Spring season is upon us. Gardens blooming with beautiful blossoms, marketplaces selling fresh items. Everywhere you can fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits which are so fresh that you just wanna eat them raw. Or if you are a foodie like me, you probably want to cook every seasonal vegetable up into a wonderful dish. But this raises a question in my mind: Can we not enjoy seasonal flavors out-of-season? Ofcourse, we can! All it needs is for us to be smart enough to do that.
Despite the availability of seasonal veggies around, today I’m gonna cook a seasonal dish with it’s competitive counterpart – “the Frozen food“. It sounds a bit strange, but there was a time when I myself was a hater of frozen items. But once I got to know the awesomeness of this technique of food preservation, I was hooked.
This recipe is serious. This is what whole families are judged on. This is “The Great British FISH PIE“. Fish Pie is a British classic and a family favorite. So it is cooked with intensive care and by using a variety of different fishes, which can be very expensive at times. So what could be done to reduce costings and still be able to enjoy this amazing recipe?????
This is kinda what’s gonna save the day – The Freezer. Using frozen food is usually loads cheaper and saves money because you only use the quantity that you need. Plus, because it’s frozen when it’s fresh packed full of the good stuff. So no compromise on flavor and you’re also saving yourself quite a buck here!
The trick here is to use inexpensive frozen fish. I’ve got Haddock and Salmon. Why? If you’re gonna grill, roast or steam a piece of fish, then yeah use fresh. But if you’re gonna make fish cakes, fish pies, etc., what’s the point in using fresh if the frozen is cheaper, delicious and money-saving. Let’s get started then!
Now I’m gonna experiment a new way of writing my recipies from today onwards, as I was told that I make it seem more like story-telling and less like cooking. So here it goes, “the Point-wise methodology”. BTW, we here at Pune University use the same methodology for writing our exams and so far it has fetched me good results.
1. Get started by dicing up two carrots and two onions, put them into a large pan with some vegetable oil. Sweat the onions on a medium-high heat and keep stirring. DON’T forget them.
2. Put your frozen fish into a pan and cover it with a pint of milk. Put it on the gas and let it cook. This method of cooking is called “Poaching”. Poaching is basically cooking something in a shallow liquid. Let the fish poach for around 10 minutes, which gives me enough time to make my sweet pea mash.
3. Boil a kilo of potatoes. Put 400 grams of frozen peas in a bowl. Drain the boiling liquid of potatoes over our peas just to quickly defrost them. Put the peas through a blender now and blitz. Mash your potatoes with a knob of butter and a little lemon zest. And then combine the mash and peas. This gives it an incredible color. Put some salt to taste and mix to combine. That’s it.
4. Remember our carrots and onions still sweating in the pan. Once they’re nice and caramelized, put two tablespoons of flour and a tablespoon of English Mustard. Put salt to taste. Now pour in the flavored milk from the fish poaching pan. We’re creating an awesome sauce here.
Next thing: Frozen Spinach. Another seasonal. You can find frozen foods in any supermarket these days. Frozen spinach are washed, cleaned, rung out with water, cooked and are made into cubes. And if you wanna know the benefits of frozen, please note that one kilo bag of frozen spinach is equivalent to a bath-tub full of fresh spinach. And that’s absolutely right, no jokes there.
5. Put 100 grams of frozen spinach into your awesome sauce. They start to defrost quickly and then just melt into the sauce giving it a nice green glow.
6. My last bit of frozen magic is a 125 grams of beautiful frozen cooked prawns. Stir it into your sauce and let it cook. Take care of the consistency. It should be thick and not very saucy. Keep stirring it.
7. Break the poached haddock and salmon into nice chunks and spread them across the pan, creating a nice layer. Squeeze a lemon over the top. Shave some Cheddar cheese over this for an extra richness and a bit of seasoning.
8. Now we can load up the delicious sweet pea mash over the pan. Spread it evenly over the entire pan to cover the fish entirely.
9. Put that into a pre-heated oven, 30-40 minutes at a 180oC(350oF).
And forget about it. You’ve done all the hardwork. Now go grab a beer and sit down to enjoy a movie.
After about 40 minutes, check it. It’s done if it’s bubbling from the bottom and the top is slightly brown, meaning that it’s cooked to perfection.
The moment of truth is here. Frozen or fresh!??? Which tastes better? Try it and tell us in the comment box below. Until next time, ciao!
All images are for representational purposes only, cover pic credit goes to : PC : cdn.lifestyle.com.au