James Martin serves up a plateful of crispy sourdough cod cheeks paired with a refreshing spicy pea salsa
“Cod cheeks are solid lumps of meat with a membrane running through them, which needs to be removed.
Cheeks mainly come from cod and monkfish and you can easily find them in good fishmongers or – frozen – online, but, if you can’t get hold of them, fish fillets will do. It’s easy to find cod cheeks in France; even village markets will sell them.”
• 150g stale sourdough bread, chopped
• 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest
• lemon wedges, to serve
• 75ml plain flour
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 20 cod cheeks, cleaned, membranes removed
• 300g frozen peas, defrosted
• 3 tablespoons roughly chopped mint leaves
• 2 green chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
• 2 limes, juiced
• 100g creme fraiche
• flavourless vegetable oil, to deep-fry
• 100g beef dripping, to deep-fry
1 Put the bread into a food processor and blitz until crumbs are formed, then add the lemon zest and blitz once more. Tip the lemon crumbs into a shallow bowl and put the flour and egg into another two shallow bowls.
2 Season the flour, then dip the cod cheeks into the flour to coat, then into the egg and finally into the lemon crumbs until totally covered.
3 Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve (you can make these a day in advance).
4 Wash the food processor out, then make the salsa. Put in the peas, mint, chillies, lime juice and crème fraîche and blitz until chunky; you don’t want it to be smooth.
5 Tip out into a serving bowl; this can also be made a day ahead and kept, covered, in the fridge.
6 Heat a deep-fat fryer to 190°C, or heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep heavy-based saucepan, until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
7 Drop the cod cheeks into the hot fat in batches, and cook for two or three minutes until golden and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper while you quickly cook the rest.
8 Pile the cod cheeks on to a serving plate and serve with lemon wedges and the pea salsa.
Recipe courtesy of James Martin, extracted from Home Comforts.