Thomasina Miers’ recipe for breaded haddock bun with roast chilli aïoli and watercress | The new flexitarian

In Mexico, tortas are popular sandwiches made from crusty rolls layered with refried black beans, sliced avocado, pickles, salsas and grilled meat or cheese. The combination of these ingredients, with their acid, crunch, salt and smoke, make for a heady combination. If you find yourself near the sea over the summer, try giving line-caught fish the torta treatment for something that’s way more than the sum of its parts.

Breaded haddock bun with roast chilli aïoli and watercress

I love using a sourdough bun for maximum goodness, but a ciabatta roll also works a treat.

Prep 30 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

400g haddock fillets
60g plain flour
1 egg
, beaten
80g panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp sunflower oil
4 sourdough buns
1 bunch watercress
, washed
2-3 large gherkins
, sliced

For the aïoli
2 green chillies
1 garlic clove
, peeled and crushed
1 small bunch coriander, rinsed and roughly chopped (stalks and all)
1 lemon

Cut the haddock into fat strips that can easily be divided between the buns. Put the flour on one plate, the egg on another and the breadcrumbs on a third. Season the flour, then dip each piece of fish first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Leave in the fridge to set for 20 minutes while you make the aïoli.

Put a small frying pan on a high heat and dry toast the chillies, turning them regularly, until black all over. Cut away and discard the stems and roughly chop the flesh. Put half the chopped chilli in a powerful blender with the garlic and coriander, blitz, then add the juice of half the lemon and the mayonnaise, and blitz again to a smooth, green aïoli. Season to taste, and add more chilli if you’d like a little more heat.

Put the sunflower oil in a large pan on a medium-high heat and, once hot, saute the breaded fish in two batches, until golden all over and cooked through. Squeeze over the rest of the lemon and season with a little sea salt. Toast the buns and spread both sides with aïoli. Layer up the fish, watercress and gherkins (or some pickled jalapeño, if you want more spice), and eat at once.

The simple flex

Instead of haddock, grill halloumi and layer it into the buns with crisp lettuce and pickled cucumber. You can make the aïoli with vegan mayonnaise.


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