My trip to Europe was a fantastic excuse to explore local cuisines and try foods that I don’t usually come across in Australia. I continued my mission to encourage variety in my fish consumption by taking every opportunity to eat dishes that included new types of fish. Some of these were prepared in restaurants or pubs, like the wonderful battered Haddock and pan-fried Halibut with chunky chips and mushy peas at Steels in the English seaside town of Cleethorpes, and some were cooked for me by friends. Here is a selection of the highlights for me:
These giant sardines were cooked in front of us on a barbeque out in the street and served with garlic and olive oil potatoes, char-grilled capsicum and grilled squid. Small fish like this are a great choice especially if, like me, you tend to eat a lot of much bigger fish like salmon. The smaller the fish, the less time spent in the ocean accumulating waste. If you can eat the whole fish there are other benefits: skin and organs contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and bones are a great source of calcium.
This dish had a simple name but stacks of flavour. Based around Bacalhau, dried cod which is a specialty of Portugal (although often imported from Norway or Newfoundland), this was a new take on a fish pie with potato and leeks mixed with shredded cod and topped with a delicious cornbread crust. I love a good fish pie, an excellent way to include some vegetables in your meal.
The full title for this dish is much longer and fancier than my description, but that is to be expected from one of the most incredible restaurants in Paris. High above the hectic bustle of the Gare de Lyon, Le Train Bleu is an oasis. Scorpion fish is a notoriously venomous species, however I found the flavour was lacking something, until I tried all the elements of the dish together and realised that the fish had been balanced to take the vegetables into account. What a nice approach – a meal where the meat and veges work together in perfect harmony!
Our friends in Provence introduced these beautiful fish as Girelles royales. They were bought fresh that day and cooked for us on a barbeque hot plate. We ate them whole with bread, white wine and sunshine. Magnifique.