thinking the award for most photogenic fish fillet goes to the oily fish family
In the first minutes after arriving at the fish stall in the Greenmarket I thought my choice would be swordfish or blackfish/tautog, maybe a sea bass or hake fillet, but when I saw these beautiful herring I couldn’t resist their beauty, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them.
In the evening I went for very simple approach, one which involved lots of lemon, and a good helping of chiles, and tamed the fish with a tomato-caper salsa, and twice-cooked potatoes. It was very similar to the treatment I had often given to mackerel, originally a Sicilian-inspired recipe from Michael White.
seasoned, ready for the grill pan
- eight one-and-a-half-ounce herring fillets from Pura Vida Fisheries, washed, dried, dusted with the zest of one and a half lemons, one and a half dried peperoncini, crushed, salt, and freshly ‘ground’ (I always use an ancient wooden mortar) pepper, placed skin side down on a ridged grill pan, cooked for 1 or 2 minutes, turned and cooked for 1 or 2 minutes more, drizzled with olive oil, served with lemon ‘eighths’, and a tomato-caper salsa
- a salsa of halved red grape tomatoes from the gentler southern jersey climes of Kernan Farms, tossed with olive oil, salted capers which had been rinsed and drained, some finely-sliced fresh garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, lemon juice, salt, and pepper,
- four German Butterball potatoes from Berried Treasures, scrubbed and boiled in salted water until just tender, then drained and dried, cut into approximately one-inch sections, cooked in 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat until beginning to brown lightly (about 5 minutes), the flame turned down, one sliced medium clove of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm added and cooked with the potatoes for about 3 more minutes, or until both potatoes really are brown and garlic crisp, seasoned with salt and pepper, served alongside the fish and salsa
- the wine was a Portuguese (Dão) white, Casa de Mouraz, Dão Blanco ‘Encruzado’ 2013, from Flatiron Wines & Spirits
- the music was an album of works by the almost-forgotten eighteenth-century composer Marianna Martines (hers is an amazing story)