Hamburg Panfish

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Hamburger Pannfish (Hamburg Panfish)

Region: Hamburg, Northern Germany

How about a fish meal that your kid will actually eat?

Try this one: Hamburg Panfish

Hamburg  Panfish is a very traditional dish from (you guessed it) Hamburg and popular in northern Germany and beyond.  In some way it is closely related to the German Farmers Breakfast I recently introduced.

Traditionally, it was a left over dish of the working class in Hamburg when there was fish and potatoes left from the previous day’s dinner.  Everything was munched together and drowned in a mustard sauce.

Nowadays, the preparation is a much more sophisticated with only the best and freshest fish, a light mustard sauce, and lots of fresh herbs. Sometimes the fish is first breaded then fried others dust it with flour.

It is popular to the extent that any good German Restaurant in Hamburg has it on the menu.  Try it yourself and see why.

Serves: 4                Difficulty: Easy                    Preparation time: 75 mins.

Here is what you need

For the Fish:

For the fried potatoes

  • 600 g (22 oz) Potatoes
  • 3 Medium Carrots
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Peas (deep frozen)
  • 2 TBS Clarified Butter
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Scallion
  • 50g (1.8 oz) Bacon Bits
  • 5 – 6 Cornichons
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • ½ Bunch of fresh Parsley
  • ½ Bunch of fresh Chives
  • ½ -1 Bunch fresh Dill

For the Mustard Sauce

  • 2 Small Shallots
  • 2 ½  TBS Butter
  • 2 TBS white flour
  • 1 TBS Ground Mustard Seeds
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) Liquid Fish Stock (in a Glas)
  • 50g (1.8 oz) Cream
  • 50g  (1.8 oz) Sour cream
  • 2-5 TBS of Horseradish Mustard (or Regular Mustard if you can’t get)
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper.
  • A Pinch of Sugar
  • A Pinch of Freshly Ground Nutmeg

Here’s what to do

First, there are a few things to chop and dice:

Peel 600 g (22 oz) potatoes. Cut the larger ones in half and then into not too thin slices; place in cold salt water. Peel and dice one medium onion. Peel and slice one scallion, peel and slice 2 shallots, grind 1 TBS of mustard seeds in a mortar, peel and slice carrots. If required, cut the bacon bits into smaller dices, slice the cornichons, cut ½ bunch of chives into rings, remove leaves from ½ bunch of parsley and roughly chop; do the same with ½ – 1 bunch of dill. Needless to say, keep all of the above nicely separated in little bowls. Should you have mixed it by now, well you are in trouble.

Place the potatoes in a pot add cold water so they are almost covered and 2 TS of salt. Place on oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for only 10 minutes (we want them a bit crunchy). After 10 minutes drain hot water and rinse potatoes in cold water to cool the off. Drain and set aside.

Rinse and dry the fish and cut into smaller pieces. Squeeze lemon and in a glass bowl, combine lemon juice, fish and 2-3 pinches of salt. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Preparing the mustard sauce:

In a small sauce pan, melt 2 TBS of Butter and dust in 2 TBS of flour. Stir with a whisk until flour / butter mixture starts to bubble. Gradually add fish stock while constantly stirring. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove from heat. Add the ground mustard seeds, 2-5 TBS of Horseradish (or regular) mustard. (The amount depends on how mustardy you like your sauce. Start with 2 TBS and work your way up as needed.) Add 50g (1.8 oz)  cream and 50g (1.8 oz) sour cream, stir. Season sauce with a pinch of sugar, freshly ground salt and pepper and a pinch of nut meg. Thicken your sauce with two egg yolks. Tipp: if you just dump the egg yolks into the hot sauce, they yolks with set and become chunky. You’ll end up with an egg drop sauce. Instead, in a bowl, one by one add a TBS of warm sauce to the egg, while stirring well. Do this with about 5-6 TBS one after another. Once you have adjusted the temperature of the egg, you are ready to whisk it into the warm (i.e.: not boiling sauce). Set the sauce aside and keep warm on a very low flame (never boil it from here on). Give it an occasional stir.

In a large skillet, melt 2 TBS of clarified butter on high heat. Add the carrots and give a regular pan flip. After two minutes, add the potatoes. Fry for about 10 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown. Add in the bacon and continue to fry for a few more minutes, add the onions and scallions and continue to fry doing the pan flip. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the sliced cornichons, the chives, parsley and dill stir and remove from heat and keep warm.

Frying the fish:

Darin juices from the fish bowl. Dust fish with flour. Melt two TBS of clarified butter in a frying pan, fry the fish filet for a few minutes on each side until it has a straw golden crust. Season with a pinch of fresh white pepper.

Serving: On a preheated plate, arrange fried potatoes and fish, and add a generous amount of mustard sauce. Decorate with a slice of lemon and a sprig of dill.

And now:

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