James St Recipes: Niall McKenna's salt-baked bream and cod, Comber potatoes and chorizo
THIS week's recipes are two delicious fish dishes that showcase the best of Northern Ireland's finest produce.
The first dish is a salt-baked sea bream, a firm favourite when on the menu in our restaurants. This cooking technique can also be used on sea bass or trout if you prefer.
The second dish showcases seasonal Comber potatoes accompanied by fresh cod and spicy chorizo to give the dish a Spanish twist.
For more information, or to book an experience at the Waterman Cookery School, visit cookinbelfast.co.uk.
SALT-BAKED SEA BREAM
1 large sea bream, approx 800-900g, scaled, trimmed and gutted
2 eggs, whites only
1lb sea salt
To cook preheat the oven at 200C.
Ensure the fish is scaled, cleaned, and gutted before you cook. Always rinse the exterior of the fish again as there is nothing worse than eating a scaly fish. Next, trim all the fins off the fish
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and stir in the salt. Place the fish on a baking tray and cover with the egg white and salt mixture, leaving the head and tail exposed.
Place in the oven until the fish eyes go white, or 25 minutes have passed.
Remove the fish from the oven and leave to cool. After 5 minutes the salt exterior should be hard so knock with spoon. It should crack, and you can remove. Place the fish on a roasting tray and serve with a wedge of lemon, drizzle of olive oil and boiled new potatoes.
For this recipe, you can also use sea bass or trout.
COD, COMBER POTATO AND CHORIZO
4 x 250g portions of cod
4 razor clams, washed
10 comber potatoes, halved
2 small chorizo sausage, sliced
25g flat leaf parsley, removed from stalk and chopped
1 lemon, juice only
2tbsp rapeseed oil
2 knobs butter
salt and pepper to season
Start by boiling the Comber potatoes in salted water until al dente and drain.
Do not fully cook as these will be pan-fried next. Leave the potatoes to cool before cutting in half lengthways.
Next, heat the oil in a large pan and once hot, season the cod with salt and pepper and place skin side down.
If you look at the side of the fish in the pan you will see the colour of the flesh changing, from translucent to white, this means the fish is cooking.
When cooked three-quarters of the way up, turn the fish.
Now, add the potatoes, flat side down, and the chorizo to the pan. Add butter and cook until bubbling.
At this point, remove the fish and place it on to a plate. Add the razor clams to the pan and cook until open, this will take no more than 90 seconds.
The potatoes and chorizo should have a nice golden colour, which is what you want.
At this point check for seasoning, if required add salt and pepper.
Add a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley and serve with the cod.
To complete the dish, pour over the juices from the pan.