04/11/2012

Grilled Plaice with Samphire and Duchess Potatoes

Plaice is one of those fish that is best done as simply as possible - pan fried or grilled. Either way, serve out in a way that the flesh can simply be slid off the skin, or just eat the lot - the skin on the white side of the fish is as good as the flesh.

Sole or skate would be perfect replacements.

Sometimes known as Glasswort or Sea Asparagus, Samphire, a corruption of Saint Peter the patron Saint of Fishermen, is a vegetable that grows in the marshes along seaside river estuaries.

Beginning their growth season in the autumn and continuing through the winter until the start of the warm season, whether sautéed  steamed or blanched, samphire is perfectly seasonal and such a treat for eating with simple seafood and a little carb.

Nutritionally, samphire is packed with goodness - strong iodine and in vitamins A, C, B2 and B15, amino acids and minerals, such as iron, calcium and particularly magnesium.

Presenting, samphire ...


Duchess Potatoes are a neat little treat. I don't think it would work too well with other roots, but if white potatoes are not part of your paleo template I think a couple of rounds of sweet potato alongside, simply baked, would be just right.

To make Duchess Potatoes, boil a white potato, mash is, add in the required amount of butter to get it to that smooth, ready to eat stage and then fold in an egg yolk.

Pipe the mixture into an interesting shape - using a crimped nozzle, you can achieve really interesting shapes, but I went with a straight nozzle for a change. Pipe out onto an ovenproof tray and slip it into the oven for a few minutes to bake through and crisp up.

Concerning potatoes: white potatoes have long been vilified by the paleo community, its sweet cousin made the darling, but I cannot find much difference between them in terms of starch or insulin response.

White potatoes do seem to be more accepted amongst ancestral eaters, but the same words of advice are true for any starch: don't over-do it.

Todd gives us a sound consideration of potatoes on his Primal Toad website.

Back to it ... let's cook.

This is a quick dish, so get prepared.

First, get some potatoes boiling, mash 'em and make the Duchess Potatoes. Slip them into the oven.

While the potatoes are cooking through, place the fish fillets onto a greased tray and pop them under the grill/broiler.

Make up a quick warm salsa with whatever you have to hand and quickly fry it through - I went with cubed courgette, ginger, chilli, baby leek and some shredded green beans. Oh, and a few cockles ... just because.

The samphire? Just drop into boiling water while you plate up, drain and place a mound on the plate.

Ready to eat?

Slide the fish onto the plate, covering with the warm salsa. Place the Duchess Potatoes and a mound of samphire alongside.

Fantastic flavours! Simplicity, yet an intriguing complex of flavours.

3 comments :

  1. Did you gather the samphire yourself, or can you buy it?

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    1. I would do if I lived closer to the sea. I bought this from a northern English small supermarket chain, Booths. I've seen it in Tesco and Sainsbury's before ... as well as farm shops. Specialist fish mongers will be able to source it for you. Get them to source your some sea spinach and sea purslane while they're at it.

      These sea side vegetables are great - packed full of iodine, magnesium and a whole bunch of other goodies!

      Happy hunting ...

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  2. I've been reading a little book on foraging, and it's quite inspiring, but not such a good time of year for most of the greens etc.

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