17. Stove-top haddock with fennel seeds & basil

Home Cooking Made Easy p87

Don’t you just love recipes where all the hard work is hidden in the ingredients list? For example, I found a lasagne recipe that called for 1.5kg tomatoes, peeled, pulp and seeds scooped out and chopped, then placed in a sieve, sprinkled with salt, drained for 20 minutes to extract the juice, what’s left in the sieve thrown away, juice and flesh kept to use. And that’s before you even start the cooking. (It was Heston Blumenthal, who never does anything the easy way).

This recipe from Lorraine is incredibly easy, but the only slightly hard work is in the ingredients list: 4 haddock fillets, skin removed. Since reading a Delia recipe book, I can now tackle “fish without fear” so I set about the task with enthusiasm. For those scared of fish, here’s how to do it.

Lay the fish, skin down, on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, make an incision at the tail end at about 45′, cutting through the flesh but not the skin.

Grab hold of the tail with your other hand and slide the knife along the fish, sawing gently. The fish will come away from the skin pretty easily.

A sharp knife and confidence will leave you with a perfectly skinned fish fillet.

Fish prepped, it’s time to get on with the rest of the cooking! It’s just a simple tomato sauce made with onions, garlic and tinned cherry tomatoes (a new favourite ingredient of mine and Lorraine’s) and fennel seeds. I would reduce the fennel a little, but that’s just personal taste.

Then you add the haddock to poach for about 8 minutes and serve with basil and rice.

The whole thing took 40 minutes from start to finish (including skinning the 4 fish fillets) so it’s a great dinner in a hurry.

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2 Replies to “17. Stove-top haddock with fennel seeds & basil”

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