Plaice is what's known as a 'flat' white fish. It has a lovely delicate sweet flavour. In this plaice recipe, I serve it with asparagus which has a much stronger taste and so provides a good contrast.
Asparagus and new potatoes are in season in Spring time. New potatoes also have a delicate slightly sweet flavour and a nice creamy texture. They don't need to be peeled before cooking, just wash them in cold water. This makes this dish a very quick and easy one to prepare. You can prepare and cook the plaice at the same time as the potatoes which means this dish will be ready in about 15 minutes. If you don't have plaice, this recipe will work with any flat white fish such as sole, lemon sole, dover sole, dab, turbot or halibut.
How to cook Plaice
Plaice can be cooked quickly by just pan frying it for a 2 - 3 minutes on each side. I like to dust both sides of the plaice first in a little flour before frying in butter. The butter sticks to the flour which adds a lovely crispiness. You shouldn't remove the skin from flat white fish before cooking as otherwise they will fall apart in the pan. You don't however, eat the skin.
What to serve with plaice?
If asparagus and new potatoes are not in season and you are looking for other things to serve with plaice, you could try broccoli, garden peas or green beans. Instead of new potatoes, try sauteed or fried potatoes. To saute potatoes, slice them and cook in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove from the water and leave to cool on a clean tea towel. The tea towel will help absorb any water from the outside of the potatoes. Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan. Fry the potato slices in a single layer until nice and crisp on the outside. Keep turning them until your have an even crispiness on both sides. Because of its nice delicate flavour, plaice is often served with butter, lemon or parsley sauces.
When shopping for fish, look for the Marine Stewardship Council logo. This label tells us that the fish has been sourced responsibly. The Marine Stewardship Council constantly monitors fish stocks in an effort to help preserve fish stocks for future generations. The Good Fish Guide will give you the latest information on fish stocks. Asparagus is in season in the UK from May until the end of June. In this time, you should be able to buy asparagus locally. If you have the opportunity to eat asparagus in season, you should try it as the taste is so much better than asparagus that has been stored. New potatoes are also in season in spring time, making them a perfect match for this dish.
How to cook asparagus
Before you cook asparagus, you need to remove any 'woody' or tough bits from the stem. To do this, bend each asparagus stalk gently until it breaks. It will break naturally at the part where the stalk starts to go woody. You can boil asparagus, fry it or gently roast it. To boil asparagus, place it in boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stems. Be careful not to overcook the asparagus as it will be soggy. The stems should be firm but not hard. To fry asparagus, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry over a high heat for 1 - 2 minutes until the stalks are tender. To check if they are done, remove one from the pan with a pair of tongs. If it bends slightly, it is cooked. Roasting asparagus is a delicious way to enjoy them. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 200C/400F/gas 6 for about 12 minutes until they are tender.
Plaice with New Potatoes and Asparagus
- 500 g new potatoes washed, organic
- 800 g plaice fillets 150g - 200g each fillet, skin on, scaled, bones removed
- 500 g asparagus washed, organic
- 10 g butter organic
- 21 g plain flour organic, 1 tbsp = 7g
- 2 lemons organic, fairtrade, juice and zest of half of them
- 4 tbsp low fat creme fraiche organic
- Place the potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to keep warm.
- Bend each asparagus stalk gently until it breaks. It will break naturally at the part where the stalk starts to go woody. Place the asparagus stems in the water with the potatoes for the last 3 - 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stems. Drain, then set aside to keep warm. Be careful not to overcook the asparagus as it will be soggy.
- Meanwhile, rinse the plaice under cold running water to get rid of any loose scales and pat dry.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and lightly dust both sides of the fish with flour.
- Fry each side of the fish for 2 - 3 minutes, until cooked through.
- Mix the creme fraiche together with the juice and zest of half the lemons
- Serve the fish together with the new potatoes, asparagus and lemon creme fraiche. Cut the remaining lemons into segments and divide between the plates.