Having moved to Wiltshire rather recently I was dying to try out some of the fresh fish at the Scallop Shell from the wonderful White Row Farm Shop - voted by The Times as one of the best fishmongers in the country! So obviously it would be a crime not to treat myself to some fresh fish. The service at the Scallop Shell was impeccable, giving me a variety of free fish carcasses to take with me for a fish stock and it was evident that the produce was incredibly fresh.
I picked out some chunky cod fillets and headed home to try out some new recipes.
I decided to put my own spin on a Rick Stein recipe of cod, puy lentils and a red wine sauce. I edited this particular recipe from page 131 of Rick Stein's new book - "Fish & Shellfish".
I'll start with the red wine sauce - these directions are sourced entirely from Rick Stein's recipe
50g carrot - all finely chopped
A small pinch of - ground allspice, ground cloves and grated nutmeg
A large pinch of curry powder
600 ml red wine
600 ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
Melt some butter and add the chopped onion, carrot and celery and spices and fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Add the red wine, stock, sugar and salt, bring to the boil and boil until the sauce is reduced by three quarters and concentrated in flavour. Strain into a clean pan and keep warm.
Later, when the fish and lentils are ready to serve, mix the 25g of butter with the flour to make a smooth paste known as a beurre manié.
Bring the sauce to the boil and whisk in the paste a little at a time. Simmer for 2 minutes until smooth and thickened.
This gives the sauce an added silky shine and richness, and also gives it a wonderful consistency.
I think this sauce works perfectly with the fish, but you could also use this recipe in a variety of dishes - with steak, roast beef or chicken.
Next, the cod, also thanks to Rick Stein
4 thick cod fillets with their skin intact
Salt and pepper
Preheat your grill to high.
Melt the butter and brush the fish on both sides with the butter.
Next, season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
Place skin side up on a baking tray and cook for around 8 minutes - the skin should be crispy and browned.
Finally, the lentils - I invented my own lentil side dish to accompany Stein's fish and sauce.
Rather than dried puy lentils I used some Merchant Gourmet ready to eat puy lentils to save me from having to soak and cook the lentils. So, you will need:
250g packet of puy lentils
1 shallot - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
A splash of red wine
A generous handful of dill and parsley
Start by sweating the shallot in a bit of olive oil and once they are nearly done add the chopped garlic and cook for a further minute.
Next, add the splash of red wine and the lentils. Stir and allow the heat to warm through the mixture.
Roughly chop the dill and parsley and add to the lentil mixture.
The dill and parsley give the lentils a fresh twist and would work well with many fish dishes, whilst the red wine ties the lentils in with the rest of the dish.
As Rick Stein says, serve the cod on a bed of lentils and spoon the sauce round the edge of the plate. I put the remaining sauce in a jug on the table, and by the end of the meal there was not a drop left!
I also stir-fried some leeks and spring cabbage to serve as an additional side dish.
A delicious and rich, yet rather light supper. Try it yourself!
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.