MAIN COURSE

GOOD FRIDAY, MAIN COURSE

RED CURRY SEA BASS WITH POTATO ROSTI

It’s somehow reassuring that the coupling of fish and potato can take many different forms – each totally different – yet remain somehow familiar. This dish, unlike the deep-fried Friday-night version, is incredibly light, and that’s thanks to (apart from the lack of batter) those bold spices in the red curry paste, along with the fresh lime and coriander. 

HELEN CATHCART

Ingredients - serves 4

  • 2 large floury potatoes 
  • 4 sea bass fillets
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • Small handful coriander
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Essential Ingredients

  • Sea salt flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • Coarse black pepper 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.

Peel the potatoes before coarsely grating them into a clean tea towel or muslin cloth. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the potatoes, tossing it through, then squeeze the towel as tightly as possible to remove all of the excess moisture from the spuds. Divide the potatoes into four portions.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and the butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. Once the fat is hot, reduce the heat to medium. Form the potatoes into four very tightly compacted patties – pressing the rosti down into a chef’s ring with a spoon would make far more sense, but I appreciate that equipment may be limited. Fry the rosti for 2–3 minutes per side, then drain on a piece of kitchen paper and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Score the skin sides of the fish fillets with four or five slashes and put them into a mixing bowl. Coat the fish fillets in the red curry paste along with a splash of oil and a pinch of pepper. Once well coated, place the fish onto a baking tray, along with the potato rosti, though don’t overcrowd the tray, if you have to do this on two baking trays, then do so. Roast in the oven for 12–15 minutes, until the  fish is cooked through.

Serve the fish atop the rosti, scatter with some chopped coriander and a good squeeze of lime juice. 

MAIN COURSE, SAVOURY

FIVE-HOUR LAMB WITH POTATO GRATIN

A slow-roasted leg of lamb will always earn you a few gasps of surprise from whoever witnesses its unveiling – let’s face it, we cooks just long to impress! The flavour here not only comes from that slow-cooking process but also the gutsy marinade of anchovies, garlic and mint; every single flake of lamb is gorgeous. The potatoes, sitting snuggly under the lamb, catch all of the meat’s juices as it roasts and so become incredibly tender. 

HELEN CATHCART

Ingredients - serves 4-6

  • 100g jar anchovies in olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon mint sauce
  • 2kg leg of lamb
  • 6 medium Maris Piper potatoes 

The essentials 

  • Sea salt flakes 
  • Coarse black pepper 

Method

Make a marinade for the lamb by blitzing the anchovies and the oil they came in, with the peeled garlic cloves and
the mint sauce to a smooth paste in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you could make the paste using a sharp knife and bold ambition. Stir in 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

With a sharp knife, stab the lamb leg repeatedly all over – you need as many deep cuts as possible, without completely massacring the meat. Spread the paste over the entire surface of the meat, working it well into the cuts. Refrigerate for an hour, or until required.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3 and remove the lamb from the fridge 1 hour before it goes into the oven to bring it up to room temperature.

Slice the unpeeled potatoes as nely as possible – I use a mandolin – and arrange them in layers in a deep-sided roasting dish, seasoning with a very small pinch of salt and pepper every couple of layers. Place the lamb on top of the potato slices. Cover with a couple of sheets of foil, ensuring you seal it extremely well. Roast in the oven for 4 1⁄2 hours.

Remove the tray from the oven and increase the heat to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Remove the foil and baste the lamb with some of the juices from the roasting tin. Put everything back into the oven for a further 30 minutes. Remove the lamb from the oven, transfer it to a plate, cover it with foil and leave to rest. Return the potatoes to the oven for a nal 25–30 minutes, until slightly crispy around the edges. 

Recipe taken from John's book, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients. Buy here.