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Seasonal Fish Masterclass – Recipes

Fish is the truly inspirational taste of Britain. We, as an island nation, frequently forget that we are surrounded by the sea.  Waters that are so full of fish much of it are sustainable and of great value.  Pollack and Mackerel are great examples of this and taste beautiful.

We cooked: Pan Fried Fillet of Bream – served with warm Tomato Salsa

Pan Fried Fillet of Bream – served with warm Tomato Salsa

This is a lovely dish, we used a red bream, but it works well with a variety of fish – get your fishmonger to scale & fillet and check for bones.  Alternative fish: Sea bass, Mullet, Gunard – check pricing as this is driven by availability and seasonality.

How to Pan-Fry Fish Fillets

  1. Pan-frying fish is one of the most delicious ways to cook any non-fatty fish. If you have skin on, cook skin side down, if you don’t have the skin – coat it, with either flour or a combination of flour, egg, bread crumb…in that order – The coating protects the flesh from direct heat and helps keep the fish moist, while also providing a browned and crispy or crunchy crust. The method avoids a large amount of oil (not to mention the mess) required for deep frying.

Assuming Skin on

  1. Pat fillets dry using a piece of paper towel. Using a sharp knife, make 2 shallow cuts lengthways into skin of each fillet. Sprinkle skin with salt.
  2. Put a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When pan is hot, add oil. Add fillets, skin-side down, in a single layer. Cook for 4 minutes or until skin is crisp and fish is cooked to halfway up fillets. Turn fillets over using a fish slice utensil and cook for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Add butter and cook for a further 30 seconds or until fish is almost cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside in pan to rest for 2 minutes. (Fish flesh is delicate and will continue to cook from the residual heat in the hot pan.)
  5. Serve fillets drizzled with pan juices and your favourite accompaniment.

Tomato Salsa

We love this with fish, it works cold…but make in advance and then once you have pan fried your fish, use the same pan and warm through the salsa…..delicious.

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 4-6 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • small splash of white wine vinegar
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ½ bunch of coriander, roughly chopped


  1. Combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, white wine vinegar, lime juice and coriander in a bowl. Stir, then refrigerate until ready.  Serve cold or warm through before serving.

Fennel Stuffed oily fish with Beurre Blanc Sauce

This works with oily fish, mackerel is perfect if in season (as the water warms in April/ May) and this recipe is based on mackerel – but you can substitute if earlier in the year with at herring, trout, sardines.

Keep your mackerel whole, your fishmonger will  clean for you, mackerel doesn’t need to be scaled.  You could take the fillets and tie together.

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 4 whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned.  We would leave the head on, but you can remove
  • One bulb of fennel – these vary in size
  • A few sprigs Fresh Thyme, Fresh Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Slice Fennel, mix with thyme and parsley, season with salt and pepper –  Fill cavity of mackerel; bake in 180C for 15 mins depending on fish size

Beurre Blanc

Beurre blanc is a simple butter-based emulsified sauce that’s great with fish or seafood.

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 250g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 125ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • Salt, Pepper to taste
  • Lemon to squeeze


  1. Put the diced shallot and white wine in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. The shallot should be softened but not coloured.
  2. Remove from the heat, add cubed butter and whisk until you have a nice sauce consistency.
  3. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and pass through a sieve if you choose to. Add a little black pepper and salt to taste.

Hake or cod loin with Herb Crust – served with new potatoes and green beans

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • Handful grated Parmesan
  • 1 lemon
  • 25g breadcrumbs
  • 2 sprigs of thyme,  leaves only
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 250g French beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 hake fillets – even sized.  If hake isn’t readily available, cod or haddock are great
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Heat your oven to 180°C
  2. Grate in the lemon zest and mix with the parmesan
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and most of the thyme leaves. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and mix.
  5. Scrub the potatoes and chop into equal sized chunks. Place in a pan and cover with salted boiling water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 mins till nearly cooked through.
  6. While the potatoes simmer, trim the French beans. Halve them. Add them to the potatoes after they have simmered for 10 mins. Cook for 2 mins. Drain the potatoes and beans, then leave to dry in the colander.
  7. Place the hake fillets on a baking tray lined with baking paper, skin-side down. Spoon the parmesan and herb crust over the top of them and press it down. Bake for 10-12 mins till the fish is cooked through (white and flaky) and the crust is golden.
  8. While the fish cooks, peel and thinly slice the garlic. Place the pan you used to cook the potatoes back on the heat. Pour in 1 tbsp oil. Add the garlic, potatoes and beans. Cook for 5 mins to warm everything through, stirring now and then. Squeeze in juice from half the lemon and add plenty of salt and pepper.
  9. Pile the beans and potatoes onto 2 plates and pop the hake on top.
  10. Serve as is or with a handful of peppery salad leaves or baby spinach.
  11. Garnish with the thyme leaves and serve.

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