Self-saucing fish

You can get a similar result all in one go by cooking the fish on top of a mix of aromatic vegetables and olive oil, and covering the lot with foil. The fish cooks in the steam coming from the vegetables. At the end of it, you are left with a moist fish and a richly flavoured sauce from the renderings of the vegetables. It may well be the fish version of a self- saucing pudding.

waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters

2 carrots, chopped roughly

2 parsnips, chopped roughly

1-2 leeks, depending on their size, chopped crossways

tomatoes, peeled

2 chillies, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely


1½ cups good quality virgin olive oil

2 sprigs of rosemary a little soy sauce black pepper

2 teaspoons full-flavoured vinegar, preferably balsamic vinegar or

sherry vinegar

fillet of fish per person — This method works best with thinnish, firm fillets — perhaps bream, whiting, snapper, the Dory family, red mullet, gurnard or the like. Ask your fishmonger to remove the fillets, giving you any bones left over. Remove any tiny bones with your eye-brow plucker. Please don’t use the one at the back of the bathroom cupboard.

juice of 1 lemon

bunch of chives, chopped finely

a little parsley, chopped roughly


Partly cook the potatoes, carrots and parsnips in a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain and place them into a wide, heavy-bottomed pan; add the leeks, tomatoes, chillies, garlic, fish bones, salt and olive oil. Keep aside the rosemary until the end of the cooking.


Cook slowly on a low heat until the tomatoes have become pulp and rendered all their juice. The root vegetables and potatoes should have cooked through. Add the rosemary and soy sauce. Remove the bones and rosemary from the pan and test the sauce-vegetables for seasoning. Adjust as necessary. Mix the vinegar through.


You are now ready for the fish. Place the fish on top of vegetables and cover pan with foil. Cook on high heat until fish has changed its colour. It should be moist and firm, yet give to the touch.


Put the fish in a deep bowl, giving it a squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon the juice from the pan first, and then some of the vegetables. The dish should look attractive and not be a sloppy soup. Sprinkle with chives and parsley. Serve with a spoon and fork.

WINE:  The Henschke vineyard in the Barossa has earned a marvellous reputation for producing great reds — big, rich and spicy. They also make lovely whites. My favourite wine would go well here — the semillon: big, aromatic and honey-like.