Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lunchtime artery-clogging

There was quite a lot of mayonnaise left over after I'd made my tasty croutes. Since it needed using within a few days, I took the opportunity to make some tartare sauce (p188) with it. Of course, tartare sauce goes with fish, so I got myself a couple of fillets of tarakihi to coat in crisp batter (p112) and have with my sauce.

I made the sauce first, simply stirring finely chopped parsley, capers, gherkins and onion through the mayonnaise. The recipe actually states gherkins or capers, but I decided to throw both in. I didn't pay much attention to the quantities either - my tartare sauce ended up with much more than the specified one tablespoon of chopped gherkin, but it didn't seem to matter.

Next, I heated some oil for deep frying while I prepared my crisp batter, mixing cornflour, flour, salt and baking powder, then adding enough milk to make a smooth batter. I was in a bit of a hurry, since the oil was heating rapidly, and the result was quite lumpy until I took a whisk to it and smoothed the batter out a bit. I'd also say I used probably twice the suggested amount of milk - it did need more than the recipe, but perhaps not as much as I accidentally slopped in. Well, I had a reasonable batter by the end of it, anyway.

I chopped my tarakihi fillets into small pieces, then dipped and fried them one by one. The batter turned a smooth golden brown very quickly, and I was worried that the fish inside wouldn't be cooked through. The fillets were quite thin, however, and a bite through the crispy coating of my first piece revealed fish that was cooked through to a melty softness.

I'd done some chips in the oven, since I knew I wouldn't use up all the tartare sauce with just the fish. It made for a fairly hefty lunch, though - I probably should have made a salad instead.

As I've already mentioned, the fish was delicious. The battered shell was not as crisp and crunchy as you might expect from the name. Instead, it was crisp but light, with a sort of softness that melted in the mouth - as did the fish inside. Perhaps I might have had a different result if I had put less milk in the batter, but it was very tasty the way it was.

My tartare sauce was, as expected, a tasty accompaniment to the fried fish. Owing to the colour of my homemade mayonnaise, it was much yellower than any tartare sauce I've seen before, but it tasted much the same. Even the raw onion (which I had my doubts about, suspecting it might overpower the other flavours) blended in nicely. So if you're a fan of tartare sauce, try making your own sometime - it's very easy.

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