Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.

Fish

Salmon Hot Pot

A great one-pot dish, according to the authors this is one of the few dishes to appear in The Wagamama Cookbook that doesn’t feature on the restaurant menu. Wagamama has tried to redefine what it means to serve “fast food”, so it makes sense that this dish, that takes 30 minutes to cook, is better suited to being prepared at home. This has one of the¬†lengthiest cooking times of any meal in The Wagamama Cookbook, but as with most of the recipes the actual prep time isn’t too time-consuming. It’s a really good book if you’re looking for lots of delicious, Japanese-inspired, low-fat dishes.

INGREDIENTS

400g (14oz) salmon

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 leek, trimmed and finely choppped

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 stick celery, peeled of any strings and finely diced

1 teaspoon sugar

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

salt and white pepper

75ml (3fl oz) light soy sauce

300g (10 1/2 oz) cooked rice

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Remove and skin and bones from the salmon and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil in a flame-proof casserole dish and when it is hot add the leek, shallot, carrot and celery and saute gently for 10 minutes.

Add the sugar and garlic, cook for a further minute and then add the fish and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the soy sauce, add 4 tablespoons water, cover and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Divide the rice between 2 bowls and ladle over the salmon hot pot.


Hake Tempura

My second dish in a week from the Wagamama cookbook. Tempura batter is far easier to make then it looks – the most important thing is to make sure the oil is hot enough, and cook the fish in small batches. The quantities here serves two.

Cook 300g Ramen noodles (I couldn’t get Ramen so used Udon noodles) in a large pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain thoroughly, refresh under cold water and divide between two bowls.

Combine half a beaten egg, 125ml cold lager (make sure it’s straight from the fridge), a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, a seasoning of salt and pepper and 50g plain flour in a bowl and whisk to form a light batter. Ensure there are no lumps before using. Heat 400ml of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until a little batter dropped in sinks to the bottom and rises up (if the batter stays down, the oil is not hot enough).

Skin 400g piece of hake and cut into 8 pieces. Dip four pieces in flour and then in the batter and deep fry for 5 minutes until golden and cooked through (When the first four pieces are cooked, transfer them to kitchen roll on a plate, and cover with another plate to keep warm while you cook the second batch). Make sure non of the pieces stick to the bottom of the pan.

Bring a litre of vegetable stock to the boil and ladle over the noodles (you mighn’t need all the stock, you want to keep some of the noodles above the liquid so you can sit the hake on a dry bed). Top with watecress and beansprouts. Put the fish pieces on top and sprinkle with slices of spring onion and chili.


Tandoori Spiced Halibut with Cucumber

Another fish dish, another recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food. I’m trying to cook a different fish each week, and¬†yesterday I got some wild Halibut from my local fishmonger.

Pre-heat the oven to 200degC. Lay two skinned 150g halibut fillets on a plate. Mix half a tablespoon of Tandoori or Madras Curry paste (NB I used Thai red curry paste) with half a tablespoon of olive oil and half a teaspoon of caster sugar. Stir in 60g of natural yoghurt. Coat the fish with the spiced yoghurt and set aside.

Peel a cucumber and cut it lengthways using a swivel vegetable peeler into long wide strips, avoiding the seeds in the middle. Toss with a tablespoon and a half of natural yoghurt, a handful of chopped mint leaves, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Heat an ovenproof pan and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Scrape off the excess marinade from the halibut fillets and place them in the hot pan, reserving the marinade. Sear for a minute and a half on each side until golden brown.

Spoon the marinade over the fish and place the pan in the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking. Transfer to warm plates, drizzle over the pan juices and serve with the cucumber salad.


Pan-fried Hake with Tomato Relish

Hake is a really good-value fish and deliciously tasty when served with a simple accompaniement like tomatoes.

In his book Fast Food, Gordon Ramsay suggests heating the fish fillets slowly in a cold pan to prevent them from curling up during frying. Season two hake fillets with salt and pepper. Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a cold frying pan and lay the fish fillets on top, skin side down. Slowly warm the pan over a low heat, then increase the heat to medium after a minute or two. Fry until the skin is golden and crisp, and the fillets are cooked two-thirds off the way through. Turn the fish over and cook on the flesh side for 50-60 seconds only. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain; keep warm.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan and saute about 150-175g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes [Irish Sunstream Tomatoes from Tesco work really well in this], quartered, with 4 chopped spring onions for about a minute. Add a teaspoon of caster sugar and a splash of white wine vinegar. Cook over a high heat for a minute or two until the vinegar has cooked off and the tomatoes are a little soft but retaining their shape.

Season the tomatoes well, toss in the leaves from a few thyme sprigs and a small handful of chopped coriander leaves, and divide between two warm plates. Place the hake fillet on top, skin side up, and serve immediately.