Kerry Wilson knows what it's like to be a working mum.
So after a day of toil behind the counter at Egmont Seafoods the last thing she needs is extended graft with the pots and pans when she gets home. There are plenty of fish dishes that are quick to knock up but one of her favourites is "fish bake".
"It's a great recipe for the busy mum and dad," she says. "The recipe is quick and easy and just as tasty reheated on the second night. Any firm fish fillet is ideal but I used kingfish, which is one of my favourites. It was perfect."
The recipe base says spinach but Kerry says any variety of vegetable will do.
Photographer Andy Jackson was dispatched to ESL's smoko room to capture Kerry in action. Andy banked on a hit-and-run mission as his time was at a premium with an assignment list as long as legal-sized kingfish. But as soon as he got a whiff of Kerry's dish those plans were put on hold.
"The hardest part was talking Kerry into posing with the dish," Andy said. "The next difficult bit was keeping a steady hand to take the pic as the food smelt delicious. Strange as it may seem, I'd never eaten kingfish before so was a bit sceptical it wouldn't measure up to the snapper I cherish.
"A man couldn't have been more wrong and now I'm hooked. It was fresh and melt-in-your- mouth delicious. The dish was a full, creamy flavour and the simple salad with it was perfect."
The Jackson endorsement was enough to tempt me to try to replicate Kerry's dish and it proved to be a brilliant entree for an invitation out for tea on Saturday night.
It was, as Kerry insisted, simple to prepare and most of the recipe ingredients are found in most kitchens. Only the cayenne pepper was missing, but a quick trip to the shop sorted that.
The Saturday night gathering aren't backward with their critique of any recipe I "guinea pig" them with. So the wholesome approval of Kerry's dish was worth a toast with the contents of a bottle of Hudson cabernet sauvignon from Martinborough.
The wine, won in a raffle at the previous weekend's annual news media golf tournament in Rotorua, was perfect with the fish. It's maker, Rocky Hudson, was my partner on day two and we halved the haggle for the beer with our opponents. Not to worry, Rocky's a generous bloke.
KERRY'S EASY FISH BAKE
2 Tbsp flour
11/2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated tasty cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g spinach, washed and drained
4 kingfish fillets
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper
25g dried white breadcrumbs
25g grated parmesan
Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Melt butter in a small saucepan, add flour, stir and cook over a gentle heat for 1 minute. Pour in the milk, whisking as you go.
Continue to whisk, bring to the boil and allow to thicken. Add cheese and stir until melted, then season with salt and pepper.
Butter a large ovenproof dish and scatter over the spinach. Arrange fish fillets on top.
Mix half the parsley with cheese sauce, mustard and cayenne pepper, then pour over the fish.
Mix together remaining parsley with breadcrumbs and parmesan, season well and scatter on top.
Bake for 25 minutes in a pre- heated oven until bake is bubbling and crumbs are golden.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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