Look at these beautiful glossy Lemon Sole…. you can always tell a fabulously fresh fish by the slime…which sounds terrible but is really true.
This March has yielded a few really sunny days and although cold, bitingly so at times, there is nothing like tipping your face toward the sun after a long British winter.
So, off we went for an afternoon on the coast, a really good bracing walk along the beach, snack in the mighty fine Old Neptune Pub.
(http://www.neppy.co.uk/) and a little parcel of goodness to bring back with us.
‘The Neppy’ is one of those places, that you hope to find but rarely do, we wandered in and were greeted warmly, the wonky floor and scrubbed tables adding to the charm. The bar staff pointed us to the menu, and before looking we asked – “you don’t do a crab sandwich do you?” Of course they did…
Rocket had enjoyed a pre-lunch taste of the Oysters for which Whitstable is so famous…
After lunch, we called into the fishmonger in the harbour and selected the Lemon Sole,
it just looked so right, was locally caught and we knew it would make a tasty supper.
Evolving our dish in the car on our way back, my emphasis was on simple, Rocket’s was on a little flavour from a crab claw and some brown shrimps he had bought so we decided on a crab and shrimp butter with the fish baked in a paper parcel, served up with wilted spinach on the side.
Sole such as this are easy to skin – albeit flat fish as fresh as this do cling on to their skin a little more than those that aren’t so recently landed. My top tip and this applies when skinning or filletting any fish really, is to use a piece of jay cloth to hold the fish – it’s slightly textured and helps you gain purchase on even the most slippery customer. Just use some scissors to cut the ‘frill’ off all the way around the fish. Next slit the skin across the tale on the dark side, hold the tail tightly with a cloth, grasp the skin and pull it firmly back.
The only other thing you need to do, is season the fish, pop it into a paper parcel with a dash of white wine or a splash of water, seal it tightly and cook for about 15 minutes ( less if they are small). You know it’s cooked when the flesh has become milky white from translucent.
On our way down to Whitstable we were listening to radio 6 music and the talk of Carole King playing Hyde Park this summer…
The tracks from ‘Tapestry’ became the sound track to our day. This is a corking track, and I guess that when The Marmoset and I are at Hyde Park on a baking (hopefully) July day this summer – I’ll also be reminded of our fab day in Whitstable.