The juicy flesh of fish works so well here with the zingy, citrus flavoured kūmara and cauliflower salad. As a stickler for pan-frying fish in butter, I have done so but you could use a little olive oil or a mixture of both butter and oil.
600–700g firm-fleshed fish, such as blue cod, cut into thick strips (just like chicken tenderloins)
Butter for pan-frying
2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
2 tsp bittersweet smoked paprika
salt and pepper
finely grated zest of 1 lemon or large lime
Salad + Dressing
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or use white wine vinegar and a little honey to sweeten)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
500g red kūmara, lightly peeled and cut into about 3cm wedges or pieces
400–500g cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 fennel bulb with fennel fronds, trimmed
1 lemon or lime, segmented, optional
a few sprigs of coriander
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients and set aside.
To make the dressing, put the oil, lemon or lime juice, sherry vinegar, mustard and a good few pinches of salt in a clean screw top jar. Shake well and taste. Adjust acidity if needed or if too sharp, add more salt.
Put the kūmara in a saucepan with enough lightly salted water to cover and cook until tender, 12–15 minutes. Drain well, put in a bowl then drizzle over enough dressing to moisten and gently toss to coat. Set aside.
Steam the cauliflower florets until tender to the bite or cook in a little lightly salted boiling water. Drain well and add to the kūmara.
If you have a mandolin (otherwise use a very sharp knife), slice the fennel bulb paper thin and place onto a serving plate. Scatter over the kūmara and cauliflower and the lemon or lime segments, if using. Roughly chop a few leafy fennel fronds and scatter over before drizzling with enough dressing to moisten.
Rub the seasoning mix into both sides of the fish strips.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add a good knob of butter and when it sizzles place in the fish strips, in batches, so not to overcrowd the pan. Pan-fry for about 4 minutes, turning once. Try not to get the pan too hot as you don’t want to burn the spices. If necessary, wipe out the pan with kitchen paper before adding a little more butter and the next batch. Put fish on top of the salad and drizzle with a little more dressing and a few more chopped leafy fennel fronds. Finish with coriander sprigs.
Tip – When pan-frying fish, remove the fish from the pan just before it is completely cooked as it will continue to cook more in its own heat.
Recipe and image Kathy Paterson