Tagged: tomatoes

Smoked Sardines with Risini and a Parsley & Oregano Pesto

Ok – “What the hell is Risini?” I hear you ask. [Also sometimes called ‘Orzo’ – just in case you come across it and think we’ve been dishing out duff info!]

Well, it’s a rice shaped pasta. I saw it in Lidl (where else!) and just had to get a pack – with no idea what to do with it at the time. So it has been sat in my cupboard for over a month now.

I got a bag of smoked sardine fillets off the reduction bit at my Tesco (the only time I ever shop there).

And tonight came the inevitable question – “What are we having for tea?”

Fish, I said. So I prepped some pollock and breadcrumbed it for the kids and got the sardines out for me and the missus.

As my herb patch is a verdant jungle due to the crap summer we are having, I decided to make a pesto, but without the basil or pine nuts.  So I went to the patch and got a good handful of parsley and about half as much of the oregano.

I placed this in my blender along with a good glug of olive oil, half a handful of Peccorino cheese and the juice of half a lemon and blitzed it. It was a bit stiff at first so I added a little more oil till it was smooth.

I put enough risini for 2 into a pan of boiling salted water for about 5-6 minutes before adding a handful of peas. 

I then pan fried the sardine fillets skin side down in a hot frying pan till the skin went crispy. [You don’t get a truly crispy skin with sardines but it was enough to take the sliminess off it.]

I drained the risini and peas and then mixed in the pesto. Now we’re cooking!

Put the risini & pesto mix in a pasta dish and I added a few chopped tomatoes then laid the fish on top with a few shavings of parmezan. The whole thing took less than half an hour to make and I must say it was well appreciated by Carol, and by me.

I can honestly say that my fish intake has probably quadrupled over the last few years, and with recipes like this I can only imagine eating more.


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Cous Cous with Salmon. Spice it up.

I recently bought a whole salmon at my local Tesco, it cost me £9 and I will get get 5 good meals for 2 people out of that.

I love fish with skin on as you can fry the skin side and get a lovely crispy texture to it.

[NB – Not all fish skin is good for frying, some go sloppy like Plaice, Sole and even Mackerel.]

For this dish you need to plan a bit ahead as there are a few cooking processes, the first of which is to make the cous cous.

If you follow the instructions on the packet and just add water , you will end up with a bland dish which you would probably never want to eat again, so you’ve got to be inventive.

I shall give you instructions to make enough for 2 people

What you need:

Salmon Fillets
150g of Cous Cous
200ml Stock
2 Tsp of Cumin Seeds
1 Sliced Onion
Handful of Raisins/Sultanas
Handful of halved Cherry Tomatoes
Pinch of Paprika, I like Smoked Paprika
2 Bird eye Chillis
Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Optional extras may include Peas, Sweetcorn – and I like to add some diced Feta Cheese at the last minute.

To 150g of dried cous cous add 200ml of hot stock. [Hey have you made that stock yet? If not, a chicken stock cube will do.]
Cover the bowl and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan, caramelise the onion in olive oil and then add the chillis, cumin , raisins and paprika and cook till the raisins plump up
Throw in the cooked cous cous, tomatoes, lemon juice and peas and mix it all together on a medium heat

To cook the fish use another pan or put the cous cous in a bowl and keep warm

Simply add a touch of oil to a frying pan ( not too much as some oil will come out of the fish), season your salmon with salt and pepper – do yourself a favour and buy some sea salt.
Put the salmon in, skin side down, on a medium to high heat and fry for 5 minutes, turn it over and fry for another 2 minutes and you’re done.

Serve with some salad leaves and a touch of coleslaw.

It doesn’t have to be fish, use lovely roasted Chicken Thighs too.

Have Fun, as it always should be. When it becomes a chore, you may as well give up!

Oh and guess what I’m doing with the salmon bones and head. Yes , stock! That could go well with some Scallops I have waiting. Mmmmmmm.