Eating seasonally and when possible locally, suggests eating food that is at its prime in terms of taste and nutritional contents, while at the same time cutting down on those food miles.
Every month, I hope to publish on my blog a guide to what’s in season, the main points are going to be about fresh and locally produced (specifically British) foodstuffs.
It’s a bit early for most spring vegetables but there is plenty of Purple Sprouting Broccoli about, Spring greens are also plentiful and Scottish wild salmon is back in season.
March is a tricky month for the chef, as there’s nothing new on the home grown front however at least leeks and potatoes are plentiful and tasty, and both compete for the title of most adaptable vegetable.
Fruit and Veg;
From Abel and Cole (Abel and Cole, The Organic Source for London) we have been getting really tasty Fair-trade Bananas, Beetroot, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Green Lettuce, Portobello Mushrooms (From The Hearne Family), Potatoes, Fennel, and White Onions.
And on the market stall in Tachbrook Street, they are showing Artichokes 9new season from Italy), Asparagus (new season from Spain), Chicory, Chives, Dandelion Greens, Grapefruit, Greens, Horseradish, Leeks, Lettuce (leaf and head), Oranges, Parsnips, Peas, Rhubarb, and Shallots.
Meat, Poultry and Game;
Our local butcher (Wyndham House Butchers) has been getting in Beef, Chicken, Pork, Guinea Fowl, Rabbit, Turkey, Wood Pigeon and all are available at their place in Borough Market.
Fish and Shellfish;
The local fishmonger (Jonathan Norris, Fishmonger of Pimlico) has been supplying us Cockles, Conger Eel, Crab, Dabs, Dover Sole, Eel, Hake, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Mussels, Oysters, Prawns, Salmon, Scallops, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Skate, Whitebait, Not to Mention Nice Large Cod and Haddock. Most of Jon’s fish is caught in Cornish and Devon waters as well as the abundant Scottish waters.
Recipe for March
Megrim Sole with Brown Butter, Capers, Lemon, and Parsley
We love it grilled or roasted whole with plenty of butter, olive oil, parsley and lemon and served with steamed or boiled new potatoes and fresh garden peas mixed with baby broad beans Consumers frequently fail to see megrim because of its unfamiliar name. It is usually caught off the Cornish coast, the Irish Sea and is frequently found in Scottish waters.
Serves / Makes: 2 servings
Prep-Time: 5 minutes
Cook-Time: 8 to 10 minutes
You Will Need;
800 grams, Megrim sole, either whole on the bone or 4 x 200g megrim sole fillets, trimmed and skinned, if you have a good relationship with your fishmonger why not ask him to do this for you?
2 tablespoons, plain flour for dusting
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon, vegetable oil
40 grams, salted butter
1 tablespoon, chopped parsley
2 teaspoons baby capers
Season the flour, coat the sole both sides with the flour and knock off any excess, we find it best to put the flour into a bag and then add the fish and gently shake until the fish is coated.
Heat the oil in a large well seasoned or a non–stick frying pan, add the sole, lower the heat slightly, and add 20 grams of butter, fry on a moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, turn over, and allow to cook through.
Lift the fish on to serving plate and keep warm. Now wipe the frying pan clean, and add the remaining butter and allow to melt over a moderate heat, once the butter starts to froth and smell nutty and it turns a light brown, add the lemon juice, capers, and parsley. Check the seasoning and pour the brown butter over the sole.
Serve with a lemon wedge and Enjoy!
Pan frying fish, The French call it "sauté,” it’s a great way of cooking most types of fish fillets as well as some whole fish. Pat the fish dry with clean kitchen paper and make 3 or 4 shallow slashes across the skin side of the fish and portion the fillets if necessary.
Heat a non-stick frying pan or skillet until hot, add a little olive or sunflower oil. Lay the fish into the pan away from you skin side down so that any oil that might splash from the pan doesn’t burn you.
Allow the fish to start to crisp up, turn the heat down and allow it to cook until almost finished cooking; then leave the fish in the pan for a couple of minutes to finish cooking. If you are cooking fillets, turn them over on to the flesh side and immediately turn the heat off. There will be sufficient residual heat in the pan to finish the cooking process.
If you are cooking a whole fish, place the pan into a hot oven (200C / 380-400F) and leave until cooked; this will depend on the thickness of the fish. Squeeze Lemon juice over the fish and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, add extra virgin olive oil to taste.
As the fillets of fish start to cook, the cut sides will change colour from raw opaque to creamy white cooked. The more that the colour changes the closer to being cooked they are, when light pressure on a fillet starts to separate its flakes, it is cooked.