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I am not a great lover of fish, it has to be said; battered or in fingers maybe, but it’s only since moving to Spain that I began to appreciate fish and how easy it is to cook. We had some vegetarian visitors very early after moving to Spain, so that got me started. Now we often have fish cakes or fisherman’s pie on our menu with my recipes below. Fish should smell fresh and not fishy! It should not curl at the edges or be discoloured and should be firm and springy to the touch.  Whether you are grilling, barbequing, cooking in salt or frying your fish, remember, it is very easy to overcook fish so always test with a knife. The flesh should appear opaque and flake easily when tested with a fork. Fish of course is very healthy and contains lots of ingredients that are good for us. Your local fish mongers will gut and clean your fish for you if you can’t tackle it yourself.

Buen Apetito

Fisherman’s pie

575g potatoes

Salt and pepper

50g butter

225ml milk

225g haddock

225g white fish fillet

3 tsp lemon juice

1oz plain flour

75g cheddar cheese

Small pkt of frozen peas

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Salt and boil in water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash with 25g butter and 125ml milk. Rinse fish and pat dry. Cut into bite-size cubes and sprinkle with lemon juice. Melt remaining butter and add flour. Heat for a further minute and then add milk. Stir until thick sauce is created and then add fish and peas. Pour fish sauce into an oven proof dish and cover with the mash. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake on 200º for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Fish Cakes

350g salmon

175g haddock

300ml milk

3 bay leaves

450g potatoes

25g butter

1 tbsp tarragon and dill

Pinch of nutmeg

50g flour

2 eggs

75g breadcrumbs

2 tbsp sunflower oil

Put the fish in a pan with the milk and bay leaves. Bring to boil and simmer until flakey. Peel and chop potatoes. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash with butter. Mix in herbs and nutmeg. Skin fish and break into large flakes. Mix with mash and shape into patties (makes around 8). Coat each one first with flour then egg and finally dip in breadcrumbs. Cook fishcakes for 3 minutes on each side in oil until golden.

Chilli Tuna Balls

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 red pepper

1 green chilli

1 tbsp olive oil

185g can/fresh tuna

75g breadcrumbs

1 egg yolk

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

4-6 tbsp plain flour

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. De-seed and chop the pepper and chilli. Fry the chopped vegetables in olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft. Cook tuna or drain the tuna and flake into a bowl. Add vegetables and mix in the breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk into the mixture. Grate and then squeeze the lemon into the mixture. Season and divide into balls. Coat each ball with flour. Heat oil and cook tuna balls for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Fish Gratin

575g any white fish

3 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Bechamel sauce

1 onion

2 sticks of celery

25g butter

25g flour

150ml milk

150ml fish stock

125ml double cream

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

125g Gouda cheese

Wash fish and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut fish into small chunks and remove any bones. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cover with cling film and chill in fridge.

Make the sauce. Chop onion and celery finely. Melt butter and fry onions until golden brown. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Gradually add milk and fish stock stirring so the sauce is smooth. Add the celery and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the fish pieces and cream then season and add the Worcester sauce mixing well. Spoon the mixture into an oven proof dish, sprinkling the cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes or until golden 200º/Gas 6.

Catalonian Monkfish Ragout

275g tomatoes

2 garlic cloves

1 large red pepper

2 large onions

6 tbsp olive oil

400g potatoes

425ml fish stock

500g monkfish (available all year but best from October to January)

1-2 tbsp flour

Salt and pepper

Dash of Tabasco sauce

1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Freshly chopped parsley

Put tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 1 minute then drain and peel. Cut in half, de-seed and dice. Peel and chop garlic. Halve the pepper, de-seed and chop. Peel and chop onions. Heat half the oil in a large pan, fry onions, garlic and peppers for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Wash potatoes and dice. Add to the sauce, pour in stock and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Cut fish where necessary, put flour on a plate and season. Coat fish with flour and heat remaining oil and fry the fillets for 4 minutes each side or until fish is cooked. Stir parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and Tabasco into the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the monkfish to warm through but not to cook. Serve immediately.