The Flexible Pescatarian
I’ve found a great new book that’ll encourage you to join the growing pescatarian movement and expand your culinary skills. It’s by Jo Pratt, celebrated chef, author of The Flexible Vegetarian and founder of The Cookbook Festival in West London. What’s more, you can meet her at the Surrey Food Festival later in the month in Richmond, where she will be doing a cookery demonstration.
Whether you want to eat less meat, love seafood, or are already pescatarian, you’ll find something you like in this book filled with delicious, practical recipes. From curried Buddha bowl to Cornish crab pasties, aromatic cured salmon with pea blinis to a wholesome and hearty smoky mac ´n’ cheese, (recipe below) The Flexible Pescatarian spans the globe with simple, well-balanced dishes. It also includes helpful instructions on handling whole fish and seafood and preparing a perfect fish fillet. There are helpful notes too, on how to adapt the recipes – hence the ‘flexible’ pescatarian!
Smoked Haddock Mac ’N’ Cheese
Time taken 1 hour
250g/9 oz dried macaroni pasta
350g/12 oz smoked haddock, skinned
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
500ml/18 fl oz/2 cups milk
50g/1¾ oz butter
25g/1 oz plain flour
150g/5½ oz grated Emmental cheese
1 tsp English mustard
2 tbsp chopped chives
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 10 minutes, and drain. Toss in a little oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Put the smoked haddock in a saucepan and add the onion, bay leaf, milk and a good twist of black pepper. Put over medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift the haddock out of the milk, and break into chunky flakes, retaining the milk.
In a separate large pan, melt the butter. When it’s bubbling, stir in the flour. Stir for about 30 seconds, then pour in the oniony milk from cooking the smoked haddock. Using a balloon whisk, mix together until it comes to the boil and you have a loose sauce
consistency. Stir in half of the cheese, and stir well until it’s melted.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the macaroni, mustard, and chives. Fold through the smoked haddock and transfer to a large ovenproof dish. Scatter over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
Flexible: This can easily be transformed into a classic mac ’n’ cheese, without using the smoked haddock. Saute the onion and bay leaf in the butter until the onion is soft. Stir in the flour then add the milk, bringing the sauce to the boil. Increase the quantity of cheese to 300g/10½ oz. I like to mix things up a bit with a selection of cheeses such as Emmental, smoked Cheddar and Monterey Jack.