I subscribe to Donna Hay magazine and it is often a source of inspiration in the Em’s Food Kitchen. When perusing her magazine I often find myself wiping the drool from the side of my mouth as I flip the pages in a trance like state, making rather unattractive gurgling noises. Not pretty but gee whiz the recipes are. This one caught my eye as I was flipping through the latest edition as I just loved the way the skewers were threaded with a lemon slice nestled in a bay leaf (two of my many favourite flavours) and I knew I just had to cook them. I added my own spin on the dish by laying the skewers on top of some gloriously charred and sweet mediterranean style veggies marinated in lemon, garlic and herbs and added a bowl of garlic laden Tzatziki that in my eyes, really bought the dish to life on the flavour scale. Superb. I raise my glass to you and your team, Donna Hay and one to myself for managing to pull this one off!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
Serves 4 (Makes 12 skewers)
4 x 200gm white fish fillets (I used Ling)
24-36 fresh bay leaves* (I have a bay tree but you can buy them fresh in supermarkets or ask a neighbour)
24-36 lemon slices (approximately 2.5 lemons)
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh chopped dill and oregano leaves for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
For the Veggies:
1/2 a cauliflower, lay flat side down and sliced into 1cm ‘steaks’
2 large zucchini, halved in the middle and sliced lengthways
1 fennel bulb sliced top to bottom
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tbs of honey
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
1/2 tsp of dried oregano
2 tbs of chopped fresh oregano
2 tbs of chopped fresh dill
Sea salt and pepper
For the Tzatziki:
2 lebanese cucumbers, grated
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
1 tbs of chopped dill
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cups of greek yoghurt
Sea salt and pepper
If you are using wooden skewers, pop them in a sink of water for 10 minutes before threading. This will prevent them from catching fire over an open grill.
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice and rind, oregano, chilli flakes, honey and fresh herbs in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the veggies in the bowl and toss with your hands until they are well coated in the marinade. Set aside.
To make the Tzatziki, once you have grated the cucumber place it in the centre of either a chux super wipe or double thickness paper towel and gently squeeze as much of the water out as you can. Place it in a bowl with the yoghurt, lemon, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well with a spoon to combine. Spoon the Tzatziki into a nice serving bowl, cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Dice the fish into bite sized chunks and get ready to thread your skewers. Place a lemon slice on top of a bayleaf and fold in half. Pierce the skewer through both sides of the bayleaf and then follow with a piece of fish, alternating so you have three pieces of fish and three little bay/lemon parcels per skewer. Repeat with the remaining fish, lemon and bay. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil just before cooking.
Heat an open grill to nice and hot and chargrill the vegetables on both sides until slightly blackened and tender. You may need to regulate the heat a little and lower it once they are charred to continue the cooking process. They won’t take too long, about 4-5 minutes either side. Remove from the grill and set aside while you cook the fish.
Place the skewers on the grill and cook the fish for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked through. The fish will be nice and opaque in the centre when it is done.
I served this platter style and it looked fabulous in the centre of the table. Layer the veggies on a large serving platter with the tzatziki on the side. Top with the fish skewers and sprinkle over the dill and oregano. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and serve with extra lemon wedges and a green salad if you so desire.
*If you can’t get fresh bay leaves you could use dried. They will probably crack when you try to wrap them around the lemon slices so cut each lemon slice in half and place two bay leaves either side. I used 36 leaves but if you can’t get that many then just use two per skewer. It may seem like a lot but the smell (and flavour) of those bay leaves will have the whole neighbourhood sniffing over the fence!