When I got home from work on Saturday night I had a quick shower and then a bit of a mad fishy fest in the kitchen. That day I had purchased two beautiful sea bream, a cooked Orkney brown crab and half a dozen half shell scallops all at half price from offers at Tesco. When you work on the meat and fish counters it all gets a bit tempting.
First of all I had a go at dressing a crab with guidance from an article in the back of the BBC Good Food magazine. My attempt was a bit messier than the pretty pictures in the magazine but I did manage to get a decent amount of white and brown crab meat from the crab. As I like to document my cooking with photos I enjoyed taking these crab pictures but had to keep washing my hands between each stage so as not to get my camera smelling like a cooked crustacean. I used some tweezers to get the white meat from the legs and found pulling the body away from the shell surprisingly difficult. I used a rolling pin to break the claws. Overall it was a fun experience and may well make myself some delicious crab meat sandwiches today with cress and on olive bread. I can almost hear the proverbial sea gulls crying out and hovering above me as I type. The BBC Good Food website suggests maybe crab linguine with chilli and parsley, best ever crab sandwiches or crab mayonnaise with Melba toast and herb salad.
Next came the preparation for the fresh sea bream. I trimmed off the fins with a pair of strong kitchen scissors, removed the scales by brushing the fish under a cold tap with the back of a boning knife and then gutted the fish and pulled out the ruby red gills. I prepared two of these and then washed them clean under a cold tap. I was undecided whether to put the fish guts and gills pictures on here but then I thought that is actually what I had to do so why hide it. If you are shy of this kind of thing I am sure your friendly fishmonger will do the cleaning for you.
The fish only cost me £4 for the two on a Tesco offer and I had a tray of roasting vegetables in the fridge that I found for 50p in a sale at the local Co-op store so I decided to be thrifty and use these up adding a tin of chopped tomatoes, basil leaves and some lemon juice and lemon rind to the dish. Dressed with a small amount of sunflower oil the fish went into the oven (gas mark 7) for three quarters of an hour. I also boiled a few new potatoes and added a fresh mint from the garden.
The picture above is the finished meal. Not the best photo as the fish is buried but it tasted fantastic and there was enough to share with my neighbour Mick. Whilst the sea bream was cooking I made a simple starter by pan frying some scallops and rounds of black pudding in butter. The whole economic meal cost me about ten pounds. I always try to take advantage of any half price food offers that come my way and feel satisfied that I have made something creative that tastes so good. Alas I do not have a picture of the cooked scallops and black pudding with red currant jelly as I had wolfed them down before I thought to take a photo! Note to my friend Jean: I have run out now of your wonderful red currant jelly. Next time we meet I will buy some from you.
"Fish? Did he say fish?"