Many of us kiwis have fond memories of eating fish and chips at the beach on a summer’s evening. We would feast on thick battered fish and large quantities of potatoes deep fried in cheap vegetable oil, heavily salted and smothered in Watties tomato sauce. Whilst, my fish and chip recipe is almost unrecognisable from that of the quintessential New Zealand fare this is what we call fish and chips around here.
I don’t have a potato phobia but this dinner can be heavy on the carbs if you equate chips to meaning spuds. I like to include a few root veggies in my chip mix but I roast a variety of vegetables; different colors and from different families and mix it up each time. Tonight: a bag of brussels sprouts, half a cauliflower, several carrots, a rutabaga, a turnip and a sweet potato. They’re washed, some are peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces. I use a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and whack them into the oven for about an hour at 400F (around 200C).
The Kale Pesto
Making pesto is super simple and a batch will make enough to flavour several different meals. Combine any normal pesto ingredients into your blender with washed, destemmed kale and you’re done. Tonight I used kale, a handful of walnuts (pine nuts are more traditional but I like walnuts, pistachios would be nice too), garlic, a big bunch of basil leaves, lemon juice and olive oil. I go light on the olive oil at first, blend the mix a bit, and then add in a little more oil if the consistency needs it. If you are not sure about the bitterness of the kale and / or the garlic you can blanch them before blending (I didn’t bother and I think it tastes great). Most pesto recipes include hard Italian cheese. Go ahead and add cheese if you want to but I use cheese sparingly and I don’t think the pesto needs it so I leave it out. Refrigerate the pesto you don’t use in a jar if you are going to use it in the next few days, otherwise pop it into the freezer. Don’t waste it on stodgy pasta. It’s great on chicken and vegetables too.
Frozen, plain fish fillets are a staple in my freezer (check on the ingredients panel that you’re just buying fish and not fish covered with other stuff). As much as I try to plan all our meals there’s the odd night when I need to pull something out of the freezer. Frozen fish is really quick to cook up in the oven and can be served with frozen veggies if you are completely caught out and the vegetable bin is bare too. Tonight I pulled out some frozen Tilapia (ingredients list on the packet reads: Tilapia – and nothing else). I covered the fillets with my fresh kale pesto and in 15 minutes it was cooked to perfection.
Relax and Enjoy
Beer isn’t something I’m promoting as an essential ingredient in a healthy diet but we ate this with a nice cold Stella Artois. That’s something we usually reserve for a Friday night but it’s been a loooooong week already and the beer rounded off the meal perfectly.