Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Warm sugar-snap pea salad with pan-fried coley

What a relief that the hungry gap is well and truly behind us - my local market has more and more different fruits and veg appearing on the stalls every week, which is good as I feel like I spent most of March surviving on carrots, cabbage and potatoes, relieved only by bags of salad and packs of imported beans to get some much-needed variety onto my plate. Not all UK produce has been picked outside yet, but I was happy to find sugar-snap peas that had been grown under glass - tiny little pods, with the peas barely formed inside and deliciously sweet.

Sugar-snaps are a great ingredient for a warm salad. This one goes particularly well with fish. I've stopped buying cod because of the low stocks but coley is a really good alternative.

It's really important to get everything ready first because the fish and the vegetables will both quickly and be ready at the same time.

What you need: 
Coley fillet
Handful sugar-snap peas
Handful green beans
Small handful of rocket
1 and 1/2 tbsp walnut oil
1/2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
Butter
A little flour
Seasoning

What to do:
Make the salad dressing by whisking the walnut oil and raspberry vinegar together with a little salt and pepper. Tip some flour on a plate or chopping board and coat the fish with it. 

Top and tail the sugar-snaps and green beans. Bring them to the boil and cook for about 4-5 minutes until they are al dente. Drain, pop back in the pan to keep warn while the fish finishes cooking, stir through the rocket and dress.

While the peas and beans are cooking melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the coley fillet over a medium to high heat - it'll need about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

Cook's tips:
You can find walnut oil in most decent supermarkets. It's a bit pricey (a 250ml bottle costs around £2) but its strong flavour means you don't need much so it should last a while. If you don't have walnut oil use olive oil instead but the raspberry vinegar is essential as the fruity tones match the sweetness of the peas.