Sunday, March 05, 2006
Fish for Friends
My great friend Peter was over all to briefly from France (see Le Log Lillois) and so we invited him over for supper. Peter is a pescatarian (or 'pesky vegetarian' as I have heard them referred to) and so obviously this determined dinnertime fare.
One trip to the fishmonger later and I was prepared to make my version of a tomato and fish stew, perfect for a bitterly cold February night. This is also a great dish to make if you not sure what time everyone is expected to arrive as the sauce can be made in advance and then the final stages will only take around 10 mins to perform.
Tomato Fishy Stew (serves 3 hungry people or 4 who are less ravenous)
1 onion, finely sliced
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1tsp ground cumin
3tsp ground coriander
1/2tsp ground ginger
few branches of thyme
400g tin cherry tomatoes in juice (plus 200g tin chopped toms in juice)
red wine (a soft pinot noir is ideal)
large pinch of saffron threads
1 tuna steak
1 salmon fillet
1 cod fillet
150g large cooked tiger prawns
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Soften the onion and celery in olive oil for around 10 minutes and then add the garlic. Tip in the tomatoes with their juices, the herbs and spices, a good splurge of ketchup and bubble away on a medium to high heat for around 10 minutes. Season with a good grinding of pepper.
When the tomatoes have reduced to a pulp, pour in a glass of red wine and bubble again for around another 10 minutes. Taste and season to your liking. Turn off the heat if your guests have not yet arrived and avoid the temptation to keep on tasting (or maybe that's just me!).
Meanwhile, cut the fish fillets into large bite-size chunks and season with ground pepper. Mix in the prawns and put to one side.
Pour a little boiling water over the saffron threads in a saucer and leave to infuse.
When your supper companions are comfortably settled on the sofa with a glass of wine in hand, re-heat the tomato sauce, add the saffron/water mixture and chuck in the fish. Stir, leave over a low to medium heat for approximately 5-10 minutes (depends on how 'done' you like your fish) and then serve, sprinkled with a good pinch or two of the parsley with a bowl of new potatoes and one of greens.
I apologise to friends who recognise this dish - it's become one of those recipes that I can turn out automatically without having to concentrate terribly hard. Still, we all need them and gathering from the clean plates, no-one was disappointed.