Pan-fried Ocean Perch Fillets with Parsnip Mash, Almonds & Olives
The creamy parsnip mash makes this a real ‘comfort dish’, while the crunchy almonds, olives and lemon zest add texture and zing.
3 large parsnips, peeled and trimmed
2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic
⅓ cup milk
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 x 180g ocean perch fillets, skin on, bones removed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
30g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
4 large green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons French tarragon leaves, chopped (see notes)
1 lemon, zested
Place the parsnips, potatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain thoroughly, mash and pass through a fine sieve to remove the stringy parsnip core. Stir in the milk, plenty of salt and pepper, and two-thirds of the butter. Set aside and keep warm until needed.
Score the skin of each fillet, making several lengthways cuts around 5mm deep. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat a frying pan over a moderately high heat and add fillets, skin-side down, in a single layer. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp and well-coloured, then turn and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, until flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove to a warm plate.
Melt remaining butter in the frying pan, add the almonds, salt and pepper and stir for 1-2 minutes, until almonds start to colour. Stir in the olives, tarragon and lemon zest.
Place a dollop of the parsnip mash onto each serving plate, rest a fillet on top and spoon the almond mixture over the top.
If French tarragon is not available, omit it or use chervil, do not replace with tasteless Russian tarragon.
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