Polenta-crusted fish with zucchini ratatouille & garlic aioli

Polenta and wine are two things that make life without gluten not such a bad time after all. Baked polenta with a slow-cooked ragu and a glass of red: good. Polenta fries with a glass of prosecco: great. Polenta-crusted fish with a glass of rosé: yes thanks, I will. 

Fish coated in polenta is a great new discovery of mine. I optimistically tried rice crumbs, which turned out a bit weird and glue-like. Quinoa-crusted fish, well, I actually haven’t tried it and I’m sure it could probably be *okay*. Polenta, on the other hand, makes a perfect gloof breadcrumb substitute as you still get crunchiness and a golden browned exterior. It’s a good time for all. 

Topping the polenta-crusted fish with zucchini ratatouille and garlic aioli turns it into an easy and lovely summer dinner. Serve on its own or with a green salad or some wilted greens on the side. 

Polenta-crusted fish with zucchini ratatouille & garlic aioli

Serves 2

For the zucchini ratatouille:

a slosh of oil

4 zucchini, cut into chunky pieces, around 3cm in size

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

a pinch of chilli flakes

3 large fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

a large handful of fresh basil, roughly torn

Heat the oil in a large frying pan for which you have a lid. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini and sauté for 3-4 minutes, tossing the pan until the zucchini is turning golden brown. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and sauté for a minute longer before adding the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and about half of the basil.

Place a lid over the pan, lower the heat to medium-low and every couple of minutes lift the lid and use a wooden spoon to mash up the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes have reduced down and there’s not much liquid left, turn off the heat and add the rest of the basil.

For the garlic aioli:

2 tablespoons thick yoghurt (I use The Collective Culinary yoghurt)

3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade mayonaise (I use Best Foods)

1 clove garlic, finely grated or crushed

1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Put the aioli in the fridge if not using straight away.

For the polenta-crusted fish:

250g fresh fish fillets – I used gurnard

3 tablespoons gluten-free or regular flour

1 free-range egg

1 teaspoon water

salt & freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup fine polenta

oil for frying 

If the fish fillets are large, cut them into smaller pieces. Set out three bowls: one containing flour, one with egg, and one with polenta, and have a large plate ready on which to place the fish once it’s coated. Add the water, salt, and pepper to the egg and beat with a fork until combined.

Dust the fish in the flour, then remove and dunk into the egg mixture until thoroughly coated, and finally dredge the fish in the polenta and place onto the plate. 

Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot, add the polenta-crusted fish and fry for 2-3 minutes before turning the fillets over and cooking the other side for about a minute. Remove from the pan. 

Putting it all together:

Divide the fish between two serving plates, top with zucchini ratatouille and dollop some garlic aioli on top. 



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