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Baked Fish with Seasonal Herbs, Lemon & Asparagus

by Julius Roberts from The Farm Table (Ebury)

Photography by Elena Heatherwick

 

This is such a great way of cooking fish – I love it. Fish can be tricky to get right,

but this method of wrapping it in baking parchment is very useful and forgiving. The

paper protects it from the harshness of the oven, cooking it slowly and gently, resulting in wonderfully flaky fish swimming in its own sauce among the veg below. You can play around with the veg here, and it’s a method that can be used throughout the seasons.

 

Fish spend their life in very cold conditions compared to us mammals. Therefore,

compared to meat, fish needs to reach a much lower temperature to be cooked. The greatest trick I was taught is to take a skewer (or knife) and poke it into the centre of your fish while it’s cooking, leave it for a few seconds, then bring it out and touch it to your lip. If it’s warm, your fish is cooked, if it’s hot, you’ve gone too far. You can use any fresh white fish for this – plaice, pollack, sole, monkfish, cod, turbot and hake are all fantastic – just ask your fishmonger what’s best that day.

 



Serves 4

 

Ingredients


200g baby courgettes

a large bunch of asparagus, about 250g, woody ends removed

100g frozen peas

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large fillet or 4 small fillets of fresh white fish (such as plaice, pollack, sole, monkfish, cod, turbot and hake)

40g butter, thinly sliced

1 unwaxed lemon, thinly sliced

a small glass of dry white wine

 

For serving

buttery Jersey Royals (or any new potatoes)

fresh herbs – wild garlic or chives, dill, chervil, fennel fronds, mint, etc.

 



Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C fan.

Slice the courgettes into rounds the thickness of your little finger. Do the same with the stalks of the asparagus but leave the tips whole.

 

Line a baking tray with foil and then with baking parchment, making sure they both go up the sides. Chuck in the courgettes, asparagus and peas, drizzle over the olive

oil and season well with salt, then give the tray a shake and toss. Bake for 15 minutes, until the veg is sizzling. Take the tray out and top with the fish. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then top with the butter and lemon slices. Pour in a generous splash of dry white wine, fold over the parchment and place back in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the fish is just cooked.

 

Take the tray out, drizzle with olive oil and spoon some of the winey buttery sauce over the fish and veg. Serve with new potatoes drowned in butter and top with a generous amount of fresh herbs. Wild garlic or chives are a favourite here, but dill, chervil, fennel fronds and mint are great too.

 

This is lovely with a lemony mayo on the side.





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