Pickled herring, sour cream, apple and onion salad

This is a really super recipe from a neighbor in London many years ago. We used to adore it, and I only found it again recently.
Make sure you serve it very chilled.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup full fat plain yoghurt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, (Granny Smith) cut into thin slices
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
2 x 8 oz jars pickled herring, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, lemon juice, sugar, sliced onions that have been separated into rings, apple and dill.
Alternate the herring and sour cream mixture in layers in a dish.
Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours at least.
Serve very chilled.

Asian fish parcels with coconut rice

This dish is so easy to make and a delight to the senses. The coconut rice really makes a difference and gives an exotic richness to the rice. It’s well worth growing your own Kaffir lime tree either in a pot or in the garden. They are very easy to grow and you have instant Indonesian/Thai flavors at your doorstep.

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Serves 4

4 white fish fillets, 5 to 6 oz each, (haddock, halibut, sea bass or cod)
4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 red chili, chopped
1 good sized shallot, thinly sliced
1 lime, sliced, plus extra lime halves to serve
2 lemongrass stalks, 1 roughly chopped and 1 bashed
10 1/2oz basmati rice
2 fresh or dried Kaffir lime leaves
2 fl oz  coconut milk or even better, coconut cream
salt to taste
dry roasted peanuts, chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Cut 4 pieces of nonstick baking parchment into a 12 inch square
Put a fish fillet in the center of each piece and arrange some of the cilantro, chili, shallot, lime and chopped lemongrass evenly over each.
Wrap them up into neat parcels, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, max.
Put the rice in a lidded pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes or until the rice is soft.
When the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed, stir in the coconut milk.
Serve with the rice alongside the fish parcels with some extra lime halves. If you serve with the parcels open, then sprinkle the fish with some finely chopped dry roasted peanuts.

Prosciutto wrapped sea bass with roasted Autumn vegetables

I have been thinking about this recipe ever since I watched the “Barefoot Contessa” make it.
Finally I made it tonight with some modifications and it really is lovely with sweet roasted root vegetables, moist sea bass enclosed in the salty prosciutto, and the lovely woodsy flavor of the rosemary infused buttery lemon sauce.


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Prep time 20 mins
Cooking time 1 hour
Serves 4, but is easily augmented

2 cups peeled, seeded and diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced parsnips
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced carrots
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 ( 7 oz ) fillets skinless sea bass fillets
6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 good sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

For the vegetables;
Put the butternut squash, parsnips and carrots in a large bowl.Finely cut 2 sprigs of the fresh rosemary and add to the vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and the garlic. Add about 1/3 cup olive oil and toss together with your hands until well mixed together.
Line a shallow roasting tray with aluminum foil, spread the vegetables out in a single layer and roast for 30 mins, turning once during the cooking until they are tender and starting to brown.
Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil.
Brush the fish fillets on both sides with olive oil and season liberally with salt and ground pepper.
Wrap each fillet with a slice or two of prosciutto to form a wide band around the center of the fillet.
Arrange the fillets on the rack with the prosciutto seam side down and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until barely cooked.
While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saute pan.
Add the rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the rosemary leaves are crisp and the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Discard the rosemary, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
To serve, place the vegetables in the middle of a shallow bowl, lay a piece of the prosciutto wrapped fish on top.
Spoon the butter/rosemary sauce over the fish and vegetables.
Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and a wedge of lemon and serve hot.

Orange scented halibut with fennel, orange, red onions and oregano

This is the loveliest, simplest and lightest summery dish. I have modified this recipe which originally came from Rachel Ray. The Sicilian flavor combo of orange, red onion, oregano and fennel is such a stunningly tangy combination with the sauteed fish.

Serves 4

4 (6 ounce) halibut fillets
Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp plus some for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Grated rind of 2 oranges, keep the rest of the orange for the warm salad part of the recipe
3 to 4 medium bulbs of fennel, quartered, core removed and thinly sliced
1 large red onion, or two smaller ones, thinly sliced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar, a couple of splashes
A good handful of Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves.

Heat the oven to 450 F
Drizzle the olive oil over the fish and season with the salt, pepper and grated orange rind. Let the fish sit in the marinade to soak up the oils of the grated orange zest while you prepare the oranges.

Peel the oranges as you would a melon; cut off the ends, stand them upright and cut the pith in thin strips from top to bottom. Cut the orange across into thin slices.

Put about 3 or 4 tbsp olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the halibut and sear on one side for about 5 minutes.
While it is searing, preheat another skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to the pan, about two turns of the pan, then add the fennel and onions, season well with salt and pepper and cook 5 to 8 minutes until seared and beginning to soften.
While the fennel is cooking, turn the halibut and sear for about 3 minutes.
Put the frying pan with the halibut into the top of the hot oven for about 4 minutes while you’re finishing off the fennel dish and plating it.
Add the vinegar to the fennel mixture and give the pan a shake. Remove from the heat and toss in the orange slices, the parsley and oregano. Mix together gently.
Adjust seasoning and serve it on dinner plates topped with the halibut.

Coconut curry poached fish

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What could be nicer than a tender piece of fish poached gently in a mildly spiced Thai curry broth?

Serves 4
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp Thai red curry paste ( or you could raise it to 2 1/2 tbsp if you like spicy hot)
3 cups coconut milk
2 Keffir lime leaves, stalk removed and finely sliced
2 thick stalks of lemon grass, trimmed of the coarse outside stalk and the tender interior chopped finely
4 halibut or sea bass or cod fillets
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
Hot cooked rice to serve the fish on.

Heat a 12 inch straight sided skillet over medium heat until very hot, then add the coconut oil and swirl the skillet to coat.
Add the chopped red onion, lemon grass and Keffir lime leaves and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until it is soft.
Then add the curry paste and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the paste is fragrant.
Stir in the coconut milk and bring it to a boil.
Once the coconut milk comes to a boil, stir well, season the fish fillets on both sides with a bit of fine grain sea salt, then carefully add the fillets to the skillet.
Spoon some of the broth over the fish then cover the skillet and turn off the heat.
Let the skillet stand until the fish is opaque and firm to the touch (9 to 12 minutes).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a platter and tent loosely with foil to keep it warm.
Return the skillet to the stove and bring the coconut curry to a simmer over medium heat.
Let the sauce continue to simmer for about 4 minutes, so that it reduces slightly, then stir in the lime juice and fish sauce and remove the skillet from the heat.
Put a mound of hot rice on the bottom of 4 wide rimmed shallow bowls, place the piece of fish gently on top and ladle the sauce around the fish
Serve immediately.

Thai-style halibut (or other white fish) in a coconut-curry broth

Light and very flavorful.

Serves 4

2 tsp vegetable oil
4 shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 1/2 tsp red curry paste (or 2 tsp curry powder)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt, plus 1/4 tsp, plus more for seasoning
4 (6 oz) fillets of halibut or any other flaky white fish, like cod or chilean sea bass
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 scallions green part only, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
freshly ground black pepper

*2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
* 1lb steamed spinach for serving

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over moderate heat.
Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the curry paste (or powder) and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, 1/2 tsp salt and simmer until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.

Season the fish fillets with 1/2 tsp salt. Arrange the fish in the pan and gently shake the pan so the fish is coated with the sauce.
Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 7 minutes

Arrange a pile of steamed spinach in the bottom of 4 soup plates. Top with the fish fillets. Stir the cilantro, scallions and lime juice into the sauce and season, to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the sauce over the fish and serve with rice.


Fish tacos with lime, cilantro and chipotle cream

Another low calorie recipe, and this is great because of the combination of fish, lime, cilantro, corn tortillas and the divine chipotle cream.
I feel like I have to post a few of these “lighter” recipes, given it’s January and everyone is trying to stick to their new Year’s resolutions. (for now)

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 lb white flaky fish, like Chilean sea bass, cod, halibut or tilapia

1/2 cup plain nonfat yoghurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage or lettuce
1/2 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes.
Put the yoghurt into a strainer lined with paper towel and place over a bowl to drain and thicken for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade and grill or fry on a preheated grill pan or non stick pan over a medium heat until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the thickened yoghurt, mayonnaise and chipotle pepper.

Heat the tortillas on the grill pan for 30 secs on each side.

Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tbsp of the chipotle cream. Top with some fish, cabbage, corn and cilantro and serve with the lime wedges

Sweet herring salad with apple and dill

This is so refreshing and tangy and a lovely way to start a meal.

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, like Granny Smith, cut into thin slices, or bite sized cubes
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
2 x 8oz jars pickled herring, drained and cut into bite sized pieces
chopped chives for garnish, if you fancy

Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, lemon juice, sugar, sliced onions that have been separated into rings, apple and dill.

Alternate herring and sour cream mixture in layers in a dish.

Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours or more.

Serve very cold

Five spice fish

This is so full of flavor, spicy, sweet and sour all at once and really quite simple.  Also pretty low in calories and ready in minutes.

Serves 4

4 white fish fillets, such as cod, sea bass, halibut, flounder, sole (about 6 oz each)
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
4 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sesame oil or sunflower oil
3 scallions, shredded
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
5 oz button mushrooms, sliced
4 oz baby corn, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp dry sherry or apple juice
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Mix the cornstarch and 5-spice powder together and toss the fish in the mixture to coat.

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and stir fry the scallions, ginger, mushrooms and corn for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the fish and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once.

Mix together the soy sauce, sherry and sugar then pour over the fish.
Simmer for about  4 minutes, (you can cover the pan for some of the time, if you need to) adjust the seasoning, then serve with noodles, stir fried vegetables or plain steamy white rice


Easy, quick smoked trout mousse

This is something you can whip up in seconds! Thanks to James Martin for this recipe.

14 oz smoked trout
2 tsp creamed horseradish, optional
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 squeeze lemon juice
1 pinch black pepper

Flake the smoked trout and place in a mixing bowl with the creamed horseradish, if using, and the heavy cream.
Mash with a fork until well mixed and add a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste with some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with hot buttered toast points!