Contrary to what the first part of the above title may suggest, this post is actually a celebration of all the wonderful things that can be found under the Sea, and has nothing to do with rather suspicious or shady affairs with handsome Italian business men in Armani suits. (Sorry to disappoint you)
Although I will always attempt to eat vegetarian, there are days when I simply cannot resist the enticing call of a wonderful fish dish. (After all, I am a Pieces.)
The following dishes are true showstoppers that will make for a perfect Sunday meal with the family. They are full with bold flavours, colours and textures and will satisfy your fishy cravings in a heartbeat.
Oriental Fish Fingers with a Thai-inspired Warm Noodle Salad
These fish fingers are without a doubt the best on the entire planet. Yes, I repeat: the best. You can also use this method to make crispy prawns, scallops, salmon and vegetarian alternatives such as tofu.
For the Fish fingers:
- 600gr of strong white fish, cut into thick strips
- 100gr desiccated coconut
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of chili powder
- Salt and pepper
For the sweet-and-spicy dip:
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 5 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tsp sesame oil
For the warm noodle salad:
- 300gr soba noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the package
- 2 red chilies, finely sliced
- 2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pak choi, cut into chunks
- 1 red pepper, cut into strips
- 200gr bean sprouts
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- Lots of fresh coriander
- Handful of sesame seeds
- Juice one 1 lime
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Season the chunks of fish with salt and pepper and a tiny bit of chili powder. Place the flour onto a plate. Place the beaten eggs into a wide bowl and place the desiccated coconut on another plate. Take a piece of fish and dust it in the flour, next dip it in the egg (allowing any excess to drip off) and finally into the coconut. Put the fish fingers on a large plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This is an essential step in creating the perfect fish fingers, so do not be tempted to skip it!)
- Meanwhile, make your dipping sauce by mixing everything together and pouring the sauce into individual serving jars.
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large wok and add the pak choi, ginger, chili, garlic, and red pepper and fry 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked noodles and beans sprouts and add all the other sauces and lime juice. Stir in the sesame seeds and season to taste. Finish with lots of coriander and spring onion.
- Deep-fry the fish fingers for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a wedge of lime, the sweet and spicy dip and the fragrant noodles.
Red Bream and Pesto lasagna
What makes this lasagna truly stand out is the home-made basil and almond pesto. Sure, you can just use store-bought pesto if you want, to save yourself the time and effort, but trust me: this pesto will transform an already great lasagna into an I-can’t-stop-eating-this-is-sooo-good lasagna.
For the basil and almond pesto:
- 2 huge bushes of fresh basil
- 50gr parmesan cheese
- One clove of garlic
- Handful of white almonds
- Salt and pepper
- Good quality olive oil
For the lasagna
- Sheets of dried lasagna (no-precooking necessary)
- 2 large courgettes, cut into 0,5cm slices
- 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 500ml tomato passata
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp harissa
- 500-600 gr red bream filet, cut into strips
- Home-made pesto
- 200gr mozzarella, cut into thin slices
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grill the courgette slices for a couple of minutes on each side until you get a lovely griddle effect. Set aside.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion and pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato passata, oregano, balsamic vinegar and harissa. Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Make the pesto by blending all the ingredients together. The pesto should have a rather thick consistency and look more like a tapenade rather than a pesto.
- Grease individual baking dishes with butter and start assembling the lasagna. First a layer of lasagna sheets, then the courgette slices topped with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then another layer of lasagna sheets, followed by the fish topped with a generous layer of that home-made pesto. Now another layer of lasagna sheets and another of the courgettes and tomato sauce. Finish with a final layer of lasagna sheets and spread some remaining pesto over the top. Put the mozzarella cheese on top of the lasagna and put in the oven for 30 minutes.