Following my trip to Sweden I began some extensive research into open sandwiches. Part of my investigation included buying Trine Hahnemann’s book on the subject and working my way through the more interesting suggestions. One was for a cod and fennel offering which Hahnemann said was based on a classic Danish dish of fried plaice and prawns with the inspiring name of ‘shooting star’.

Reader, it was a disaster! There were lots of leftovers. But reassembling them the following day as a salad with crunchy, nutty breadcrumbs turned out to be, just as unexpectedly, a huge success!

This is what to do.

 

Recipe for fish and rocket shooting star salad with pumpernickel and walnut crusted crumbs

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 500g/1 lb 2 oz cod fillet (no skin, no bones)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g/1¼ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 slices of pumpernickel
  • 30g/¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 60g/2 oz/⅓ cup capers (drained)
  • 120ml/½ cup mayonnaise or hollandaise (whatever you have in your fridge which needs using up – or if you have two nearly empty jars, mix the two)
  • Juice and zest of half a lime
  • 4 tbps walnut oil
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 130g/5 oz rocket, or mixed peppery salad leaves

Method

  1. Warm some olive oil in a big oval frying pan.Trim the fennel (save some of the better condition fronds for garnish). Slice it as finely as you can. Add to the frying pan and begin to fry gently.
  2. Check the fish fillets don’t still contain any residual bones and cut into smallish goujons (about the length of a classic fish finger).
  3. Put the hollandaise or mayonnaise (whichever you are using) into a pretty bowl, and grate over the lime zest.
  4. Mix the lime juice with the walnut oil and some salt and pepper to make a dressing.
  5. Empty the rocket into a wide, shallow serving bowl or plate.
  6. Push the fennel to one end of the frying pan, slightly off the heat, add a little more oil, turn up the heat slightly and add the capers, the walnuts, and crumble in the pumpernickel. The oil should be hot enough to get the capers to open, like little buds, and to become crispy. Empty the contents of the frying pan, and keep warm.
  7. Break the eggs into a shallow bowl; empty the Panko breadcrumbs into a second shallow bowl, and season. Place both bowls beside the frying pan.
  8. Add a bit more oil to the frying pan and get it reasonably hot. Coat a fish goujon in the beaten egg, then the seasoned Panko breadcrumbs and fry, repeat with all the other goujons, and then turn each in the order in which it went into the pan. When the goujons are golden on both sides, and cooked through, turn off the heat.
  9. Sprinkle the fennel and the crispy capers, walnuts and pumpernickel over the rocket.
  10. Place the fish goujons artistically around over the bed of salad.
  11. Pour over the walnut oil dressing.
  12. Serve, garnished with the remaining fennel fronds, and with the zested mayonnaise or hollandaise.

 

Fish and rocket shooting star salad with pumpernickel and walnut crusted crumbs

 

If you have enjoyed the rye breadcrumbs, you may also like this recipe: The North Wind and the Sun Rye Bread Salad

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