I REALLY HOPE everyone is enjoying my latest show, ‘Neven’s Food Trails’ which goes out at 7:00pm on RTE every Thursday. On the show this week I got to sample some glorious local fish that is available in the Basque region while I also got to cook two of my favourite fish recipes, tuna and hummus bruschetta with spinach salad and capers and grilled black sole on the bone with lime and caper butter. Here they are and I just know that you love them as much as I do.
Tuna and hummus bruschetta with spinach salad and capers
Tuck into this healthy snack, avoid that blood sugar dip and tide yourself over until dinner. This hummus is so easy to make and beats shop-bought every time. Canned tuna is a great option to use, as it is so low in saturated fat. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 and phosphorus, and a very good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B12 and selenium.
• 8 slices of sourdough bread
• olive oil, for drizzling
• 1 garlic clove, cut in half
• 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
• handful baby spinach leaves
• 250g jar Shines Irish caught tuna in olive oil, drained
• 2 tbsp rinsed capers
• 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 tbsp light tahini (sesame seed paste)
• 1 roasted red pepper, black removed
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 5 tbsp water
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• fresh flat-leaf parsley and basil leaves, to garnish
To make the hummus, place the chickpeas in a food processor. Add the garlic, tahini, roasted red pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Blend to a paste.
Add the lemon juice, olive oil and water through the feeder tube, then season to taste and blend for a few minutes. Remove from the food processor and place in a suitable container with a lid or cover with cling film. This can be made a few days ahead and stored in a fridge.
Toast the sourdough bread in a toaster or grill under a medium heat until golden. Drizzle each one with a little olive oil and rub with the cut garlic clove. Spread the brushetta thickly with the hummus and then arrange the tomato slices on top with the spinach, followed by chunks of the tuna and a sprinkling of the capers. Divide the brushetta among plates or use one large platter, then season with pepper and scatter over the parsley and basil to serve.
Grilled black sole on the bone with lime and caper butter
This dish makes use the most of a fabulous fish, known elsewhere as Dover sole. Unusually for a flat fish, black sole is best when it is two or three days old, when the flavour has intensified. Get your fishmonger to remove the coarse black skin for you, but retain the white one as it adds flavour and keeps the cooked fish in shape. Good, firm medium-sized plaice or lemon sole are also excellent cooked in this manner.
• 4 medium-sized black sole
• a little olive oil, for cooking
• juice of 1/2 lemon
LIME AND CAPER BUTTER
• 100g (4oz) butter
• finely grated rind of 1 lime
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 tbsp rinsed small capers
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• lime wedges, to serve
• steamed new potatoes and fine green beans, to serve
To make the lime and caper butter, place the butter in a mini food processor with the lime and parsley. Blend until smooth, then fold in the capers and season with plenty of pepper. Turn out on to a sheet of clingfilm or non-stick parchment paper and roll into a sausage shape, then twist the ends to secure. Chill for at least 2 hours until firm.
Wash the fish and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Heat the grill and lightly oil the grill rack. Season the fish on both sides with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper, then cook for 4-5 minutes on the skin side, depending on thickness – you will probably have to do this in batches depending on the size of your grill.
Turn the fillets carefully with a fish slice and cook the second side until the flesh is opaque and comes away easily from the bone when tested with the tip of a knife. Carefully transfer the fish to warmed plates and arrange a couple of slices of the lime and caper butter on top of each one. Allow to melt a little and garnish with lime wedges, then add some steamed new potatoes and fine green beans to serve.