Wild Weeds and Salted Fish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Origin

By Ben Shewry

Published 2012

  • About

Salting fish, as I’ve done in this dish, is an excellent way to use pieces of fish left over or trimmed from other dishes. One of the most offensive acts to me in a kitchen is the wastage of any edible part of an ingredient — especially fish. I never trim fish into squares or rectangles just so it looks pretty on the plate — at Attica we have too much respect for it. This is one aspect of upper-end restaurant culture that leaves me cold. A fish is not square! Customers understand this and there is little value in aesthetics alone. When I eat out I want a piece of fish that actually looks like it came from a fish. A natural-shaped portion of fish tastes the same as a perfectly square one, and, in fact, a cut from the tail of a large fillet (which often gets discarded) is more tender and delicious than a thick centre-cut piece, if carefully prepared and cooked. Consider if every time you cut a fish in a way that maximises every edible piece of it, you could save about 20 g (3⁄4 oz) per portion compared to if you cut it solely to get uniform pieces. Add that up over a year and it makes a significant difference to the amount of fish we each consume.

To maintain the quality of the fish trimmings, they must be salted immediately after filleting. I’ve paired the salted fish with wild weeds. It is a very simple dish and is best made in spring when tender wild shoots and leaves are young and sprouting just about everywhere you look.

To Finish

  • 4 large handfuls of a selection of wild edible flowers and leaves
  • a thimble of lemon juice (if using your grandmother’s thimble, be sure to wash it first)
  • table salt, to taste

Gently wash the leaves and drain on paper towel. Wash and drain the flowers too but keep them separate from the leaves.

Place the salted fish in the base of a large bowl.

In another bowl, gently combine the shaved potato with a few drops of the fish-cooking oil and the thimble of lemon juice. Place the potato slices around the fish.

Add the leaves to the bowl and very gently combine, taking the utmost care not to bruise them. Season with salt. Divide the salad among the serving bowls and scatter over the flowers.

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