• Bute St Seafoodie

Lemon and Parsley Crusted Pollack, Celeriac Purée and Crispy Kale

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."

Edith Sitwell (1965)



This recipe comes from an Instagram "colleague", @everydayfabulousfood (who has her own food blog) and I'm very grateful to her for the chats we had after she posted it. Her idea was beautifully simple: take some local top-quality cod and cook it simply with some bang-in-season veg. It's everything that appeals to Bute Street Seafoodie.


The fact of the matter is that, at the moment, cod is not coming my way in any great profusion whereas there's been quite a stream of fantastic pollack coming to the farmers' markets from the Dorset direction (and whiting from the south-east). Ever keen to get ideas out there for somewhat underrated pollack I pounced on this idea as being an ideal show-case for a fish that, were it more widely available, I'm quite sure would be enjoyed far more enthusiastically.


The choice of a celeriac purée and some crispy kale is just perfect for the time of year and, considering how accomplished and enjoyable a plate of food this is, it's really quite a simple dish to make.

I've differed from @everydayfabulousfood in preferring to use the grill to achieve the cooking of the fish and ensure a crispy crust, but a 180°C oven for 8-10 mins is the approach she took. Because the celeriac purée is quite filling, a 150g fillet of fish I find is quite adequate, but the more usual quantity of 175g per person would be fine and satisfy a more substantial appetite than mine.


It is not absolutely necessary to pass the celeriac purée through a sieve but it does achieve a finer result. Equally, ground black pepper could be substituted for the white pepper, but the latter brings about a less speckled finished article and, if the truth be told, I am a bit partial to the flavour of white pepper whenever the occasion avails. A hint of grated nutmeg in the mix would also be an enticing little addition and quite fitting.




Lemon and Parsley Crusted Pollack, Celeriac Purée and Crispy Kale



Ingredients (Serves 2)


2 x 150g pollack (or cod) fillets, from the loin, skin on, scrubbed free of scales (ideally)

250g celeriac, weight after peeling, cut into rough 1" chunks

3 tbsp (20-25ml) single cream, or quantity to preference

Ground white pepper (or use ground black pepper)

20g panko breadcrumbs (or crumbs from day-old bread)

Zest of half a lemon, grated

1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

3-5 tbsp olive oil

100g kale leaves, weight after stripping from stalks

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper



Method

  1. For the celeriac purée put the celeriac chunks in a saucepan of cold water with a pinch of salt, bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 mins or until the celeriac is soft. Drain through a sieve then put the celeriac in a blender with up to 3 tbsp of single cream and blitz to a purée . For an extra-smooth purée pass this through a sieve. Season well with salt and ground white pepper (or ground black pepper) and set aside.

  2. While the celeriac is simmering, prepare the crust. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl with the grated lemon zest, finely chopped parsley and some seasoning. Add around 3 tbsp olive oil to bind everything to a consistency that can be spread over the fish.

  3. Preheat the grill to 200°C and set the rack at height not too close to the grill element. Season the flesh side of the fish and coat the skin side of the fish with a full and even layer of the crust. Place on a baking sheet greased with a thin film of olive oil. Put the fish on the grill rack and cook for 4 mins. After this time, raise the grill rack to a height closer to the grill element and grill for a further 4 mins or until the crust is golden, but check regularly to ensure the crust does not burn.

  4. While the fish is cooking heat a wide frying pan on the hob until quite hot. Put the kale leaves in a bowl with some seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil. Scrunch the leaves with your hand to coat them well with the oil and seasoning then tip into the frying pan and cook for around 5 mins, turning occasionally, until the kale has crisped.

  5. If necessary, reheat the celeriac purée and spoon onto serving plates. Place the fish on top of the purée and serve with the crispy kale.


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