So English Dad has a large Asda near his work and often drops in for random stuff like all the various pills, potions and herbal whatnots he pops every morning for his bones and his joints and his whatevers (‘what? I’m getting old’), prune juice (remind me to tell you about the prune juice incident, it’s a cracker) and, occasionally, to have a quick perusal of the fish counter.
English Dad loves the fish counter. This is all good, but it does mean that sometimes he arrives home with a slightly fishy smelling mystery parcel and I have to conjour up some form of accompaniment at short notice. Recently, his niffy romantic offering was a clutch (a school?) of very fresh and rather lovely sea bass. Whole sea bass.
They were beautiful: fresh, gleaming, with clear eyes and that lovely ozone scent (and two quid each. TWO QUID!). But then it all kind of went downhill. Well first of all I’d kind of planned hotdogs. I’d bought baguettes and those horrible ‘lips and arseholes‘ hotdog sausages that come in tins (oh admit it, you love them too). And suddenly to be presented with an enormous bag of slightly wet scales, glassy eyes and gaping maws kind of threw me off kilter.
I know. Horribly ungrateful. His little face fell, bless him.
And then the boys came in. Comments were made. Sulky, teenagery kind of comments:
‘I thought we were having hotdogs‘
‘They’re looking at me!’
I grabbed the knife with a flourish and announced that I would fillet them.
The first thing I did was to impale myself through the thumb with the spiky bit at the top of the fin. Who knew sea bass could be so darned painful? Cursing and beplastered, I swiftly decided to dispense with the filleting and just chop off their heads and tails. They were gutted (there were livid – boom boom!), so this seemed the easiest option.
Have you ever tried to cut off a sea bass’s head? It’s hard work. They’re slippery and there’s nothing to hold on to… I stabbed myself about another three times until, swearing and sweating, my fishy massacre was complete. The kitchen was littered with severed heads, and the poor Ninja Cat of Death was so traumatised by all the hacking and the swearing she went to hide under the table. The beady eyed sea bass heads mocked her as she left: ‘where are you going, you hairy pansy? Never seen a headless fish before? Wuss!’
Anyhoo, bloodbath aside, stuffed with parsley and lemon, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and wrapped in a comfy foil blanket, they were delicious (bake at 180/gas 6 for about 1/2 an hour), served with little oven roasted new potatoes…
They were proclaimed ‘alright, but a bit bony’ by de brevren, (which they were – you just have to be a bit careful), but apart from one near-choking incident and the fact that I was riddled with sea bass spine puncture wounds, it was an altogether delicious dinner.
Tonight, adorned with slightly fishy smelling plasters, I shall be making hotdogs.