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Merlan frit en colère (deep-fried whiting)

SERVES 4

Rick says: "I’ve always liked the name of this dish, which means something like ‘whiting in a bad temper’. The whiting’s tail is twisted round and secured in its mouth before being breaded and deep-fried."
Alternative fish: pin hake, sand whiting or any small (up to 500g) white fish

INGREDIENTS

4 x 350g whiting, cleaned and trimmed (see page 16)
Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
75g plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
175g fresh white breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread, or Japanese panko breadcrumbs
Chunky chips, to serve

For the tomato tartare sauce
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
½ shallot, finely chopped
A few tarragon stalks, broken into small pieces
2 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped
15g each green olives, gherkins and capers, finely chopped
2 tsp each tarragon, parsley and chives, chopped
100g Mustard mayonnaise (See recipe here)

METHOD

For the sauce, put the vinegar, peppercorns, shallot and tarragon stalks into a small pan and boil until the vinegar is reduced to 1 tsp. Cool slightly then strain into a bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and some salt and pepper.


Prepare the whiting for cooking as described on page 30. Heat some oil for deep-frying to 160°C. Season the flour with ½ teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Season each fish with a little salt, then coat them one at a time in the flour, followed by the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs.


Deep-fry the fish for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden and cooked through. Transfer to a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven while you coat and cook the rest of the fish.

Serve with the tomato tartare sauce and some chunky chips.

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