Sea change: Bill Granger's hearty winter fish and seafood dishes
Fish and seafood might be thought of as summer staples, their lightness suited to sunny days. But, says Bill Granger, it’s no stretch to transform them into hearty meals perfect for cosy winter evenings in.
Look, I love my fish and seafood, but I'm the first to admit that I don't always eat enough of them in winter. The very lightness that is so attractive about fish on warm, sunny days is exactly the reason why it can feel less inviting at this time of year. There is no denying that when you're looking for warming dishes, it seems much easier to rely heavily on meat. One of my resolutions for this year is to get out of that habit. Really, with fish and seafood a simple sear or steam is often all you need to get you on your way, but with a bit more imagination and clever pairings, there are so many heartier meals to be had – meals guaranteed to leave you feeling cosy.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com
Smoked haddock, beets and mixed-grain salad
It doesn't get much gutsier than this salad, packed with the earthy flavours of roasted root vegetables, mixed grains and smoked haddock. I've used a pouch of ready-cooked mixed grains from my local supermarket – they're my new favourite thing, so practical.
600g/1¼lb beetroot, scrubbed and halved, leaves reserved
500g/1lb Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and halved
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
4 garlic cloves, bashed
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
600g/1¼lb smoked haddock
Zest and juice 1 lemon
225g/7½oz pouch cooked mixed grains – I used one with quinoa, spelt and brown lentils
Crème fraîche, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Put the beetroot, artichokes and onion wedges in a large roasting tray. Add the olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes, season with salt and toss to combine. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender.
Put the haddock on a small tray, add the butter and a splash of lemon juice and some pepper. Cover with foil, cook for 15 to 18 minutes, until cooked and flaky. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then flake into large pieces.
Empty the grains into a serving bowl and stir in the remaining lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins and mix into the grains then add the roasted vegetables and any reserved beetroot leaves. Gently fold through the haddock and any resting juices. Serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Miso rice soup with crab
Rice in broth is like chicken soup to me – food for the soul. Cooking the rice in stock gets it really flavoursome and the heat from the chilli, savouriness from the miso, crunch from the vegetables and sweetness from the crab come together to make it the most delicious of soups.
250g/8oz sushi rice
1¼ litres/2 pints light chicken stock
1 tbsp miso paste
¼ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp rice wine vinegar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
200g/7oz cooked white crab meat
100g/3½oz mangetouts, shredded
4 spring onions, shredded
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
Put the rice in a colander and wash it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Tip it into a large pan with the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Add the miso paste, sesame oil and vinegar, then pour in the egg, stirring as you go.
Ladle into soup bowls, and serve with the crab meat, mangetouts, spring onions and chilli flakes so that people can add to their own broth.
Linguine with spicy mussels
I make different versions of this all year round, sometimes using prawns, squid or clams instead of mussels. What makes this my winter version, is the addition of tinned tomatoes – it gives just the right amount of depth and body.
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
600g/1¼lb ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
75ml/3fl oz white wine
200g/7oz can chopped tomatoes
1kg/2lb mussels, scrubbed
Handful curly parsley, finely chopped
Cook the linguine in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.
Heat the oil in a shallow, wide-based pan with a lid, over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute until fragrant, tip in the chilli and tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the wine, simmer for 1 minute then stir in the tinned tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Tip in the mussels, increase the heat to high and put on the lid. Give the pan a shake and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that are still closed, then tip in the freshly drained pasta and a small ladleful of the reserved cooking water.
Toss over the heat until the sauce starts to cling to the pasta, sprinkle over the parsley and serve immediately.
Food preparation: Rosie Reynolds and Julian Biggs
Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes
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