Trout Provencal with Breadcrumbs

Or, trout with some healthy, sunny ingredients at any rate.

I don’t know about you but I don’t buy so much trout. River (or farm, in the majority of cases) fish, don’t seem very popular and I don’t  usually even think of it when trying to squeeze in my two portions  a week. But this week, the organic trout fillets found their destiny in my trolley by way of the reduced counter. I just had to think about what to do with them.

Some people seem to be under the impression that trout can’t carry strong flavours, but after sampling them on this occasion and finding their flavour strong, even slightly earthy, I would suggest something robust to go with it. I was tempted to try a dill or horseradish sauce – another week, maybe – but I had some stuff in the fridge that was really begging to go. To serve 2.

  • 2 trout fillets
  • 1 clove garlic
  • small handful basil leaves
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • half can tomatoes or three large, ripe fresh (only at this time of year)
  • olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • slice of dry white bread, made into breadcrumbs or about 50g ready made breadcrumbs
  • 10g parmesan, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges to serve

In a blender, put in the tomatoes, anchovies, olive oil, basil, garlic and lemon juice. Whizz up. When the sauce is smooth, empty into a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring, until the sauce has started to reduce down slightly and the garlic is cooked out. Leave to cool.

Preheat oven to gas mark 5. Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese and salt and pepper. Put the trout fillets on an oiled baking tray and dab a few tablespoons of sauce over each fish, spreading evenly to cover. Cover with the breadcrumbs and put in the oven for 10 or so minutes, until the fish is piping hot and the breadcrumbs have browned.

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Costolettini d’Abbacino Fritte -Parmesan Baby Lamb Chops

I need to get my camera fixed. I’ve cooked some delicious meals lately, but a combination of iPhone photography, shaky hands and no natural daylight, means the photos look pretty bad. I’m sorry. And I’m sorry if anyone was expecting Mexican food in this post. I feel about as Mexican as.. a Russian at the moment, so please bear with me.

lambchopscooked

Well, I tried to stay away from the breadcrumbs, honest I did. But Mr Greedy loves this dish (its in his top 3, at least) and asked for it especially, so how could I refuse? However, what we are talking about is essentially meat coated in cheese and breadcrumbs and then fried, so I’m not going to say, oh this is really healthy. When you describe it like that, you’re not doing this dish, from Rome, much justice, it is really delish. I just try and only serve it with nice green veg.

Serves 2

  • 4 lamb cutlets
  • 4 slices of white bread, made into crumbs
  • 100g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon wedges, to garnish

A couple of hours in advance if you can, take the chops out of the fridge and with a rolling pin, the side of a cleaver or a meat tenderiser, carefully bash flatten them out until they are roughly a centimetre thick. Press each side of the chop into the parmesan cheese, dip it into the egg until completely coated and then drop it into the breadcrumbs, turning it round until it is coated all over. Now, leave on a wire rack or something like it for a couple of hours so the breadcrumbs have a chance to dry out a bit.

lambchopsprecooked

When ready to cook, pour the oil into a large frying pan (hopefully one in which you can fit all four cutlets) and put on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully place in the chops, cook for around 5 minutes on one side until the chops are golden brown, and then turn over and cook for about 3 minutes on the other. If you can’t fit them all in, then put the cooked chops on a serving dish or plate in a very low oven.Season with salt, and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with the lemon wedges.

lambchops

And, oh my, don’t forget to thank me!

Stuffed Mussels

I cannot say these are quick to make. If you are only of the throw it in the pan and stir about school of cookery, you might find these to be frustrating or bothersome. I am only warning you to ensure that you don’t become unhappy half way through, give it all up and have to serve cheese on toast for tea. You might also think about doing the first parts of the recipe earlier in the day if you want to. However, if you do decide to make these, you will be rewarded by elegant, garlicky, scoop-with-a-spoon satisfying dinner. If you are organised enough, best served with shoestring fries, but a great salad would almost be as good. Serves 2-3 greedies as a main. Converted from John Burton Race’s French Leave.

stuffed mussels

Part 1:

  • 1 kilo mussels
  • 375 ml white wine
  • knob of butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs of flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped

Clean your mussels. This involves nothing more technical than, using a small sharp knife, pulling away the beard – or that stringy stuff that attaches itself to the mussel and tapping any open mussels firmly. If they close, you can keep them, if they don’t close within a few seconds you have to throw them away. I reckon we lost about 10% this way, which is about average .

musselscookingstock

In a large, lidded pan, melt your butter over a low heat and then tip in your herbs and vegetables, salt & pepper and stir gently for a few minutes. Once the veg are just beginning to soften, pour in the wine and turn the heat up and cover with a lid to bring the wine to a vigorous simmer. Chuck in the mussels and put the lid back on. It will take around 5 minutes to steam them all open. Drain, and when slightly cooled, pull open the mussel shells and separate the mussel flesh out from the shell. Place each mussel in one half of the mussel shell and discard the other half.

Part 2:

  • 50g white breadcrumbs
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 125g butter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Either in a large bowl, with a wooden spoon, or with the mixer attachment of a food processor, cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Pour the wine over the breadcrumbs and leave to soak for a few moments. Add the garlic to the butter and beat until thoroughly combined and then add your soaked breadcrumbs and ground almonds. Then add your parsley. Beat again until completely mixed.

If you are ready to eat now, turn on your grill to it’s highest setting. Otherwise, you can refrigerate the stuffed mussels after this stage until you are ready to eat. With a teaspoon, get a little bit of the mixture, and stuff it into the shell containing the mussel, smoothing it over as you go. Once all the shells are filled, put the baking tray under the hot grill, and cook for maybe five minutes until the mixture is brown and bubbling. Scoff

Oven-fried Spicy Chicken

This is one of my favourite dishes evah, inspired from Anjum Anand’s brilliant Indian Cooking Made Easy. It’s probably not for you if you’re on a strict, reduced fat diet, but served with a light salad this is probably not too much of a biggie.Drain off any excess oil on kitchen towel before serving. In any case its healthier than KFC in terms of nutrition and karma…

ovenfriedspicychicken

You can do the marinating up to 24 hours in advance, if you want to, and do the crumbing anything from 2 hours to 5 minutes in advance of cooking, which makes it very flexible. You might think from the marinade ingredients this is very hot, I promise its not. Serves 2-3. Three of ate this with salad but found we would have welcomed another piece of chicken each. We are fairly greedy people though!

For the marinade:

  • 4 chillies, red, green or mix, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • thumbsized lump of ginger, roughly chopped
  • heap teaspoon garam masala
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt & pepper (don’t be shy with this)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Chicken:

  • 6-8 free range chicken pieces, skin removed
  • breadcrumbs made with 6 slices stale white bread, mixed with a teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground black pepper and a sprinkle of salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Firstly, make your marinade. Either with a handblender (easy) put in your marinade ingredients and whiz to a paste or (a bit more elbow grease required) put the dry ingredients in a pestle and mortar and grind down, and then add your liquid and mix to a paste. With a fork or small sharp knife puncture holes into your chicken pieces all over and then massage in the paste. Cover and keep in a cool place until about an hour before you’re ready to bread it.

Preheat your oven to Gas 6. Place your beaten eggs on one large deep plate, and on another, put your spicy breadcrumbs. Submerge a chicken piece in the beaten egg until covered and then dip the eggy chicken into the breadcrumbs and turn and coat, turn and coat a few times until the chicken is lightly covered in breadcrumbs. Repeat for each piece of chicken. Pour around 4 tablespoons of groundnut oil in a large roasting tin and put in the hot oven for five or ten minutes. When the oil is nice and hot, slightly smoking, put in your chicken pieces . There should be a satisfying sizzle. Put the chicken in the oven for half an hour- 40 minutes until the chicken pulls away from the bone easily, but turn the chicken halfway through, so it has a chance to brown and crispen on each side. When cooked, leave to rest for 5 minutes whilst you make your salad and serve with lemon wedges. Scoff.

Pork with Cheese, Sage & Apple

applesI try not to plan ahead too often what I’m going to have on a Wednesday night. I’m lucky enough to work five minutes away from a weekly farmer’s market, and although I usually can’t get there until its on the brink of closing for the day due to the hours I work, I usually manage to pick up some special stuff.  Today there were lots of apples around, and some pretty delicious free range pork. I wish I could shop for more meals there, but I just can’t get too much stuff home by myself.

Some flavour marriages, are made in heaven. This menage a quatre, likewise. Everything goes with everything else here in a lovely crunch, melt in the mouth kind of way. I noticed tonight, that I’ve been making a lot of things with breadcrumbs lately, so perhaps its rather lucky that my food processor broke down tonight while I was making them. In truth though, this isn’t horribly unhealthy. Cut the fat off the pork and be sure to leave the apple and the cooked pork to rest on a piece of kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. Serve with a salad. Serves 2 Greedies.

pork with sage

  • 2 large pork chops or pork steaks. Free range, please.
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten
  • 50g gruyere cheese, grated finely (you could use parmesan, alternatively)
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 4 sage leaves, very finely chopped
  • oil, preferably groundnut, for frying
  • butter
  • 1 apple, sliced into 1cm slices, core removed
  • salt and pepper

Firstly, get a rolling pin or, if you have one, a meat tenderiser and flatten out the pork chops until they’re no more than about a centimetre thick. go careful because you want them as even as you can and no holes, so while its great to be firm, don’t go mad. Mix the sage leaves, salt and pepper and breadcrumbs on one large plate, pour the beaten egg onto another and on a third, evenly scatter your grated cheese. Then, one at a time, press each side of your pork firmly into the cheese, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs in that order. Leave aside to dry out for up to a couple of hours.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and, over a medium-low heat cook the pork chops. This will take 15 or so minutes. Meanwhile, add a little more oil and butter to a smaller pan and put in your apple slices. Cook these over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until they are brown and softer, but not falling apart. Serve as described with a lemony dressing with your salad.