Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Eating Small Fry and a Few Recipes

Save the Seas: Eat small fry like sardines, herrings and anchovies instead of tuna, shark and other predatory fish such as cod. According to a new report from scientists, the sea's ecosystem has been turned upside down by us guzzling down vast quantities of these fish. This I would have thought, could fairly easily have been deduced, but no, it has taken piles of money and a large team of super brains to work this out. Call me old fashioned but surely it is blindingly obvious that if you kill all the big fish that there will be an explosion of little fish. The resulting imbalance will as sure as eggs are eggs, endanger the precarious balance in our oceans. The claims of total decimation of our oceans by 2050 is pretty awful, not due to the fact that we will no longer be able to indulge in our passions for eating fish and seafood but because we will loose everything that is beautiful under the waves. Presumably, all our gorgeous coral reefs will die and the oceans will be taken over by a dreary green soup of plankton.
For this reason I am now trying out lots of new recipes using sardines, herrings and anchovies and I enclose the easiest of the recipes so far.  The Pink Lovely (aged 7) is not amused. Brain food, she calls it. Not very popular and she is hoping that this interest in small fry is only temporary! So for brief relief to her already brainy brain we are having Macaroni Cheese and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dinner tonight. Or maybe I could sneak a few anchovies and sliced tomatoes along the top of the Macaroni Cheese!
Deep-Fried Stuffed Sardines
24 fresh sardines, gutted
1/2 tablespoon butter or dairy-free spread
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or gluten free bread
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain or gluten free flour
2 cups vegetable or sunflower oil
Lemon wedges, to serve

Clean the sardines, rinse well and pat dry.
Melt the butter, combine with the breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic. Season.
Stuff the sardines with the mixture and close the opening by pinching it firmly. Roll the fish in a plate of  seasoned flour and deep-fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes. Serve immediately with the lemons and a delicious mixed salad.

Norwegian Sardine Pate
225g cream cheese, mashed with juice of 1/2 lemon, fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 2 cans of sardines, drained and then mashed in a shallow bowl with a dash of hot chilli sauce and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.
Combine the ingredients until fairly smooth. Make toast and cut into fingers, spread with plenty of pate and serve them dotted with capers and sprinkled with more parsley and a dusting of cayenne pepper. Great with a mixed salad for lunch.

Both these dishes are super cheap and highly nutritious, what more could we want for a healthy and easy lunch!

Warm Fresh Anchovy and Asparagus Salad
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and warm through a tablespoonful of olive oil per person. To this add one finely chopped clove of garlic per person and a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes. Heat for about 1 minute. Add plenty of very short asparagus tips and tender stems along with as many anchovies as you fancy. Season with fine salt and  freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with the zest of 1/2 lemon.  Shake the pan around until all the asparagus is coated and glossy. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender but still slightly crispy. Serve warm with hot pita breads (gluten-free available in supermarkets) and a green salad.

1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups whole, pitted kalamata olives
1 can anchovy fillets, rinsed
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon of both fresh thyme and chopped rosemary,
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and as you blend the mixture, drizzle in the oil. Blend until a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and serve with hot pita bread (gluten free available in super markets) and a mixed salad. Alternatively, spread the tapenade over lamb chops or over sustainably caught salmon or mackerel fillets and grill.  Serve hot with a bowl of cooked French  green beans which have been tossed in olive oil and crushed garlic and fried for a couple of minutes. Delicious.

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