recipes for healthy living

Category: Fish

Pan Fried Halibut with Olive Tapenade & Beans

Pan Fried Halibut

This is a simple tasty dish which can be put together in less than 10 minutes. There are great shop bought tapenade’s available from farmer’s markets and the like which add a lovely zing to the dish. The halibut stands up well to this where as more delicate fish might be overpowered. Full of heart healthy fats, carotenoids and flavenoids from the beans and tapenade and not a potato in sight!

Serves 2
2 pieces of Halibut – check for pin bones, dry with some kitchen roll and season
4 Handfuls of green beans, trimmed.
2 tbsp olive tapenade loosened with 2 tbsp of olive oil

Oven at 180C
Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the beans for 1.5 minutes.
Tip them straight into ice water to seal the colour and stop the cooking.
Drain and set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a hot oven proof pan and place the halibut into the pan, skin side down.
Keeping the pan quite hot, allow the skin to crisp, dont move the fish around the pan.
After about 3-4 minutes place pan into the oven to finish the cooking, depending on the thickness of the fish about 6 minutes.
Take pan out of the oven and remove the fish to a warm plate.
Tip beans into pan to warm through for a minute or 2.
Arrange the beans on top of serving plates, drizzle over the tapenade.
Place fish onto beans and finish with a little more of the tapenade.
Serve and Enjoy!

A Fish Dish ..To capture holiday memories

A week in Portugal was a glorious end to summer – Cascais is a lovely little beach town, cobblestone alleys, nice buildings, a good food market, safe beaches with clean water and great simple food….. I lived on fish and salads for the week as well as sampled lots of the local pastries… in the name of research.

Even the tinned fish come in cute boxes….

Baggage Weight restrictions make it difficult to choose when it comes to olive oils…

Some of the ‘research’ I conducted….

The local markets have colourful characters on the stalls, as well as great selection of fruit and veg…

Even the plates celebrate fish..

Returning home I still had a yen for fish..so I walked in to my fishmongers dreaming of sea bass or sea bream like on holidays, my dreams were brought swiftly down to earth looking at the prices, so I came out out with 4 pieces of mackerel as the only choice which cost under a fiver. Don’t get me started how as an Island nation with a fishing industry we have fish at those prices.

This is an old recipe but a goodie, cut this out of a newspaper about 15 years ago and stuck it into my notebook so i have no idea where it came from, try it though , it’s full of tasty flavours and the health benefits of oily fish are well documented.

Mackerel Rillettes
200 mls court bouillon or fish stock
500 gr fresh mackerel
2 onions chopped finely
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3tbsp creme fraiche or natural yoghurt
3 tbsp chopped chervil or Dill and some sprigs reserved.
Salt and pepper

Heat stock or court bouillon in large pan on low heat.
Clean mackerel and plunge into the liquid and cook for about 5 minutes
Remove with slotted spoon and leave to cool slightly
Remove skin and all bones, loosely breakup the flesh and set aside.
Sweat the onion and garlic in some oil and when soft add mackerel. Season really well, add creme fraiche or yoghurt and cook over a very low heat for about 3 minutes
Leave to cool completely, mash and add the chopped herbs and stir to combine.
Fill small ramekins with the mixture and place into the fridge for 24 hours. Serve with crusty bread, crudites or crackers as preferred. Delicious and easy to prepare.

Something for the weekend….Crispy Calamari with Avocado and Tomato

The best things about a long weekend usually involve lots of family time, time outside and maybe even a trip to the beach. Who says it needs to be sunny to enjoy these things? …. This recipe is usually associated with great holidays, somewhere near a beach, usually involving sunshine,(not usually Ireland!). Sadly, mention the word Calamari and you often hear a lot of people talk about pieces of rubber, dripping in grease. I love it it done right and have learnt a few tips to make sure it’s delicious crispy and full of flavour. The first trick is to make sure you get the membrane off – ask your fish monger to do it if you don’t fancy preparing it yourself and double check that they have got it off – I bought some recently and it was still there even though I was assured it wasn’t. If you aren’t sure then gently scrape the outer surface of the squid with a sharp knife. If there is any membrane there it should peel off in a cellophane-like sheet, leaving behind slick white meat. Also make sure you oil is really hot, if it’s not the crumb will absorb grease, use a cooking thermometer to be sure (about 170C) and each piece should cook in about 2 minutes.

They are delicious served with a simple aioli or sauce gribiche, for this one I just prepared a simple avocado puree and tomato.

Serves 4
14oz squid cleaned and sliced into rings
1 cup egg wash (2 eggs beaten with 100ml milk)
1 cup panko or plain breadcrumbs
1 cup gram flour mixed with 2 tbsp of poppy seeds
Juice of half a lemon
salt & pepper

Season the squid rings with salt and pepper
Place each ring through the flour mix, egg and finally into the breadcrumbs, coating each ring
Deep fry the squid a few at a time until golden brown (turn them over to evenly cook both sides) about 2 minutes per ring in total
Drain on a piece of kitchen paper and move onto a sheet of parchment
Add a squeeze of lemon and keep warm while you cook the rest of the rings
Serve with your choice of aoili, sauce gribiche or avocado pureed with some lime juice.

2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 clove garlic minced
320ml good quality plain oil (rape seed)
Whisk together the eggs, vinegar, garlic and mustard. While whisking, carefully pour in the oil until it emulsifies and thickens, Season with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place in a squeezy bottle if you have it to keep in the fridge.

Quick Salmon & Herb Dip

There is an ancient Irish legend about the Salmon of knowledge – Even in those days they must have known about the brain power of this great oily fish. This is really simple to make for a speedy lunch on the go and also works great as a pre-appetizer if having friends over – isn’t there nothing better than a good multitasking recipe. For my own lunch I have this with a pile of raw veggies and if having a pile of friends over I serve it with baguette brushed with olive oil, well seasoned and toasted in the oven. The horseradish gives this interest and distinguishes it from other run of the mill salmon dips.

4oz delicious Irish Smoked salmon
3oz cream cheese
3 tbsp organic creme fraiche – I always buy Glenisk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp horseradish
Salt and pepper
Large handful of chopped dill and chives

Tip the cream cheese and creme fraiche into a food processor and blend until smooth
Add the salmon and pulse until incorporated but be careful as you still want texture
Stir in the lemon juice, horseradish and herbs.
Season and taste and adjust if necessary.
Delicious and very quick and easy.

Fish in Paper


The goodness of fish is well known yet despite being an island nation we export a shocking amount of one of our best natural resources… Fish cooked in paper is a really simple way to cook a piece of fish, using what ever veggies available in the press, some seasoning, a glug of wine if you like and hey presto a stunning healthy meal in no time. The parcel holds in moisture to steam the food and this method results in great flavour. Brill, sea bass, bream, turbot, plaice, hake or salmon will all work great in this recipe, the only variation is the cooking time depending on the thickness of your fish. It’s full of healthy goodness, quick and easy to prepare,it’s reel fast food!

Serves 4
4 fillets about 170gr each, skinned and bones removed.
90gr each of carrots, white of leek, spring onion,mange tout,
1 red chilli deseeded and julienned
Large handful of basil leaves sliced
90gr butter
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Wish, trim and julienne the vegetables
Melt 20gr of the butter on a medium heat and add the leek and carrot.
Season well , turn the heat down and cook until softened without colouring.
Add the mange tout and chilli and turn heat up a little and toss for about a minute.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Prepare paper parcels by cutting large circles about 20cm in-diameter
Fold in half to mark the diameter
Lay your fish just below the diameter, season well
Cover with 1/4 of the veggies, sprinkle the basil over, add a few pats of butter and a tablespoon of white wine if using.
Fold paper over and seal well by folding the edges in twice.
Repeat to make 4 parcels.
Place parcels on a baking tray making sure they don’t overlap, They can go into the fridge at this point if you are not ready to use otherwise into the oven for about 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
Serve immediately onto hot plates and pass the scissors round to open the packs and savour the smell and flavour….





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