Bill Granger turns up the heat for some seasonal recipes
Summer might be over but that's no reason to stop eating fresh, healthy fish and seafood.
Although we're all aware of its health-giving properties, most of us associate eating fish with warmer weather. But there's no reason to rely exclusively on meat and hearty dishes when autumn sets in. There are lots of simple ways to rev up the flavours of fish and seafood, and create more robust, satisfying meals that suit these chillier days.
That said, we've all had moments of standing in the supermarket staring at a couple of uninspiring fish fillets or a pack of prawns. For me, inspiration usually comes from the Mediterranean or Asia; both food cultures are adept at adding a few basic ingredients – such as chillis – that can quickly transform humble seafood into something deliciously indulgent. You'll never bother with plain grilling or steaming again.
Prawn and leek fried rice
I could probably live on fried rice and it's such a great way to use up leftovers. The addition of some juicy, fat prawns here makes it a little bit more special if you're inviting friends over.
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 leeks, halved lengthways, thinly sliced on the diagonal
20 prawns, peeled and de-veined
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cloves garlic, crushed
600g/1lb long-grain white rice, cooked according to manufacturer's instructions
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
Spring onions, sliced
Red chilli, sliced
Half a lime (optional)
Place a wok or frying pan over a high heat and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the leeks and prawns and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the prawns turn pink. Remove from the wok. Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil, then add the eggs and scramble until dry and golden-brown. Remove from the wok.
Add the remaining vegetable oil and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the cooked rice and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and return the prawns and egg to the pan and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Garnish with slices of chilli and spring onions. Serve immediately with the soy sauce.
Adding your favourite white fish and a liberal dose of chilli, parsley and garlic to spaghetti or whatever pasta you have in the cupboard will immediately transport you to the Amalfi Coast.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 long red chillis, seeded and fine chopped
350ml/12fl oz dry white wine
15g/1/2oz unsalted butter
500g/1lb firm white fish fillets (such as cod or snapper), cut into small chunks
400g/13oz linguine or spaghetti
Small handful finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Dried chilli flakes
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic and chilli and cook, stirring for 1 minute, or until light-golden. Add the wine and butter, turn the heat to high and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the fish and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes until just cooked. Season with sea salt and remove from the heat.
Cook the linguine in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water until al dente. Drain well.
Add the pasta to the pan with the fish and return to the medium heat. Stir gently to coat the linguine with sauce. Stir in the parsley, season with black pepper and chilli flakes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Sweet-chilli salmon with sugar-snap pea salad
Make great use of this popular store- cupboard condiment – sweet-chilli sauce is the perfect match for the richness of salmon. A refreshing sugar-snap pea salad adds crunch and zing.
4 x 200g/7oz salmon fillets
4 tbsp sweet-chilli sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger
For the Salad
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
200g/7oz sugar-snap peas, blanched and refreshed in ice water
Handful of bean sprouts
1 bag of mixed lettuce leaves
Stir the sweet-chilli sauce, soy sauce and grated ginger together in a bowl until combined. Place the salmon fillets in a shallow dish, pour the sweet-chilli mixture over them and set aside in the fridge to marinate for 10 minutes.
Preheat a grill to high and line a baking tray with foil. Remove the salmon from the marinade, setting the marinade aside, and place the salmon on the tray. Grill for about 7 minutes or until the fish is nicely coloured and still pink in the centre.
Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small frying pan and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, until reduced to a glaze. Pour over the cooked salmon.
For the salad dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, sesame oil and soy sauce. In a bowl, toss together the sugar snaps, beansprouts and salad leaves. Pour over the dressing. Serve immediately with the glazed salmon.
I like to use ciabatta torn into quite large chunks for these fishcakes, injecting lots of flavour into them with plenty of ginger, green chilli and lemon. Serve with a fresh green salad or buttery spinach.
500g/1lb boneless, skinless firm white fish, diced
200g/7oz ciabatta, torn to bite-size pieces
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1 green chilli, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
4 spring onions, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
125ml/4fl oz vegetable oil
Place the fish in a bowl with the ciabatta, mayonnaise, egg, chilli, coriander, ginger and spring onions. Season well, mix together and form into 8 flat patties. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the fishcakes in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp. Keep warm until all the patties are cooked. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.