It’s been a long time since I last posted about food. There is always too much to talk about and not enough time for me to blog and do it all with the family and life in general.
WHITE FISH: fresh or frozen?
Fish has taken a great place in our food at home. I am not a big meat person and certainly, I have gone off red meat in the last few years. I can still eat it but it is not really a pleasure anymore for me. L’Homme who used to eat a lot more meat has happily transitioned to eating fish so that’s a bonus and the kids enjoy it too.
I wanted to share with you today a few ideas on how to cook white fish.
First of all, I would like to say that 90% of the time I use frozen cod fillets. Why?Because it’s just so convenient to get a fillet or 2 when needed instead of struggling to keep up with the ‘best before’ date. It does not mean I don’t appreciate fresh fish but unless I am in Brittany or somewhere by the sea, I stick with my frozen fish.
Did you know that you don’t have to thaw frozen fish? It’s true, you don’t! You can skip the thawing process altogether and cook frozen fish straight from the freezer.
You’ll have to add a few minutes to the cook time in your recipe to account for the lack of thawing, but you can poach, steam, bake, broil or grill fish straight from the freezer!
These are the ones I buy from my Asda, the supermarket I tend to do most my grocery shop these days: asda-cook-from-frozen-cod-fillets
Here are the best instructions I found online from the Kitchn website
- Remove the fish from the freezer: Remove the fish from the freezer and from its packaging.
- Rinse off frost or ice: Rinse the fish under cold water to remove any frost or ice that’s accumulated.
- Dry the fish: Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.
- Prepare the fish: Brush the fish with a thin layer of olive oil, or your favourite marinade, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and get cooking.
I have found myself sometimes struggle with what to do with my white fish and after a bit of research wanted to share a few simple recipes that will hopefully get you a bit inspired.
1. The very simple way
Simple does not mean blend but less ingredients. Perfect when you need a quick fix or when you don’t have much supply in your fridge
- Cod or Tilapia filet, frozen
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temp
- lemon wedge
- sea salt
- garlic powder
- dried parsley
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Grease a baking sheet (use a pan with raised edges).
- Place your frozen fish on the cookie sheet.
- Spread the softened butter all over the top of the fish.
- Squeeze the lemon juice from the lemon wedge onto the fish.
- Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley liberally onto the fish.
- Bake 25 – 35 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish), until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the centre is no longer translucent.
2. The Mediterranean way
I looked at this recipe and thought it looked simple and flavoursome at the same time:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g frozen chopped onion
- 1 tbsp frozen chopped garlic
- 230g tin Italian chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 200g frozen mixed peppers
- 400g pack frozen responsibly sourced skinless and boneless cod fillets
- 50g pitted black olives
- 1 tbsp frozen chopped parsley
- 800g pack frozen microwaveable white rice
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée, along with 400ml cold water, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes until thickened.
- Add the peppers and cod, nudging the fish into the sauce a little, then bring back to a gentle boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Scatter with the olives and parsley, and simmer for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the rice to pack instructions.
- Serve the fish with the rice.
3. The Exotic version
Coconut milk and ginger. This is my go-to recipe when I know I need to have a meal for the family ready in no time. The kids love it too so I often make it for a Saturday lunch after our outings.
Ingredients: frozen (or fresh) ginger and a can of coconut milk.
Instructions: mix the ginger with the coconut milk place it all in an oven proof dish with your (frozen) fillet and…off it goes into the oven for 30min! So delicious and best served with rice and steamed green beans!
4. The French way
Fish is cooked them in kitchen foil parcel and serve it with a rich Hollandaise sauce
Hollandaise is one of the five sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire. These types of sauces are considered “mayonnaise sauces” as they are, like mayonnaise, based on the emulsion of an oil in egg yolk. Hollandaise sauce is well known as a key ingredient of Eggs Benedict and is often paired with vegetables such as steamed asparagus.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a small saucepan, melt four tablespoons of butter. Do not let it brown.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat together four egg yolks, two tablespoons fresh lemon juice, freshly ground pepper, and salt.
- To combine the eggs with the melted butter requires a little technique we like to call tempering. If you simply add the eggs directly to the warm butter, the eggs will curdle, which is not good. Unless you enjoy unattractively lumpy and congealed sauces. Which you shouldn’t.
- To temper the eggs, add a teaspoon of the melted butter to the egg mixture and beat with a whisk. Gradually introducing the hot liquid to the cold keeps the mixture from curdling.
- Keep adding the melted butter to the egg mixture slowly until you’ve added about five tablespoons. Be sure to keep whisking the entire time. Really the entire time. Do not stop.
- Add the egg mixture to the saucepan.
- Turn the heat to low and very quickly cook the mixture — no more than 15 seconds, still whisking constantly.
- If your hollandaise sauce doesn’t seem thick enough, you can return to the heat and continue cooking it in five-second increments — if the heat gets too high you run the risk of the eggs ending up scrambled. Keep whisking the Hollandaise sauce the entire time, until it reaches the consistency you desire.
- If the sauce gets too thick, you can thin with a few drops of warm water before serving.
5. The spicy chorizo version
1 tbsp olive oil
small rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped
25g chorizo or other spicy sausage, chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
700g/1lb 9oz bottle passata
410g can cannellini bean in water, drained
200g/7oz shredded green cabbage
4 skinless chunky fillets haddock or cod
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then soften the onion for 5 mins. Add the rosemary, chorizo and garlic, then fry for 2 mins more until the chorizo is starting to crisp. Tip in the passata, beans, cabbage and sugar, season, then simmer for 5 mins.
- Add the fish to the pan, leaving the tops of the fillets peeking out of the sauce, then cover with a lid and leave to cook for 3-5 mins or until the flesh flakes easily. Delicious served with crusty bread.
The best part? You can totally use frozen cod in this baked cod recipe! Simply adjust the baking time. So if you have frozen cod fillets in your freezer, don’t bother defrosting them prior to baking – you can absolutely bake cod fillets frozen and it’s actually easier not to over-dry them when you bake them from frozen. Simply add about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
Happy cooking (and eating) all!