar, flour and plenty of seasoning in a shallow dish.

Coat the fish fillets in the seasoned flour, turn them over a few times.

Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat and drizzle in enough oil to coat the base. When the oil is hot, put the sea bass fillets into the pan, skin-side down, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the skin is crispy. Turn the fish over and cook for another minute on the other side – they should be just cooked. Serve straight away with the lemon wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

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This recipe is from The Spanish Home Kitchen by José Pizarro who cooks from the heart. It takes a little while to cook but is so simple and delicious. It would also be easy to cook when camping if that matters to you. As José says, this is the comfort dish that his mother would cook … need we say more.

Wine Suggestion: Spanish inspired, but off the beaten track is a Garnacha Blanco from Terra Alta (quite possibly one of the best places in the world for Garnacha of both colours alongside Chateauneuf du Pape … although quite different in style). If you can stretch to an old vine expression like this you’re in for a treat. For us tonight an easier, fresher style with Edetària’s “via Terra” which is charming with layers of fresh stone fruit, nuttiness and salinity. It tastes both of the earth, sunshine and fresh cooling breezes.

Hake with slow-cooked onions and tomato salsa – serves 4

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 3 large onions, finelly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 4 hake fillets (200-250g each)
  • a handful of basil leaves

FOR THE TOMATO SALSA:

  • 500g ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oil in a deep sauté pan with a lid. Add the onions and season well with salt and black pepper, then cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Cover with the lid and cook for half an hour until really soft but not coloured.

Meanwhile, mix all of the salsa ingredients together in a bowl, then season well and set aside to mingle.

Add the wines to the onions and bubble for a minute before adding the stock. Simmer, uncovered for 10-12 minutes then seaon the hake fillets and nestle them into the onions. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with the lid and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and rest for 2-3 minutes.

Spoon the salasa over the fish and onions, then scatter the basil over before serving.

(Original recipe from The Spanish Home Kitchen by José Pizarro, Hardie Grant Books, 2022.)

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It’s the first night of our holidays and we felt like eating something to remind us of the beach!

Wine Suggestion: Dominio de Tares La Sonrisa Godello, or something similar with a chalky, Chablis-esk minerally finish; unoaked, vibrant and dry.

Baked sea bream – serves 2

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 2 x 400g whole sea bream, scaled and gutted
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 60ml dry sherry
  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped

FOR THE PICADA:

  • a small handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions, garlic and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and a splash of water, then cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C. Slice the potatoes, not too thin and not too thick so they hold together but cook through. Spread them over the base of a roasting dish that can easily accomodate the fish. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together then bake for 20 minutes.

To make the picada, put the parsley, garlic and salt into a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste, then set aside.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and put on top of the cooked potatoes. Spread the picada over the fish. Add the lemon juice and a couple of tbsp of water, then pour the tomato sauce over everything. Drizzle over the last tbsp of olive oil, add the peppercorns and sherry, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Scatter with the chopped parsley to serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein at Home, BBC Books, 2021.)

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This dish couldn’t be easier and is all cooked in the one tray; a great spring celebration. It helped that we were able to source all of the ingredients locally, always makes us feel good about what we’re eating.

Wine Suggestion: Simple, but fresh and asparagus friendly Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, in this case blended with a touch of Chardonnay from the Cheverny appelation. Pascal Bellier produces a charmer.

Sea trout, new potatoes and asparagus with a dill & mustard sauce – serves 4

  • 1kg baby new potatoes, we used Jersey Royals
  • 400g asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 fillets of sea trout (or you could use salmon)

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill, plus a bit extra to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Cook the potatoes in salty water for about 3 minutes, then add the asparagus and cook for a further 2 minutes. Drain well and and run the asparagus under cold running water to stop it cooking any further.

Put the potatoes into a large non-stick baking tray, toss with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Put into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown.

Tuck the trout and asparagus in and around the potatoes and season these too. Roast again for 10-12 minutes or until the trout is just cooked.

Meanwhile, whisk the mustard, sugar, vinegar and oil together to make the dressing. Stir through the dill just before you’re ready to serve. Drizzle the sauce over the dish and scatter with some more dill if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe and Adam Bush in Olive Magazine, May 2019.)

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Try this simple lunch with some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: A good, salty Pazo de Señoráns Albariño which plays a delightful dance of balancing a lightness and elegance with surprising depth, concentration and complexity.

Hot-smoked salmon salad with chive buttermilk dressing – serves 2

  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into chunky pieces
  • 50g sugar snap peas, halved
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 150g hot-smoked salmon
  • crusty bread, to serve

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • a pinch of caster sugar
  • a bunch of chives, finely chopped

Put the buttermilk, white wine vinegar and caster sugar into a small jug, season with salt and pepper and whisk together. Add the chives.

Put the lettuce, sugar snap peas, red onion and capers into a large bowl and toss together gently. Add half the dressing and toss again. Flake over the hot-smoked salmon and gently toss again, then drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve.

(Original recipe in Olive Magazine, April 2020.)

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This is so simple but looks impressive and is perfect for a Friday night when you want a weekend dish but don’t have lots of time. You will need some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. Serve with buttered orzo or new potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: From the Burrier family of the superb Château de Beauregard in Pouilly-Fuissé is Domaine de la Rochette Mâcon-Bussières an excellent example of what this southern Burgundian region can do so well. Lovely ripe stonefruit and apple flavours under-pinned with a savoury minerality and fresh, layered mouthfeel which allows the cod to shine, counter-balances the Parma’s meaty saltiness and sings along with the olives and tomatoes.

Cod with cherry tomatoes and green olives – serves 6

  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 750g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 even sized pieces of cod loin, about 125g each
  • 6 slices of Parma ham
  • 18 nocellara green olives
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped (to serve)
  • crusty bread

Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Put the onions and tomatoes into a shallow baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and add the olive oil, toss together and put into the oven for 15 minutes.

Season the cod then wrap each piece in a slice of Parma ham. Add the olives to the baking tray with the tomatoes, then gently set the cod pieces on top. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked and the ham is crispy. Scatter with the chopped parsley and serve.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, April 2016.)

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We recently discovered the ‘Theo’s’ brand of filo pastry in one of our local shops; definitely better than most others we’ve used. It’s usefully a touch larger per sheet, and very easy to work with. Combined with a light, crispy finish we’ll definitely be putting some in our freezer for whenever the mood strikes.

This is a rich and substantial dish, but you can divide it all between two pie dishes and freeze one for later if you like. Serve with a green salad with bacon bits and lemony dressing.

Wine Suggestion: This is worth splashing out on a good Chardonnay that has both body and a nutty, mineral freshness. An old favourite of ours would be something from the Jura, but given their scarcity opened an Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc “les Sétilles”, a cuvée from Puligny and Meursault vineyards that while inexpensive has some serious chops behind it. All citrussy, deep and bubbling with energy.

Smoked haddock, cheese & leek pie – serves 6 to 8

  • 600ml full fat milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp white peppercorns
  • 650g smoked haddock fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 75g butter, plus extra for frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 large leeks, halved and finely sliced
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp English mustard powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 175g strong cheddar, diced

FOR THE FILO CRUST:

  • 140g butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 400g filo pastry, preferably Theo’s brand
  • large bunch of chives, finely snipped

Bring the milk, bay and peppercorns to a simmer in a large shallow pan. Add the smoked haddock fillets, then remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave for 30 minutes. Remove the haddock from the liquid onto a plate, then strain the milk into a jug.

Remove any skin and bones from the haddock and break into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Heat the oil and a small knob of butter in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 15 minutes, or until softened. Add the leeks and cook for 2 minutes, then set aside to cool (drain in a colander if there is liquid).

In the same pan, melt the 75g butter, then stir in the flour to make a paste. Cook for a few minutes, then slowly add the warm milk, stirring constantly, until you have a smooth sauce. Stir in the mustard powder, lemon juice and some seasoning, then pass through a fine sieve.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the leeks into the base of a 1.6 litre pie dish and top with a third of the sauce. Next add the smoked haddock and another third of the sauce. Finally, scatter over the cheese and top with the remaining sauce, making sure the filling is completely covered.

For the filo pastry, melt the butter in a small pan, then add the galric and heat gently for about 5 minutes. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a wooden board and brush all over with the garlic butter, then sprinkle with chives and some black pepper. Put another sheet of pastry on top, at a slight angle and repeat. Continue until all of the pastry is used, you will end up with a sort of pastry circle. Lay this over the pie dish, trim the edges with scissors or a sharp knife, but still leave an overhang. Brush with a final layer of butter, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and bake for 40 minutes or until crisp.

(Original recipe by Tom Kerridge in BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2015.)

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Tinned fish seems to be having a moment, which is fine with us because we love it. We especially like Shines of Killybegs who do great sardines in sunflower oil, amongst lots of other delicious fishy things.

Wine Suggestion: An Italian white with a nutty twist at the end like Sartarelli’s Tralivio, a verdicchio from low yielding old vines that epitomises the very best of this grape and a perfect match to the umami saltiness of this dish.

Spaghetti with chilli, sardines & oregano – serves 2

  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 75g rough breadcrumbs, made from stale bread
  • 200g dried spaghetti
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 x 120g tin good-quality sardines in oil, drained
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 50g rocket

Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add a good glug of olive oil and when it’s hot add the breadcrumbs and half the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until golden and toasted, then season with salt and pepper and toss well. Drain on kitchen paper if needed.

Cook the pasta according the pack timings in lots of very salty water.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little oil, then add the remaining garlic and the chilli for 1-2 minutes. Flake the sardines into small pieces, then toss in the pan with the garlic and chilli.

Lift the cooked pasta out of the cooking water with tongs and add straight to the frying pan with the sardines. Toss to mix well, then add the oregano and season to taste.

Stir in the rocket and divide between two plates. Garnish with the garlicky breadcrumbs.

(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course,

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Do buy good quality tuna for this, packed in olive oil. We like Ortiz which is widely available and excellent quality. We’d also highly recommend Shines’ Wild Irish Tuna, one of our local companies based in Donegal. We have tried loads of their tinned and jarred fish and they are all top quality.

Wine Suggestion: We chose a lighter red to match this dish from the Marches in central Italy. The Umani Ronchi San Lorenzo Rosso Conero has style and panache and the medium body, morello cherry flavours, soft spices and silky tannins are a charming match.

Baked orzo puttanesca – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 30g preserved lemon, discard the flesh and thinly slice the skin into strips
  • 70g pitted Kalamata olives, roughly torn in half
  • 2 tins of good tuna in olive oil, drained and roughly flaked
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250g dried orzo
  • 1-2 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into half ½ cm thick rounds
  • 40g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 5g basil leaves, roughly torn

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan that has a lid. Add the onion and cook gently for about 8 minutes or until softed and browned. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies and cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Stir in the capers, half the preserved lemon strips, 45g of the olives, the tuna, tomato purée, tinned tomatoes, orzo, 450ml of water, 1 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.

Turn the oven up to 230C fan.

Remove the lid from the dish, top with the tomato slices and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle over the remaining olives, preserved lemon, basil and 1 tbsp of oil before serving.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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A lovely fiskesuppe with delicate flavours and delicious chunks of seafood. You can use whatever mix of fish and shellfish you like, clams would be nice. Serve with lots of steamed potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: Fish, cream, brandy … demands a richer white with a touch of oak and Quinta Soalheiro’s Alvarinho Reserva fitted the bill. Textured and buttery, but at the same time bone dry and vibrantly fresh and full of citrus fruit and salty crisp peaches. A wine so fresh and pure, and yet round and embracing.

Norwegian Fish Chowder – serves 4

  • 100g cooked shell-on prawns
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, plus a handful of parsley leaves, chopped, to serve
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 2 carrots, roughly diced
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly diced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 50ml brandy
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g skinless salmon fillet, cubed into 2cm pieces
  • 150g haddock fillet, cubed into 2cm pieces
  • 20 mussels, cleaned
  • steamed potatoes (to serve)

Shell the prawns and put the shells in a large saucepan with the fish stock, bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns, carrot, celery and leek. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Pour in the wine and brandy and boil for another 5 minutes, then strain into a clean pan.

Add the double cream and bring back to a simmer. Add the salmon, haddock and mussels and cook for 3-4 minutes, adding the cooked prawns for just a minute to warm through at the end. Season and scatter over the chopped parsley. Serve in warm bowls and add potatoes.

(Original recipe by Signe Johansen in Olive Magazine, January 2014.)

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This was made at the end of a weekend where all the previous recipes we’d tried hadn’t quite come together, or worked as we’d hoped, so our expectations were low. What a relief: we were blown away with the flavour, and our enthusiasm returned with a vengeance! The recipe is by Jamie Oliver but inspired by the Japanese restaurant Nobu in London who are known for their black cod miso and for good reason. The recipe is simple but you need to start 24 hours in advance.

Wine Suggestion: This is a dish jam packed full of savoury umami flavours and needs a similarly umami loaded wine to match. We started with a small glass of Hidalgo La Gitana’s Pasada Pastrana, a single vineyard aged manzanilla which was excellent. Then we segued into savoury Grenache territory with Roc des Ange’s Segna da Cor from the wilds of Roussillon; vibrantly textured and almost sucking the stones it was grown on. What a way to end the weekend.

Black Cod Miso- serves 4

  • 4 bulbs of pak choi, quartered
  • 1 cucumber, peeled halved and deseeded, then sliced into long 1cm thick strips
  • juice of 1 lime
  • soy sauce
  • cooked sticky rice (to serve)

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 2 stems of lemongrass
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 200ml of sake or white wine
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 300g miso paste
  • 4 x 200g cod steaks, skin-on and pin-boned

Start the marinade the day before. Remove the outer layer from the lemongrass stems and discard. Bash the lemongrass with the back of a knife, then finely chop. Put the lemongrass into a pestle and mortar with the chilli, ginger and a pinch of salt, then bash to a paste.

Put the paste into a saucepan with the sake and honey, then bring to the boil. While the mixture is warming, gradually add the miso paste, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Simmer until the mixture is lightly golden, then remove from the heat and pour onto a flat tray so it cools quickly.

When the marinade is cool, put the fish into a container and pour over three-quarters of the marinade. Move the fish fillets around to ensure they are completely coated, then cover and put into the fridge. Put the rest of the marinade into a container and keep in the fridge until needed.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill until very hot. Put the pieces of fish onto an oiled baking tray, skin-side up and cook until slightly caramelized and golden. This will take 6-8 minutes depending on how thick your pieces of fish are.

Meanwhile, lay the pak choi into a steamer over a pan of boiling water. Add the strips of cucumber and steam until the pak choi is tender.

Stir the lime juice into the container of leftover marinade to loosen it slightly. Serve the fish with the greens and drizzle over a little soy sauce. Serve with cooked rice and the miso dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver, Penguin Books, 2006.)

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This recipe is from Rachel Roddy’s fabulous book, An A-Z of pasta. She introduces this one by asking if you are familar with vitello tonnato, which happens to be one of Jules’ favourite dishes, so we had to try it. Rachel uses the lumache pasta shape, which means snails and they are a bit like snail shells. We found these hard to find so we substituted conchiglie to great effect.

Wine Suggestion: look for a crisp, fresh white with a good body/structure like a dry, unoaked chardonnay from a cooler region. For us it was Céline & Frèdéric Gueguen’s Bourgogne Côtes Salines. Grown in vineyards just outside the Chablis appellation this is vibrantly fresh apple and melon flavoured with a savoury mid-palate that just melts into the tuna sauce.

Conchiglie with tuna, egg & capers – serves 4

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, trim to the palest bit, pull of any strings, and finely chop
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 200g tin of tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tbsp tiny capers, rinsed
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced
  • 400g conchiglie (or lumache)
  • a sprig of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a generous amount of salt.

Warm the olive oil in a frying pan, then add the onion and celery with a pinch of salt and cook on a medium-low heat, until soft. You need to be patient as this will take a while.

Add the tuna and capers, stir for a minute, then add the wine and allow to bubble for 10 minutes, adding 3 tbsp of lemon juice and some zest for the last few minutes. You are looking for a saucy consistency so cook for a bit longer if it is still watery.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet timings, then drain and tip into a warm bowl, pour the sauce over the top, add the parsley, toss together, then quickly add the egg yolks and toss again.

(Original recipe from An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, Penguin: Fig Tree, 2021.)

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A simple idea to serve with drinks, something sparkly perhaps.

Wine Suggestion: a great match for any sparkling wine made with the Champenois method, double fermented in the bottle, and with some autolytic, yeasty, bready aromas that help give the structure for the food. Tonight a 100% Pinot Meunier from Laurent Lequart in the Vallée de la Marne, Champagne.

Smoked salmon, ricotta & dill wraps – makes 16

  • 300g soft ricotta
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (use a zester if you have one rather than a grater)
  • a handful of dill, chopped, plus a bit extra to serve
  • 16 thin slices of smoked salmon

Mix the ricotta, lemon zest and dill together in a bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Put 1 tsp of the ricotta mixture onto each slice of salmon and roll up, then skewer with a cocktail stick.

Arrange on a plaste and garnish with extra dill. Squeeze over some fresh lemon juice just before serving.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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We’ve made plenty of fish and tahini dishes before but particularly liked this one with the additions of zingy za’atar and fresh spinch.

Wine suggestion: this works brilliantly with a juicy, crisp Verdejo, especially those that come from Rueda in Spain. Crunchy, juicy apples, lemons and grapefuit. In our glass was Dominio la Granadilla which demonstrates a passionate family all working together and speaking of the place they grew up.

Za’atar salmon and tahini – serves 4

  • 4 salmon fillets (about 600g in total), skin on
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus and extra ½ tsp for sprinkling at the end
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g baby spinach
  • 90g tahini
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves

Heat the oven to 220C Fan.

Pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper and season.

Mix the za’atar and sumac together in a small bowl, then sprinkle this over the top of the salmon to form a crust.

Put a large ovenproof sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of the oil. When the pan is hot, add the spinach with a little seasoning and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just wilted.

Set the salmon fillets on top of the spinach, skin side down, then drizzle the top of the fish with 2 tbsp of oil. Bake in the hot oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whick the tahini, garlic, 2½ tbsp of lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and 100ml of water together until smooth. It will be quite runny.

Pour the tahini around the salmon (but not over the fish) and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through and the sauce is bubbling. Spoon over the rest of the lemon juice and oil and top with the coriander and extra sprinkle of sumac.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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This has to be the perfect post-Christmas dish; great for using up the cheeseboard leftovers and all that smoked fish you though you would eat. Our daughter was so enamoured of this that she has been demanding it ever since. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Find yourself a Chardonnay made on the lees, but not necessarily in oak. This will preserve a freshness and mid-weight while giving a yeasty, buttery character. A good producer from the Maçon, like Manciat-Poncet, would be ideal and that’s what we had.

Smoked Salmon Soufflé – Serves 3

  • 20g freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra 1 tbsp
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 100g smoked salmon or smoked trout, finely chopped
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g butter
  • 55g plain flour
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon

You will need a soufflé dish or baking dish, approximately 18-20cm.

Lightly grease the inside of the dish with butter, then dust with the 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Put the milk into a small saucepan with the onion and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to sit for a few minutes. Remove the onion and bay leaf and discard.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Then pour in the warm milk and stir vigorously until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.

Lightly beat the the egg yolks with a fork, then stir them into the sauce with 20g of Parmesan, the chopped fish and the tarragon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff with a whisk in a large bowl. Fold the egg whites into the sauce, then spoon into the buttered dish. Smooth the top if needed, then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan. Put the dish onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. The crust should be pale brown and the centre slightly soft, it should still have a little wobble when you give it a shake.

Serve immediately with dressed salad leaves and crusty bread. You need to eat it all up as this dish will not keep.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, Tuesday, 28 December 2021.)

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A simple fish dish for weeknights, and something a bit lighter before the feasting starts.

Wine Suggestion: A delight with a light, playful Riesling like Korrell’s Slice of Paradise from the Nahe in Germany, or Pikes Traditionale from the Clare Valley.

Grilled trout with Asian dressing – serves 2

  • 300g Charlotte potatoes
  • 2 skinless trout fillets
  • Thai basil or regular basil, to serve

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, remove the woody outer leaves and finely chop
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in salty water until tender, then drain and slice thickly, lengthways.

Season the trout, then grill for 3-4 minutes.

Arrange the potatoes onto plates and top with the trout. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and spoon over the top, then garnish with basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, November 2014.)

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A simple fish supper for two, but with plenty of flavour; both delicate, fresh and rich.

Wine Suggestion: The higher acidity, fuller body and citrus-minerality of a good Albariño make this a match worth trying. Tonight Quinta Soalheiro’s Primeiras Vinhas Alvarinho from their oldest vineyards and partially made in oak really makes a statement. A velvety texture, deep and soulful, long, serious and elegant in the same breath. This wine makes a case for this grape to be considered “noble” and makes a good partner to the fattier fish and vibrant asian acidity, umami flavours.

Grilled trout with Asian Dressing – serves 2

  • 300g Charlotte potatoes
  • 2 skinless fillets of trout
  • a few basil leaves, Thai would be nice but regular will do

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, remove the woody outer leaves and finely chop
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Boil the potatoes in salty water until tender, then drain and slice thickly, lengthways.

Season the trout, then grill for a few minutes.

Arrange the potatoes over two plates, then top each with a piece of fish.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and sppon over the fish, and finish with a few basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe, Olive Magazine, November 2014.)

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A perfect weekday fish dish. Serve with some baby roast potatoes and steamed greens.

Wine Suggestion: The orange and dill hint at southern France, so we chose Domaine Gayda’s Freestyle Blanc, a blend of Grenache Blanc and Gris, Maccabeu, Marsanne, and Roussanne. Layered and fresh like the food, this also had hints of orange citrus fruits and herbal twists on the finish. Both complementary and adding subtle contrasts. Made us wish we were sitting in the sunshine at a French bistro enjoying the food and wine there!

Cod with Orange & Dill – serves 2

  • 2 large pieces of cod fillet
  • a large handful of breadcrumbs, sourdough works well
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • a large handful of dill
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche, to serve

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Combine the breadcrumbs with the orange zest, dill, garlic and seasoning.

Season the cod, place on a baking tray and press the crumbs on top.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with the crème fraîche.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Who doesn’t love tuna pasta bake. We’re a bit sceptical about one pot cooking … what’s the big deal with using more pots? Anyhow, the one pot works in this case as the pasta absorbs all the flavours. This is also another dish that breaks the nonsense “no cheese with fish” rule.

This is easily halved and can be whipped up from store cupboard ingredients mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: A light, youthful sangiovese with plenty of fruit like Rocca delle Macie’s Chianti Vernaiolo.

Tuna Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tins of tuna, drained
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 25g capers
  • 25g black olives, halved
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 400g short pasta, we used fusilli
  • 75g Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, we have a shallow one which works well for this, then add the onion and cook until very soft. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the tuna, tomatoes, capers, olives, lemon zest, thyme and chilli flakes. Stir until well combined, then add the pasta. Season with salt and pepper, then stir until the pasta is completely coated in sauce.

Pour in enough water to just cover the pasta and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed most of the water. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes, start checking at 10. You might need to stir now and again to stop it sticking to the bottom.

Heat the grill to high.

Sprinkle the dish with the cheese, then place under the grill until browned and bubbling.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2019.)

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This is like a fish pie … but is so much easier to make and perfect for a Friday night after a long week. It’s also usefully gluten-free, unlike many other fish pies. Serve with a big bowl of peas.

Wine Suggestion: A new find from Cabardes in France, Domaine Ventenac’s “les Dissidents” Cassandre. A joyfully fresh Vermentino, a grape we think is the next big thing from southern France.

Haddock Bake – serves 6

  • 350g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 500g baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled and cut into quarters (put them into boiling water and time for 8 minutes)
  • 500g skinless smoked haddock, cut into large chunks
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.

Put the potatoes into cold salted water, cover and bring to the boil, then cook for about 10 minutes or until just cooked. Drain well and leave to steam dry in the pot

Heat a large fring pan, add the spinach, and cook until just wilted, then drain in a colander. You will need to do this in batches. Squeeze the spinach against the colander to get rid of as much water as possible. When cool enough to handle you can squeeze it again with your hands.

Heat the oil in the same frying pan, add the mushrooms, and fry for a few minutes until just cooked.

Grease a 2 litre shallow oven-proof dish with a little butter.

Scatter the potatoes, spinach and mushrooms over the base of the dish, then spread the haddock and eggs over the top and season.

Mix the cream and mustard together with some seasoning, then pour over the dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top.

Serve with lots of peas.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK, 2019.)

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