Fish finger sandwich


 

DSC_0338A little backstory on fish fingers from my nostalgic archives. The first time I ever had these was when I was little, nay, wee, hardly a sapling of sorts and my dad had ordered a plate of fish fingers and it was the first time ever I’d set my eyes on something that literally looked like fingers, smelled like fried food and came crumbed in crunchy bits of golden deliciousness.

I had only to bite into them to begin a life long, albeit clandestine love affair with all things crunchy, fried and finger like.

I’d no idea something coming from the aquarium could ever taste so wonderful, and of course as I grew up I since learnt that fish from aquariums aren’t meant to be eaten (usually) and that ones that grow up in rivers and seas are far better, and I’ve since then had a good share of fish fingers tucked in my belly (they sometimes show on weekends) and also gained more insight that as wonderful as they are on their own, they taste even better sandwiched between slices of delicious bread. It could be a carb thing, but fish finger sandwich is a more complete meal, whereas fish fingers are, umm, finger food.

So, for days that need to be substantially filled with something comforting, something extravagant and something out of the ordinary, fish finger sandwich is the answer.

 

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You need a boneless fillet of any sturdy fish. This is a commonly found basa fillet

 

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that I’ve cut into finger wide pieces and lightly salted on both sides. This not only flavours the fish from inside, since there will be many coatings on it, but also helps tighten the raw fish a bit, so it can stand the shallow frying without breaking apart.

 

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Now it’s just a question of assembly. Something of a conveyor belt procedure. I have here a plate of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs

 

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and this is also the part where you can season this dish. I like to season bread crumbs, because that’s the first element to come in contact with your mouth once you bite into these fish fingers. So a cracking rain of fresh pepper.

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imbued with the redness of smoked paprika. It’s these colour from paprika that’ll come through in tones of red orange once the fish fingers are fried.

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so the eggs are beaten, the crumbs are seasoned.

 

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and thus begins the first layering, wherein salted fingers of sliced fish are first placed in flour

 

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to be coated generously on both sides, Be sure to shake off the excess flour

 

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and dip in beaten eggs for the second coating

 

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followed by a burial in gravel like seasoned breadcrumbs for the third and final coat.

 

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This is what all my fish fingers looked like, I let them sit before frying so the final stage could be executed with all the efficiency of a kitchen virtuoso, who could hardly wait to get her hands on these sumptuous  lovelies.

 

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One could deep fry them, but shallow frying is just so much easier, not to mention safer. Fry in a couple tablespoons of oil on a medium high flame.

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I used a fork to turn them on all sides to get an even tan, and added more oil when needed. Never said it was a low calorie recipe.

 

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This was the first fried batch, and I let excess oil drain out on a paper towel. Somewhere around this time I also realized that one single fish fillet ended up making a good many fish fingers and that meant leftovers! Praise be lord.

 

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whip out your favourite bread. I used a whole wheat mini baguette for no reason other than I had this on hand. Spread copious amounts of butter. yes, butter is important.

Now if only someone had at this moment told me that my plate of choice is totally the colour of fish fingers and that it’s going to camouflage the entire sandwich in pictures, I’d have kissed that person on the mouth I tell ya..alas, no help was forthcoming since I was alone and my cat wouldn’t warn of incoming death let alone suitable plates.

 

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spread generously some mayonnaise, a layer of greens (spinach in my case) and tomatoes. In short get all the fixings you’d like in a sandwich. You could be as elaborate or minimal as you like. This is YOUR sandwich.

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layer on them fried fish fingers and voila! You have the most fabulous fish sandwich ever. It’s absolutely out of the world. Crunchy, filling with the distinct flavours of a well cooked fish encased in crispy crumbs entombed in buttery bread with all the fixings. This makes for such a lovely meal that you’d be left reminiscing this moment during your darkest hours. I speak from experience.

But wait! this isn’t the end. What do you do with the remaining fish fingers.

WEll, you can have them as is, or make another breakfast sandwich the next day.

 

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which is precisely what I did. A no frill white bread sandwich, with a layer of butter, a slice of cheese and remaining fish fingers.

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breakfast of ever fattening gods.

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Ingredients

Standard boneless fish fillet  : 1

Salt: 1/2 tsp (or more to taste)

Pepper: 1/2 tsp

Paprika: 1 tsp

Flour: 1 cup (120gms)

Eggs : 2

Breadcrumbs: 100gms (1 cup)

Oil for frying: 3-4 tbsps

For sandwich

Slices of bread or a baguette

Spinach or lettuce leaves: 3-4

Tomato: one small

Butter: 1/2 tbsp

Mayonnaise: 2 tsp

(you can customize this sandwich to your liking. Add mustard or cheese slices or pickles)


Recipe instructions

Cut finger wide pieces of fish and lightly salt on both sides. Keep aside.

Arrange three separate dishes for flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Season the bread crumbs with paprika and pepper and beat the eggs well.

Coat each fish slice with flour. Shake off excess flour and dip into eggs until well coated and finally coat with seasoned bread crumbs till all fish fingers are well crumbed

Shallow fry on medium high heat in enough oil to make it golden and crunchy. Don’t add too many fish fingers in one pan. Add more oil as needed.

Once evenly fried and golden on all sides take them out and let drain on a paper towel.

Smother bread slices with butter and apply a layer of mayonnaise for sandwich. Add a layer of crunchy spinach and juicy tomatoes and top with as many fish fingers as your sandwich can accommodate.

Fish finger sandwich is now ready.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Salmon, baked potatoes & pea puree


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This might look like a chaotic blip of technicolour profusion, but I promise you it’s wholly edible, and not just edible, but lip smacking zen level scrumptious. Zen because it isn’t overloaded with fat or an orchestra of varied spices, and lip smacking because eating so many different colours will only infuse your insides with digestive rainbows, and since when did that become a bad thing?

If you’re still on the healthy eating bandwagon and haven’t budged yet from your new years resolution then as annoying as you might be, this is the perfect recipe for you. It’s fish, it’s potatoes and peas..just three simple instruments to serenade you into making a fantastical composition that looks good and tastes even better. You can make a solitary meal for one or fancy meal for many, either which way it’s just as easy and delicious.

 

DSC_0190 copyjust potatoes, peas (I use frozen), a clove of garlic, salmon fillet and olive oil.(salt and pepper not pictured)

 

DSC_0192let’s prep the potatoes first, since they will take the longest to bake. So peel ’em

 

DSC_0193halve them

 

DSC_0194half each half into half or quarter it as some might suggest

 

DSC_0195dice each quarter into equal pieces.

 

DSC_0197line on a baking sheet

 

DSC_0198drizzle oil

 

DSC_0201salt and peppa!

 

DSC_0202arrange and bake at 190°C for 30 minutes, or until they turn crisp and golden and gorgeous.

 

DSC_0203in the meanwhile as the potatoes bake, bring a pot of water to boil, and add a clove of garlic

 

DSC_0204followed by peas. I use frozen peas, but use whatever you have handy.

 

DSC_0205let ’em boil until the peas are fully cooked, not just tender but totally absolutely tender.

 

DSC_0206fish them out and puree them into a blender or food processor along with the now cooked garlic. Don’t make it into a soup, keep the nubbly texture..it should gloop off a spoon, not drip.

 

DSC_0207finally, salt and pepper on both sides of the fish. (I just have the salt one, but imagine there’s pepper in it too). Try and use a good salt if you can. I’m using Maldon salt.

 

DSC_0212cook on a very hot pan, about 3-4 minutes each side.

 

DSC_0213turn it over. Mine took about 3 minutes each side, but depending on the thickness of your fish you might have to decrease or increase the timings.

 

DSC_0214in the meantime let’s have a look at them potatoes.

 

DSC_0220plate it as you want. I like the pea puree to form the base for the fish to settle on and potatoes on the side. There isn’t much in terms of seasonings and flavourings, and that’s what makes this taste exactly how it should. The peas are sweet with the slightest hint of garlic, the salmon is light and flaky, just enough salt blending with peppery depth, and the potatoes work as a robust accompaniment to these delicate flavours. All in all, a great light meal for anytime of the day.

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Ingredients

olive oil : 1-2 tbsp

garlic: 1 clove

potatoes: 2 medium

salmon fillet: 1 (150g)

peas: 150g (1 cup)

salt and pepper to taste

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Cooking instructions:

peel and quarter your potatoes lengthwise. Cut each segment into equal parts. Line on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and paper, mix well and bake at 190°C for 30 minutes or until crisp and nicely browned.

In a pot of boiling water add garlic and peas and cook until they’re tender. Blend into a nubbly puree.

salt and pepper the salmon on both sides and cook on a very hot lightly oiled pan for about 3-4 minutes until bothe sides are nicely browned and the fish is cooked through.

Arrange on a plate with peas and potatoes and Enjoy!.

 

Chinese spicy fish Hunanese style


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This right here is a fish. This fish is adorned with everything chili. The reds and the greens are just variants of chili.

Before I begin this post, let me tell you exactly why there are so many chillies in, and on the fish. I live in the wonderful Hunan Province in China, where the food is soul witheringly hot. It’s so spicy that your intestines beg for mercy, your tongue commits hara kiri and your lips give up on you. It’s so maddenigly hot that the tears from your eyes are just the beginning. It’s the food that all Hunanese people take pride in and the unbelievable part is that it is absolutely addictive. Once you’ve eaten a tear inducing morsel, you wouldn’t stop. You would be in danger of being disoriented but you will keep shoveling it in your mouth. It’s a perfect blend of extreme spice, vinegar, salt and LOVE. Of course you’d hate your macho instincts next morning.. just saying…

This fish and a lot of other Hunanese speciality was  prepared by my dear friend ‘Nana’ and her husband ‘Mr. Ye’ who always invite us (i.e le moi and the vegetarian husband) to treat us to some of the most extreme yet exciting and delicious food.

DSC_0072My friend Nana

DSC_0088her husband Mr. Ye aka the talented cook

DSC_0099the poor dead fish that was to be cooked. It was a huge monster really.

DSC_0095industrial quantities of dried red chillies (incidentally also the name of this blog)

DSC_0094Enough garlic is also not enough. as many garlic cloves you can find

DSC_0090Green chillies, as many as you can feats your eyes on. this recipe has no moderation. You can make it as spicy or as non spicy as you want. Though the spicier the better.

DSC_0102the fish had to be cut, because it was too big for even the big wok.

DSC_0103Into a very hot wok with a generous amount of oil.

DSC_0104It sizzled I tell you, it sizzled so loud I couldn’t her my phone ring. This was cooked for about 5-7 minutes per side

DSC_0112Cooked side up. All this was happening pretty fast though. The wok was being shaken, the fish being rotated, the sizzling and the smoke and the typically Chinese expertise in lifting the wok every some time from its extremely high flame.

DSC_0116The fish is almost done on both sides.

DSC_0118The mangled fish. Admittedly not so pretty but this isn’t nearly done. The tail is given the same treatment and removed on a plate.

DSC_0124This is the seasoning, the spice, the soul of the fish.

Once the fish including the tail was entirely cooked, it was removed to a plate and into the remaining hot oil some water was added along with the dried red chillies, salt, some chicken stock granules and garlic

DSC_0126A good stirring and some soy sauce, vinegar

DSC_0127back in with the fish and the tail

DSC_0128making sure the fish is well rested on the chillies.

DSC_0129 Mr. Ye added a big of glug of ‘baijiu’ which is a Chinese alcohol (it’s 51% alcohol), extremely strong and crazy. He told me Vodka would work just as well, and I believe a man who handles a wok on fire with such grace.

DSC_0130Soon enough the lid was clamped on for about a minute, nothing more.

DSC_0135Unveiling of the done fish. He didn’t think there were enough chillies, so he added another 30 grams worth vinegary red chillies.. For aesthetic purposes you see.

DSC_0136This is the fish now done. Oh so spicy, so colourful, so wonderful, so bold and so addictive.

This recipe is really nothing defined, once can actually prepare according to your love for the spices. In case if you’re not into chillies then really this isn’t for you at all. However if you happen to love the hot stuff, by all means make it and you will not regret it.

Ingredients

whole fish of your choice. (cleaned and deboned mostly)

dried red chillies chopped coarsely 20-25 pieces

garlic crushed and sliced thin 8-10 cloves.

green chillies sliced thin 10-12 in nos.

Spring onions cut thinly 2-3 in nos.

oil at least 40 mls ( roughly 2.5 tablespoons)

salt to taste

water or chicken stock 100 mls

Chicken stock granules 15 gms (omit if using chicken stock)

vinegar 10 mls (2 teaspoons)

soy sauce 10 mls

baijiu or vodka 30 mls

Recipe:  in a large wok enough to accommodate the fish, heat the oil on a high flame. The oil should start smoking, then add in your fish and cook both sides until almost done.

remove the fish on a plate and in the oil add the chillies followed by the water or chicken stock and let it heat. Add in the garlic, salt and chicken stock (if you are using water). Stir around and don’t let the heat drop, the wok should be fairly hot at all times. If the water evaporates add in more but keep enough to not let anything burn.

Put the fish you’d removed back into the wok, placing them atop the chillies and the thin coating of sauce.

Pour in the alcohol and let it bubble and catch fire.

Clamp on the lid for roughly 1 minute, throw the spring onion on top and serve hot and eat with rice.

Disclaimer: Prepare this fish at your own peril, for this is ferociously hot. Keep a very cold beer upon your person while feasting on the beast. A tub of ice cream is highly recommended post this debauchery.

– Also you can adapt this recipe to suit your spice needs, you can go for mellower chillies, reduce the quantities of chillies etc., but for the full on flavour and a kick to your senses prepare it just the way Mr. Ye did.

Enjoy!!