"In my hierarchy of leftovers, fish rides high; in fact, it's right at the top of the list. Given the preciousness of it as a resource, the perils of getting it to shore and the rightful expense of buying it, I don't want to waste even a morsel." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
We had fish for dinner on Saturday. Barramundi no less. Supposedly Australia's best fish, although I think I have decided that I can take it or leave it. Indeed mostly leave it. There's something about the taste that doesn't appeal. That said it was a pretty nice dish - Delia's Californian grilled fish, that you served with a lime and coriander tartare sauce. (On the left, and mine looked almost as good). I bought two fillets, but we have almost a whole one left - the somewhat more unprepossessing remains you see on the right. And Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is right. I simply can't throw them out.
With leftover fish my gut reaction is to make fish cakes. I adore fish cakes. Indeed I will make them sometimes with tinned fish as a special meal. But we had some recently and so I would like to try something different this time. But what?
The ones shown here are rather fancier than mine which are generally the fish mixed with mashed potatoes and whatever extra flavourings I fancy or have to hand. These are Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Arancini patties. So not really the same thing as plain old-fashioned fish cakes. But I was thinking about having a go because, although I don't have any leftover risotto I do have some leftover cooked rice - and mozzarella.
Of course you can also tart up your ordinary old fish cakes by turning them into rösti) like Delia's Salmon rösti shown here - or latkes if you prefer to call them that. But really they're just fishcakes with grated potatoes rather than mashed. Or you could call them potato and fish croquettes and pretend they are tapas, but fundamentally they are the same thing really aren't they? Just a different shape? The ones shown here are from Tom Hunt.
No, today fish cakes don't cut the custard. I'd like to try something new and maybe even exciting.
So should I try fish pie? It's new - well to me anyway, although probably not what you would call exciting. I mean it's the other traditional thing to do with leftover or tinned fish in England. And this is Jamie Oliver's Fantastic fish pie. An absolutely typical example of the genre. It's the sort of thing that crops up every now and then in the supermarket magazines. Fundamentally you fry off some vegetables - whatever you have to hand no doubt though spinach seems to be a favourite. Indeed spinach is a favourite for most of the leftover fish dishes. Celery, carrot, onion, maybe. Flavourings of lemon and some kind of herb. All mixed with your flaked fish in a creamy or milky - or I suppose tomatoey - sauce, topped with cheesy mashed potato and baked in the oven. A sort of fishy Shepherd's pie. Now I would be willing to give that a go, but I suspect it wouldn't really be David's thing. So no. I'm not feeling brave enough.
There's potted fish of course - also from Tom Hunt - and probably pretty delicious, but it's not really a meal is it? It's more of a first course or a snack or part of mezze kind of lunch. Rillettes are a variation on the theme. I often make a smoked fish pâté and it's utterly delicious, but, like I said, not really a meal.
Soup? Specifically chowder since this is a white fish that I have here. Now I would love this. I do like a chowder - a thick white corn flavoured fishy soup. Well sometimes just corn flavoured. This one is from a blog called Crumb but there are lots of other examples out there. And it doesn't have to be a chowder, it could be any kind of soup from a Mediterranean tomatoey kind to an Asian kind of laksa. But again I don't think David would go for it. He does like soup and he does like chowder, but very probably not a fish chowder or soup.
Pasta? I found two examples here - one a baked gratin from Jacques Pépin and one just a generic kind of pasta. No need for a recipe here - make it up with whatever you've got to hand, remembering that the Italians don't do cheese with a fish pasta.
No I think what I shall do is a kind of cheat's kedgeree courtesy of Food52. They used salmon but I'm pretty sure it would work with barramundi too. Maybe I could put a bit of smoked salmon in to spice it up a bit. There are two other things that are particularly appealing about this - the fact that it's made with leftover rice - I have some waiting to be used and the fact that they suggest using a Patak's curry paste for the flavour. And I have that too - leftover from a thrown together curry from a jar last week. Plus the coriander that needs using. They suggest spinach and that's a good idea too. I'll check the silver beet in the garden but if there isn't much of that, perhaps some frozen spinach. I definitely have some of that.
I just hope I don't make so much that I have yet more leftovers of leftovers to use.
I'm ignoring all the suggestions for salads and spring rolls, and tacos and sandwiches and burgers. They're things that don't really appeal to me. Stuffed omelettes, stuffed anything really, fried rice ... You are limited only by your imagination.
And here's a thought from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. You can even eat fish skeletons - although he suggests only soft fish skeletons like mackerel and sardines, and not for the children. Not sure but he does make them look tempting. Or rather his photographer does. You coat them with a seasoned spicy flour, deep fry and serve with lemon. Crunchy.
And you can do the same with fish skin too - lots of other cooks recommend that.