This simple dish of fresh sprats and kale fits the bill completely when I’m feeling particularly virtuous and clean-living…..which unfortunately is too often these days. ‘Really tasty’ and ‘incredibly healthy’ being the main two criteria, is often what I aspire to with my cooking; I don’t always get there with both things and one is more frequently settled for.
It’s seems funny that most of my cooking comes down to these two really fundamental but subjective influences. Is it going to be really tasty? Is it going to be nutritious for the recipients? These things I come back to time and time again.
I rediscovered Bolsts curry powder a couple of years ago in a local Asian supermarket and instantly recognised the old-style (but not retro) branding. It’s much like a Sharwoods type of mix but infinitely superior……..sorry Sharwoods fans….and has a very nostalgic taste for me. I bought a small drum of the mild variety, as they come in 2 sizes and 2 heat intensities. Once I’d cracked open the tin-can-sealing and caught a whiff of imagined potential curries to come I realised that the grinding of my own spices might take a back burner. Excuse the culinary pun.
This simple and modest plate of fish and veg was sublime.
PREPARATION TIME 5-10 MINS
COOKING TIME 10 MINS
TOTAL TIME 15-20 MINS
FOR 2 PEOPLE
12-16 fresh sprats
50g of plain white flour or rice flour
salt and pepper
2 level teaspoons of Bolst’s mild curry powder or equivalent.
250g kale or purple sprouting broccoli.
knob of butter or dash of EV olive oil.
Wash greens and allow to dry for a while. Put flour and spice mix into a bowl and mix together with generous amount of salt and pepper. Empty the fish into the flour/spice mix and with your hands get all the fish coated with the mix. Use a wide and heavy frying pan if you can and add some olive oil for frying. Get the pan to a medium and definitely not fierce heat and carefully add the fish one at a time. After around 5 mins turn fish over for another 5 mins and turn out onto a warm plate to cover for a short while or put in a low oven to keep warm.
Once the fish has started cooking, steam the greens in a little boiled water from the kettle to speed things up. Peek under the pan lid to check on the greens every couple of minutes to make sure it hasn’t dried up and add more boiling water if necessary. Depending on how small you decided to cut them up, they should be done with a bit of bite left in around 10 mins. Drizzle over some EV olive oil or add a knob of butter with some salt and pepper.
You may have to do the fish in 2 batches if you havn’t a really wide pan but once they’re cooked – which should coincide with greens, serve onto 2 warmed plates with some chopped fresh coriander and a thick wedge of lemon. These are gorgeous just eaten whole with no faffing around – heads and all! (Matthew)