“His cookbooks are excellent, and he is good at looking relaxed while being photographed doing things in kitchens.”

-John Lanchester, in The Guardian, talking about Bill Granger

 

I got the very original concept for this from a cookbook called Bills Food (no apostrophe), by an Australian celebrity chef called Bill Granger. I say ‘very original’ because I have changed just about everything, timings, quantities, temperatures…. Granger’s is supposed to be an easy, Antipodean style of cooking, but I still think he has a way to go before he reaches the Saucy Dressings’ standard of ‘simple’.

For example, I’ve used roast new potatoes, cooked in the same roasting pan as the fish – miles easier than Granger’s mash, better for you, the potatoes take on the flavour of the fish, and it saves washing up.

Granger footles about with a blender and the breadcrumbs…I just use Panko, which give a lively, crispy texture.

He serves his fish and mash on spinach leaves, but I think a fresh green salad, brightened up with spring onions and pretty pink radishes is a touch more interesting and appealing. Personally, I rather like to mix the potatoes in with the salad as I eat it….I know that’s not normal!

If you were watching your weight you could increase the amount of fish and breadcrumbs, and cut out the potatoes altogether.

Maybe I should start a restaurant. Granger is fantastically successful. I found his cookbook in my friend Mouse’s house. She reports to me, “I have literally just returned from Sydney and walked passed his restaurant yesterday in Surrey Hills (that’s now not yesterday! ) it was packed!”.

 

Recipe for white fish roasted in a lemony crust with multi-coloured potatoes and a bright salad

Serves 2

Ingredients for the fish:

  • 240g/8 oz boneless cod fillets
  • 20g/generous ⅓ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt – plus one more for the potatoes (below)
  • About six stems of blousy Italian flat leaved parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper…or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes if you are lucky enough to have that
  • 1 large unwaxed lemon, zest and juice (use some of the juice for the dressing, below)
  • 3 tbsps olive oil, plus more for roasting/the dressing etc

 

  • 4 tbsps or so of mayonnaise – small bowl to serve

Ingredients for the potatoes:

  • 360g/13 oz (each serving will cover approximately the area of a computer mouse) mixed new potatoes – I got mine from The Potato Shop in Tenterden, a mix of Pink Fir Apple, La Ratte, and Vitelotte.
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • salt, approx. a teaspoon
  • olive oil for roasting

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • honey (optional)
  • 1 baby gem
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 radish (or two if you like radishes)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC. Warm your plates.
  2. Line a smallish roasting tin with foil (this will reduce the angst of the washing up), and pour in a tbsp of olive oil. The roasting tin needs to be large enough to accommodate the potatoes, and later, the fish fillets, lying flat.
  3. Cut the potatoes into smallish chunks, uniform size. Pour over another tbsp of olive oil. Stir well to cover. Cut the garlic, skin and all, in half lengthwise, add to the pan. Sprinkle with the salt. Stir again. Put into the oven. After 15 minutes, take out, stir and turn, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, about the size you’d use for cereal, mix the breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, snip in the parsley (including some of the stem, where there is a lot of flavour), the pepper, the zest of the lemon (be quite rough with the lemon while you do this as, later, you will harvest more juice), and the three tablespoons of olive oil…if it looks a tad dry, add a drizzle more.
  5. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze 1 tbsp of lemon juice into a small bowl. Cut the lemon into wedges.
  6. When the potatoes have been in for half an hour, take them out, muddle them about again, and move slightly to the side to make room for the fish.
  7. Lay the fish fillets down on the roasting tray and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Wedge in the lemon segments. Drizzle the lot (potatoes, lemon and fish) with more olive oil.
  8. Put back in the oven for ten minutes.
  9. Meanwhile make the dressing for the salad: add four tbsps. of olive oil to the lemon juice, and some seasoning. Taste. If it still tastes a bit sour, add a little honey. Shake/mix well.
  10. Shred the baby gem, put it in a salad bowl (or individual bowls), and snip over the spring onion, including some of the green. Finely slice the radish and add that. Dress and toss the salad.
  11. Serve the salad together with the fish, the lemon wedges, the potatoes, and the bowl of mayonnaise.