Category Archives: Feisty Fish

Cockles with Pancetta and Thyme

Cockles with Pancetta and Thyme
Cockles with Pancetta and Thyme
Image: http://www.greatbritishchefs.com

Living by the sea allows me to enjoy the freshest of bounty from it, and shellfish, especially is at it’s best when it bought fresh from a fish shop owned by a fisherman. The Cockles recipe is from Shaun Rankin and was devised for the Great British Menu. Although it’s bursting with a the flavours of the Mediterranian it harks back to my Welsh roots as I had the best cockles on the Gower Coast.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 shallot, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 90g of cubed pancetta
  • 900g of cockles
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 300ml of white wine
  • 6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Freashly ground black pepper

Method

Thoroughly rinse the cockles before cooking, discarding any that are broken.

  1. Scrub well to remove any sand, mud or grit. If the shells are open, give them a light tap; if they do not close, discard
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and sauté the shallot and garlic over a medium heat for about 2 minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent but not coloured
  3. Add the pancetta cubes and fry for a further minute.
  4. Now add the cockles, thyme and finally the white wine. 
  5. Cover with a lid and steam w for 4 minutes or until the shells have fully opened
  6. Spoon the cockles into a serving dish and sprinkle the basil on the top. 
  7. Pour over the cooking juices and finish with black pepper.

Serve with some toasted focaccia (or a Gluten Free alternative)

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients listed are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Moules marinière

Moules MariniereImage: bbc.co.uk/food
Moules Mariniere
Image: bbc.co.uk/food

Mussels are in season in any month that has an ‘R’ is the old British adage, and this classic French\Belgian recipe is a restaurant classic which is deceptively easy to replicate at home. Although I love the mussels, my favourite part of the dish is the creamy white wine sauce, mopped up with fresh crusty bread, like a home-made Irish Soda Bread.

Ingredients

  • 1.75kg fresh live mussels
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 15g butter
  • a bouquet garni of tied parsley stalks, thyme stems and bay leaves
  • 100ml dry white wine or cider
  • 120ml double cream
  • handful of parsley leaves, coarsley chopped

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Method

  1. Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water, discarding any open ones that won’t close when lightly squeezed ot tapped.
  2. Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with the back of a large knife, giving the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell and beard.
  3. Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels (it should only be half full so that thay have enough space to steam).
  4. Add the mussels and wine or cider, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Give the pan a good shake every now and then.
  6. Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.
  7. Spoon into four large warmed bowls (discarding any closed mussels)

Serve with lots of crusty bread (chose your favourtie Gluten free bread for a gluten free version), to mop up the creamy sauce.

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Hugh’s Mackerel with Oatmeal and Rhubarb

Mackerel Oatmeal Rhubarb
Mackerel Oatmeal Rhubarb

I saw this recipe on the television a couple of weeks ago while flicking through the less frequented satellite channels, Hugh’s mackerel, oatmeal, rhubarb, taken from Hugh’s Three Good Things on More4. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has recognised a simple pattern that underpins so many well-loved dishes – that they are little more or less than three good things on a plate.

This trifecta of ingredients fits that bill to perfection and tastes as good as it looks

Serves 2 – Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-thick rhubarb stems or 3–4 smaller, thinner ones (about 150g)
  • 20g caster sugar
  • A pinch of thyme leaves
  • 4 mackerel fillets from 2 medium fish (I get my fishmonger to fillet and scale the fish for me)
  • 100g medium oatmeal (use Gluten Free Oatmeal, like Hale and Hearty’s Pure Gluten Free Porridge Oats, for the Gluten Free version)
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Trim the rhubarb, then cut into 2–3cm pieces.
  2. Place in a pan with the sugar, thyme leaves, if using, and 1 tablespoon water.
  3. Partially cover with a lid and cook gently, at a bare simmer, for 5–7 minutes. Don’t stir the rhubarb or it will lose its shape.
  4. When it is tender, remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Season the mackerel fillets all over with salt and pepper.
  6. Spread out the oatmeal on a plate, I sieved the oatmeal first and used the larger grains that were left in the sieve
  7. Coat the fillets on both sides, pressing the oatmeal on well and gently shaking off any loose bits. (For a decent coating, the mackerel should be ‘tacky’. If the oatmeal doesn’t stick, brush the fillets with just a little milk, and try again.)
  8. Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  9. Add the mackerel fillets, flesh side down, and cook for 3 minutes, until the oatmeal coating is crispy and golden brown.
  10. Then carefully flip them over and cook for 2 minutes on the skin side, until cooked through.
  11. Transfer the fish to warm plates and accompany with a spoonful of the warm rhubarb compote.

Serve with bread (the Cheese Soda Bread works well here) and a fresh green salad.