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Speedy fish supper: Plaice milanese

Know your plaice! Or at least you will with this easy Friday night fish recipe from award-winning restauranteur Mitch Tonks new cookbook, Rockfish.

This is a very nice way – says Rockfish owner and seafood restauranteur Mitch Tonks (above) – to prepare plaice which has a particular texture and flavour. It’s okay grilled and nice tranches are good roasted on the bone, but I don’t think anything can beat it cooked in breadcrumbs. This somehow brings out the best in this fish. As it is so delicate, the acidity and texture of a good chunky tartare sauce makes a perfect foil.

Plaice start to become good around May and they get fatter and juicier as the year goes on, well into August. If you can get a fillet from a kilo-plus-sized fish you can cut it into 4 portions. I think these are the best.

Ingredients (serves two)

2 handfuls of plain flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 handfuls of panko breadcrumbs

2 portions of plaice fillet, weighing about 180g each, skinned (unless you like to eat the skin)

Vegetable oil for frying

6 tablespoons Rockfish tartare (see below)

Small handful of chopped

Parsley (optional)

Lemon wedges to serve

How to make

Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Using one hand dip the fish in the flour, then the eggs and then the breadcrumbs, making sure you get a nice even coating. Repeat with the other fish portion.

Put about 1cm of vegetable oil in a pan and heat to about 160°C. (If you don’t have a thermometer, heat the oil until a small piece of bread dropped in quickly fizzles and crisps.) Lay the fish in the hot oil and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper.

Warm the tartare sauce in a pan, then divide between 2 plates and spread out over the plate. Place the fish on top, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve with lemon wedges.

For the Rockfish tartare (serves four)

Add 80g chopped dill pickles, 20g capers, 25g chopped red onion and some chopped curly parsley and dill to 125g mayo.

Recipe from Rockfish: The Cookbook by Devon seafood restaurateur and chef Mitch Tonks, £18.

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