Saturday, September 29, 2007

Potted Fish

Back to basics...

Food, I mean.

I meant to post the fishy thing below some time ago, just before I went to South Africa, but events overtook me. I made it for Constanza one night, and for the life of me I don't remember what else we ate. The idea comes, sort of (most ideas are sort of) from Heston Blumenthal's pub The Hind's Head, in Bray, England. Which is, I think, a lot nicer (and a lot less expensive) than his famous restaurant next door, The Fat Duck. Which should be called Teutonic Waiters with Attitudes. Or, Stick a Pin in Us We still Won't be Spontaneous. Or, Smile at Us and We Will Spit in Your Soup (If You are Stupid Enough to Order Soup, Roll-of-Our-Eyes).

The pub is wonderful. He serves English food. Yes, it does exist. And no, it won't kill you. It will make you want to live. I have been lucky enough to be taken to both restaurants by good friends Robin and Eileen Short, on 6-8 hour layovers at Heathrow on my way to Cape Town from New York. I would say the pub is easily one of the nicest places to eat, anywhere.

So, my version. A stick of butter (where all good things begin, no?). Land O'Lakes being my personal favourite in this Bush-doomed land. Melt it.

One hunk o' fish. This is mah mahi. I hope no one tells me not to eat it...I chop 3 garlic cloves and half a bottle of anchovies and rub it all over the fish fillet with some lime - maybe a whole lime's juice. Then I cook it quite gently so as not to burn the garlic and make it bitter, till cooked through, but just. In this case you do not want rare fish. Ugh. Not good for potted...

Then you wait for it to be cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and shred it (no, the fish, not the skin!) with two forks. It doesn't have to be two forks, but it helps. Shred shred shred. Pack the shreddings into a little bowl, or two. Pour over the melted butter, which should cover all the fish and top with freshly snipped chives. You may need a bit more butter.

Chill. Serve with crisp toasts or crackers (or biscuits if you belong to the Commonwealth). And wine. It freezes well. Vince and Constanza (again), ate the second pot earlier this week and they are both still alive.


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