When shallow frying, the food is cooked in a small quantity of fat or oil. There are four different types of shallow frying.
Shallow frying where the food is fried on both sides in oil or fat in a frying pan.
Sauté where the food is tossed in hot fat or oil to cook quickly. A sauté pan is ideal but a frying pan can be used
Griddle fried where the food is cooked quickly on a lightly oiled hot plate or Griddle pan.
Stir-fried where the food is tossed in hot fat or oil over a very high heat, usually done in a wok but a frying or sauté pan can also be used in an emergency.
This is a quick method that can add colour, flavour (from the oil or fat) and a crisp finish to most foods as required.
It’s important to use a pan of a suitable size for the food that you intend to cook and not to crowd the pan as this can affect the quality of the result. As always care should be taken when moving hot pan and especially when tossing a pan with hot oil in it. Finally never leave a pan unattended as oil and fat can catch fire when too hot.
1 Handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme) finely chopped
2 x onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 x sweet pepper, finely sliced
Approx. 20cm Chistorra finely sliced (substitute other dried meat if unavailable)
4 x eggs
30g Pecorino cheese, grated
30g goat’s Gouda cheese, grated
30g Red Leicester cheese, sliced
Get your frying pan on to a medium high heat with a little olive oil. Add the onions and fry them gently for ten to fifteen minutes or until they begin to caramelise.
While you wait, beat your eggs well, trying to incorporate as much air as possible, add in the grated cheeses as well as the fresh herbs and beat some more.
Once the onions have started to caramelise add in the garlic and fry for about a minute before adding the celery and continuing to fry gently for about five minutes. At this point you want to add the sweet pepper and fry for about a minute more, before pouring the egg mix over and stirring well. You will need to be quick doing this as the egg will start to cook as soon as it hits the pan. I use a plastic whisk to keep everything moving as I add the eggs and try to make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed around the pan.
Now leave this mixture to cook in the pan until you see the eggs start to cook at the very edge of the pan. Now, quickly add the sliced Chistorra over the top of the frittata and crumble the Red Leicester cheese over as well.
Place under a preheated grill and continue to cook until the centre of the frittata has solidified and the cheese has just started to brown at the edges. Divide the Frittata into slices just like you would a pizza and serve with a small side salad.
2 sea trout fillets
1 thumb of ginger, grated
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
A handful of coriander, chopped
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Juice of half a lime
1 large handful of fresh baby broccoli
6 spring onions, chopped
Medium egg noodles
Begin by adding the ginger, chilli, coriander, soy, sesame oil and lime juice to a resealable container big enough to hold both pieces of trout and stir it all together (Ziploc-style bags work great for this). Next, pop the trout into the marinade, seal it and place in the fridge for about an hour.
While the fish is marinating, rinse the baby broccoli and chop off the florets, then chop the stalks diagonally into lengths of 1 – 2 centimetres.
About 10 minutes before the marinating is complete take a pan, fill it with water and bring it to the boil. You will need this ready for when the fish goes on so that you can cook your noodles at the same time. You will also need a wok and a frying pan.
Using the wok, poach the broccoli in lightly salted boiling water, for about two minutes. This is best done just before the fish goes on. When poached, take the pan off the heat and drain the hot water, leave the broccoli to one side.
Brush off the marinade before frying the trout in a hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side. Make sure the frying pan is as hot as possible before adding the fish skin side down. Do not discard the marinade.
Follow the instruction for the egg noodles and cook them in the saucepan of water you brought to the boil earlier.
Get your wok back onto the heat, add a lug of sesame oil and then pop the broccoli and chopped spring onions in. Stir fry these for about a minute then add the reserved marinade to warm it up. Add the noodles and toss together in the wok.
Extra virgin olive oil
3 x carrot, halved lengthways and chopped
3 x celery sticks, halved lengthways and chopped
3 x onions, finely diced
3 x garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 x anchovy
5 large tomatoes
50g sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped or blitzed in a blender
150g tomato puree
2 x large handfuls of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground cumin
500g lean mince beef
2 x bay leaves
300ml Italian tomato sauce
Once you have completed all the preparation, get a large saucepan, pour in a generous lug of olive oil and get it onto a high heat until the oil just starts to smoke. Add the anchovy and fry this hard until it starts to break up and disappear. At this point add your carrots and bring the heat down to a medium heat.
Fry these for about 5 minutes, then add the onion and celery and reduce the heat to a low heat and continue to fry this until the onions begin to caramelise (usually twenty to twenty five minutes) stirring occasionally.
While this is happening you need to skin, quarter, core and de-seed the tomatoes. To skin them you will need a pan of boiling water and a bowl of ice cold water. First score an X on to the bottom of each tomato, with the water boiling hard, carefully pop the tomatoes in for about 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and place them in the bowl of ice water to stop them cooking and make them easier to handle. Now you should be able to remove the skin by simply tearing from where you made the X. Next quarter the tomatoes and using a teaspoon remove the core and seeds in one go, you only want the flesh of the tomato. Remember to keep an eye on the main saucepan while you are doing this.
If the onions are starting to caramelise by now, simply remove the pan from the heat. Begin to fry the mince, with a pinch of cumin powder, in a large frying pan over a high heat. You want to brown the meat as quickly as possible, making sure that you brown all the meat.
Depending on the quality of the mince you may find that it releases some water once you start to fry it, if this happens keep the heat as high as you can and keep turning and moving the mince until all the water boils off. This can take a bit of time so don’t forget about the other pan, and remove it from the heat if the onions start to caramelise before the meat is done. You want to keep frying the mince until it is completely dry looking and starts to stick to your frying pan.
At this point your onions should have started to caramelise and you may have removed them from the heat, if you have, get them back onto a low heat for about a minute then add the meat. If the onions haven’t started to caramelise then turn the heat down on the meat and give it an occasional stir until the onions start to caramelise and then add the meat and stir the lot together.
By now there may well be some mince and fat stuck to your frying pan, this is great because that’s pure flavour. Add a good splash of your wine to the frying pan and using a wooden spoon or spatula gently stir and scrape those little bits off the pan, the heat and wine should make this very easy and in less than a minute all that flavour should have combined with the wine which you can now pour into the saucepan.
With regards to the wine: The conventional wisdom is to use red wine. If you have some available great, however the day I came up with this recipe, I looked at our collection of unfinished bottles and there were no reds, as I didn’t want to open a bottle of red just for this, I picked up a bottle of white wine, a Sauternes (very sweet wine) that had been open too long and had started to vinegar a little. A quick bit of measuring and in it went.
Now if my mum was still alive I would have gotten an earful, not only letting such a good wine start to vinegar but also for using it for cooking, that is until she tasted the end result, this gave the whole dish a different flavour than if I had used a red wine and exaggerated the caramelised flavour of the veg in a way that’s hard to describe.
Next you will need to add all the tomatoes, tomato purée, the blitzed sun-dried tomatoes, Italian tomato sauce, oregano, the rest of the wine, basil, bay leaves and stir gently.
Now bring this up to a medium heat and start to add the water, while stirring continuously. You want to add enough water so that the sauce is slightly thinner than you want the end result to be. In my case this turned out to be 500ml almost exactly but depending on the water contents of your ingredients you may require less or more. Once you’re happy with the consistency bring it to a very gentle simmer and cover the pot.
You want to simmer this for at least an hour stirring it occasionally. After an hour give it a good stir, if it’s still a little thinner than you like leave the lid off and let it simmer for a few more minutes and it should thicken up. I’ve had this Ragu simmering for up to 3 hours on occasion and if anything it just improves the flavours.
Finally, taste it and season it with salt and pepper if required and stir in 2 tablespoons of the best extra virgin olive oil you can find.
I like to serve this with fresh Tagliatelle and some Parmesan cheese, grated fresh over the top at the table.
Thankfully this recipe freezes really well and is ideal for freezing in bags as described here, 150ml is a serving so we tend to freeze it in bags of 300ml for the two of us. Alternatively, we’ve found the leftovers make great pizza. just spread some on your pizza base, add some cheese over the top (crumbled Mozzarella if you want to be really decadent) and cook as usual.
For the fish cakes:
450g potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 large onion, finely diced
225g smoked trout, flaked
225g fresh cod, poached & flaked
225g fresh salmon, poached & flaked
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley (divide into 2 equal halves)
Zest of 3 lemons, finely chopped (divide into one-third and two-thirds)
6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices bread)
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
For the parsley sauce:
1 medium onion, finely diced
75g plain flour
Large handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped (keep the stalks separate)
Makes 8 fish cakes (2 per person is a very decent meal) and enough sauce to cover them. If you are going to chill / freeze some of the fish cakes, reduce the ingredients for the sauce proportionately.
Directions on how to make speedy mashed potatoes can be found here.
To poach the fish, cover in cold water, add 1 bay leaf and bring to boil. After boiling for 5 mins, remove from heat and flake the fish, discarding the skin and the bay leaf. Remove any bones at this point and throw away.
Heat the 50g butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat for about 10 mins, so they are well cooked but do not take on colour.
In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, half of the chopped parsley and one-third of the lemon zest. Tip out onto a plate. On a 2nd plate, spread out your flour. Finally, on a bowl (or plate with high sides), pour out your beaten eggs.
In your empty bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, flaked fish, cooked onion, dill, chives and the remaining parsley and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and divide into 8, forming into fish cake shapes. Dip each fish cake into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, coating well and set aside. The fish cakes can be chilled or frozen at this point for later use – 24-48 hours in fridge, 1 month in freezer.
Now turn your oven on to 200 C. Begin to cook the parsley sauce while the oven heats. Melt your butter over a medium heat and add in the chopped onion and parsley stalks, frying gently for about 10 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Reduce the heat and add in the flour, stirring well. Start slowly adding in the milk, about 2-3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in well to avoid lumps. You may need to play with the heat here, keep your mix just below a simmer.
Just after you start adding the milk to the sauce, heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to just cover the bottom. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Be careful not to use too much heat as they will burn easily. Once fried, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
All this time you should have been keeping an eye on your sauce, adding the milk until you get to the consistency you desire. With about 2-3 minutes before the fish cakes are ready to come out of the oven, add in the chopped parsley and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper – this is very important as the sauce will be incredibly bland without added salt!
Note: if you can’t get the specific types or quantities of fish listed here, feel free to substitute smoked salmon, tinned tuna, etc, as needed.