How could I never have made a hollandaise sauce! I watch so many cooking shows so I had to try my hand at it. A fillet of vanjiram each topped with a sundried tomato and black olive ‘capanata’, green beans sauted in soy sauce and garlic and a buttery lemon hollandaise. Surely, it’s not Thursday…Bursts of culinary inspiration usually take charge on fridays – the working week is done and there’s time to relax and think beyond dal, chawal, rajma, subzi (rice, dal, beans and veg). If there is one skill I really pride myself on having learned (still more learning to do of course) through youtube videos, is how to fillet fish. Now all I need is one of those sharp bendy filleting knives and a pin boner (my birthday is in April in case anyone needs to know). So I use a regular knife, expertly sharpened by the DH on his Ray Mears style sharpening stone from Russia. And the tweezers that once uprooted the stray eyebrow has been recommissioned to pin bone fish. My advice if you are a self taught fish filleter: start with small oily fish like mackerel or sardines. If you can successfully fillet one of those, you can easily tackle the bigger fish. Each fish is different but the techniques used are similar. Here’s a great video to start with, from the good people at UK Good Food.
Dinner came together because of a series of left overs and pre-made frozen gems. We’d bought a big Vanjiram/Seer a month back, filleted 6 pieces, eaten two and frozen the rest. I’d also made some sundried tomatoes last week, recipe here which we used for a rigatoni on the weekend. And a few black olives lay drifting in their black juices. Some left over breadcrumbs with coriander and garlic (that I’d used for stuffed mushrooms, a recipe on that one later). So all these leftovers and I chanced upon Delia’s caponata recipe which gave me the idea for the sundried tomato, black olive and breadcrumb topping for the fish.
So here’s the recipe for light and healthy Thursday dinner – done in 25 minutes I kid you not (provided you have some store cupboard essentials and can achieve a degree of multi-tasking).
1.Preheat oven to 200 degree centigrade.
2. While the oven is heating up, top and tail the green beans – use only the thin dark green french ones and not the horrible pale green big flat Indian ones we usually get.Wash the beans and set aside.
2. In a blender lightly pulse the sundried tomatoes and black olives with the olive oil of the sundried tomatoes – adjust seasoning if required. Add to breadcrumbs, two cloves minced garlic and a sprinkling of parmesan and taste for seasoning. Parmesan is optional. I ran some chopped coriander through my breadcrumbs – any herb will do.
3.Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel and lay them skin side down on a baking tray or non-stick tray. Oil the fish on both sides. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt on each fillet and season with black pepper. With the skin side down place the sundried tomato and breadcrumb mix on to the fillets packing it on well so it sticks. Place in the hot oven for 15 to 20 mins, no longer. If you want the breadcrumbs crispy then sprinkle separately on top and don’t mix with the sundried tomatoes and olives.
4. While the fish is cooking, make the hollandaise. In a blender add 3 egg yolks, 1 tbsp of lemon juice or 1/2 tbsp of lime juice, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or less if you don’t want it spicy). In a saucepan, gently warm 100gms of butter till it melts – do not let it boil or it will lose moisture and it’ll be too hot. Use a low flame and keep stirring till the butter has melted. Turn the blender on and blitz the egg yolks for 20 seconds then drizzle in the butter slowly while the blender is running until the butter is over. Don’t pour in the fat solids that collect at the bottom, If the butter is too hot, the sauce will split. So make sure the butter is just warmed through. Taste and adjust for the lemon, salt or chilli. If you use salted butter you might want to hold the salt until the sauce is ready then add salt. Pulse one or twice after each addition of any seasoning. Sauce is done. This recipe from Simply Recipes. Hollandaise is usually quite lemony which is why it goes well with fish.
5. Boil water in a saucepan. When boiling chuck in the green beans for 3 mins. Then drain and refresh the beans under cold running water or in a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking and retain their colour.
6. Heat sesame oil (gingelly oil) in a wok. When hot add the green beans, 3 cloves minced garlic, salt and 2 lugs of soya sauce. The soya sauce should form a sticky coating around the beans. Adjust the seasoning as required. If you’ve got seasame seeds sprinkle those on top, they make a nice addition.
7. Serve up the baked fish with the garlicy soya green beans and drizzle with hollandaise sauce. If you have time for some boiled new potatoes, a bit of carbohydrate couldn’t hurt. This can take you under 30 mins to make.