With summer weather comes lighter eating and for me that always means fish. It’s the ultimate fast food. If you don’t have regular access to a shop, there are now many Irish retailers that will ship their fish directly to your door.
You can soak your own beans of any type, or use tinned cooked beans for this recipe. Cannellini or butter beans are ideal here. I do add them to everything from vegetarian burgers, mixed with mushrooms and plenty of herbs, to brownies with maple syrup and cocoa powder.
The humble bean will soak up whatever flavours you mix it with and will be that chickpea stand-in when you need to make hummus, or that healthy carb when I’m making sausage rolls. I always blitz the sausage meat with some cooked beans in the food processor to make a more balanced sausage roll.
Parmesan and chorizo are, for me, two store cupboard staples that can transform quite bland ingredients, in this case beans. I do love them but they don’t have much going in terms of flavour. Beans are always a vehicle for something else, be it heated through and served with some grassy olive oil and a pinch of sea salt or slow cooked in a luscious herb-laced tomato sauce.
With chorizo you only need a little to have a big impact. Once the meat hits the heat of the oven the highly flavoured fat renders and the fish is dappled with sweet smoked paprika flavour. It’s worth seeking out a good quality chorizo for this.
In the spirit of avoiding food waste, I serve the beans with a quick home-made pesto that uses up all your wilting fridge greens and has a kick of garlic and lemon. Make a double batch and keep it in a jar in the fridge for dipping into, just ensure there’s a layer of oil on top to preserve it.
Spicy mustard leaves, rocket, or any herbs such as parsley or basil are perfect for this. If you’re growing your own vegetables this summer then add the radish and carrot tops too. A bright home-made pesto brings fresh flavour to every dish; drizzled over pizzas, salads and sandwiches or folded through pantry basics like pasta or beans.
FISH WITH CHORIZO AND PESTO
1 clove garlic
80g mixed leaves (rocket, herbs, mustard leaf etc)
25g roughly grated Parmesan
80ml olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Black pepper and sea salt
4 portions of cod, hake or pollock
100g chorizo, thinly sliced
2 x tins cooked cannellini or butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Place the garlic, mixed leaves, Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Mix till it forms a rough paste. Season to taste with plenty of black pepper and salt. It may need a little more lemon juice. Set aside.
2 Drizzle a little olive oil on a tray. Place the fish on top and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the slices of chorizo onto the fish. Cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the chorizo is crisp.
3 Meanwhile, place the beans with a few tablespoons of water into a small pan over a high heat. Once they're warm and the water has evaporated, stir through the pesto. Divide the beans between four plates and top with the fish.