Caribbean curry, cod risotto and hake buns: Liv Lionel’s fish dinners – recipes

Liv Lionel

The best part of my 10-year culinary journey thus far was when I lived and worked in Brighton, learning and training by the seaside. My style as a chef leans towards elevated small plates, but, now that I am in London, the casualness of Brighton life and my St Lucian heritage come through in my cooking.

Fish has been a staple throughout my back story and now at our new restaurant, Cannons Fish in north London. Today’s three dishes show the diversity of what a “fish dish” can be, and pull inspiration from family recipes, my life and the fish-forward dishes I’ve served over the years.

Fennel risotto with lemon, chilli and cod

This is a staple round at my house: hearty, fresh and so simple to make – it’s the perfect balance between comfort and elegance

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 2

3 fennel bulbs, trimmed, fronds reserved, bulb cut in half lengthways and roughly chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp chilli flakes
, to taste
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
300ml double cream

1 lemon
2 shallots
, peeled and finely diced
1 small bunch thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small knob butter
200g arborio rice
200ml white wine
500ml fish or vegetable stock

2 x 200g pieces skin-on cod loin

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Toss the chopped fennel with the fennel seeds, chilli flakes, a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes, until soft. Leave to cool, then blend with the cream and check the seasoning.

Cut the top and bottom off the lemon, stand it up on a board, then cut off the rind and pith, following the natural curve of the fruit and taking care not to remove any of the flesh. Cut between the membranes to release each segment.

Gently fry the shallots, thyme and garlic in a little butter for eight minutes, until soft, then add the rice and cook, stirring, for three to four minutes, until the grains turn translucent. Pour in the wine, cook for a few minutes, so the alcohol evaporates, then add a ladle of stock and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated. Add another ladle of stock and repeat for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is al dente.

Ten minutes before the risotto is ready, put a nonstick frying pan on a medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Season the skin of the cod with salt, then lay it skin side down in the hot pan and cook undisturbed for three minutes. Flip over and cook for two to three minutes on the flesh side.

Turn the heat under the risotto right down, stir in the fennel cream and season. Take off the heat and serve topped with the cod and garnished with the lemon segments and fennel fronds.

St Lucian-style prawn curry

This curry is a bit of me. Though I am personally deeply enamoured with the prawn, you can sub them out for any firm white fish; mussels are a good shout, too. Scotch bonnet, thyme and spring onion are indispensible in much Caribbean cooking, and they pair beautifully with fish.

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

340g king prawns, peeled and deveined
1½ tsp curry powder
Vegetable oil

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
1 small bunch thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet, finely diced (remove the pith and seeds if you prefer less heat), or to taste
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger,peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika

2 red peppers, stalks, seeds and pith removed, flesh sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
675g tinned chopped tomato (ie, from about 1¾ x 400g cans)
Salt and pepper
, to taste (optional)
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime, to finish
Chopped coriander
, to serve

Toss the prawns in the curry powder and a little vegetable oil, then set aside.

Put a little vegetable oil in a heavy pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the onions, garlic and thyme, stirring, for seven minutes, until the onions start to soften. Add the scotch bonnet and ginger, cook for two minutes more, then add the spices and cook for another minute.

Add the peppers and spring onions, and, once they start to wilt, the chopped tomatoesand bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens a little.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding a pinch of sugar, if need be, then stir in the coconut milk. Fry the prawns in a hot pan for a couple of minutes on each side, then pop into the pot and leave to cook for a few minutes. Squeeze over the lime, scatter on the coriander and serve with rice.

Crispy fish sandwich with celeriac and apple slaw

Burgers are versatile, so these work for lunch, dinner and date nights alike. The mango glaze is really the good stuff, so make sure you load up on that – I always spread some extra on the bun as well.

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Serve 5

5 x 200g hake fillets, or any other white fish fillet
5 brioche buns,to serve
10 tsp mayonnaise
Juice of 2 lemon(about 6 tbsp)½ iceberg lettuce, leaves separated and shredded, to serve

For the spicy mango glaze
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 thumb-sized knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 red chillies, cut in half
Vegetable oil, for frying
128g caster sugar
64g cider vinegar
260g tinned mango pulp

70g soy sauce

Juice of 1½ limes

For the celeriac slaw
2 red apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
½ small celeriac, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1½ tbsp dijon mustard
4 tbsp mayonnaise
Lemon juice
, to taste
6 chives, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

For the batter
150g cornflour
150g plain flour
,plus extra for dusting
150ml soda water
150ml IPA beer
1 pinch turmeric
1 pinch baking powder
1 pinch salt

Start with the glaze. In a pan on a medium-low heat, saute the onion, ginger and chillies in a little oil for a couple of minutes, until the chillies are tender and the onions are turning golden. Add the rest of the glaze ingredients, bring to a boil, then tip into a food processor and blitz smooth. Return to the pan, simmer on a low heat for a few minutes, until it thickens slightly, then take off the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk all the batter ingredients until smooth.

For the slaw, put the apple and celeriac in a bowl, add the mustard, mayo, , lemon juice, chives, and salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

Half-fill a deep saucepan with vegetable oil and heat; it’s ready when a tiny bit of batter crisps up immediately. Dip each piece of fish in the extra flour, shake off any excess, then coat in the batter. Fry the fish, in batches if need be, for four minutes on each side – once cooked, it should float to the top. Using tongs, lift the fish from the pan and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper, then dip in the mango glaze and shakeoff any excess.

To assemble, cut the buns in half and toast. Mix the mayo and lemon juice in a bowl, then spread the mix over both cut sides of the toasted buns. Arrange some lettuce on top of one half, lay on a piece of fried fish, top with the other bun half and serve with some slaw on the side.

Courtesy: theguardian