Oct. 7th, 2010

strange_raptors: Samuel Whiskers from Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Tom Kitten" (Samuel Whiskers cooking)
This afternoon, Footnote and I visited the fish wholesalers and bought two swordfish steaks, eight scallops (with roe still attached), and a piece of smoked haddock. We had the scallops for lunch, based on a Nigel Slater recipe:

1) Fry scallops in some oil on a high heat for a minute or two on the first side. (Warning: They will spit an awful lot)
2) Flip them (the cooked sides should now be a golden colour) and cook for another minute or two. 
3) Remove scallops from the pan, add a large piece of butter and some sliced garlic and stir butter and garlic in the pan so that the beautiful, beautiful pan scrapings melt into the butter. Cook for a minute or two.
4) Add freshly cooked pasta to the pan and coat with the garlicky, buttery, pan juices. Add lemon zest.
5) Serve, with some lemon on the side.

That went down exceedingly well (it's a lovely recipe, and really brings out the scallops' sweetness). Then for dinner we fried the swordfish steaks in the griddle, and served them with sautéed potatoes, green beans, and hollandaise sauce. It was the first time I'd tried swordfish and I can't say I was all that taken with it (certainly not as nice as tuna, and perhaps a little less nice than salmon). I thought the nicest part of the meal was dipping green beans into the hollandaise. 

People say making hollandaise is difficult, as it has a tendency to curdle. Generally I've found the following recipe fairly foolproof (using one egg yolk to approximately 66g of butter):

1)  Place the egg yolk(s) in a heatproof bowl (pyrex is really good) over a pan of gently simmering water. Add a splash of a water and whisk a little.
2) Cut the butter up into little cubes.
3) Add two of the cubes to the egg yolk(s) and whisk in.
4) Repeat step 3) until you have no more butter.
5) Remove the bowl from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Whilst on holiday in Lyme Regis we had some of the nicest fish and chips I've had for a long time -- the fish batter crisp, the fish inside soft and delicate, and the chips crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle. They were absolutely perfect. I do slightly despair of the fish and chip situation in Oxford, indeed I think it's one of the city's main food flaws. But when you're in the middle of the country, I guess you can't expect much. 

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