CJ Jackson - expert seafood chef and Sunday Brunch regular who runs Billingsgate Seafood School gives us a run down on how to get the most of a fish.
As part of several of our classes, we teach our participants how to pin-bone and skin a fish fillet. We use coley (aka saithe), pollock, whiting, cod or haddock, depending on sustainable availability.
We then show how versatile a fillet can be and demonstrate 5 recipes with just 1 fillet – to absolutely make the most of it. We also show how easy it is to use the whole fillet with no waste.
First Step: Choose your fish
For 4 people, a 900g -1kg fillet is perfect. Ask the fishmonger to pin-bone and skin the fillet (you can leave the skin attached). Keep the skin for making a quick stock with finely sliced onion, carrot, celery and herbs – fry in a little oil with the veg, cover with water and poach for 15 minutes, strain and use.
To create your recipes, trim the belly flap off and take off some of the tail piece then cut the rest of the fish into 4 even sized pieces.
Recipe 1 – Mini Fish Sliders
- Put the belly flap and tail trimmings into a food processor with a herb of your choice – parsley or coriander, add a small piece of de-seeded red chilli, a couple of sliced spring onions and a thumb sized piece of chopped ginger (garlic is optional).
- Whiz the mix until the ingredients are finely chopped, but not to a paste. Shape the mixture into small burgers, roll in seasoned flour and sesame seeds if you want.
- Chill for 30 minutes and then pan-fry for 1 – 2 minutes on each side.
- Serve with chilli dipping sauce or Raita in mini naan bread or burger bun with salad.
Recipe 2 – Seafood En Papilotte
- Create one heart shaped parcel per serving from greaseproof paper. It needs to be big enough to take the fish comfortably. Fold each heart in half to form a crease.
- Place the fish on one side of the crease, drizzle with a splash of olive oil, a bruised clove garlic, a sprig of rosemary and half a dozen closed mussels (that have been checked for no damage).
- Bring the second half of the paper over the fish and pinch the edges to seal well to create a neat enclosed parcel.
- Bake in a very hot oven set at Gas Mark 9 on a hot baking sheet for 4 minutes or until the fish looks opaque and the mussels have opened. Slide the parcel onto a serving dish.
Recipe 3 – Chorizo and Pesto Roast Fish
- Spread the top of the fillets with a little pesto and drape either Chorizo or streaky bacon over the top.
- Roast for 7 – 8 minutes or until the chorizo or bacon are crisp. Pinch the fish gently and feel the flakes separate apart.
Recipe 4 - Asian Steamed Fish
- Arrange the fish portions on a sheet of greaseproof paper and place in a steamer. Sprinkle with spring onion and chilli.
- Steam for 6 – 7 minutes or until the fish is opaque and you will be able to feel the fish flakes separate if pressed.
- Remove from the steamer and drizzle over a dressing made with grated zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp palm sugar, splash of soy and sesame oil and sprinkle with torn coriander leaves to serve.
Recipe 5 – Prawn Tarragon Haddock
- Make a small slit down the thickest part of the fish fillet to create a pocket. Spread with some butter mixed with tarragon into the pocket and insert a couple of peeled and de-veined prawns.
- Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley, lemon zest and bread crumbs.
- Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 7 – 8 minutes or until the fish flakes when pressed and the prawns are cooked through and no longer translucent.
Would this encourage you to cook or eat fish?