It is a tradition in our home to serve fish on Fridays. We always do it and even if I go out to dinner on a Friday I always order fish, so it got me thinking, why Friday?
The origin of ‘Fish on a Friday’ stems from religion. Abstinence is a spiritual practice that goes back to the earliest days of the Church. Until the Second Vatican Council, Catholics were required to abstain from meat every Friday, as a form of penance in honour of the death of Jesus and the Catholic Church still recommends abstinence on all Fridays.
I am not the religious type but I do adhere to the ‘Fish on a Friday’ rule with a religious fervour!
As a child, Fridays were the day for Mama to cook her delicious Norwegian fish recipes, one I and now my children particularly love is Smoked Haddock with egg, butter and parsley sauce.
Unlike Norway where fish is fresh and easy to buy, here in the English countryside, delicious fresh fish (and I am not talking about the smelly, pulpy stuff sold in Supermarkets but firm flesh, shiny scale fish) is hard to come by. If I did not have the ‘Fish on a Friday’ rule, eating it would become a rarity, as a decent fishmonger is often quite a distance from us.
Most important, Fish is really good for you. Especially the oily kind like Mackerel (which is fished off our shores and inexpensive) and salmon, so we should eat it whenever we can. Last but not least it is delicious and easy to cook, so I will leave you with some of my recipes!
Salmon in Teriake
Very quick and easy to cook.
- You will need Salmon fillets – 1 per person (skin on or off)
- Flat leaf parsley
- Teriake Sauce (you can buy this at any good supermarket)
- Turn the oven on to 180 deg
- Wash the salmon fillets and pat dry.
- Place them skin side down on a large piece of foil in an oven tray
- Shake liberal amounts of Teriake sauce (3 TBSP for 5 people) over the fish
- Take half a handful of parsley and throw it on the top.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes until the salmon flesh has turned colour.
- Serve with new potatoes and a herb salad with lemon dressing.
Smoked Haddock with butter, egg and parsley sauce,
Tell the fishmonger how many people you are and he will give you the correct amount of fish! But 250g per person is the norm.
- Ask for fillets without the skin.
- Put the fillets into a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the fish, when you can easily pull the fillet in two it is ready. Turn off the heat. If you leave the fish in the pan it will continue to cook as the temperature slowly drops.
- Keep a couple of spoonful’s of the fishy water and throw the rest away.
- Hard Boil eggs (1 per 2 people)
- Handful of parsley chopped
- 2oz butter per egg.
- Melt the butter (if you are using salted butter there will be a milky residue, discard this and use the melted golden butter floating on top.) Add chopped hard boiled eggs and chopped parsley and fishy water. Keep warm and serve over the fish.
- Do not add salt to this dish as the smoked haddock is already salty
I know this recipe seems vague, but I think that all recipes are just a guideline, you should be able to make your version of it without worrying! Boiled potatoes and carrots are delicious with this.
Things you might want to know:
- We use a lot of parsley in Norwegian cooking, I think It might be because parsley is bursting with iron. Fresh salad is hard to grow (because of the climate) and expensive, whereas there always seems to be parsley in the shops.
- Do not be scared of cooking fish, it usually does not need very long to cook and remember that it will keep cooking when you take it out of the oven.
- Try not to overcook fish as it becomes tasteless, if you take it out to check it and it is not ready put it back in.
- Ways to test whether it is cooked:
- generally speaking, your Fish is not cooked if the flesh on the outside is a different color than the flesh in the middle.
- If you are cooking an entire fish, pull at the fin, if it comes out easily the fish is cooked.
- If you are cooking fillets, use a knife and like you would when testing a cake, gently insert it into the fillet nearest the centre of your pan (the outer ones will cook quicker), pull the flesh a little to the side. It is cooked if the flesh is easily pushed aside with your knife and is the same colour as just under the outside.
Where to get Fresh fish if you do not live in the city?
We now have a fabulous fishmonger in our local town, The Fish House, 51 Bull Ring, Ludlow SY8 1AB , 01584 879790 however, if you are not as lucky as us here are a couple of online fishmongers.