27.4.10

Dogfish in Beer Batter with Chunky Chips and crushed Peas and Homemade Tartare Sauce - Recipes

Ever seen this in a restaurant? Or even in a fish and chip shop? No you wouldn’t of.. But you might have eaten it! Dogfish known to most as Rock Eel has been well, re-marketed.

To tell you the truth it has been a long while since I have even been into a beloved Fish and Chip shop and I worry that the safer and now horrendously endangered options of Cod and Haddock rule the roost and Rock Eel like Skate is forgotten or to different for today’s pallet.

I have always thrown back the Dogfish and it wasn’t until a recent and not very successful fishing trip that when we were plagued by them that I even thought about cooking them (is it evil to want to get your own back by creating a recipe that includes them?).

These small and extremely common minature sharks are a little difficult to prepare but I thought if I am trying to catch every edible species (New Years Fishing resolution) I might ands well eat them as well!! So here's my recipe..

Dogfish or Rock Eel in Beer Batter with Chunky Chips, Crushed Minted Peas and Homemade Tartare sauce
(serves 2)

Ingredients:

6 sections of Dogfish tail (skinned and cleaned each about 15 - 20cm in length)
Cup full of Plain Flour (with a little extra for dusting the fish)
Bottle of Lager
Maldon Salt
Black Pepper
Wedges of Lemon
4 large potatoes
Olive Oil
Cup full of peas
2 Tbsp Yoghurt
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
2 Tsp Capers (chopped if large)
2 Tsp Gherkins (chopped fine dice)
1 Tsp of French Mustard

From the Garden:

Small Bunch of Parsley (Chopped)
Small Bunch of Mint (Chopped)
Handful of Pea Shoots

Frying Oil – I had cooking oil left over from a party but you will know how much you’ll need to deep fry the fish!

Get the oven warming to 225 degrees and put a roasting tin in the oven with some Olive Oil to heat up.

The batter must be made first as it will benefit from sitting in the fridge whilst you prepare the other ingredients. This is a trusted way to make any batter, one cup of flour and one cup of either milk (for a pancake mixture) or in this case lager as I want a light and crispy batter so that we can taste the fish. Add an egg to the mix and beat until there are no lumps. Cover and place into the fridge until ready.

To make the Tartare sauce.. You simply do not need to buy that sickly sweet Tartare sauce as it is simple and quick to make and is made up of store cupboard essentials. In small bowl spoon you’re Mayonnaise and Yoghurt then your mustard and season with Salt and Pepper. Next stir in your chopped Capers, Gherkins and Parsley and aside of a little tweaking your there!! When I say tweaking, check your seasoning and correct if required (if it is a Sunday afternoon or you have a little more time than usual add a chopped yoke of an egg, I cooked this on a weekday after I got in late and simply could not be bothered!) once finished cover with cling film and pop it on the fridge until you are ready (this Tartare sauce is also excellent with battered fried dandelion flowers - try it!).

Get the heat on under your deep frying oil.

The potatoes are so simple. Make sure the Potatoes are good and clean and then cut in half lengthways and proceed to cut into long thick wedges, rinse and dry. Being careful not to burn yourself on the now very hot baking tray (from the oven) place the potato wedges in the hot oil, season well and then turn them over in the oil making sure that they are completely covered. Put them back into the over and cook for 40 – 50 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

In a small pan place your frozen peas (fresh when in season) when near to serving boil a kettle and pour over the peas and get a heat under them.

The fish should have been cleaned prior to cooking. By cleaned I mean completely prepared, washed and almost dry to the touch. On a rimmed plate put a couple of Tbsp’s of flour. Season the flour well.

To cook the fish first coat the pieces well in the seasoned flour and then completely dip and cover in the batter. Place the battered fish in the hot oil and fry until crispy and brown (6 - 7 minutes). Always place items that you are going to fry away from yourself so that you don’t splash yourself with hot oil.

Warm your plates.

As per normal you now have a period of rushing around as you plate up.

When the fish and chunky chips are cooked, place on separate warmed plates that are covered with kitchen towel to remove any excess oil. Drain the peas, add a glug of Olive oil and crush lightly with the back of a fork. Then add your mint and pea shoots to the peas.

Plate the fish, chips and peas nicely on a plate and serve the tartare sauce separately.

…… Dogfish. What a revelation! Maybe it was because the fish was so fresh, maybe it was because I wasn’t expecting much from it. Either way the fish was delicious!! Dogfish or Rock Eel has a single central bone which means that you get a large amount of fish from what at first seems like a small piece of fish and its not fiddly. The flavour is rich and the texture full and soft. Stunning and so underrated, I am not sure that you can even purchase it in fishmongers if you are friendly with a fishmonger ask him to get you some; they are a bi-catch, fish that are accidentally caught when a fisherman targets another species and will be cheap.. What a discovery! I could go on to tell you about the light crispy batter, the sweet peas or even the full flavoured creamy tartare sauce but I want to keep you focused on the Dogfish. Rock Eel, Dogfish or Spotted Dogs whatever you want to call them they taste great and are worth every effort! Try to find, buy or catch them and eat them!

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