I confess to having never heard of this fish until this week when a pensioner in Sainsburys, talking to me in the fish section, recommending it highly. It is considerably cheaper than the cod and haddock that it otherwise closely resembles and is from a certified sustainable source, albeit Vietnam. I understand it is now available in several of the major supermarkets writes Sandra Tate …
Brining & Smoking River Cobbler
River cobbler is a delicate, white fleshed, flaky fish, not unlike cod or haddock and does not require heavy smoking; one hour in the Bradley imparts a lovely flavour without overwhelming it.
First mix 100g fine sea salt with 450ml cold water to make a brine. Take a 250g pack of cobbler fillets and unpack into a snug fitting container then immerse in the brine. Leave for 30 minutes then rinse and pat completely dry on kitchen paper. Set up the Bradley Smoker for cold smoking (at this time of year I have found it to be cold enough to smoke without the cold smoke adaptor, especially with short smoking times). Add some oak bisquettes to the stack and open the top vent. Place the fillets apart on a wire rack and smoke for 1 hour. Remove, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until needed.
Smoked River Cobbler Fishcakes with Poached Eggs – serves 4
- 250g smoked river cobbler (see above)
- 600g potatoes
- 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (a round tbsp)
- 2cm fresh ginger, peeled & very finely chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh breadcrumbs to coat (place half a loaf of dry bread in a processor, pulse to crumbs – leftover crumbs can be saved in the freezer for a later date)
- olive oil
- salad leaves
- 4 eggs
- 1tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, preheat the grill also.
Place the cobbler fillets on a piece of lightly oiled foil and grill for 4 minutes (they won’t be completely cooked) and set aside to cool a little.
2 Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks and boil until tender, drain. Roughly mash the potatoes and set aside to cool a little. Place the chopped spring onions, ginger, parsley and lemon juice in a large bowl with some seasoning. Gently flake the fish fillets with fingers into the bowl too. Now add the potatoes and combine thoroughly, but gently, so as not to lose all texture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
3 Divide the mixture into 4 large balls. Form these into patties at least 2cm thick. Spread breadcrumbs onto a large plate and lightly press the fishcakes into the crumbs, one fishcake at a time, lifting crumbs onto the top and sides to evenly coat. Once coated move to a baking tray. When all are ready, drizzle each with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until piping hot and golden. Set the fishcakes onto warmed plates.
4 Fill a saucepan to a depth of about 5cm water and add the white wine vinegar. Bring to a rolling boil the reduce the heat to a lively simmer and crack the eggs in one by one. Poach for about 2 minutes the remove with a slotted spoon. Add dressed salad leaves to the plates and place a poached egg on each fishcake and serve immediately.