I remember catching the occasional ling when I was a kid, as well as seeing the odd one landed by local fishermen, and in those days they were probably only used for lobster and crab-pot bait.
I never used to think that ling were worth bothering with – as was the case with pollack – but these days I'm always asking my fishmongers to look out especially for them as they are such a delicious fish. I admit that ling may not sound like the most appetising of fish on a menu, but I guess the same used to apply to monkfish before people realised what an amazing fish it was.
Laverbread is a cooked purée of seaweed, and it's a very interesting vegetable as well as being extremely good for you. It kind of acts as a vegetable and sauce all in one. You can buy it canned or chilled or frozen in tubs at supermarkets, which is the preferred option for me.
4 portions of ling fillet weighing about 200g each, boned and skinned
Flour for dusting
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g peeled brown shrimps
1tbsp chopped parsley
The juice of half a lemon
Season and lightly flour the fish, heat about 40-50g of the butter in a heavy or non-stick frying pan and cook the fillets for about 3-4 minutes on each side lightly browning them.
Meanwhile heat the laverbread in a pan with a couple of knobs of butter.
Heat the rest of the butter in another pan until foaming then add the shrimps, parsley and lemon, and season.
To serve, spoon the laverbread on to warmed plates, place the ling on top and spoon the shrimps and butter over.