I was reading a post over at Holy Mackerel that prompted me to finally try red gurnard because I knew I’d be in Kish Fish over the weekend. As it’s a less popular and more sustainable species one of the great things about it is the price: I managed to get four very nice fillets for about six euro. Although I can’t help wondering if everyone starts eating them they won’t be sustainable for very long.
I watched a feature about gurnard on a River Cottage programme months ago and had made a note to get my hands on some only to forget all about it but I do remember them saying that it would be a good alternative to monkfish which is one of the most endangered types of fish we eat; I’d agree up to a point but it’s not as meaty or strongly flavoured and anyway I think it’s good enough to be enjoyed in its own right.
You can make the carrots beforehand and just reheat them when you need them; one thing to be careful of though is when adding the maple syrup, too much and it will overpower the taste of the fish. The same goes for the buerre noisette – making it beforehand, that is, not adding maple syrup! It’s very easy to burn the butter so not only make sure to remove it from the heat as soon as it browns but reheat it gently too. As for the fillets, the cooking times there are only a guideline, it’ll obviously depend on their thickness and also the heat of the pan; unfortunately there’s no other way of making it more precise so you’ll have to use your common sense. I normally serve this with roast potatoes as the carbs.
For the fish:
2 red gurnard fillets
For the carrots:
2 medium carrots
100ml orange juice
5ml balsamic vinegar
A few drops of maple syrup
15g chopped parsley
For the fennel:
1 large bulb of fennel
5g fennel seeds
15ml olive oil
For the buerre noisette:
5ml lemon juice
- For the carrots, using a potato peeler peel off about 50g of ribbons from the two carrots.
- Heat the orange juice a pan and when it comes to the boil put the carrot ribbons in.
- Keep stirring them until they start to soften up, then add the maple syrup.
- When the carrots have softened but still have a small bit of bite, add the butter, parsley and balsamic vinegar and stir to incorporate.
- For the fennel, preheat the oven to 190°C and chop the fennel bulb in eight.
- Coat the pieces with the olive oil and then add the seeds and the seasoning.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes until caramelised.
- For the buerre noisette, add the butter to a pan on a medium heat and cook until the butter turns golden brown.
- As soon as the colour changes, take off the heat and add the lemon juice and herbs.
- For the gurnard, pat the skin of the fish dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a pan over a very high heat then add the peanut oil; when it begins to smoke add the gurnard skin side down and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the fish over, take the pan off the heat and leave to allow the residual heat cook the fish through.
- To plate, place a mound of the carrots in the middle of the dish and lay the fish skin side up on top. Place the fennel beside the fish and spoon over the buerre noisette.