Friday, 27 September 2013

Dabbling in Dab

The weekend is coming and for me that means a big weekly shop at my local farmers market, yum! I have recently been experimenting with the 'catch of the day' / whatever is cheapest at the fish stall since it seems that whatever I buy there is so fresh it is delicious.

What the fish stall at Parliament Hill Farmer's Market catch varies a lot, but if you see any sand dab, they are well worth a shot. Sand dab are by far the most common flat fish, and very sustainable as wild fish go. When the fish stall does sell them, they you can probably get around three for a fiver so there is no excuse not to treat yourself!

It always amuses me that, like sole, dab are of a type of fish that is born with eyes on the left and right of its head before one eye travels over and the fish becomes a flat fish as it grows up. The sand dab I bought had a delicious, delicate flavour to them much like good lemon sole but much cheaper. The fish are admittedly a little smaller than the more expensive flat fish so arguably a bit more fiddly, but if you cook them right the flesh will slide beautifully off the bones.

My recipe is very simple so you can taste how fresh the fish are.

Dab and Salsa Verde
Serves 3
Prep time: 15 mins
Serving suggestions: warmed up ciabatta and a couple of salads

The Fish
3 large sand dab
1 teacup full of plain white flour
Oil for frying
Lemon to serve

The Salsa Verde
20g basil (leaves picked)
20g mint (leaves picked)
20g parsley ((leaves picked)
4 anchovy fillets
1 small crushed clove of garlic
1 tbsp capers
250ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

For the salsa
Finely slice the herbs (if you use a food processor it won’t be quite as nice) with the crushed garlic, anchovies and capers. I like to use a mezzaluna such as this one since it really speeds up the process. 

Then stir in the lemon and oil until all incorporated and you are done.

For the fish
Dust the fish in seasoned flour. Heat up a large, flat pan with a coating of oil to a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop the fish in and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.