White fish and bean gratin (with a lemon and parmesan herb crust)

This is a really wholesome, healthy and filling meal. I just love basa fillets, also known as river cobbler but you can use any white fish fillets or loins or even smoked haddock if you prefer. I also use frozen spinach here, it’s a life changer, packaged in small portions it cooks just as well as the fresh stuff and it’s always on hand in the freezer. Cook it on it’s own with salt and pepper and olive oil or add into a curry for extra veg.

Serves 2 (can be increased to 4)

  • 2 portions of white fish fillets or loins
  • 200g frozen spinach
  • 1 can of either cannellini or haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small pot of low fat plain yoghurt
  • Half a small onion, finely chopped
  • 100g small tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of capers
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons dried herbs, I like basil and/or coriander
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or the juice from half a lemon
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  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Use a pan or skillet that you can put in the oven and preferably with a lid (if you don’t have a lid you can use kitchen foil)
  2. Add the onions and garlic to a cold pan with the olive oil and gently bring the pan to a medium heat, cook gently until the onions are soft and translucent (this will make sure the garlic doesn’t burn and the onions are mellow). If you don’t have a skillet, just use an ordinary frying pan and then place in an oven proof dish later in the recipe to bake the fish
  3. Then add the spinach and capers and cook slowly, if you have a pan with a lid, add a dash of water and cover until the frozen spinach has “opened up” (cover tightly with kitchen foil if you don’t have a lid), this should take about 3 minutes. If you’re using fresh spinach this step is unnecessary
  4. Once the spinach is slightly thawed, remove the lid and cook the spinach gently until it has wilted, then add the tomatoes, beans and yoghurt and stir through with the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat
  5. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon juice and mixed herbs. If you haven’t already used an oven proof dish now is the time to put the spinach and bean mixture into the dish
  6. Place the fish on top of the bean and spinach mixture
  7. Use a tablespoon to put the crust on top of the fish and the bean mixture
  8. Place in the middle of the oven and cook for 20 minutes, check that the breadcrumbs don’t catch, if you see them getting too dark, place a small piece of foil on top and continue to bake until the fish is cooked through.

If you would like to make this recipe for 4 just increase the amount of spinach, use 2 cans of beans and another 2 fish fillets (no need to alter the other ingredients, it works just as well).

Variation on the above: remove the tomatoes and capers, use smoked haddock and top with poached eggs.

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