The Whip came round for dinner at the weekend. He’s a good friend of the husband’s since they were kids and, now, he’s a good friend of mine. He likes his food and is managing without his gorgeous Italian girlfriend, who is home working in Treviso at the moment, so I thought I would make a bit of effort with the dinner.
It was supposed to be another Jamie Oliver recipe – gotta make the effort to use my most recently acquired cookbook – but it ended up being something of a bastardisation.
Jamie says any robust white fish will do, mentioning haddock, monkfish, whiting and coley but I got lazy in town and couldn’t quite find the energy to traipse five minutes out of my way to the market so I bought cod in the supermarket instead. I know, I know, cooking cod these days is akin to parboiling children or potroasting kindly grannies but we all have the occasional weak moments.
I pretty much followed the recipe, although I used lemon juice instead of zest (no fine grater/zester in the kitchen) , and didn’t bother frying off my cod’n’bacon parcels before sticking them in the oven, which was a mistake. The bacon should have been lovely and crispy but it was pale and uninteresting instead.
I did follow his suggestion of making homemade lemon mayonnaise to go with it but served broccoli instead of asparagus, as he suggests. Not much asparagus in the shops this time of year. I love making mayonnaise because it is supposed to be difficult but it always works for me, which makes me feel smugly competent in the kitchen.
Tempted as ever to overegg the pudding, I also made up a wee sauce (recipe below) that I found in one of my staple cookbooks and that was lovely, if unnecessary.
Delicious roasted white fish wrapped in smoked bacon wth lemon mayonnaise and asparagus
from Cook with Jamie, p222
4x200g/7oz white fish fillets, cut 2.5cm/1 inch thick, skinned and pinboned
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and very finely chopped
zest of 2 lemons
freshly ground black pepper
16 rashers of thinly sliced, smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
“Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Season your beautiful fish fillets with the rosemary, finely grated lemon zest and pepper…Lay your rashers of bacon or pancetta on a board and one by one run the flat of a knife along them to thin them and widen them out. Lay 4 rashers together, slightly overlapping, put a fish fillet on top and wrap the rashers around it.”
Handy tip: Don’t wrap the bacon too tightly around the fish or otherwise it acts like a corset and the cooked fillets end up having odd little waists. This is not that appetising.
“Lightly heat a large ovenproof frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and lay your fish, prettiest side facing up, in the pan. Fry for a minute, then place the pan in your preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the bacon is crisp and golden.”
Tomato and caper sauce
from The Complete Cook, p 203
2 tblsps olive oil
1 red onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
6 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon capers, roughly chopped
handful of flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
“Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and capers, mix well, then add the remaining olive oil and parsley. Season to taste.”
That sauce couldn’t be easier and was really tasty. The cod was good but I’ve had much more success with a recipe along these lines that involves wrapping chunky cubes of monkfish in parma ham. At any rate, the Whip and the husband left clean plates, which is all you want from your culinary victims.