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Recipe from episode 3

Jeannine’s crunchy crumbled fish fillets

Fresh and zesty, Jeannine’s fresh fillets get a crisp crumb coating with the addition of porridge oats for extra crunch. This dish is perfect with pouting, a member of the cod family with a pinky gold coat. They’re not a popular fish in the UK, but if eaten very fresh the flesh is tender and deliciously sweet. It’s definitely a fish we should be consuming more of here in the UK, due to its relative abundance around our coast.With fish this fresh, all you really need is a kiss of lemon but Gelf’s eggy tartar is a treat.

Serves 4

4 fish fillets
3–4 tbsp plain flour
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
75g fine, fresh breadcrumbs (or half fresh, half dried)
2 tbsp porridge oats
A pinch of cayenne pepper or hot smoked paprika (optional)
1 tsp very finely chopped thyme (optional)
Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

If you prefer your fish skin-free, use a sharp knife – ideally a filleting knife – to slice the fillets neatly off their skin (you could ask the fishmonger to do this when you buy them).

Put the flour on a plate and season it well. Pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate with the oat. Mix and season them with a little salt and a pinch of cayenne or paprika, or the thyme leaves, if you like.

Dip each fillet first in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg until lightly coated, and finally in the seasoned breadcrumbs, patting them on so they form an even layer all over.

Heat a layer of oil, 1.5–2cm deep, in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. To test whether it is hot enough, throw in a few breadcrumbs; they should immediately ‘fizz’ and bubble vigorously in the oil.

Put the crumbed fillets into the pan (you might need to cook them in 2 batches). fry for about 3 minutes (more like 2 minutes if you’re using a flat fish), resisting the urge to move the fish until the breadcrumbs are crisp and crunchy underneath. Carefully turn the fillets over and cook for 2–3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.

Serve the fish immediately.

More River Cottage fish dishes

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You will be introduced to varieties of fish seasonally available, updated on current sustainability guidelines and given advice on how to shop for the freshest fish. You will learn the basics of fish preparation including gutting, scaling and filleting three types of fish – flat, round and oily – with a particular focus on knife skills. And you will learn a variety of techniques including pan-frying, baking and stewing plus creating stocks and broths and a number of delicious recipes.

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