A while back on Instagram, I saw a Nigella Lawson dish called fish finger bhorta. The dish was so beautiful – many colors, textures and flavors.
However, when I dug deeper, I realized that her fish fingers are……… frozen fish fingers!!! Now I’ve always loved Ms. Lawson because she embraces it all when it comes to food, but I must draw the line here for myself.
And yet, I couldn’t dismiss this recipe altogether. I’d recently purchased an air fryer, and thought that making fish fingers in it would be a great test. (And they came out perfectly!)
Unfortunately, I disliked the recipe immensely. Probably because I don’t feel that the mustard belonged. It’s definitely a British thing, which I confirmed with my son-in-law.
2 regular onions
2 red chillies (I only had serranos and habaneros
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (approx. 50g / 3-inch chunk)
12 frozen fish fingers
3 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons English mustard
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt)
4 ounces young spinach
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander (plus more to serve)
Pickled onions, purchased or home made
Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/425°F. While you’re waiting, peel and slice your 2 regular onions into fine half-moons, deseed the chillies (or not if you prefer) and slice them finely, and peel the garlic. If the skin is tough, peel the ginger (using the tip of a teaspoon) then grate it finely to give 1 tablespoonful.
When the oven’s hot, and your ingredients are assembled and ready, put the frozen fish fingers on a baking sheet and cook for approx. 20–25 minutes, which may be slightly longer than the packet directs, but will ensure the breadcrumb coating is really crisp.
Instead of doing that, although I wanted to respect the original recipe, I used 1 pound of cod, seasoned, and cut into bite-sized pieces. I dipped them in flour, then 2 whisked eggs, and then in panko. They cooked in 3 batches at 385 degrees for about 6 minutes each batch.
Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions over medium-low for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, by which time they will be pale gold and soft. Add the sliced chillies and cook, stirring all the while, for 3 minutes, then stir in the grated ginger, mince or grate in the garlic, and cook, still stirring, for another 2 minutes.
Spoon in the mustard and salt, (or just salt!), stirring to combine, then add the spinach leaves and let them wilt in the pan for 2–3 minutes, stirring regularly, then squeeze in the juice of the lime.
Take the pan off the heat while you get the fish fingers. Break them up a bit with a spatula then add them to the wok or frying pan. Toss everything together, breaking them up further and mashing them into the pan, then sprinkle over the coriander.
I left my fish fingers as is, heated but not mashed into the other ingredients.
Serve topped with pickled onions, adding extra chopped coriander if wished.
I not only pickled onions, but also red cabbage and blueberries. I got the inspiration from Valentina, of the blog, “Cooking on the Weekends.”
If you need fabulous jarred pickled onions, I use these, from Amazon of course.
I might try this recipe again, but totally omit the mustard.