Zesty, fragrant butter adds a new dimension to classic grilled plaice.
Quick and tasty, this is a terrific family meal – just add rice or potatoes and a simple salad.
Do you have a local fishmonger? There’s a fish van that parks outside a pub at the bottom of our road once a week. The fish comes fresh, directly from the coast somewhere, and is usually very good. We don’t often get there, sadly, but my daughter Kipper was going for a haircut just around the corner, so once she’d had a trim, we took a stroll to inspect the fish.
Fresh and fishy
Everything on the fish van looked lovely and fresh, and was displayed on piles and piles of crushed ice. There was a great selection, and Kipper and I decided that the plaice fillets looked particularly tempting. We bought three and set off for home.
As we were walking back however, I realised that we were also in the vicinity of a farm shop. We ducked inside to find something nice to accompany our plaice. They had a lovely selection of fresh, seasonal produce, and we picked up some frondy fennel and an assortment of other delights.
Now fully loaded, we headed home, where Kipper disappeared into the garden, and I set about turning the shopping into dinner.
I always remember how my Grandma cooked plaice – under the grill, with nothing but a generous slab of golden butter. It seemed like a sensible approach, but I decided to make a flavoured butter, with herbs and a dash of citrus. I used the fronds from our farm-shop fennel, and some chives from the garden. Fresh and simple!
The end result was delicious! Kipper ate an entire plaice fillet – as much fish as me or DH! I know she has a good appetite, but I was still pretty staggered.
Super side salad
I accompanied the fish with a salad made from finely sliced fennel, orange segments, and a dressing of orange juice, olive oil and a spoonful of black olive tapenade. It was zingy and refreshing, and the citrus juice was a lovely foil to the buttery fish.
I was generous with the butter, as you can see in the photo, so you can definitely stretch it to more than 4 fishes. You can also use up any spare butter on vegetables, potatoes, or even just spread on a cracker.
Plaice grilled with orange herb butter
- 75 g soft butter (⅓ cup)
- 10 g chives (small bunch)
- 10 g leafy fennel fronds, or use another soft herb of your choice (small bunch)
- zest of half an orange
- 4 plaice fillets
- Blend the butter, chives, fennel fronds and orange zest in a food processor or mini chopper, until well combined. (Alternatively finely chop the herbs and zest, and beat into the butter.) Roll the butter into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the grill (broiler) to medium. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease it with some of the flavoured butter.
- Wash and pat dry the plaice fillets and lay them on the baking tray. Slice the butter into 6-8mm rounds (approx. ¼-⅓ inch), and lay 3 or 4 slices on each fillet. (You may not need all the butter.) Cook under the grill (broiler) for 8-10 minutes, until the butter is melted, and the fish is just cooked and browning at the edges.
- Serve the fish with some of the melted butter spooned over.