This is very classical cooking and very tasty. The butter sauce was so nice and something I am definitely going to play around with in future dishes. I used sea beet for this dish, a great wild food that is far superior to conventional spinach you buy in the shops. I used pollock, one of my favourite fishes and a great change to cod and much nicer. And I decided that the mash was a good choice for a simple dish like this one. It may not be the most complex dish and doesn’t look the greatest, however it is very nice comfort food.
Sauce: Start by slowly sweating some finely chopped shallots or onion in oil with a pinch of salt until softened. You can add some finely chopped garlic into the pan also if you wish. Turn up the heat and add a splash of white wine into the pan, boil until it pretty much all evaporates. Add around 3/4 pint of fish stock into the pan and reduce a small bit more. Whisk cubes of cold butter into the sauce until emulsified, tasting until your happy with the amount of butter added. Add in a very generous handful of frozen peas and cook for a few minutes over a gentle heat. Finish the sauce with finely chopped chives, crispy streaky bacon (cook in the oven or under a grill till crispy and then roughly chop) some cockles* and all of the cockle juice.
*Steam the cockles in white wine, onion, garlic and thyme until they open up and then pick out the meat. You can also use clams for this recipe. Strain the juices through a sieve and under no circumstances should you ever throw out the juices from cockles, clams or mussels as it is delicious added to a sauce.
Mash: Mash some cooked spuds with plenty of butter and add some sea salt.
Pollock: Pan fry the fish in a very hot pan skin side down until crispy, then turn over and cook for just 30 seconds or so on the flesh. Add a couple cubes of butter into the pan and if you want a good squeeze of lemon juice also. Cook the fish in the butter for a few more minutes, continuously basting.
Spinach: Wilt some sea spinach* or ‘ normal’ spinach in a saucepan with butter until it just collapses but do not cook any further.
*Sea spinach, or sea beet, is a very common wild plant found growing along the shore. It can be cooked in exactly the same way as normal spinach however doesn’t wilt down as much and in my opinion is far superior in taste and texture than your bog standard spinach.
To Serve: Scoop of mash, bit of spinach and then place the pollock on top of this. Spoon plenty of the sauce and all of the peas, bacon and cockles around the plate.
Good: It may not be particularly fine dining however its really tasty. The sauce especially is so good that you just want more and more of it.
Bad: Not much in my opinion. It’s a simple but delicious dish. I would be happy with this dish every night of the week. Well not quite but you get the point.