Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Fish Stew to Warm your Cockles (no cockles involved).

Note the drill bits top right, building work is FUN!

This is quick, easy and very welcome when you've just got in from work having frozen your balls off having waited for your dog to sniff Every. Single. Lampost. on the way home. Oh just me then. Don't feel you have to stick to the fish I used, if I wasn't cooking for the Husband, I would have thrown in clams, squid, maybe a scallop or two, but he's a bit boring, I mean shy, when it comes to seafood, so I used some lovely big prawns and some pollack that I dug out of the freezer. If you don't have fennel lying around you can just use an onion, but I do think the gentle aniseed flavour makes it. Also this is a one pot wonder. Yessss.

That'll warm you right up.
Feeds two cold hungry ones. Chop a fennel bulb quite finely, leaving out any really tough outer bits and saving any soft fronds for later. Also, finely chop a carrot and slice two cloves of garlic. Warm some olive oil in a medium sized saucepan and gently fry/sweat the carrot and fennel, once it has softened (don't brown it) add the garlic and continue stirring for a minute or two. Pour in a large glass of white wine and let it bubble away for a minute. Now add a tin of chopped tomatoes (fresh would be nice, but can you really be arsed to skin them and chop them all up?). Fill the tin with water and add that to the pan along with two big handfuls of length-ways sliced little potatoes (like Anya or baby Charlotte and for God's sake don't worry about skin) and some chilli flakes, if you like a little heat. Bring to the boil and simmer until reduced to a less watery, more stew like consistency, about 10 minutes. Potatoes should be cooked but not mushy and carrots should have lost their bite but again, not mushy. Season it and check how it tastes. Now for the fish, I laid the pollack fillet over the stew with the prawns and pushed it down a bit so it bubbled in the hot stew and cooked. As soon as the prawns are pink and the fish breaks up (stir gently so it doesn't completely flake up) it's ready. Ladle into two bowls, and top with a big blob of creme fraiche, some chopped flat leaf parsley, the grated zest of a lemon and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

This is really nice with some toasted sourdough rubbed with garlic, but since we had just been to the pub and had a whole Camembert 'starter' we went with the lighter option. Great either way.

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