I’m not ugly – simply mischievously quirky

Meet Bernard. This week's recipe is sag aloo with fried gurnard.

Meet Bernard. This week's recipe is sag aloo with fried gurnard.

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I always get excited when a few gurnard are delivered to the restaurant because it’s such a wonderful-looking, tasty, and versatile fish. Once it was thrown back in the sea as it was deemed too ugly, but with the onset of over-fishing of some species, it has been put firmly on the gourmet list as a great sustainable fish to eat.

I always get excited when a few gurnard are delivered to the restaurant because it’s such a wonderful-looking, tasty, and versatile fish. Once it was thrown back in the sea as it was deemed too ugly, but with the onset of over-fishing of some species, it has been put firmly on the gourmet list as a great sustainable fish to eat.

jpwm-24-01-150-006 food Guernard

jpwm-24-01-150-006 food Guernard

Gurnard are bottom dwellers eating prawns and shrimps which not only gives them a pink colour it also determines the way they taste.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I don’t see the gurnard as ugly at all, more mischievous and quirky. Maybe it’s because I know its flavour and that colours my vision. Rick Stein has quite often said it is his favourite fish.

I like to use gurnard as the base of the traditional Provençal fish stew called bouillabaisse, but here is a recipe for sag aloo using sweet winter parsnips, curry spices and spinach.

Top with a crispy fried fillet of gurnard for a great evening meal.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377914.

RECIPE

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 gurnard fillets

2 parsnips peeled and cut into 1cm chunks

1 onion finely diced

Small knob of ginger finely chopped

1 clove garlic finely chopped

1 bird’s eye chilli chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Teaspoon cumin seeds

6 tablespoons water

Seasoning

150g spinach

Oil for cooking

Method

1. Put a little oil in a frying pan. Put on a low to medium heat.

2. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook for two minutes.

3. Add the parsnip. Cook for three minutes.

4. Add the cumin. Fry for a further two minutes.

5. Add the turmeric, a little seasoning and cook for 30 seconds. Add the water.

6. It will take another eight minutes’ to soften the parsnips. If it dries out add a little more water. Repeat until parsnips are cooked.

7. While the sag aloo is cooking pan-fry the gurnard skin side down for seven minutes. Turn over and finish the cooking for four to five minutes.

8. When the fish is just cooked add spinach to parsnip mixture. Stir until wilted.

9. Plate the sag aloo and top with the fish to serve.

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