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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Let's Get Fishy! Sprats, rainbow trout and swordfish steak.

As the lavender in my garden seems to get more intensely purple with each downpour of rain followed by the most intense sunny spells so my cooking turns towards lighter summery foods and fish in particular. Part of my job is working on a supermarket fish counter so why not. I like to pass on my successes to my customers as well.

Over the last few days I have cooked and enjoyed tiny salty fried sprats, a rainbow trout cooked in peppery rounds of butter and today a slice of creamy swordfish steak simply cooked with minted new potatoes and frozen peas. The mint came fresh from garden but tends to go yellow quite quickly so I catch it whilst young and fresh.

The sprats were tiny and my first time advice would be: buy them new caught when they are stiff fresh. To prepare you just need a small sharp knife to remove the heads and preferably a sharp pair of scissors to cut into the belly and your fingers only to put out the guts. The usage of the scissors helps to create a clean cut and doesn't tear the fish skin as much as a knife might. They take about ten minutes to fry. I had mine with patatas bravas and some spare lettuce leaves and black olives. I was so hungry by the time the patatas bravas were finally done that I practically threw the lot into and bowl and gorged myself. I have an abundance of basil leaves at the moment. The plant on the windowsill just keeps on growing so a few fragrant leaves seem to grace practically every meal I have right now!

Fried sprats and patatas bravas and salad

Yesterday I cooked a whole rainbow trout on offer at Tesco for only £2 each. I cleaned it at work. Well why make a mess in your own kitchen when you can take out the guts and gills cleanly at work? See, dear reader, you don't get this kind of choice working in an office!

 "I say, could you just fax over this document and de-scale and gut a sea bass for me while you are at it please George?" I think not.

This was cooked in free rings of butter and I made up a kind of stuffing (which ended up in a separate bowl) from a mix of finely chopped garlic bulbs, crushed pistachio nuts, Chopped and de-seeded on the vine tomatoes, a bag of steamed spinach with a raw egg and bread crumbs to bind it. I just kind of  made it up as I went along with things I happened to have in the house at the time.

The finished (and if I may say so) most delicious rainbow trout and spinach and pistachio stuffing I have ever cooked! One average sized trout is just enough for one person and the cooked flesh pulls easily from the bone and has a slightly earthy taste. The butter helps to keep it moist. Cooking time is approx three quarters of an hour on a medium heat 160 electric of gas mark 6.


Finally, this afternoon I made my friend Nicola drool over some internet chat as I told her I was cooking a swordfish steak and new potatoes and peas. I have never had swordfish before and although on the pricey side it certainly was scrummy with a creamy mouth feel. It worked well with the simple additions of the potatoes and peas and fresh with leaves from the cottage garden.

Peas upon the fish cookers for they shall inherit the washing up.

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