Fish & Seafood

13/03/2014

Petra Pennington, Food Writer

Panko is a type of breadcrumb originating from Japan. When used to coat fried food, the result is a lighter, crisper finish. More of the fat drains away from the food too, so you get the texture and flavour benefits of breaded fried goodies, without the potential oily-sogginess you can sometimes get with other kinds of breadcrumb. But why is that?

Panko is no ordinary breadcrumb. Structurally it is different. Where normal breadcrumbs are fine and round in consistency, Panko is flakier, with bigger particles which are long or oval in shape. The difference is a bit like that between popping a carrot in a blender, or grating it. In breadcrumb terms, this clearly has big implications for the food you coat in it.

Panko Breaded Cod Uncooked

And how is this wonderstuff made? Surely not by the hand of man – some sort of magic must be employed. Well, almost…

Panko bread, whilst mixed and kneaded and proved like other breads, isn’t baked in an oven. In fact it is baked by passing an electric current through the dough. This unusual technique apparently originates from the battlefields of WW2, where Japanese soldiers at war with the Russians, rather than risk giving away their position with the smoke from a fire, discovered they could bake their bread using the electrical energy from their tank batteries. This method produces a light loaf full of small, evenly spread air bubbles, and no crusts – perfect for breadcrumbs.

Panko Breaded Cod

Panko breadcrumbs work especially well on fish and seafood, as it leaves the final product crisp on the outside and fresh and juicy on the inside. We’ve used panko with panache, coating our new range of Breaded Fish, which includes cod and whiting – the ideal treat for all fish fiends and wannabe otters (like me)!

Petra Pennington

Posted by Petra in Fish & Seafood, NEW to Donald Russell   |  Comments Off
11/03/2014

Stefan Kölsch - Head Chef

Have you noticed our new Breaded Fish range yet? I’m really proud of it, even if I do say so myself! We took a long time to perfect our way of coating the fish with the crispy crumb so that it’s really light and thin. It has a great zing from the fresh lemon zest I added too – perfect when you crunch through it to the juicy, sweet fillets inside!

Everyone is familiar with cod, but a few people here at Donald Russell have been asking me about the whiting, and why I’ve selected it as part of the range. As a chef I have been aware of this fish for a long while, but my appreciation of how good it is to eat crept up on me, and actually took me by surprise. It wasn’t until I found myself actively choosing it over haddock – one of my favourites – that I stopped and asked myself why we hadn’t used this yet at Donald Russell.

Breaded Whiting Fillet

In fact I get the feeling whiting is going to be a bit of an ‘up and coming’ fish. Once people try it for themselves and realise what they’ve been missing, I think the public’s taste for this fish will take off! It’s not always had the best reputation – hardly surprising, as scrappy offcuts of whiting used to be used in cheap, reformed fish fingers. However, in our new range we use only the finest centre-cut fillet, which is an altogether different kettle of fish (if you’ll excuse the pun!) The flavour is so delicate, sweet and fresh, and the texture is wonderfully soft and succulent – I really can’t get enough of it!

Uncooked Breaded Whiting Fillets

Whiting comes from the same family as cod and haddock, and shares the same sweet white flesh. About the size and shape of a smallish haddock, it lives in deep waters and is plentiful in the seas off the south-west coast of England, which is where we source ours. This sustainability is, of course, very important to both us and our customers, so as long as the stocks continue to be carefully managed, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this ‘little beauty’ in years to come. I, for one, am delighted about that!

Why not try it today?

Stefan Kölsch

Head Chef

Posted by Stefan in Fish & Seafood, NEW to Donald Russell   |  Comments Off

Stefan Kölsch - Head Chef

Wild Lemon Sole has a light, fresh flavour and it’s perfect for a speedy meal. We leave the bones in for flavour, but they are easy to remove after cooking – let us show you how to cook and serve a whole lemon sole in under 10 minutes!

Step 1 – Cooking
Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper. Lightly coat both sides of the Lemon Sole with plain flour, tapping off any excess. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil and 10g-20g butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Place the fish in the pan, thinner side down, and fry for 2 minutes without touching, then turn the fish and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Lift onto a warm serving platter or board.

Step 2 – Easing the fish away from the bones
Remove the lateral bones by running a knife or a spoon around the outside of the fish. Then run the knife or spoon down the middle of the fish and gently ease the fillets on both sides away from the bones.

Step 3 – ‘Unzip’ the bones from the fillets
Using the knife, loosen the bones at the tail or head end, take hold of the bones and lift carefully from the flesh. The bones should come away easily and the fillets be left, ready for serving.

Step 4 – Serve!
Serve the fish on a serving platter, or arrange on preheated plates with accompaniments of your choice. For a quick and delicious sauce, combine some of buttery pan juices with a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped parsley. Spoon generously all over the fish, then finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and a grind of black pepper.

So there you have it, a simple gourmet treat from pan to plate in no time at all!

Happy cooking,
Stefan

Posted by Stefan in Fish & Seafood   |  Comments Off

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