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2 cod fillets (1 piece, cut in half and trimmed is what I did)

7 or 8 baby new potatoes (pre-boiled for 20minutes in salted boiling water)

8 whitebait

100g bag watercress

1 lemon

Cornflour

Small cube of bread to test the heat of the oil

Cooking oil (sunflower, vegetable)

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Cod with crispy whitebait and a watercress salad

preparation 2 mins • you cook for 16 mins •

Serves 2

Watch a 30 second preview of my cook-along video below

 

A lovely looking, great tasting plate of food that's sure to impress but requires very little skill! This recipe combines two great fish - meaty cod and zingy, crispy whitebait. Round it off with a light watercress and potato salad and you'll be making it again and again.

Small saucepan to deep fry the whitebait

Mixing bowl for the salad

Small bowl or jar for the dressing

Small pan for the fish

Fish slice

Small ramekin filled with milk

Slotted spoon

Food bag or bowl for the whitebait

Plate with a layer of kitchen paper on

Spoon to stir

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Before you start, have the potatoes boiled and ready (doesn't matter if still warm or cold) and the other ingredients out on the work surface. Half fill your small saucepan with oil and turn it on a medium heat. Put your pan for the fish on a low heat and click here!

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First you need to half fill your small sauce pan with oil and turn it on a medium heat. Put your pan for the fish on a medium heat whilst you make your dressing. Put the juice of half a lemon into your small bowl or jar and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk or shake together until emulsified. Keep an eye on your saucepan with the oil. If it starts smoking, turn the heat off.

Take your food bag and put about 3 tablespoons of cornflour into the bag with a pinch of salt. Take one of your whitebait, dip it in the milk and then drop it in the bag. Repeat this with all the whitebait. Check that your pans aren't smoking too much, if so turn them off for the time being. Season your cod on both sides with salt and pepper. Take the cod and whitebait over to the hob and turn the heat up on your small pan for the cod.

Seal the food bag and give it a shake to coat the whitebait.  Once your pan for the cod is just starting to smoke, add a swirl of oil and place the cod into the pan skin side down and cook for 3 minutes on the skin side and 2 minutes on the flesh side. If the pan is hot enough, you should hear a nice sizzle. 

Next you need to test the temperature of the oil by carefully dropping the cube of bread into the oil. If the bread rises to the surface and bubbles instantly, then it's hot enough. Take 4 of the whitebait and carefully drop them into the oil and cook for 3 minutes until golden. Use a slotted spoon if you're worried, as the oil is very hot. It should be about 3 minutes now so turn your cod and wait for the whitebait. Once the whitebait is golden, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them onto your plate with the kitchen paper.

Add the next batch of whitebait and it should be almost time to remove the cod. Remove it to a board whilst you wait for the second batch of whitebait to finish. Once the whitebait is done, add them to the plate with the paper and take everything over to your work surface.

Cut the potatoes in half and add them to your mixing bowl with the watercress. Give it a light toss together and add the salad dressing. Lightly toss the salad together to coat with the dressing. Lastly, squeeze the other half of lemon over the whitebait and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

To serve, put a handful of salad into the middle of your plate or bowl, and carefully place the cod on top, skin side up. Lastly, add a stack of 4 whitebait to the top of the cod and you're done!

I hope that you enjoy it!

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