A feast of Friday fish. It used to be the case that eating fish was considered part of the weekly regime of fasting for a good Catholic. Wednesday and Friday were the days of fasting, Wednesday to mark Judas's betrayal and Friday to commemorate the crucifixion. Despite the rather somber events these fasts remember, and whether you're a believer or not I figure that eating fish as a nod to old JC is wholly justified. He was, after all, one of the most remarkable fish cooks the world has ever known.
Blasphemy aside, I was home alone tonight and feeling a bit rough; which is always a perfect excuse to put the Craig Charles Funk Show on the radio very loudly and arse about in the kitchen. I had a handful of locally caught scallops and a thick fillet of pollock to hand for my Friday night fish dish extravaganza and raided Neil Perry's "Food I Love" for both recipes. The scallops were sauted in burnt butter and plopped San Jacques style on some salad leaves. Now, in bid to seemingly make this post the most offensive fish post ever, I have a confession to make. There is nothing as sexual as eating a scallop for a heterosexual male. As I can't speak for any gay or women readers out there I'll just lumber on with the analogy. The soft sweet yielding flesh of a scallop is as close to oral sex as you can get whilst keeping clean. There is something frankly pornographic about them; they way they look, taste and feel in the mouth. I'm not going to labour the point, but the combination of sweet scallop, the bitterness of the salad leaves and the rich complexity of the nut brown butter are simply the smuttiest meal you can eat.
By way of contrast a piece of battered fish is as about as workman like a dish as you could wish for. How simple is this. Flour mixed into beer until it has the consistency of cream. A fillet of pollock or whatever white flaky fish you have found, dusted with flour, salt and pepper. Dunk one into the other and throw into hot oil. Serve with a huge squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce and you have one happy Englishman. Oh yeah, make sure you didn't use all the beer for the batter. That would be an oversight of epic proportions as eating like this needs beer, it's even better standing up at the kitchen counter whilst having a bit of a boogie.