Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pouting and Pancetta Fishcakes with Sauce Gribiche

Pouting is a firm-fleshed white fish, and at £4 per kilo, a third of the price of cod. Pancetta is the perfect partner for pouting - pork and fish have been delicious bedfellows for many years - think of scallops with black pudding, or paella.

Gribiche is a coarse-textured, eggy, tartare-style sauce, easy to make and partners these pancetta and fishcakes perfectly. Think bacon and eggs.

Fish is fashion, and no doubt pouting will rise in price as soon as the public decides that it is undervalued, so buy it now. But when the price does inevitably rise, you can substitute the pouting in these fishcakes for lemon sole, flounder or any other firm white fish.

Serve with a green salad, and this dish still comes in at £2 per serving.

Serves 4 (12 fishcakes)

Pouting and Pancetta Fishcakes


100g pancetta, cut into 1cm dice
1 tablespoon of olive oil
400g pouting fillets, cut into 1cm dice
1 small potato, peeled, boiled and mashed
4 tablespoons of plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
3 spring (salad) onions, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
Pinches of salt and pepper
Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

In a pan on a moderate heat, fry the pancetta in the oil until crisp, but not too dark. Transfer to a bowl and add the other ingredients (not the sunflower/vegetable oil). Fold everything together, making sure not to mash the ingredients. Form into 12 fishcakes, dust with a little extra flour and put them in one layer on a plate. Place plate in the fridge to firm up the fishcakes (approx 1 hour). Preheat a pan or wok to a moderate heat and fry the fishcakes in batches, until golden and crunchy on the outside - the oil should come halfway up the fishcakes. Turn once, but try not to move them in the pan too much while cooking. Serve with the sauce gribiche and a green salad.


Sauce Gribiche


200g of good quality, shop-bought mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of chopped gherkins or cornichons
1 tablespoon of small capers
1 teaspoon each of freshly finely chopped chervil, tarragon and parsley
Pinches of salt and pepper
2 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped coarsely

Mix everything, apart from the eggs, together in a bowl. Finally fold the eggs through the sauce, taking care not too break them up any further. Serve at room temperature.

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