Monday, May 25, 2015

Baked Fish on Polenta with Chorizo Butter

Baked salmon with polenta & chorizo butter 2

Repeat after me .... "chorizo butter"!  Say it again .... "chorizo butter"!  Can you bear not to say it one more time .... "chorizo butter"!  Once chorizo butter enters your life, things can only get better - I swear.  Heck - life feels better just saying it, which is why I think you should at least repeat it several times more to yourself, before you rush to the kitchen and make it.  So, how did my new found obsession with chorizo butter begin you may wonder.

Well, as those of you who visit regularly will know, I like to play along at the Secret Recipe Club.  If that's new to you then let me explain.  The club has over a hundred members, divided into four groups, and each month one member is assigned (in secret) to another member from their group.  That person then selects a recipe (or more) to make, photograph, and prepare a blog post - all in secret.  Then everyone in the group posts their recipe on the same day, and of course the secret is then out.  It's a always a thrill to find out who has posted something from your own blog, and is a great way to meet and discover some new blogs.   If you are a food blogger and interested in joining the Secret Recipe Club, be sure to check out the Join SRC page.

This month I was assigned to Lynsey Lou's Making Your Days Delicious, hosted by Lynsey of course.  In time-honoured fashion, Lynsey cooked her way into the heart of the love of her life, to whom she has been happily married ever since.  She learned to cook the best way possible - following her parents and grandparents around the kitchen and lending a helping hand.  Lynsey has been blogging, very prolifically I might add, since 2008 and has a recipe index which boasts hundreds of great dishes to choose from.  Normally when I start browsing my assigned blog to decide on my dish, I look first for any fish dishes, then salads and vegetable dishes.  From there I move on to sweet treats, and it can usually take me many hours of browsing and bookmarking potential recipes before I narrow it down to my final dish.  Not so this time - as is my habit, I headed straight to the fish section, whereupon the words "chorizo butter" leapt out at me, and from that moment on there was no question that Lynsey's Baked Halibut with Chorizo Butter was the dish I was going to make.  Of course, as I browsed some more there were other dishes which beckoned me - Creamy Clam Chowder,  Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowls, and Chicken Schnitzel served with crisp apple and rocket salad, to name just a few - but there was just no getting past that chorizo butter, and the rest as they say is history.

Baked salmon with polenta & chorizo butter 3

I didn't make any changes to Lynsey's dish, other than replacing rocket with spinach and replacing the halibut with salmon.  Halibut is not a fish which is available here, so I chose salmon since it is my favourite fish.  However, to be perfectly honest, I actually found that the salmon was just a bit too rich with the polenta and sauce, so it would have been much better if I'd chosen another white fish.  Or prawns would have been another great alternative.  And as for the chorizo butter - everything I expected it to be - in fact I would have been happy with just that poured over the top of the polenta and skip the fish altogether.  Actually, I would have been happy to bathe in it!!

Baked salmon with polenta & chorizo butter

Baked Fish on Polenta with Chorizo Butter
Adapted from this recipe
from Lynsey Lou's Making Your Days Delicious
Serves 2
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

for the polenta
1x cup vegetable stock
1x cup water
2x bay leaves
flaky sea salt
1/2 cup instant polenta
1 tablespoon butter
freshly ground black pepper

for the fish
2x fish fillets
olive oil
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2x generous handfuls of spinach

for the chorizo butter
1x chorizo sausage, skin removed and flesh crumbled
1 tablespoon water
3-4 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Place fish fillets in a lightly greased shallow baking dish.  Drizzle fish with a little olive oil, and season generously with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Put fish into the preheated oven and bake until cooked through - around 8 to 10 minutes depending on the type of fish and thickness of the fillets.

Meanwhile place water, vegetable stock and bay leaves in a pot and bring to the boil.  Taste and season with flaky sea salt - bear in mind that polenta can be quite bland and will really soak up the flavour, so season a little more than you ordinarily might.  Once the liquid is boiling, pour the polenta into the pot in a slow but steady stream, whisking constantly.  Keep stirring until the polenta becomes the consistency of a thick porridge and starts to bubble up like a boiling mud pool.  Once it has reached the desired consistency, remove from the heat and stir in the butter.  Cover and stand in a warm place until the fish and sauce are ready.

To make the chorizo butter, place the crumbled chorizo into a cold fry pan and set it over medium heat.  Cook for around 5-8 minutes, until the sausage is golden and crispy and has released most of its oil.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo from the pan and set it aside.  Add the tablespoon of water to the pan, and then begin to whisk the butter in one tablespoon at a time, until the sauce has emulsified and thickened a little.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chorizo.

To serve, spoon polenta into the centre of a plate and top with a generous handful of spinach.  Place fish on top of the spinach, and spoon chorizo butter liberally over the top.  Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and visit the links below to check out all the other great dishes my Secret Recipe Club friends made.