21 March 2012

Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy!

I rarely post recipes (mostly because I'm nowhere near as good a cook as my lovely hubby) but this is all about a rather fishy 'sharing' dish and it's a real doozy. My darling and I are rather partial to these sharing-type dishes, romantic fools that we are.

Wish I'd taken a photo to show you but, before we begin, it isn't exactly a paella, or a kedgeree, or even a risotto, but it's something along those lines. It's warming, filling, tastes good and it's pretty healthy so I'll pass it along for when your Boat Comes In

I will warn you now though - this does make rather a lot, but it's good cold for lunches the next day too, so you don't have to hoover up every scrap... unless you really want to.

Start with an onion, chopped and gently softened (but not browned) over a gentle heat in just a teensy drop of oil in a shallow pan. Add half a cup of rice to the pan, stir well and coat with those lovely oniony flavours. Arborio rice would doubtless be great but we used Basmati as that was the only type lurking in the storecupboard this time.

Add the leaves from a sturdy sprig or two of fresh thyme (lemon thyme is good too), a little cumin, and a generous dose of sweet paprika. If you have any saffron knocking about, then add a shred or two for the beautiful colour it gives the rice. A little turmeric would do it too. Add cayenne pepper to taste - we like it quite punchy so I use quite a bit here.

A good old dollop of a decent fish stock would be good here, but we didn't have any so a vegetable Oxo came to the rescue, made up in about 500ml of warm water. This was added a little at a time, stirring all the time having increased the heat a bit, so the liquid simmers and the rice fluffs up and cooks nearly through without getting soggy. You can add more liquid (plain water'll do) if you need to but the rice needs to have some 'bite' at the end so don't go too mad with the cooking just yet.

Once the rice is nearly done, add a cup of frozen peas (thawed), a very thinly sliced red pepper, a small tin of chickpeas (drained) and our secret ingredient, a cup of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed to remove as much excess liquid as possible). Stir through and cover the pan until everything gets nice and hot. At this stage, the rice and so forth should be beautifully flecked through with green and red. Check liquid levels and adjust if necessary - you want this dish dry-ish, not swimming, but not welded to the bottom of the pan either!

While this is all happening, hard boil two eggs in another pan and set aside in some nice icy-cold water to use for garnish later.

Uncover the pan, and to your rice mixture add a pack of frozen mixed seafood (fishy bits, prawns, mussels, squid rings and whatever else is in there) and keep stirring through until it completely defrosts and thoroughly heats through. Better yet, if you have a decent fishmonger nearby, ask for oddments of fish and shellfish (just not the oilier fishies) and go with whatever he/she provides, making sure all of the fish pieces cook through. You want lots of lovely fishy flavours so even surimi (crab stix) will work at a push, but it does have a tendency to fall apart in strips.

Serve heaped up in ONE large pre-warmed bowl or platter (told you it was a sharing dish). Quarter the two hard boiled eggs to reveal the beautiful contrasting gold and white, arrange artistically on the rice and sprinkle with a little sweet paprika to make 'em look even prettier. Chop a small bunch of coriander (quite roughly, stems and all) and chuck over the top to decorate the rice heap and eggs.

Grab a fork each, then it's 'on your marks... get set...' and dig in to enjoy. Take your time to savour it though - first one to get down to the pattern does the washing up!


Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Sounds great! You are lucky that your hubby is a good cook and it sounds like you are pretty decent yourself.

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