Monday, August 16, 2010

Fish as 'Plan B'

This evening's decision to make fish with parsley sauce (p114) happened in a fairly roundabout way. I originally had no thought of making it - I'd firmly fixed on stuffed baked potatoes (p165) for tonight. I had purchased the necessary potatoes and parsley at Raeward, when, for some reason, I found myself flicking through my Edmonds book, while still sitting in my car in the Raeward car park.

I can't recall what made me pick up the book at that moment, but the fish with parsley sauce recipe immediately caught my eye. I'd had to buy a bunch of parsley for the potatoes, and this recipe looked like a good one for using up some more of that. Figuring that the fish would go well enough with the potatoes, I decided to make both for dinner tonight.

With this plan in mind, I dropped into Pak n Save, grabbing a couple of tarakihi fillets with the rest of my groceries.

I got home, and began to prepare the potatoes. Having scrubbed off the dirt, I found that they really weren't ideal specimens for baking - hiding under the layer of soil were bruises and blemishes on the potato skin. I gave up my plan for baked potatoes and made mash with them instead.

So, with my original baked potato plan out the window, I turned to the fish with parsley sauce. It's a fairly straightforward concept - you first poach the fish in milk, then set the fish aside and use the milk to make a sauce.

Poaching is not a cooking method I'm in the habit of using. I don't even poach eggs. It certainly would never have occurred to me to cook fish by simmering it in milk. Still, this is what I found myself doing this evening. It was quite easy - the fish simmered quietly away for 15 minutes, then I took it out of the pan, set it in a dish on a low heat in my 'little oven' to keep warm, and poured the milk into a jug.

From there it was the usual melting butter, stirring in flour, and gradually adding the milk, until I had a nice thick white sauce. When the sauce was done, I added the parsley, and seasoned it with salt and pepper, somewhat over-generously in the case of the pepper, since I always forget that my pepper shaker has larger holes than it should. I poured the sauce over the fish, and served myself up a plate of fish, veges, and a generous helping of mashed potato.

Fish in parsley sauce made quite a pleasant meal, but I wouldn't really rave about it. Realistically, it just tastes like fish and parsley. Still, it makes a nice change from my usual pan-frying. If you're the kind of person who likes white sauces, you'll probably quite enjoy this dish. There's a variation on this recipe using smoked fish, which I'll be making at some stage - It'll be interesting to see how much difference the smoked fish makes to the flavour of the dish.


  1. Oh, actually, I think I might try that for dinner tomorrow! (since I live in the land of fish and all...)

  2. Good idea - let me know what you think of it. The plain or smoked version?

  3. Poached fish is often suggested for invalids being easy on the stomach and believe it or not you had it when only a few months old recommended by the plunket nurse (really weird)!!!


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