Monday, 1 July 2013

Joys of the new harvest

I have tried to psyche myself into earing more fish. It is good and it is light. Somehow it just fails to evoke the kind of passions and cravings that meat continuously does - at the market, on the menu, in my mind and on the palate.

I have now managed to spur myself into action...once. And if I ever intend to fit into that wedding dress of mine, I'd better continue my efforts.

I did learn another valuable kitchen lesson though. "How hard can it be?"- attitude is charming in its carelessness, but it will only get one so far. That approach has taught me to read hieroglyphs and squid I can clean like a pro. Fish on the other hand turned out to be something very different. At the fish counter my pride wouldn't allow me to have the fishmonger clean the fish for me  because "surely a self-respecting food blogger knows how to do that". Yeah I bet she would. Provided she lived by the sea and regularly feasted on the bounty she herself reeled in from the sea...

It seems there are two schools of thought when it comes to this venture: "Google it and then follow the instructions" and "don't Google it and cry yourself to sleep" (no prizes for guessing which I am an ardent believer of). But hair full of fishbones and eyes brimming with scales I soldiered on. Two glasses of wine didn't hurt. Zander 0- Food blogger 1.

I patted the zander fillets dry, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried in the pan in butter into which I had finely sliced a couple of cloves of garlic. Fry the skin side first for a couple of minutes and then, as the colour of the flesh starts turning opaque, flip it over and fry the other side for a minute or so. Squirt a bit of lemon juice into the pan and finish off with a handful of chopped spring onions.

The fish was accompanied with potato-asparagus-bacon-salad inspired by  the side dish I fell for in Meche. It is such a brilliant dish for this time as it really celebrates all the seasonal produce: new potatos, new onions, new asparagus.... and bacon which is never so last season. My initial desire was to use some fava beans, but turned out I was out. So I used edamame-beans, the subtle nutty sweetness of which I love. Obviously fresh peas straight form the garden would work a treat too.


For 4

15 new potatos
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
140 g bacon
250 g asparagus
150 g edamame beans
a handful of spring onion stems, chopped
the zest of 1/2 lemon
salt, black pepper

Snap off the dry, woody ends of the asparagus and cut into bite-size chunks. Brush the potatos and cut them in half. Cook until done in salted water and at the same time steam asparagus and the beans/ peas. Cut the bacon into chunks and fry in a pan in their own fat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and, depending on the bacon fat still left in the pan, add some butter if needed. Fold in the garlic and the potatos. Let them get a bit of colour. Then throw in edamame and the asparagus. Season carefully (remember there's quite a bit of salt in the bacon) and add the lemon zest and the spring onion. Toss it all together and serve. This warm potato salad is excellent with fish. Particularly  zander. Especially the kind you've cleaned and scaled yourself.

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