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Oceana Magazine Fall 2011: Chef’s Corner: Jamie Oliver

The world-famous chef has made healthy eating a priority. Now, he turns his attention to making it sustainable, too.

Jamie Oliver is one of the world’s most famous chefs. He’s well known for his cookbooks, TV shows and for his efforts to make school lunches healthier in the United Kingdom and the United States. Less well known is his recent, successful work to make bycatch, or the accidental killing of untargeted fish and wildlife by the fishing industry, a household name in the U.K.

Oliver joined fellow celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and helped get over 750,000 people to sign a letter to the European Union calling for greater control of discards or bycatch. As part of this effort, Fearnley-Whittingstall, Oliver and other chefs encouraged people to actually eat species often considered as bycatch. Here’s a recipe from Oliver for one of these species, called coley, which is also known as saithe and coalfish.

“Looks-wise, coley is more of an ivory color than the snow white you’re used to, but it’s beautiful, absolutely delicious, sweet, meaty and melts in the mouth,” Oliver said. “Funnily enough, cats have been enjoying it for years – lucky things – and sadly a lot of it is thrown overboard as bycatch. Coley is really versatile, and literally half the price of cod so you can feed twice as many people, or just save yourself loads of money.”

 

Coley Korma with Fluffy Rice

Jamie Oliver says: “Normally you’d start cooking a fillet of fish skin-side down, but I’ve gone flesh-side down here to really encrust the fish and get those flavors going. Korma is mild enough for kids to eat too, and when something tastes this good, you’d be mad not to try it.”

 

For the coley (serves four)

2 heaped tablespoons Patak’s korma paste

4 x 180g coley fillets, skin on, scaled and pin-boned olive oil

4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

½ x 400ml tin low-fat coconut milk

A few sprigs of fresh coriander, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped

½-1 fresh red chili, finely sliced

1 lemon, cut into wedges 

 

For the rice

1 cup basmati rice

Sea salt

 

Add the rice to a small pan with 2 cups of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil on a high heat then turn the heat down to low, cover and leave for 7 to 8 minutes. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1 heaped tablespoon of the korma paste all over the flesh side of the fish fillets. Add a lug of olive oil to the hot pan, then add the coley, flesh-side down. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning halfway when you’ve got some colour.

Check your rice – all of the water should have been absorbed by now so fluff it up with a fork and take it off the heat. Pop the lid back on so it stays warm.

Turn the heat under the fish up to high and throw in the greener half of your sliced spring onions. Stir in the remaining korma paste, coconut milk, coriander stalks and most of the fresh chili. Let it bubble away for a couple of minutes until the fish is starting to flake apart.

Taste your sauce and add a squeeze of lemon juice if it needs it. Divide the rice between your plates then top each portion with a piece of coley. Pour the sauce over the top then scatter over the reserved spring onions, chili and coriander leaves. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.