Don't you just love vanilla? I do. Just the smell of vanilla can get my tastebuds tingling and never more so than when it is being baked into a lovel...
Sunday, 16 January 2011
Sarah at Maison Cupcake has started a new Blog event called 'Forever Nigella'. The idea is we cook a dish from one of Nigella Lawson's books every month. This is not difficult as I have all of her books. A great idea Sarah and thank you for organising.
I chose Parsleyed Fish Gratin from Nigella Christmas. It is a regular in my house. A very easy fish pie which saves all the mashing of potatoes and can be made in advance. It is a tasty everyday dish but would also grace a table for guests as it is just so pretty
I have made a few changes to the recipe. Nothing new in that as I am always fiddling. There is not one thing wrong with the original but I have just added a couple of things which I prefer or are just more convenient. I added salmon to the fish mix as I like the flavour. It also adds an attractive colour and makes it more pleasing to the eye.
I use semi skimmed milk for the sauce rather than full fat for the simple reason it's what I have in the house.
I add onions pepper corns and bay leaves to the milk the night before making (if I am organised enough) as it does give the sauce a lovely flavour. I always do this with any roux sauce. Well worth it.
I also use pale sherry rather than vermouth as I have a couple of huge bottles to use up and I do like the flavour in cooking. It works very well. So because of these changes I get to print the recipe.
Parsleyed Fish Gratin
For the Milk Infusion
One raw onion peeled and quartered
About twelve black pepercorns
Two bay leaves ripped
For the Sauce
1x15ml tablespoon pale sherry vermouth or white wine
1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
1/2 teasp maldon salt or 1/4 teasp table salt
1/4 teasp Dijon mustard
350 mls/12 fluid oz milk
1 1/2 15 ml tablespoons finely chopped chives or 1 spring onion finely chopped
75 gms/3 oz chopped parsley
For the Fish Mix and Potato Topping
2 medium sized (400gms/14oz total) baking potatoes, unpeeled
One Kilo/2.2 lbs of fish to include salmon, white fish fillet and smoked cod or haddock
For the Glaze
1 teasp garlic oil
Good grinding of black pepper
A little dried parsley
Add the onion, black peppercorns and bay leaves to the milk and leave to soak overnight or for a few hours.then strain to use with the sauce.
Make a white sauce by first melting the butter in a large saucepan and then addi the flour and stir for a minute or so.
Then off the heat whisk in the sherry/vermouth/wine, mace/nutmeg, salt and mustard.
Next whisk in the milk and put the pan back on the heat continuing to whisk the sauce as it thickens. Once the sauce appears to be getting thicker, keep cooking it for a further 3 minutes until it becomes very thick.
Take it off the heat and stir in the chives and parsley then decant into your gratin dish (mine is a round shallow casserole about 26cm x5cm/10 inches x inches)
Once cool you can leave this dish covered in the fridge overnight or up to three days.
When ready to cook preheat your oven 200.C/400.F/Gas 6. and place a baking sheet in . Take your gratin dish out of the fridge and uncover it.
Slice the unpeeled potatoes as thin as you possibly can.
Scissor or cut all the fish into large bite-sized pieces and mix into the parsley sauce
Layer the potatoes in concentric circles over the fish and parsley sauce overlapping half way across each potato slice as you go around the dish.
Melt the garlic oil and butter in a small pan or in a dish in the microwave, stir in a little dried parsley then paint the circles of potato with this mixture
Grind some fresh black pepper over the top and place in the oven to cook for 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden and the underneath of the gratin bubbling