Many of my recipes are from recipe column; I try to have a mixture of complex and simple dishes so that everyone can have a go. If there is anything you don't understand about the recipe, please send me a question and I will make the time to answer. For Americans reading this recipe you can substitute the Plaice Fillets with Flounder or similar flat fish.
If you scroll down you will also find a short video clip showing my more adventurous readers how to cross (x) fillet a plaice. A big thanks to Clare Twiss at M & J Seafood for allowing me to embed their well made videos into my site.
The humble plaice has long been popular in the UK, although it is largely overlooked in higher-end restaurants and celebrity chefs. But judged on its own merits, plaice is a superb fish possessing a fine, moist texture and subtle but distinctive flavour. It is still relatively inexpensive and absolutely delicious lunch or dinner. Plaice is available throughout the year although the quality varies. Right now in late June, with the spawning season over Plaice should be plumper and tastier.
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
300g (12oz) 2 cross cut fillets of plaice
100g (4oz) plain flour 150ml
(1/3 pint) beer Salt and white pepper
1 large baking potato, peeled
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp olive oil
1 finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g (8oz) washed and trimmed kale
25g (1oz) butter 50g (2oz) frozen
1. Sweat down onion and garlic in1 tbsp of olive oil, stirring often to prevent it from burning.
2. Once the onion is soft and translucent add the tinned tomatoes and refill tin with water then add that too.
3. Simmer sauce gently, stirring from time to time and cook until most of the water has-evaporated and the sauce is fairly thick. Turn off heat and stir in coriander and season with salt and pepper. *This simple process of reducing the tinned tomatoes intensifies the natural sugars and brings out the tomato flavour.
4. Put flour into mixing bowl and whisk in beer gradually until you have a smooth batter, then season with salt and white pepper. 5. Slice potato into thin slices, and then cut the slices into matchstick thickness.
6. Rinse and dry matchsticks well then add to the batter. Pat the plaice dry with paper towel and dust very lightly in plain flour. In the meantime, wilt the kale in a non-stick pan with the butter, season and cook for four minutes.
7. Add 2 tbsp water to the kale, add the peas then turn off the heat and cover. Dip the fillets one at a time into the batter and make sure your fryer is up to temperature 190°C/ 375°F. Also turn on your oven to 120°C/ gas mark 1.
8. Carefully put one fillet into the fryer and cook until golden brown (about six minutes). Keep first fillet warm in the oven as you fry the second piece of plaice.
9. Whilst the second fillet of plaice is cooking wilt down the kale gently in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the butter until soft
and then season and serve.
TO SERVE: Spoon some tomato sauce into two ramekins to prevent it from making batter soggy and serve next to the crispy plaice on warm plates. Serve kale separately.
CHEFS TIPS: Try to choose young tender kale then trim most of the stork from kale and cut the leaves into small pieces. Water helps prevent the kale from tasting greasy and should mostly evaporate during the cooking. Some chefs will tell you to put vinegar into tomato sauce …but that is so 1970's. The idea is to replace the natural acidic quality that cooking tomatoes takes out. Personally I think it often upsets the balance of sweet and acidity and shortens the fridge shelf life of your tomato sauce or soup. For more tips on making tomato sauce here is another post of mine.