First up, great-quality fish is poached (with or without potatoes, contentiously) and then served with a rich allioli.
- 2 300 g (10½ oz) whole fish, such as rock fish, red emperor, monkfish, rock ling, red snapper or leather jacket, cleaned and gutted, tails and fins intact
- 4 160 g (5½ oz) fish cutlets, such as trevally, hake or king fish
- 100 g (3½ oz) fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- sea salt flakes
- 2 tomatoes, grated, skins discarded
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), cut into 8 chunks
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) dry white wine
- 2 pinches of saffron
- 3 litres (3 qts) good-quality fish stock, heated to a simmer
- 4 potatoes, peeled and halved
- 4 raw scampi
- 300 g (10½ oz) Roman or flat (runner) beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 quantity allioli (see recipe here), plus extra to serve
- 2 lemons, halved
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Sitting time: 30 minutes
- Remove the heads from the whole fish and cut the fish in half crossways. Salt the fish cutlets and fish with the fine sea salt and some black pepper and set aside in a large colander in the sink for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt flakes and cook for 15 minutes or until soft and cooked down to a paste. Add the tomato and cook for 6–8 minutes, until incorporated and broken down, then add the capsicum and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the white wine and add the saffron, fish stock and potato, then bring to a simmer and cook for 8–10 minutes, until slightly reduced. One by one, add the fish and scampi, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for a further 4–5 minutes, until the fish is firm and the potato is cooked through. Using a large slotted spoon, gently transfer the fish, scampi, potato, beans and capsicum to a large serving platter. Cover with foil and keep warm while you finish the sauce.
- Strain 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the fish stock into a large jug and strain the remaining stock into a container to use for the second course, 'arros a banda'.
- Once the stock in the jug has cooled a little, add 2 tablespoons to the allioli and whisk to combine. Continue to add the liquid in this way until you reach a cream consistency. Spoon the sauce over the fish and vegetables and serve with the lemon halves and allioli.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99