Sesame-crusted fish with samphire & clams
- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 2
Salty samphire and umami-loaded miso go so well with sweet sea bream and clams in this East Asian-inspired dish
- 2 nests (140g/5oz) medium or thick egg noodles
- 2 fillets sustainable white fish , skin on, scaled and pin-boned (we used sea bream)
- 4 tsp sesame seeds
- 3 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- thumb-sized piece ginger , peeled and finely shredded
- 300g fresh clams
- 2 tbsp dry sherry
- 90g pack samphire (or a few handfuls from the fishmonger)
- 2 x 18g sachets (or 2 tbsp) miso soup paste
- bunch spring onions , shredded
- little sesame or chilli oil (or both), to serve
- STEP 1
Cook the noodles following pack instructions. As soon as they are just tender, drain in a colander, rinse under the cold tap and set aside.
- STEP 2
Slash each piece of fish 3 times on the skin side. Season well and press the sesame seeds over the skin in an even layer.
- STEP 3
Heat the oven to low, ready to keep the fish warm. Put a couple of wide bowls in to warm, too. Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick frying pan, the sturdier the better. Add the fish, and fry for 5 mins on the crusted side until the seeds are pale golden and the flesh of the fish has changed colour almost all the way through. Turn the fish over, cook for a few secs more, then remove to a plate and transfer to the oven. Put the kettle on to boil.
- STEP 4
Add the remaining oil to the pan and sizzle the ginger for 30 secs. With the heat very high, tip in the clams, then the Sherry and 1 tbsp water. Put the lid on and leave to steam and sizzle until the shells are opened, about 1-2 mins. Shake the pan every 30 secs or so. Add the samphire, cover again and cook for 1 min more until bright and just tender.
- STEP 5
Make up the miso in a jug with 450ml boiling water. Run boiling water through the noodles to reheat, then pile into the warm bowls. Spoon over the clams (discard any that haven't opened) with the ginger, samphire and any juices, plus the spring onions, then pour over the miso and top with a piece of crisp fish, sesame-side up. Drizzle with a little sesame or chilli oil (or both), then dig in.
We used Marukome Instant Miso Soup Sachets, available online or in specialist shops. It has a dashi (seaweed and fish stock) base, mixed with delicate white miso, making it a great choice for fish. Not all brands are made with dashi, so if you use a supermarket brand, taste the broth before serving – you may need to pep it up with a little soy sauce.
There seems to be a little debate out there about how best to prepare clams for cooking. Sometimes they can be gritty, so we put ours in a large bowl of heavily salted cold water and left them for 30 minutes or so. Lift out the clams – there will most likely be some grit or sand at the bottom. Discard any that do not close when tapped.
Even if your fishmonger has been careful, it’s best to check filleted fish for bones. Run your finger along the flesh side; any bones will soon make themselves known. Use a pair of tweezers (you can buy special fish bone tweezers from kitchen shops) to yank out the bones, taking care not to damage the flesh.
If your fish has a long line of small bones along the middle, then you can cut them out instead. Using a very sharp, thin- bladed knife, cut a fine V-shape, going either side of the bones along the length of the fillet down to the skin, but not through it. Pull out the bones and the little flesh attached in one neat strip.