friday’s food porn: pan fried bluenose with basil, garlic and lemon zest

by Sam on January 21, 2011

pan fried bluenose with basil, garlic and lemon zest

Bluenose is a deep water fish caught by long line or as trawl by catch, and is often incorrectly sold as musselcracker. Its flesh is firm and white, suitable for any cooking method and simply delicious to eat.

I bought a whole fish at Fish 4 Africa in Woodstock the other day.

A really fantastic fishmonger in the heart of Woodstock

I had a friend over for supper and decided to cook the first fillet (which could have fed 4 people) three different ways. I wanted to optimise the flavour of the fish. So I did it like this:

  1. salt and pepper and pan fried in my zesty chilli oil
  2. smoked red pepper, garlic and olive oil
  3. basil, chilli, garlic, lemon zest, a bit of juice and olive oil

They all had good things going for them, but the last basting paste was the winner in overall appeal.

So I did the second fillet like this:

In a pestle and mortar grind up the following things: (enough for one large fillet / half a bluenose)

  • finely grated zest of a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • about 1 tsp of coarse salt (I used The Smoking Shed Fleur de sel)
  • 1 small green chilli (add more if you want heat – or add a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes)

grind all of these ingredients first before adding:

  • a hand full of basil leaves
  • juice of about 1/4 of the lemon (reserve the rest for after cooking)
  • a splash of olive oil to get it to a nice spreading consistency – a little more than a thick paste

How to make this:

  • Spread the paste over the flesh of the fish, evenly covering the surface
  • heat some olive oil in a pan (about 4 Tbs) – I also used a splash of my chilli oil
  • cut the fish into your desired size portions and fry with the flesh side down, cooking for about 3 minutes per side
  • I left the skin on, I simply love crispy fish skin
  • I found that the fillets were a little bit too thick to cook all the way through in the pan without burning the outside, so I  finished off the cooking in a 200 degree oven for about 8 minutes.
  • squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over and serve

This fish goes beautifully with virtually any accompaniment.  I served it with my new potato salad with creme fraiche, spring onions  and smoked red pepper sprinkle and a green salad loaded with asparagus. It would be wonderful on a braai / BBQ.

Lip smackingly delicious.

firm and fleshy, moist and succulent

prepared simply to enhance the natural flavours of the fish

a lovely firm texture which is perfect for cold leftovers

Leave a Comment

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurence January 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

The last picture is possibly one of your best ever
…oh and the fish looks awesome too

Lori January 21, 2011 at 9:20 am

such pretty pictures of the fish darling! Makes me want to eat :)

drizzleanddip January 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

Thanks Laurence, I tried a whole new lighting set up for these shots and I think they worked out well and I did zero editing on these.

Adele January 22, 2011 at 4:42 am

Wow, my mouth’s watering, and I don’t call myself a fish fan at all. I agree, great pictures.

Linda Tucker October 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for this, I also bought some Blue Nose from Fish 4 Africa and used your recipe and it was Awesome!
Thanks!

Sam October 31, 2013 at 8:29 am

Thats great LInda, thanks for letting me know. A fab fish indeed, you dont see it that often.

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