Recipes for May

Plaice in a Saffron and Cream Broth

(serves 2)

This involves a bit of work, but in your trusty hands, gentle reader, is utterly foolproof. Dice all the vegetables into one centimetre cubes for the sake of appearance. Serve it with some good, Orkney, brown bread.

  1. Put the potatoes, carrots, 1oz (25g) of butter, water, wine (without the extra splash) and seasoning into a saucepan. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, adding the radishes and onions for the last minute.
  2. Using a frying pan, heat the oil and remaining butter until very hot. Coat the skin of the fish with plain flour and fry, skin side down. Spoon a little of the oil over the fish to help cooking. Remove and keep warm.
  3. Add the contents of the saucepan to the frying pan, together with the cream and saffron. When the sauce just begins to thicken, adjust the seasoning and splash in the extra wine.
  4. To serve, divide the vegetables and sauce between two heated plates, Top with the plaice fillets and sprinkle over the parsley.

courtesy Alan Bichan food columnist for the Orcadian, from his book "A Year in an Orkney Kitchen".

Halibut Steaks with Mushrooms and Madeira

(serves 2 with vegetables)

Do not be tempted to cut corners when making the stock otherwise the finished dish will not be so ravishing. You can also use turbot for this dish and sweet sherry will do instead of Madeira at a push.

  1. Make the stock by simmering the first seven ingredients together for 10 minutes in a covered saucepan. Strain and discard the vegetables. Reduce until only 1 fl oz (25ml) remains, skimming if necessary.
  2. Next melt half the butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms for a few minutes, turning frequently. Remove them using a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  3. Now fry the fish, turning once, being careful not to overcook. Remove and keep warm.
  4. After that, fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add the Madeira and the reduced stock, and allow to bubble. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the remaining butter. Then re-warm gently with the mushrooms. Season and serve with the fish.

courtesy Alan Bichan food columnist for the Orcadian, from his book "A Year in an Orkney Kitchen".