Fantoosh fish. Do you remember them? I wrote about them a few posts back. I have another amusing story about them. It all began a few weeks ago… *flashback starts*
A few innocent tweets (yes, I am on twitter) prompted the discovery on my part that one of the fishmongers is actually a bit of an artist, and that he regularly decorates the shop’s windows and blackboard to inform the public of current specials and offers. In one tweet he was jestingly referred to as Banksy, so in my innocence I hoped that there would be a real Banksy, but fish-themed. I had my mind set on that famous one, the one that everyone knows, of that chap with a bouquet where you would expect a Molotov cocktail. And instead of a bouquet I imagined a fish. When I checked out the photo and realised there was no such fish-art I suggested it to them, as a joke. However, one does not joke with the Fantoosh fishmongers, that’s for sure, because a few days later they responded with this:
A fish-armed guerrilla warrior. Fear his cod. Hats off, Fantoosh.
Of course I had to go see it in real life, since I only found out about this on Twitter. However, I didn’t want to go just to see the banksy, so I needed an excuse. I decided to buy fish, since that seemed the best excuse ever to go to a fish shop. Although, as said, I’m not great with fish, I did have this recipe that I’d been wanting to try out for some time but never got round to, and this seemed like a good opportunity. It’s based on this recipe from the BBC, but I made a few changes. They call it “Sicilian style fish stew” but I’ve not been able to find any such recipe in Italian, so I’m going to call it speedy fish stew instead.
For two you will need:
- enough fish – I used wolffish the first time, cod the second, but any white fish will do, and I’d say you’ll need 200 gr per person
- a stalk of celery
- a shallot
- a dried chilli
- 3 cloves of garlic, plant removed, as always
- couple of canned anchovies
- half a tin of chopped tomatoes
- one tsp of tomato purée
- 400 ml fish stock (or, if you don’t want it super fishy, use veg stock)
- white wine, quantity to your own liking, about a glass
- 30-40 gr couscous
- flatleaf parsley and lemon zest to serve
A friendly warning about the couscous. Don’t be a smart-ass like me and add more couscous because it seems so little. It will soak up all of the liquid and instead of fish stew with couscous, it’ll become couscous with fish. You really only need an espressocupful.
Chop up the shallot, chilli, celery, garlic, fry in a pan that has a lid (but don’t put the lid on just now) together with some olive oil and the anchovies. When they’ve gone soft, add the chopped tomatoes. After a couple of minutes, add the stock, the wine and the tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then add the couscous. Taste for salt and pepper, although the chilli and stock will probably season it enough.
So, then add the fish. I added the wolffish in one piece but I chopped the cod in quarters because it was so thick. Either works. Put the lid on and leave to simmer until the fish is cooked, which will depend on the size of your fish but shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes.
Serve with the parsley and the lemon zest.