I was watching Jamie's Fish Supper (part of Channel 4's The Big Fish Fight) on youtube, and he was introducing new fishes in the British waters that are less popular and known than our usual salmon and cod. I've always supported getting these 'unwanted' fishes, not just because they are a much more sustainable option that's better for the environment, but because they are a lot cheaper, and also because they do taste fantastic. I've tried mackerel and sardines, but there are some fishes that I've never heard of until this show, one of which is the pouting.
Pouting fillets (skin side down, skin side up)
"Pouting is a totally underrated fish. It's way up there quality-wise and is buttery, flaky juicy and delicious, not to mention a wonderful carrier of flavours. It's from the same family as cod so makes a great alternative to its overfished cousin." Jamie believes that if more people start asking for this at the supermarkets' fish counters, these big supermarket giants will start to see a demand for these 'lesser fishes' and start stocking them, reducing the pressure on the overfished favourites. And I think it's working. Because, guess what I saw when I went to Tesco's? (:
Like Jamie, I breadcrumbed my pouting fillets, but tossed in some chilli and spices too, and also made cumin minted peas and baked spicy sweet potato chips (not pictured, because my timing was off, so they weren't ready by the time the fish was done). This is (sustainable) fish and chips with an Indian twist!
Spice-crumbed Pouting with Cumin Minted Peas
For the fish
2 pouting fillets
2-3 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, beaten
about 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used stale sourdough bread, dried in the oven, then crushed in a ziplock bag)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of turmeric
sea salt, white pepper
2-3 tbsp ghee/coconut oil (for frying)
For the peas
1 cup frozen peas (I tried this with fresh peas again. AMAZING.)
2 heaped tbsp butter (yes. that's the key to yummy peas, according to marco pierre white)
1/2 tsp cumin
handful of chopped mint leaves
sea salt, black pepper
For the sweet potato chips
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Mix the breadcrumbs with the chilli, cumin, garlic, and turmeric.
3. Prep your fish fillets in this order: season, then coat with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
I originally wanted to bake them
4. Over medium high heat, add the oil, and when it's hot, add the fish fillets. Don't be nosy and poke around! Just leave it there till the bottom gets golden and crisp about 5-6 min, before flipping carefully to cook for another 2 min, lowering the heat. Set aside, tented with foil.
5. Add some water to the pan, and throw in the butter to create an emulsion.
I love watching butter foam.
6. Add the peas with the seasoning, cook for 3-4 min, before adding in the mint. Drain, serve.
Start to finish took only about 15-20 min!
The chips though, take about 45 min... so yes, learn from my mistake ): either start them early, or well, deep fry them (in loads of healthy saturated fat, like coconut oil or ghee or lard).
I had my modified fish and chips with malt vinegar sprinkled over of course, and some Indian mint raita instead of tartare sauce.
Verdict: Moist flaky flesh, definitely comparable to cod! I really liked the texture of the fish, and although not exactly full of flavour, the fish carried the flavours of the spices well. Yum. As for the peas, do try adding the cumin and mint, they really bring out the sweetness of the peas, and of course, you must add the butter, butter makes everything better (: