ast weekend really did spark the start of a British summer…hopefully….Blues skies, dog walks, reading in the garden and cheeky trips to the local pub. Although they’re never cheeky in our household. More of a requirement. I escaped home to Wiltshire for the briefest of visits. Just 36 hours but I packed them full with foodie treats. Gorgeous weather means simple, fresh food. Torn between my love of the kitchen and my sun worshipping, I found a speedy recipe to prepare for Saturday supper. Time to indulge in the kitchen but also to balance my sunbathing. Priorities.
Jazz and apron on, cool white Muscadet in hand….recommendations below….
Music to cook to: St Germain – Tourist (see here)
Wine recommendation: Muscadet or something zesty and fresh! Recommended from Armit Wines specifically is my favourite- Bianca di Evro Inzolia, a Sicilian wine (see here)
n the topic of wine (I feel like I say that a lot) I’d eat this starter with a zesty, fresh, citrus wine. Nothing flashy….Muscadet is perfect. After a planned and cheeky G&T(sssssss) at the local pub in the setting sunshine pre dinner, this starter was very much a miracle on its own let alone anything too time consuming or thought provoking. A classic combination I’ll admit but I wasn’t looking for a trophy for originality. I did however omit the generic bacon wafer or chorizo cubes….whilst admittedly it was because I was too gin fuelled to bother, I did in fact pass it off as unnecessary to my guests but I do in fact agree (…with myself…) it is! It doesn’t need it. The greens, lemon, a Muscadet and the hearty fried capers are perfectly indulgent enough and allow the scallops to take the show without bacon raining on the parade.
Scallops and Greenery
Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)
- 12-16 scallops (roe removed if wanted)
- Large bunch rocket
- 300g ish peas (frozen)
- Bunch mint leaves, picked
- 2 large knobs butter
- 1 heaped tbsp capers
- 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Boil the peas for a few minutes. Drain immediately and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the mint, seasoning and 1 large knob of butter. Blend until smooth – or chunky, mine was rustic. If too thick, add a splash of milk. Set aside and keep warm.
- Get a sharing platter and scatter over the rocket. Squeeze over just a little of the lemon juice.
- Season the scallops and heat a splash of oil and the rest of the butter in a frying pan until hot.
- Add the scallops and fry on a high heat for just a few minutes each side until golden brown. For the last minute, add the capers and fry briefly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add a good squeeze of lemon (it will sizzle). Baste the scallops in the buttery juice.
- Serve immediately. Spoon 12-16 spoonfuls of the pea puree onto the rocket and top each with a juicy golden scallops. Drizzle with the buttery capers and juices. Serve!
This next recipe is very easy but again and complements a pub visit. However, I did do a little pre pub prep just to make sure.
Herb Crusted Cod with Puy Lentils and Balsamic Onions
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 fillets of cod/haddock/hake (or any meaty white fish)
- 2 slices brown bread
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 2 x packets (or bunches) of parsley (I used 1 bunch flat leaf and 1 bunch curly)
- 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- 8oz Puy lentils
- 2 large red onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Begin by making the crust. Blitz the bread in a food processor into crumbs. Add the garlic, the herbs and the zest of the lemon. Season and blend until everything is chopped and combined finely.
- Add the egg and blend again.
- Cut your fish into 4 fillets. Take a good spoonful of the herb topping – it should be fairly sticky with the bread and the egg – and compact onto the top of each fillet. Chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes until needed.
- Preheat the over to 190°C.
- Meanwhile, simmer the Puy lentils for about 20 minutes until just cooked and tender but with a bite. Drain and keep warm. Season.
- Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently sweat the onions for a good 10 minutes until soft. Start to add some colour until caramelised. Season.
- Turn the heat up a little and add the balsamic which should sizzle and begin to reduce. Coat the onions then remove from the heat.
- Tip the balsamic red onions into the warm lentils and stir to combine.
- Remove the fish from the fridge about 5 minutes before ready to cook. Place on a greased or lined baking tray, and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet (15 minutes for those sized above).
- Remove from the oven when just cooked and beginning to flake. the fish will keep cooking when removed from the oven with the residual heat so don’t over cook initially.
- Place a spoonful of the lentils into deep warm serving bowls and top with the fish. Serve with a good wedge of lemon for squeezing over the crunchy crust! Enjoy!