In 2015, it was reported that more than 300 million portions of fish and chips are eaten in Britain each year, with cod being the most popular choice, by far. Battered fish, is fine – but with such rapidly depleting stocks of cod, it’s difficult to understand why so many of us traditionally eat it, almost religiously, each Friday night.
Let’s be honest, more than 99 per-cent of us would struggle to tell the difference between a tranche of battered cod, coley, pollock or hake. If we must continue to eat cod so regularly, surely it would make far more sense to make the absolute best use of this typically mild, flaky white fish.
Cod verdure, for instance, is a signature dish of Christopher Archambault, Executive Chef at The Headland Hotel’s Samphire restaurant in Newquay. Literally meaning “greenness”, cod verdure makes the best of British ingredients and epitomises summer. Perfect now that the warmer months are finally within reach, apparently.
White wine vinegar, 1tsp
Lemon juice, 1tsp
Double cream, 3tbsp
Unsalted butter, 150g, cubed
Bay leaf, 1
Mix of your favourite green spring/summer legumes and vegetables such as: peas, courgette, fennel, broad beans, sugar snaps, runner beans, asparagus, spring onion, 250g
Scottish girolles or elusive morels, a few, (optional)
Parsley, chives, dill, tarragon, fennel frond and/or pea shoots
Cod fillets, 4, approx. 170g each
Combine the white wine vinegar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
Bring to the boil with the cream and bay leaf, reduce somewhat.
Reduce the heat and whisk in the butter a bit at a time.
Cover with a lid or cling film and leave somewhere warm.
Season the cod fillets well and fry in a hot non-stick pan until golden.
Turn the fillets over, baste in a little butter and if they are very thick, pop in a hot oven for a minute or two. If not, let rest in a warm place.
Quickly blanch the green veggies and girolles if using and drain well.
Warm the butter sauce gently and fold in your ‘verdure’.
Add chopped herbs of your choice and mix well.
To serve: Divide the verdure mix between the four plates and top with a golden fried cod fillet. Garnish with pea shoots, dill or fennel and serve with a crisp white such as a good Chablis.
Further information on Samphire restaurant can be found at headlandhotel.co.uk.