Fish and absent friends

So, I am going to sound like a martyr in a minute. I tell you this as a prewarning so that if you don’t want to hear my sob story of how I ended up like Billy no Mates sat on my own with the largest piece of fish in the kingdom, you can turn away now. I wouldn’t recommend doing so because you’ll miss some really tasty fish but that’s your choice and I won’t prevent you from doing so.

Last night, I left work and hurried home to prepare supper for the many and varied people living in my house at the moment. I am nothing, if not accomodating. So anyway, I hurried home and didn’t even allow myself time to read this week’s Heat magazine, released on a Tuesday, so that I could get supper ready.

I’ve been hankering after a piece of salmon a lot recently. I think it’s probably having been down in Cornwall, eating lots of fish (more on this to follow in the next week). With this in mind, I ventured out to the new Tesco the other night, now I know I don’t like Tesco but this one is supposed to be the biggest in Europe so I thought it needed investigating, and they had a nice fresh fish counter. There’s a shocking lack of good fishmongers in Liverpool which is particularly strange when you remember that we’re by the sea. It’s hard to forget that at the moment with the gale force winds blowing in off the waterfront and near fashion disasters caused by skirts and such weather. Move over Marilyn is all I can say! So anyway, lacking a good fishmonger locally and that’s open when I’m out of work, I had a little chat with the fishmonger in Tesco and they had some lovely looking sides of salmon. I chose a relatively small one but being a whole side none of them were very small. It was an absolute bargain at £5 for nearly 2.5kg of fish.

I knew that whatever I cooked would have to go with asparagus as this is the last week of the season now and I am intending to cook and eat asparagus every night of this week. I’m beginning to think the 4 bunches I bought back from home won’t be enough and I’m considering sending word down to Oxford to send one last care package up! In the end, I decided to play it simple (I’m beginning to suffer anxiety that my cooking of late has been far too simple, I blame other blogs with amazing photos and recipes!) and make a nice breadcrumb crusted with herbs and lemon and serve it with a hollandaise. Now confession time, being a week night I chose to use hollandaise out of a jar, I wasn’t daring to risk curdling eggs on a Tuesday night. Everyone knows that Tuesdays are the longest day of the week!

The herbs, the lemon, the hollandaise, the asparagus; this can all be amended, changed to suit the mood you’re in. I used parsley and thyme because I think these go so well with salmon and I used lemon because I have a lemon addiction but you could use lime and rosemary or orange and sage or any other combination you could conceive of. I also utilised the Magimix, partly because it was out on the side and partly because it makes this the most simple job. I used sourdough bread for the breadcrumbs because it has that ‘stale’ quality that makes breadcrumbs more crunchy.

This is where the sad part comes in. No one came home. Not a soul. I ate as large a piece as I could manage and yet there was still loads left over but I have my eye on it in the fridge and I’m thinking some lovely cold salmon salads and pastas will be pouring forth this week. I have a dream (perhaps that turn of phrase is a bit grandiose for cold fish) of making an old school potato salad and forking in large chunks of salmon and grilled asparagus. I have some lovely cornish new potatos in the fridge crying out for such treatment!

Salmon Fillet with Herb and Lemon Crust

these are in the quantities I used but you could do this with any size piece of fish

  • 2kg piece of salmon side (or cod or haddock or smoked haddock or pollock or hake or any large wide fish)
  • 3 large handfuls of stale sourdough bread (or white sliced or brown or anything you have to hand)
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • handful of parsley
  • tablespoon of thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Take your food processor and throw in your bread. Whizz till it’s fine. If you were doing this by hand, you could chop this up with a large knife or tear until it’s crumbish.
  2. Once finely chopped, throw in most of the lemon juice and zest, add salt and pepper, the herbs and a large glug of olive oil and whizz again till you have a brightly coloured breadcrumb mix.
  3. Place the salmon on a large baking tray skin side down. I lay greaseproof paper on the bottom of the tray because it fuses with the salmon skin and means that this gets left behind when you remove the fish from the tray once cooked. I can’t stand salmon skin so this makes me far happier!!
  4. Sprinkle the remaining lemon juice and zest across the top of the salmon with a good grinding of black pepper. Then spread the breadcrumbs across the top of this patting down lightly, if they’re too squished they won’t be crispy.
  5. Place in a preheated oven at about 180 c – last night it took about 30 minutes to cook through the widest part as the breadcrumbs keep the heat from it for longer. It doesn’t tend to dry out though as the breadcrumbs act like a kind of warm blanket.
  6. The fish is cooked when it’s an opaque pink the whole way through.
  7. Serve with asparagus and hollandaise sauce!



a lemon

making the crumbs

before the oven

after the oven, the colour was much more green in real life – I blame the bad camera! again!


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