For my recipe you will need to feed two…
- 2x 6oz plaice fillets, skinned
- 1 aubergine
- 8-10 washed and cooked new potatoes, sliced into quarters
- 80g of baby spinach
- 75g of butter
- 75g of table salt, and a little for cooking
- 10g of good quality madras curry powder
Pan Fried Plaice
One of my favourite parts of this dish are the aubergines, as they’re commonly (or ‘properly known’, if you speak familiar English). They are technically a fruit as opposed to a vegetable and similar in principle to a tomato, which also is often mistaken in the same way. They’re known as an ‘Eggplant’ in Australia, the USA and other countries, as years and years ago they were actually more tubular and Ivory coloured, hence the name egg.
They are used almost world-over with all sorts of variances – Greek Moussaka, Provencale Ratatouille or Baba Ghanoush to name a few. They also differ in size – in Thailand you regularly see miniature ones at markets.
Personally I like to salt aubergines before I cook them as it helps to bring the residual moisture out. Sometimes an Aubergine can feel heavy when they are ripe and in season. They can also act like a sponge when you cook them too – if you brushed a raw one with oil you would physically see the oil absorbed. Salting them also helps to avoid discolouration and bitterness.
One of my favourite ways to eat them is to cook them in foaming butter, then finish with a little madras curry powder. This works especially well if you add blanched (or cooked and refreshed) cauliflower when the butter is foaming.
So the best way to do this is to slice them into 1cm thick circles, pop them in a mixing bowl and cover them evenly. It’s a good idea to then leave them on a tray with a tea towel underneath to absorb the moisture, you should do this 2hrs before you plan to use them.
You will need two hot flat bottomed frying pans. This is one of those dishes which can on occasion cause you an issue for space and equipment, sadly something I know from experience of running out of both on a Saturday!
Pop your Aubergine in the pan on a medium heat with a little oil in the bottom, vegetable or rapeseed is good to cook with. You won’t need to season these as you’ve already salted them. Once they have started to caramelise you need to turn them and add the cauliflower.
Whilst doing this pop your plaice fillets on a non-stick tray and grill them on a medium heat, until slightly firm and evenly white.
In your other frying pan pour in a little of the same oil and carefully put your potatoes in, allow them colour and keep them moving so they don’t burn.
Now, add the butter to your aubergine and cauliflower and turn the heat down. Once it has completely melted carefully add the curry powder, which will foam-up and give a wonderful smell.
Add your spinach to your potatoes and toss together until the spinach has wilted. This will take literally seconds. Remove all items from their respective cooking locations, and be sure to use a little of the curry butter to dress.