When you’ve got more than 1,200 cookery books and you extended your kitchen just so you could fit them all in, there’s really no reason at all to say you can’t think what to make for supper….
The books in the Yorkshire Food Finder kitchen have been offering a wealth of inspiration and know-how for years. They get read like a novel, end up spattered with food, have pencil scribblings in countless margins, and are adorned with bookmarks a-plenty. It’s rare that a single recipe is slavishly followed for it’s more likely to be used as a backdrop to an idea, amalgamated with one or two others, or simply used as an aide memoir for the sake of getting right a particular technique.
Some of the books date back to the time of my mother-in-law’s grandmother who filled her recipe book with a veritable cornucopia that work equally well in the modern kitchen as they did more than a century ago. Some were last seen on a bookshop shelf before finding their way into the Yorkshire Food Finder kitchen. And others are from the likes of America, Hungary, Peru, Estonia and other far flung outposts.
We’ll be featuring occasional cooking-the-books forays into the Yorkshire Food Finder collection, the first of which is this one from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman from New York. She began the Smitten Kitchen blog in 2006 highlighting her culinary adventures in her no-room-to-swing-a-cat kitchen, a place where her friend told her ‘ovens are for sweater storage…’
Deb has clearly put paid to that New York City myth, for the recipes that come out of her kitchen with its single worktop and one small oven, are a feast of colour and taste that anyone of us can handle. And they just go to show you don’t need a gigantic, full-on, gadget-rich, football pitch-sized cooking space to knock up good food! This recipe was adapted from Deb’s halibut recipe for a light lunch when my brother pitched up for a flying visit. It’s light, healthy and very colourful. Would work well with salmon too.
Cod loin with gazpacho salad and tomato vinaigrette (serves 4)
For the vinaigrette
1 medium tomato, blanched and peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the fish
4 pieces of cod loin about 150g each
Lemon juice and zest
A little oil
For the salad
1 small cos lettuce, the leaves torn or shredded
4 medium or 8 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Half a cucumber, centre seed channel removed, and diced
2 peppers, red and orange, finely chopped
Half a red onion, finely chopped
2 medium avocados sliced lengthways
450g broad beans (pod weight), double podded
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley and chives mixed and finely chopped
To make the vinaigrette, in a blender or processor, puree the tomato until smooth. Add the sherry vinegar and then with the machine running slowly, drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream. Season, pass through a fine sieve and set aside.
For the fish, oil a baking sheet, place the fish on it and season. Drizzle with a little lemon juice, scatter some zest over the top, cover with foil and bake in a hot oven (220C) for just 12 minutes.
Toss all the salad ingredients together except the cos lettuce and avocado. Arrange the lettuce in the base of 4 shallow bowls, add a fan of avocado on top then top with the salad ingredients. Place the cooked fish on top and drizzle over the tomato vinaigrette.