Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Saffron-Infused Lemon Sole with Lemony Samphire Rice

My third fish dish in a row - I love summer!

This was yet another home coming dish - I was away at a festival all weekend... and definitely in need of a healthy home-cooked dish on my return. After a bath that is - after 4 days in a field that was my top priority!

The festie was amazing - so much better than last year, when we got totally flooded out!! Want to see a pic of my tent last year??

Hmmm... see that puddle on the tent?? Well that's where my head was supposed to be...

At that point we decided to cut our losses and head home. But after hiking 3/4 of a mile through the mud and driving rain to the exit, we were told we couldn't leave... the roads for 10 miles around were flooded to waist-height. It wasn't one of the happier moments in my life!

We got back to the campsite... which by then looked like this...

(That's flowing water by the way!!)

But - spirit of the blitz and all - we stuck it out and had a good time anyway - the sun eventually came out - though the mud was there to stay!!!

What a mission!!!

Anyway, after my little detour, I'll get back to the food blogging! (My pics from this year are still stuck on my phone!)

I think that the festival was my last big occasion of the summer so I hope to get back onto more regular blogging from now on in (barely a post a week in July - shocking!! ;)

As this dish is all my own (as most of them are!!) I'm submitting this dish to Lore over at Culinarty - for the Original Recipe event. This is a great way for people to find brand new recipe - as well as showcase what they have created.

Generally when I create a new recipe, I start with one key ingredient, or idea, then build it up from here. This time I had picked up some gorgeous lemon sole from my fishmonger, and whilst I was there got some samphire for the first time this year. I only tried samphire for the first time last year - it is a great ingredient. Sometime known as the asparagus of the sea, it has a lovely crunch, and a fresh 'sea' taste which really supplements fish dishes. If it is new season, try it raw in salads (give it a good wash first!), or quickly stir fry it with a bit of chilli and garlic. I had been planning to cook potatoes to go with the fish - but I felt that lemons and tomatoes would work really well with the samphire - so brown rice just seemed to match.

And the saffron infusion - well, just because I could!

Saffron-Infused Lemon Sole with Lemony Samphire Rice

Serves 2
  • 2 fillets lemon sole
  • Good pinch saffron
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 150ml milk
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf (preferably fresh)
  • 150g new season samphire
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 600ml fish stock and/or water (I only had 400ml stock, so topped up with water)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large tomatoes - reserve the vine if it has one!
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain flour for dredging
  • Olive oil
  • butter
Prepare the Veggies...
Wash the samphire in cold water and chop it into inch long pieces. Leave to soak for as long as possible - this will stop it being too salty. Bring a pot of water to the boil (don't add salt!) then blanch for a minute or two. Drain and refresh in iced water. Set aside.

Half, then quarter the tomatoes. Remove and discard the seeds, and dice the flesh into 1cm cubes - leaving the skin on. Cover and refridgerate until needed.

Heat a glug of olice oil in a frying pan and gently fry the shallot, garlic and 1/4 of the lemon zest for 3/4 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of fish stock and the juice of half a lemon, then fry until reduced to almost nothing. Set aside.

Make The Saffron Infusion...
Heat 150ml of milk in a pan just big enough to hold the fish. Once boiled remove from the heat and add the bay leaf, peppercorns, turmeric and saffron. Mix well and set aside to cool thoroughly.

Once cooled, add the sole fillet, skin-side up - top up with more milk if required. Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour. (But no more than an hour)

Prepare the Rice...
Wash the rice in several changes of cold water - leave to soak for a while if you have time. Place the rice, tomato puree and water/stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Piece the chilli several times and add to the pot, along with half of the lemon zest. If you reserved the tomato vine, give it a wash and add too - it's amazing the amount of flavour that is held there. (A Heston Blumenthal tip!)

Simmer until the rice is cooked, probably about 30 mins depending on the rice.

Remove the vine and chilli, then add the diced tomatoes. Cook for another 2/3 minutes and turn off the heat. Add the samphire, parsley and onion mixture, mix well and season to taste.

Cook the fish...
Drain and discard the saffron milk from the fish. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then dredge the fish in it - being sure to pat off any excess.

Heat a good glug of olive oil to a medium heat in the pan you cooked the onions in, then gently lay the fish in, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn. Add a couple of knobs of butter and cook for another minute or two, then turn off the heat - allowing the heat from the pan to finish the cooking for you.

Place a couple of spoonfuls of the rice mixture in a bowl, and lay the fillet over it. If you like (I did!) pour the butter from the pan over the fish. Top with a wedge of lemon and a garnish of parsley.


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Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks wonderful. I don't know that I've ever seen samphire for sale around here, but I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled. I love your idea of the saffron infusion.

Jen said...

I've never heard of samphire before... I wonder if it grows in all seas of just near the U.K.

I'm always trying to find news ways of making fish (besides plain broiling or frying). I'd definitely like to try your method.

Peter M said...

Kitty, you handle fish very well, nice browning on the sole.

As for your's all yours...a quaint inn nearby pointing my finger at your quagmire would be more my speed! ;)

glamah16 said...

Whats up with the English and those rained out festivls? But it looks like you managed to salvage some fun and look cute without catching(I would look like a soaked Medusa) pneumonia.The fish looks excellent. Ihave never heard of Samhire, but now I am curious.

Psychgrad said...

Oh yuck...To the mud, not the fish :).

I'm going canoe-camping this weekend and it's supposed to rain

Dee said...

Clever you! It looks gorgeous Kittie :) But erm... what is Samphire rice?

Thanks for the kind words :)

kittie said...

Fearless - your fishmonger is your best bet... it's worth asking too - as mine often doesn't put it out on display!

Jen - according to wikipedia samphire grows on shores in the UK, US and S. Asia, so you might get lucky! Hope you enjoyed your trip!!

Thank you Peter... I think the word quagmire was invented for that festival!

Coco - they weren't supposed to be rained out... God bless the English summer! See below for a samphire pic!

Psychgrad, have a wicked time - and take lots of plastic bags for keeping your things dry!!

dee - samphire is a succulent herb sometimes known as the asparagus of the sea - I served it with rice - but it isn't actually rice itself!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Too bad about the trip--looks a little wet, lol. That fish looks wonderful and I've been trying to cook with seafood a lot more lately, so I'm always on the lookout for good ideas. I'll have to try this very soon...

Kevin said...

That is some nasty weather to be camping in. The fish looks good!

Bellini Valli said...

This does sounds so creative and flavourful Kittie. I will have to Google samphire though but I'm sure something else could substitute:D

Foodycat said...

Yum! Samphire is one of my new favourite things, and I think that sounds gorgeous!