Coley is one of the least expensive fish in the cod family and is a great sustainable substitute for cod or haddock in many recipes. Coley has a distinctive coal-coloured skin with a thick white line running laterally along its body; the belly fades to pale silver. Raw fillets have a pink-grey flesh that becomes paler and flaky when cooked. Coley is excellent when eaten very fresh. It’s also known as saithe or coalfish.
For the sauce vierge
- 120ml/4fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 2 tomatoes, skins and seeds removed, flesh diced
- 1 shallot, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
For the coley
- 4 x 175g/6oz coley fillets
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon, juice only
- lightly dressed green salad, to serve
For the sauce vierge, pour the olive oil in a non-reactive pan. Whisk in the lemon juice until well-combined. Add the chopped tomatoes, shallot and garlic.
Heat the pan over a medium heat until the sauce vierge mixture is just warmed through. Add the tarragon and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
For the coley, season the coley fillet with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the oil in a non-reactive frying pan over a medium heat. Add the seasoned coley fillets, skin-side down, and fry for 1-2 minutes until golden-brown.
Turn the fillets over using a fish slice and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until just cooked through.
Drizzle the lemon juice over the fish fillets and remove from the heat.
To serve, arrange the coley fillets into the centre of a serving plate. Drizzle over the tarragon sauce vierge (whisk the tarragon sauce vierge again before serving until well combined). Spoon the green salad alongside.