Last night I was issued a challenge – my kids were for some reason completely out of their minds with hunger much earlier in the evening than usual. And, there is nothing worse than a child asking you every two minutes “when will dinner be ready?” – very annoying! I told them if they stopped bothering me I would let them make a dinner request and I would try to accommodate as best I could? They wanted one of the most basic things in the world – fish and mashed potatoes! They were in the mood for comforting food. Out of curiosity I decided to put myself to the test and tried to make this dinner as fast as possible. It was ready in a half hour! You are busy going from one task to the next but it is a great way to get better at timing different components to be ready at the same time. The kind of quick gravy in this recipe is very handy to know also.
You will need: 2 lbs fillet of sole, 2 to 3 lbs of potatoes, 1/2 cup milk (whole or 2%), 3 tbs flour, 5 tbs unsalted butter, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 3/4 tsp mild curry powder, olive oil, 1 sliced lemon.
Preheat oven 400*
Do everything in this order and the dinner will come together perfectly at the end: Peel and quarter potatoes and put in large pot. Fill with water and give everything a stir with your hands and strain out the water, repeat. This will clean the potatoes and remove any extra starch.
Fill pot with cold water until potatoes are barely covered. Cover with lid and put on medium to high heat to boil. Boil gently until potatoes are very soft (test by piercing with a sharp knife – if it goes in very easily they are done). When potatoes are cooked, strain off water and add 2 tbs butter, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Mash very well.
Add milk and continue mashing. Taste – if it needs more salt, pepper, butter or milk, add at this point and mash in. Nestle a tea towel over the potatoes (completely cover) and leave like that until ready to plate food. While the potatoes are cooking you should be able to get everything else ready. Rinse fish and layer on plate between paper towels. Make gravy: Melt butter in medium pan on low to medium heat. When melted, add flour and whisk vigorously into a smooth paste. Whisk and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add curry powder and 1/2 tsp black pepper and whisk into the mixture for 1 minute.
Turn heat up to medium and slowly add the broth while whisking. turn heat back down and cook for about 15 minutes, whisking every few minutes. After it has cooked and thickened taste to see if you would like to add salt. Sometimes the broth has enough salt to flavor the gravy? Directly after the gravy is cooked get the fish into the oven: Place fish in a single layer on a very large baking sheet. Sprinkle with about 2 tbs olive oil. The easiest way is to give the entire tray of fish a good overall sprinkle and then rub the fish gently with your hands. Season each piece with a little salt and a grind of pepper and scatter about half of the lemon slices over the top. Place in oven and cook for about 8 -10 minutes. To test for doneness stick knife into the thickest part of the fish. If the meat pulls apart easily it is done. Take out and let it rest while you are getting ready to serve. While fish is cooking you will be busy with the potatoes and will have to get the peas and corn on. Put 1/2 cup water into pot and when it comes to a boil add the peas and corn. Cover and bring it back to a boil and then time for 3 minutes. Drain water and toss a little butter, salt and pepper into the vegetables and mix in. At this point everything should be ready.
Place fish, potatoes and vegetables on warmed plate, garnish fish with lemon and top with curry gravy.