As we've been visiting both sets of grandparents over Christmas, yesterday was my first time back in the Madhouse kitchen for ages, and I decided to recreate another of Sgt Windflower's recipes from Mike Martin's A Long Ways From Home. (Click through to read my review.) As the food-loving Mountie lives in Newfoundland, he mentions lots of fish recipes, and this one caught my eye.
p350 "How about some fish for supper?" he asked.
"That would be great," said Auntie Marie and his Uncle Frank added, "I'm starving too".
"It won't take me long," said Windflower as he put a package of frozen cod in the microwave to thaw. While he was waiting, he peeled some potatoes and cut up some broccoli. When the microwave beeped, he took out the cod and dried it on a paper towel.
Then he rolled it in flour and spiced it up with salt, pepper and a heavy hand of Cayenne pepper. He cut up some fat back pork and heated it in an iron skillet to create the perfect medium for the fish. He gently laid the cod into the skillet and let it cook on a medium-high heat for five minutes on each side.
Auntie Marie came into the kitchen a little later and set the table. Windflower put potatoes on each plate and poured a little of the pork fat from the frying pan over them. He then placed a portion of the fried codfish on the plates and covered it with the fried pork scraps, called scrunchions. He split the steamed broccoli between the three of them and called his uncle to come and eat.
I'd never heard of scrunchions but a quick google revealed that they are pork rind or pork back fat, fried until crispy. I decided to use a packet of lardons that were in the freezer, as they are very fatty and would (I imagine) give a similar flavour. I wasn't sure about the mixture of bacon and fish but it actually works really well, with the saltiness of the lardons bringing out the flavour of the fish. Sgt Windflower used cod but I had some coley in the freezer so I used that. I did respect his choice of accompaniment though - broccoli and potatoes.
Fried fish with scrunchions
2 fillets of cod (or coley)
1 cup plain flour
1tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
a generous grind of black pepper
150g bacon lardons (or fat back pork)
potatoes and broccoli, as an accompaniment
Fry the bacon/fat back pork in a large frying pan until they release their fat and go crispy. Remove the lardons to a dish but leave the fat in the pan.
Put the flour in a shallow dish and mix in the spices.
Lay the fish in the flour so it is evenly coated on all sides.
Transfer the fish to the frying pan with the bacon fat and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with the potatoes and broccoli and drizzle a little of the remaining fat over the potatoes and fish.
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If you fancy some more Newfoundland cuisine inspired by Sgt Windflower, how about Salmon Casserole, Newfoundland Raisin Molasses Bread, Smothered Salmon or my roundup of Newfoundland food ?
Fancy cooking the books? Head on over to the #readcookeat linky at Chez Maximka.