Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Plaice with black garlic and basil

I'm so not a plan-a-week's-menu-ahead person, I often have a rather vague idea of what I am going to cook for dinner, and it might depend on what has caught my eye in the shop. Having a delivery from Abel and Cole early in the morning, which included fresh fillets of plaice, I knew it would have to be fish for dinner, but I wasn't quite sure just what I was going to do with it until I came across lots of discontinued pouches with the black garlic in Waitrose. There was nothing wrong with the garlic itself, but clearly there wasn't much of a demand, and so they decided to clear their stash.  
I don't think I have tried to cook with the black garlic before, so I decided to give it a try.

Plaice with black garlic and basil
3 fillets of plaice
1 black garlic
a small bunch of basil
1 tsp of plain flour
olive oil (a drizzle of Filippo Berio)
sea salt (coriander and rose petal)

When I was browsing Abel and Cole site, looking for fish, I was won over by their description: "Our fish is wild and comes from day boats. The boats fish in West country waters, and we buy the fish from Cornish and Devon Fish Markets. Looe is our preferred market but we also use Newlyn, Plymouth and Brixham from time to time. (Sometimes, when the weather is too extreme on that coast, the boats can’t go out, we will then buy from other selected Day Boats within UK waters.)"

The plaice is very pretty, with bright orange specks. If you don't mind tackling the bones, then the fish is really tasty.

 The black garlic, which acquires its black looks through the fermentation process, tastes differently from the standard garlic. It acquires an almost aged-balsamic-vinegary taste.

The peeled cloves of the black garlic are soft and slightly sticky. I can imagine it would give depth to any savoury dish, be it a pizza or a risotto.
I should go back to Waitrose and grab more of the black garlic before it disappears from the shop. Sadly they do that with more unique ingredients and products. I was so happy to discover over a year ago that they started to sell Mostarda di frutta (a speciality mustard from Italy), but after a while discontinued it due to the lack of interest (or more likely, the excessive price). I could list a lot of Italian products that Waitrose has stopped selling over the years, but I am digressing from my subject.

I chopped the black cloves and sprinkled them over the fillets of plaice which I have fried for 3 minutes on one side and placed in a deep ceramic dish (the fish was first dipped in the flour). I have added some chopped basil and seasoned the fish. Then I made a foil roof over the fish and placed the dish in the oven preheated to 180C for about 20 minutes.

The combination of flavours was just beautiful. I served it simply with a baby leaf salad drizzled with the aged balsamic vinegar.

A word of warning: the plaice has lots of bones, so probably not the child-friendly variety unless you scrape it off.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I'm going to have to seek out some back garlic! Sounds yummy!