Catch of the day
My husband always complains that I don’t do enough fish recipes. He’s not entirely right, because looking through my past recipes, at least five per cent of them are what you might call fishy – not that many, I suppose – but I will admit that my thoughts usually turn first to meat or poultry.
I am a great believer in moderation in all things edible, and I do get tired of all the information being churned out about what we should or shouldn’t be eating.
Everybody knows, or should know by now, that a diet consisting mainly of red and processed meats is not particularly good for us, but being constantly reminded of it just makes me want to rush out and order the biggest, bloodiest, juiciest fillet steak on the menu. However, I am making an effort to eat more fish, not because I am being told to, but because I would like to.
I like prawns, lobster, Dover soles, and North Sea cod and plaice. Swordfish is also a favourite, probably because it’s more meaty and less fishy and, what’s more important, it has no little bones, which is one of my pet hates.
I like both smoked and canned salmon, too, and I am buying more fresh salmon in the hope that when I go to a restaurant I might even be tempted to order it – instead of that fillet steak.
I am the proud possessor of a beautiful fish kettle which I am ashamed to say has spent most of its life on a shelf. So I got it down, dusted if off and decided to cook a large sea bass in it.
First, I fried an onion and a large sliced fennel bulb, added some garlic and parsley, then scattered it all over the bottom of the fish kettle. I put some lemon slices in the cavity and laid the fish on top of the fennel, then added some white wine and water, put the lid on and steamed it. And I do have to say it made a delicious meal for the two of us.
I am a great fan of Maltese Stukku tal-Ħabaq, so next I spread some stukku on white fish fillets, folded them up, then topped them with a mixture of zucchini, peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic and baked them. I used what the Spanish call merluza or hake, but I can never remember its Maltese name.
I cook prawns in all sorts of sauces: curry, tarragon, coconut cream, or lemon sauce, but the one we like best is Pernod sauce. It’s advisable to be a bit cautious when adding Pernod as the aniseed flavour can quickly become overpowering.
And last but not least, some smoked salmon tartlets. When I was in England, I used to make these with smoked haddock, but that’s difficult to find here, and when I do find it, it’s usually frozen and not particularly good, so I use smoked salmon instead.
These tartlets make a nice summer starter, or you could make one large tart and cut it into wedges to serve with a medley of summer vegetables or a salad for a main course – or even as picnic food.
My resident fish eater enjoyed all these recipes, so I hope I have managed to stop the nagging for a while.