Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fish for the weekend

Our weekends seem to follow a certain pattern now that the weather has become colder and Hackney Wick has its annual hibernation away from the rest of London. The pattern seems to go: Friday evening - some sort of decadent meaty dish; Saturday morning - regular breakfast or perhaps bacon and eggs; Saturday lunch - more often than not something fishy; Saturday dinner - something easy and usually meaty (something that can be chucked in the oven for an hour); Sunday - light meals, kind of a detox for the start of the week (with a bit of cake/dessert thrown in mid-afternoon).
The reason I list this pattern is to try and understand the reason behind said pattern. It appears that fish is a natural choice for the Saturday lunch since it is surrounded by meat but, because the Sunday can be a bit lacking in flesh, is still not vegetarian. Also, another reason is that meals with fish don't generally make very good leftovers, and since our toddler doesn't eat dinner with us during the week I like to have fish for lunch on the weekend so he can have some.
Anyway, the point is is that fish is generally reserved for Saturday lunch. My partner and I do eat a fair bit during the week, but that tends to be tinned oily fish, salmon and seafood - the fishier stuff (white fish and richer dishes) tends to come in on Saturday. Another condition for Saturday lunch, which is a result of arriving back home from a morning outing with a hungry toddler, is that it has to be quick. This following recipe is a quick Saturday fish recipe, with a bit of meat thrown in.

Baked Cod with spiced butter beans and tomatoes
Serves 2-3

- cod fillets, 400g
- butter beans, tin (drained)
- medium tomatoes, 6 (around 400-500g), chopped into chunks
- garlic, 2 fat cloves minced
- an onion
- diced chorizo, around 75g
- smoked paprika, tsp
- toasted fennel seeds, tsp
- cayenne pepper, pinch
- red wine vinegar, tbsp
- olive oil
- lemon
- parsley, small handful

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees. Lay a large piece of foil over a baking tray. Slice the lemon into thin slices (reserve a bit of one of the ends to drizzle over at the end) and lay on the foil to make a bed for the cod. Place the cod on top, season and drizzle with a tbsp of olive oil. Bring both end of the foil together and seal to form a tent (with no visible openings). Place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile heat two tbsps of oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Chop the onion and add to the oil. Cook for about  five minutes till softened slightly then add the chorizo, and cook for a further five minutes. Lower the heat to medium and toss in the garlic, butter beans, vinegar and the tomatoes. Simmer for five minutes. Place the toasted fennel seeds on a chopping board and gently crush a little bit with a large knife (like chopping herbs but very gently - or else you will find they explode all over the kitchen). Add to the pan along with the other spices and drizzle over a little oil if the mixture is looking a bit thick. Cook gently for the remaining time the cod is in the oven. 
When the cod is done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before opening the foil. Spoon the tomato-bean mixture onto plates. Open the foil tent and carefully lift out the cod and place atop the served tomato-bean piles. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a drizzle of lemon. we ate it with quickly (still crunchy) sautéed tender stem broccoli, which went nicely.

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