These local whiting were recommended by Sonny Elliott, our excellent local fishmonger in Hastings. “We’ve been waiting for them to come in,” he said. I chose two of the larger fish and had them butterflied, at Sonny’s suggestion, but fillets would be fine too. The two together cost just £2.90, with the heads and bones wrapped up to take home for stock.
First, make a loose tomato sauce. Start by heating through a couple of cloves of crushed garlic in some olive oil, add a spoonful of crushed coriander seeds, followed by the roughly chopped ripe tomatoes (I used a mix of big and small red and yellow tomatoes from the greenhouse). Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chill flakes, plus salt and pepper, and simmer until the tomatoes start to break down.
At this point, I seasoned the whiting and popped it into the sauce to cook through. That took just a few minutes. That’s it!
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and a drizzle of good olive oil. We had it with some chargrilled veggies and a dollop of spicy North African green sauce, made by whizzing together garlic, spring onions, a small bunch of parsley and one of coriander, a spoonful or so of toasted cumin and coriander seeds and a good few gluts of olive oil, but harissa would do just as well.
By Louise Bell