Before you all start throwing your hands in the air because I’m using cod in this recipe let me just say that I buy my cod fillets direct from the beach in Aldeburgh from where Dean Fryer has been fishing most of his adult life. I’ve talked to Dean a lot over the years about fish stocks and all the problems that are involved with this dangerous profession. Dean has a small off shore boat that fishes within 3 miles of the coast. He fishes for cod, skate and sometimes herring in the winter and flat fish mainly Dover sole and dabs in the summer with bass and lobster adding gilt to his catch.
Dean will tell you that he has seen a huge rise in cod stocks over the last five years and I can see for myself that the fish he now lands are really quite large. As a cod has to be three to four years old before it can reproduce the prevalence of these large fish is good news.
Dean long lines for cod and bass fishing with a baited line therefor minimising the number of unsuitable fish he catches. But before you get too filled with joy about the local nature and sustainability of all this I must mention that the bait he uses is Falklands squid!
I like to lightly salt cod, it’s a fish I find a bit wet preferring haddock for it’s firmer flesh. I use Maldon salt crystals to salt the fillets sprinkling about a 1/2 a teaspoon over each one and leaving for 2-4 hours before washing and drying the fish. Dipped in beaten egg and coated with panko crumbs it’s ready for the pan.
Smoked paprika aioli
1 medium egg, 1teaspoon dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons wine vinegar, I large clove garlic or several smaller ones, a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons sweet paprika/pimenton.
Place all the above ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well blended. Now add 200 ml mild vegetable oil, I prefer groundnut oil, pouring it in a slowish stream. As you can see I’ve used my baby Magimix but a hand held blender would do as well.
Once the first lot of oil is in start adding 100 ml of olive oil, the Ailoi may not begin to thicken until most of the oil is in so don’t panic. Continue to whiz the sauce for about 30 seconds after the last of the oil is added to be sure that it is fully incorporated.
Now add hot paprika/ pimenton picante to taste I add about 1/2 a teaspoon but taste as you go and you’ll get it right.
Heat a pan add some oil and fry the fish until golden each side. Serve with the Aioli a green vegetable. I chose diced courgette and herbs rice.