Pan-fried gurnard salad
I am very fortunate to have a green-thumbed partner. This spring he has been tirelessly toiling away in our glass house; tidying and trimming, composting and mulching, possibly talking to the plants, whispering a few words of encouragement – whatever he is doing it is working. We have tomatoes, coriander, basil, zucchini, spinach, a variety of lettuces (including a beauty called ‘drunk lady’s hair’!) in abundance, as well as peppers and tomatillos just beginning to sprout. My favourite thing at the moment though has to be the beautiful lipstick-pink radishes that are ready for harvest. Their crunchy, peppery bite is just the thing to build upon in this light spring salad. Gurnard is one of my favourite fishes; its firm flesh is perfect for pan-frying as it holds its shape well when cooked.
1 fennel bulb
1 red onion
Generous handful coriander leaves
1 long red chilli
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
400g Gurnard fillets, boned
2 tbsp each butter and olive oil for frying
Lemon wedges to serve
1. Remove outer leaves and top from fennel (save the fronds), and very finely slice. A mandoline is great for this. Top and tail the radishes, peel red onion and very finely slice.
2. Peel orange, being careful to remove any pith. Remove any pips. Chop into 2cm size pieces. Roughly chop coriander leaves.
3. Very finely slice half the red chilli, then mince remaining half (remove the seeds and ribs if desired).
4. Combine sliced fennel, radishes, red onion, orange pieces, coriander leaves, and sliced chilli. Make a light dressing with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, minced chilli, fennel fronds, salt and pepper. Toss the salad and divide among 4 plates.
5. Heat butter and olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add gurnard, seasoning well with sea salt and pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, turning once. Divide fish fillets among plates and serve immediately.