Catch in the Kitchen

by Michael Bok

With winter approaching - rather too quickly, the following is a hearty, tasty recipe that can be made with most salt water fish.

This is a variation of one produced by "Two Fat Ladies", a current ABC program

1 kg firm fish fillets

250 g prawns (optional)

1-1 ½ kg fresh spinach

125 g butter

Pepper and salt

Freshly grated nutmeg

1 large red onion (thinly sliced)

3 tablespoons plain flour

900 ml milk

1 bayleaf

4 teaspoons anchovy sauce

Big bunch of chopped parsley

115 g parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

Simmer the fish very gently for about 10 minutes, drain, allow to cool and then flake. Wash the spinach and place in a saucepan, don't add any more water.

Cook until just done. Drain, return to the pan and add 55 g butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. (use fresh grated nutmeg if you can, it is so much nicer).

Spread the spinach over the bottom of a well greased oven dish that is big enough to take all the ingredients. Melt another 55 g of butter in a saucepan and cook the onion gently until it is translucent and soft. Add the flour and stir and lightly cook. Heat the milk to simmer and add a little at a time to the onion/flour mix until you have a nice smooth sauce. Add the bayleaf and simmer for up to ½ hour. Don't forget to stir every now and then.

Add the anchovy sauce and parsley into the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Mix in flaked fish and pour over the spinach in its dish. Add the prawns on top if you decide to use them. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and dot with a little extra butter. Bake in a reheated oven at 200 C for 20-30 minutes until heated through and browned on top.

If you want a different crust on a fish fillet that you are going to deep fry, try the following:

40 g parmesan cheese (finally grated)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

50 g fresh white breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Mix the above ingredients.

Dip the fish into some plain flour, then into beaten egg and then into the above mixture and then deep fry. It makes a great change from normal batters.

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