Apparently my Irish Catholic upbringing has impacted on me than I had realised up to this point. More specifically, the habit of eating fish on a Friday is an old one that has died hard. So much so that I barely noticed until I started this blog. This, admittedly, could be more to do with the fact that I made a new years ressie to eat more fish, and somehow, in spite of myself, I have actually managed to stick to this. My fish eating appears to be a recurring Friday compulsion. Perhaps this is because I have found myself to be in an unmerciful grump this past few Fridays, and my subconscious mind steers me in the direction of gobbling up positive omega vibes. Last Friday I had the hump for some utterly unknown reason, but since I was up early the next morning to go on a cycle I couldn't mollify myself with a nice big glass of wine, so I had to rely on food to perk things up. I was flicking through all the cookbooks on my shelves and couldn't find anything to quite hit the spot, when I remembered the Ina Garten book I had borrowed from the library and never got round to using. I have heard a great deal about this Barefoot Contessa lady, but I've yet to get in on the love. Her easy peasy baked fish really reached out to me in my grouchy feed-me-now state.
My fishy pal needed a green sidekick, and Ina's parmesan-roasted broccoli was the perfect option. LOVE it when a plan comes together - once decisions were made, my mood immediately began to lift.
It's basically roasted broccoli dressed with an un-blitzed mix of pesto ingredients. The broccoli goes into the oven along with some sliced garlic and does its own thing while the fishy business gets underway.
And on with the mustard-baked fish. It's so beautifully simple I can tell I'll be calling on it for many Fridays to come. A glorious piece of trout just gets slathered in a mixture of créme fraiche, capers, red onions, dijon and wholegrain mustards. Into the oven with it for ten minutes.
After a good 25 minutes of roasting, it's time to toss the broccoli in the guts of a pesto sauce - parmesan, olive oil, pine nuts, lemon juice, basil.
I'm being slowly won over to this Ina lady, if only by virtue of the fact that such a welcome concoction appeared on my kitchen countertop and made this lil grump a whole lot happier.
The following night, I found myself with a severe case of leftovers; not the ready-to-eat kind, but the ingredientsy sort. There was a fecky little bit of just about everything lying about the kitchen, so I had to cobble together a meal with all of the bits that were to hand. While it was easy enough to decide how to cook the trout, I wanted to do something exciting with the spuds. I hauled out my lovely Tessa Kiros book Apples For Jam, where I found another beautifully simple recipe, this time for chickpea and sage mash.
In one pot, I match-made some milk and butter, while in another some sage and a bulb of garlic got in on the action with a dollop of olive oil.
The chickpeas get a good dose of that flavour, until they're hopping hot.
The sage and garlic come out, and the rest all gets smooshed together in one big eat-me-now lump.
In the meantime, piece of trout number two has been doing its own thing in the oven, with the help of some sundried tomato pesto and a load of crunchie veggies.
There is a very great deal to be said for a meal that delivers such satisfaction with such simplicity.