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Crunchy Cod

In ‘Scottish Scene’ (1934) the greatest Scottish poet of the 20th century Hugh MacDiarmid wrote – ‘Scotland is not wholly surrounded by the sea – unfortunately’ to which the byous Irish playwright Brendan Behan added in ‘The Sea Around Us’ –

“God help the poor Scotsmen – they’ll never be free
But we’re entirely surrounded by water.’

But although Scotland is NOT an island she does enjoy many miles of coast-line and a long maritime history. In days langsyne travel by sea was quicker than on non-existant roads! A reminder of our rich sea heritage will take place this weekend (Saturday 30 June – Sunday 1 July 2007) in Portsoy  as the north-east fishing port hosts the 14th Scottish Traditional Boat Festival 2007.

But as one visitor to a past festival remarked – “Its nae jist aboot boats!” – as a full programme of events – cookery, music, sporting and the arts – take place around the main feature of boats, large and small, which are already registered for the Fesival. Visit for full details of a packed weekend although you are probably too late to enter the 10 Km race!

Local food pays a part in the Festival, at the Food fayre in the Wally Green. The food and drink industry in Grampian is an important part of the local economy and accounts for one fifth of all food and drink in Scotland. The area boosts the finest ingredients on its doorstep such as seafood, red meat, poultry, game, berries, vegetables and oats. A wide selection of produce from ostrich burgers to jams and chutneys will be available over the weekend.

Top traditional entertainment will be provided by top folk group The Old Blind Dogs, locally-born Isla St Clair and the virtuoso of the tin whistle Alex Green.

This week’s recipe reflects our sea heritage and long dependence on fishing – Crunchy Cod should be as enjoyable as the Porstoy Festival weekend promises to be.

Crunchy Cod

Ingredients:  4 even-sized cod fillets; Salt and pepper; 90 g (6 tbsps) butter, melted; 90 g (3 oz) dry breadcrumbs; 5 ml (1 tsp) dry mustard; 5 ml (1 tsp) minced onion; Dash Worcester sauce and tabasco; 30 ml (2 tbsps) lemon juice; 15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped parsley

Method:  Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and place them on a grill tray. Brush with butter and grill for about 5 minutes.  Combine remaining butter with breadcrumbs, mustard, onion salt, Worcester sauce, tabasco, lemon juice and parsley.  Spoon the mixture carefully on top of each fish fillet, covering it completely. Press down lightly to pack the crumbs into place. Grill for a further 5 - 7 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the fish flakes.

Serves 4

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