Spicy and aromatic pan fried fish

Serves 3


25 ml olive oil
75g chorizo sausage
½ 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
3 white fish fillets (haddock, cod, pollack, bass)
½ handful fresh thyme and dried tarragon
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp paprika
25 ml rice wine or sherry
black pepper and salt for the fish


Fry the chorizo for a minute with the olive oil in a hot pan. Then add the tomatoes, herbs, lemon zest, paprika and sherry and cook on a gentler heat for a further 10 minutes to allow the flavours to merge and mature.

Now in a separate pan fry the fish flesh down for a minute then turn to brown the skin. Cook skin down for around 5 minutes until the fish is flaky, moist and tender. Put the tomato sauce on a plate, then put the fish on top with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Eat with potato slices sautéed in olive oil with chopped fresh rosemary.


This is a simple and relatively quick recipe suited to the depths of a British winter and as such has the requisite richness and spice to sustain through cold, and disperse the obstruction of damp.

The richness comes from the sausage, fish and sautéed potatoes, the combination of which would present a digestive challenge without the right combination of sour, bitter and spicy/aromatic flavours. Sour comes from the lemon juice and zest, cutting through the fat and stimulating bile secretion. Bitter and aromatics are found in the thyme, tarragon and rosemary, all of which promote motility. Thyme is also a particularly suitable damp weather herb as it is said to dry out the lungs. And finally the spice, from the sausage and also the paprika strongly stimulate gut circulation, an effect gently deepened by the sherry.


Different amounts of chorizo have different spiciness. This needs to be taken into account when cooking this dish. For mellower varieties increase the amount of paprika and vice versa. Otherwise this is a nicely balanced recipe and so not worthy of much meddling, except when it comes to fresh herbs; use what you have in the middle of winter. Bay, basil, coriander, lovage, marjoram, parsley and sweet cicely are all fine.