Pan roasted fish with provençal savoury crumble

Summer time is fish time (as well as Rosé time) and because fish is so much lighter and easier to digest during the hot period, most of Provence turns pescatarian.  We have a good fish shop in the village, as well as a mobile fish van that joins our local market on Tuesdays.  Luckily we also have good fish counters even in smaller supermarkets; testament to the importance of this lean source of protein in the local diet.  Yet people (including me) are often scared of cooking fish, especially for guests, in case it goes wrong – there’s simply no getting an overcooked fish back into shape.  This recipe sticks to tried and trusted chunks of Salmon and Cod or any other fish that reasonably keeps its shape and is very easy to replicate successfully :-)

To feed 4 you need:

  • 2 Salmon fillets
  • 2 Cod (or other firm white fish) fillets
  • 1 packet of Pine Kernels
  • Some slices of good quality bread
  • 1 small tub of cream
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 8 small new potatoes

I like to put the fish fillets in a little bit of brine to make sure they are not so waterlogged, especially if they’re not fresh or frozen.  So just cover them all with water and two generous pinches of sea salt and let them infuse for 30 minutes.  Take them out and pat them dry with some kitchen towel.  Cut into generous chunks.

While the fish is in it’s brine peel the new potatoes and boil them for about 15 minutes, or until nice and waxy.  Cover and set aside to keep warm.

You can get started on the crumble mix while the potatoes are boiling.  Toast your slices of bread until nice and crispy all over, then crumble into small morsels.  Chop your garlic clove and de-stem the thyme.  Add a generous glug of olive oil to your pan and start frying the pine kernels with the garlic and thyme.  Add the breadcrumbs and roast it all until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.  Leave on a very low heat to keep warm.

Fry the fish pieces in a 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter – just until they are browned on both sides.  Turn them carefully to try to stop them from falling apart.  Add some cream to the fish to make a sauce with the juices.  Season with salt.

Plate up the fish with some sauce, arrange the new potatoes around the dish and then pour over some of the crumble mix.  Any greens will do nicely with this dish, especially a spoonful of spinach or even a summer salad.

I hope you enjoy the yummy flavours and the crunchy, nutty texture really makes it much more interesting.

Here’s to many happy summer evenings enjoyed with a glass of rosé!

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