Day 42: Gurnard, Samphire, Tomato, Potato, Wild Garlic
inspired by Artusi
As much as I’m enjoying my explorations into buying food online, direct from producers, it’s not without its pitfalls.
I spend a lot of my time online shopping. Or I used to anyway. As a Theatre Designer I would spend hours online buying props and costumes for shows. Most of the time it is, by far, the most time and cost effective way to shop.
However there are the odd hiccups. Like that time I thought I had found a gorgeous antique side table on eBay for the bargain price of £20. I missed a key word in the description. Miniature.
Imagine my surprise when the courier turned up, not with a table, but a tiny little box. Yep, I had just purchased a (really quite expensive) piece of dolls house furniture!
I seem to have had the opposite problem with my fish order from Fresh Cornish Fish.
Particularly with the gurnard.
Now I have never eaten gurnard before. But I wanted to start eating more British fish. Apparently these fish are often discarded as there isn’t the demand for them.
I’m going to give this fish a try.
So I think a gurnard looks like this. Pretty small right?
That fish looks big enough for one person. So I order two gurnards, filleted.
When my order turned up last week there they were.
Four enormous gurnard fillets.
I have accidentally ordered enough for eight people.
I really hope I like gurnard.
So now just the small matter of what on earth to do with it all. Six portions go into the freezer, which is a squeeze.
In fact all this extra fish going into the freezer means that quite a few portions of soup (marked rather vaguely as “veg”) are coming out. That’s lunch sorted for the rest of the week then.
The last two gurnard fillets go into the fridge.
Waiting to be made into this dish inspired by Artusi.
Artusi is a local Italian restaurant in Peckham. The menu changes every day to reflect the best local produce on offer. When I go on their website I see they have a gurnard on their sample menu so I’m onto a winner.
I’ve not had their gunard dish, or even seen a photo of it. So I’m having to make this up as I go along.
“Gurnard, Samphire, Tomato, Potato, Wild Garlic”
This is all I have to go on…. my list of ingredients.
I decide to keep the fish simple and just pan fry it. For the potatoes I boil them and then fry them in some olive oil with the wild garlic stalks. I make a sort of tomato stew/sauce for it all to sit on.
And best of all I get to buy some samphire from the supermarket to go with it! I love samphire. If I see a dish with it on a restaurant menu I’m bound to order it.
But weirdly I never bother to buy it. Or cook it myself. In not sure why. It’s easy to cook. Simply drop in boiling water for a couple of minutes and it’s ready. Just don’t add salt to the water. Samphire is salty enough already.
I decide for a chef-y flourish to make a parsley oil. I’ve never made a herb oil before but I have so much parsley at the moment I don’t want it to go to waste. OK yes, I admit the parsley was another online purchase. 150g of parsley doesn’t sound like a lot. At least I know I like parsley!
I put roughly equal amounts of parsley and olive oil in a blender and blitz to a sort of runny pesto consistency. I let it sit in the food processor bowl for an hour (no point putting it into another bowl, save the washing up). Then I transfer the contents to a sieve and let the oil drip through for about an hour. You can squeeze the parsley with the back of a spoon to get out all the lovely green oil. It sounds like a faff but you only have to turn on a food processor and then let it do it’s thing.
I’ve got the leftover oil in my fridge now. I’m going to swirl it on top of all that mystery vegetable soup I’ve had to take out the freezer.
What a relief! I like Gurnard. And I really like this dish. This is definitely one I’ll be making again (or maybe quite a few more times, with the amount of fish in my freezer!)
I still have no idea if this is anything like the gurnard dish that Artusi would serve. Hopefully it’s not too long until I can find out.
At least I know how big a Gurnard is now.
Gurnard, Samphire, Tomato, Potato & Wild Garlic
- 2 gurnard fillets
- 30 g wild garlic
- 3 big tomatoes
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp sundried tomato paste
- 10 new potatoes
- 1 pack samphire
- olive oil
- Slice the garlic clove and add to a pan with some olive oil on a medium heat.
- Roughly chop the larger tomatoes and add them to the pan when the garlic starts to sizzle. Let these cook down slowly for 20 minutes until you have a pulpy sauce. Halve the cherry tomatoes and stir into the sauce with the sundried tomato paste. Season and keep warm until needed.
- Add the new potatoes into boiling water for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked. Drain and allow to dry in the colander.
- Heat a small frying pan on a medium heat. Add the potatoes and let the outside crisp up slightly. Chop the wild garlic roughly, keeping stems and leaves seperate. Add the stems to the potatoes and mix well.
- Heat a non stick frying pan with a lid on a medium high heat. Add olive oil. Season the fish on both sides and, when the oil is hot, add skin side down to the pan. Let the fish sizzle for a couple of minutes and then put the lid on. This will create steam which will help the fish to cook more evenly. When the flesh is almost opaque flip over and take off the heat. Add the sliced wild galric leaves to the pan to wilt.
- Add the samphire to boiling water for two minutes and drain.
- Spoon the tomato sauce onto plates. Add the potatos and then add the gurnard fillets. Scatter with the samphite and the wilted wild garlic.