Saturday, 20 November 2010

Pan Fried Coley Fillet with Spicy Salsa and New Potatoes

Coley, coalfish, saithe - all are different names for the same fish, a member of the cod family. Coley does not enjoy the same culinary reputation as its cousin, the cod, which is a shame, as it can be an excellent eating fish, provided it is cooked appropriately. It also retails at a fraction of the price of cod and is in much more plentiful supply than the seriously endangered cod.

The salsa for this recipe should be prepared first.

Salsa Ingredients (Serves Two)

2 medium tomatoes
3 spring/salad onions (scallions)
1 clove of garlic
1 small red chilli pepper
2 large basil leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of quarter of a lemon
Salt and pepper


The tomatoes should be halved and a teaspoon used to scoop out and discard the seeds and watery core. They should then be moderately finely chopped and added to a mixing bowl. The garlic clove should be peeled and finely chopped, while the seeds and membrane should be removed from the chilli before it too is finely chopped. (The salsa should not be so hot as to overpower the fish.) The spring onions should be finely sliced and the basil leaves finely torn before both are added. The lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil should be poured in, the salsa stirred well and seasoned to taste. It should then be covered with clingfilm and refrigerated until required.

When the salsa is in the fridge, the potatoes should be washed but not peeled and added to a pan of cold, slightly salted water. They should then be put on a high heat to reach a boil, before the heat is reduced to let them simmer for thirty minutes.

This is approximately a half pound fillet of coley. It is important that you purchase it with the skin still on. It will take five or six minutes only to pan fry, so it should start being prepared for the pan around ten minutes before the potatoes are ready.

An ounce of butter should be melted in a non-stick pan. The coley fillet should then be patted on the skin side only in some flour seasoned with salt and pepper, before being placed in to what should be the slightly browning butter, skin side down. The flesh side should then be seasoned with salt. It should be fried on a fairly high heat for three or four minutes until it can be seen from the side to have cooked most of the way through. The heat should then be reduced and the fillet turned on to the flesh side for the final couple of minutes.

The potatoes should be drained and returned to the pot with a little butter. The coley fillet should be added to the plate skin side up. Some salsa should be spooned on the side and the potatoes also presented. Whether the coley fillet is served with the skin on, or it is carefully removed with a knife beforehand, is entirely a matter of personal preference.

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