Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fishy Business

Some many years ago, because we were so hard up, I used to buy the fresh fish trimmings that the fishmonger sold for making stock and for cat food. I emphasise the 'fresh'. It seemed to make sense to me as if I wished to cook a dish that needed an assortment of fish bits, then why not buy them ready chopped? Maybe these can still be bought. Worth seeking out.

Here are some recipes which can be used with just white fish or an assortment.
The Captain's Chowder
12 oz (350g) white fish or fish pieces,
15 fl oz fish stock* (use skin, heads and bones to make this)
4 oz (110g) potatoes, peeled and diced
diced bacon bits
1 onion, diced
t tblsp. plain flour
5 fl oz milk
pepper, and chopped herbs (parsley, chives)
Poach the fish in the stock until it flakes. Remove the fish and cook the potatoes in the stock. Meanwhile fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the onion to the bacon fat and fry until softened.. Stir in the flour, stock and milk stirring all the time. Bring to the simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and fish. Season to taste and serve garnished with the herbs and bacon.
* Fish Stock: Just pop the bones, skin and trimmings of fish into a pan with a small bunch of fresh herbs (bay, thyme and parsley). Add some sliced onion, the juice of a lemon and the stalks of a few mushrooms. Cover with a mixture of water and white wine (save the end of a bottle of wine and freeze for a stock such as this). Simmer for about half an hour then strain, use, cool or freeze.

Grandma's Jewels (aka Fish and Red Bean Salad)
Amounts are approximate.
1 lb (1/2 kilo) cooked white fish, flaked
same weight of cooked red beans and sweetcorn
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
Mix everything together and serve cold with a lemony dressing, salad and hot crusty bread.

Lemony Dressing
3 tblsp olive oil
1 tbslp lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
Put the ingredients into a jam jar, screw on the lid and give a good shake.

Sardine Pate:
1 can sardines in oil
1 hardboiled egg
juice of half a lemon, ground black pepper
Drain and keep the oil from the sardines. Mash the fish and .egg together until it is a smooth paste. Mix together 1 tblsp of sardine oil, the lemon juice and pepper, stir into the pate until well blended. Put into a dish and chill for a few hours. Serve with hot buttered toast.
Tip: For party people this can be served in hollowed out lemon shellls. Keep some empty shells in the freezer for this purpose.