No one knows fish like Mitch Tonks.
After a brief stint as an accountant, the now award-winning restauranteur returned to a life by the sea to open a specifalist fishmonger in Bath.
That quickly turned into a string of hugely popular restaurants mostly on the south coast, several cookbooks about seafood and appearances on everything from Saturday Kitchen to MasterChef.
On top of all that, his restaurant chain and online market Rockfish has made superb quality seafood – as well as his expertise – available at home.
So it seems only apt, then, to turn to Tonks for his favorite seafood recipes. Here’s just three:
This hearty fish dish is a quick and delicious alternative to a traditional fish pie recipe, and perfect for enjoying with family or friends in the comfort of your home this autumn.
1 x Rockfish (or shop-bought) fish pie mix (monkfish, smocked pollack, whiting and ling)
100g shell on prawns (some peeled, some unpeeled)
2 spring onions
25g butter, plus additional for grating
150ml double cream
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp English mustard
A few black and pink peppercorns
Handful grated parmesan
Handful of breadcrumbs
Handful of chopped parsley
Pour the milk into a saucepan. Add a bay leaf, a few black and pink peppercorns, English mustard and fish pie mix. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer.
Chop the leeks finely and add to a dry frying pan – keep stirring to avoid catching on the pan.
Once the leeks have softened, add the butter and mix until it has fully melted. Add the flour and mix.
Keeping the fish in the saucepan, slowly add the milk to the leeks, whilst stirring, to form a sauce.
Add the double cream, chopped spring onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Keep stirring as you add the fish and then the prawns.
Transfer the mix into an oven safe dish, then top with the grated butter, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Pop under the grill on a high setting until crispy and golden on top.
Remove from the oven, top with some chopped parsley and serve alongside a crisp salad and some new potatoes.
Roast turbot with hollandaise
Turbot is the king of all flat fish, its texture is firm and it has a particular stickiness that comes from the natural fat and membrane between the thick flakes of fish which render whilst cooking. The bigger the fish, the simpler the cooking is the rule I apply to turbot.
2 turbot T-bones about 300g each
1 tbsp olive oil
2 egg people
tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp water
150g unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1. Heat the oven to 220C. Season the turbot with salt and rub with olive oil before roasting on a tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Adjust cooking time if turbot weighs less/more.
2. To make the Hollandaise sauce put the egg yolks, mustard and water into a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the eggs have dou8bled in volume and thickened. Whilst still whisking, gradually pour in the melted butter and combine to a smooth and thick sauce. Remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon, a little salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper to serve.
3. Remove the turbot onto a warmed plate and spoon the hollandaise by the side. Serve simply with whatever vegetables you prefer, spinach or dark leafy greens and buttered potatoes are good.
Use only the freshest mackerel and ideally buy from the fishing boats at the beach, take a little camping stove or make a beach fire and cook this up in a pot there and eat, perfect warming but light food for the whole family to eat after a dip in the sea.
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 mackerel, approx 350g, gutted and chopped into 5cm chunks or leave whole
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
40 black olives
Squeeze lemon to taste
For the spice mix:
1 tbsp ground all spice
1½ tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cassia
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp chilli flakes
Mix all the ingredients for the spice mix together and store in an airtight jar.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the ginger, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onion and fry gently for 4-5 minutes, then add 1 tsp of your spice mix. Add the mackerel, cover with water and leave to simmer for 7-8 minutes if chunks of mackerel and 12 minutes if whole fish.
Before serving, season with plenty of salt, then add the coriander, olives and a squeeze of lemon to taste.