Plaice is stonking value for money and packs a stronger fishy flavour than it’s more expensive alternatives (I’m looking at you cod). For my Tuesday night dinner I’ve paired it with another favourite – sweet potato chips.
I first encountered crispy capers last year when I visited The Basement in Padstow and the texture of the capers was like tiny bits of dissolvable popcorn having a party on your tongue. It’s a great way to use up any hanging around in the fridge and is perfect for topping most fish.
Time: About 10 minutes to prepare your ingredients, 30 minutes cooking time.
Cost: I got the fillet of plaice reduced from Morrisons for an outrageous 49p, the usual cost would be around £1.30. The sweet potato was 56p and actually made two portions of chips (but as predicted I scoffed all of them). All of the other ingredients are found in most people’s pantry cupboards. TOTAL COST: £1.05 (add another £1.50-£2.50 if you need a buy a jar of capers)
For the sweet potato chips:
- 1 sweet potato
- Generous glug of vegetable/sunflower oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Seasoning of your choice – I used about 1 tbsp of thyme and 2 tbsp of oregano
- Salt and pepper
For the rest:
- 1 fillet plaice
- 50g flour
- About 2 tbsp capers
- One portion frozen peas
- Two generous knobs of butter
- Salt and cayenne pepper
- Turn the oven on to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare the sweet potato. Wash and chop into chip-sized batons – you can peel them if you wish but I think they turn out better with the skins on.
- Arrange your chips in a roasting tray – try not to overcrowd the tray. Sprinkle on the garlic, thyme and oregano. You can choose different seasonings if you wish – cumin also works very well with the sweet potato. Drown in a generous amount of oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bang them in the oven for 30 minutes, until they go golden brown and start to crisp up.
- About 15 minutes into the cooking of the sweet potatoes, take them out and give the roasting tray a shake so the chips turn around a bit. Put them back in the oven.
- 10 minutes before your chips are done, season the flour with salt and cayenne pepper and dust the plaice with it.
- Place a frying pan over a high heat with 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil is really hot put the fish skin-side down in the pan. Don’t touch it or move it around for a minute or so.
- After 2 minutes flip the fish over. Cook for 1 minute.
- Flip the fish back to being skin-side down and add your generous knobs of butter to the pan. Baste the fish with the melted butter for about 30 seconds. Then remove the fish from the pan and leave to rest.
- Put your peas in a steamer and cook for 4 minutes. At the same time fill the bottom of a small saucepan with vegetable oil and put over a high heat. When the oil gets really hot, add your capers. They are done when they darken in colour and start to ‘flower’ out (like popcorn does).
- Add a knob of butter to your peas and serve everything on a plate with wedges of lemon. Enjoy with a nice chilled glass of white wine – as it was a school night I behaved myself and had it with a soda & lemon.
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