This dish came about, as many of my dishes do, from bringing together three great ingredients in season at the same time. My fish merchant Tim brought in some stunning young haddock when the garden was full of ripe tomatoes and fragrant with rosemary. All I needed to do was marry them together. Include the potato dumplings for a more substantial dish; leave them out if you just want a nice simple fish salad.
4 haddock fillets, about 200g each, skinned and pin-boned
8 tsp sea salt, plus extra to season
4 tsp chopped rosemary
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
50ml olive oil
20g caster sugar
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Light rapeseed oil for cooking
Small bunch of watercress, washed and trimmed
Place the fish on a tray. Mix the 8 tsp salt and rosemary together and sprinkle evenly all over the fish, turning to coat both sides. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Wash the rosemary salt off the fish and pat dry. If salting in advance, wrap very tightly in cling film and refrigerate – this will give the fish a lovely shape when you cook it. Otherwise set the fillets aside until ready to cook.
Put the cherry tomatoes into a shallow dish and add the shallot, garlic, olive oil, sugar, wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Toss to mix and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
To cook the fish, heat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Heat an ovenproof non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then add a drizzle of oil. When hot, add the fish to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Once the fish starts to turn golden underneath, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 4 minutes.
When the fish is ready, remove the pan from the oven and flip the fillets over. They will finish cooking in the residual heat.
Divide the watercress and marinated tomatoes between 4 plates, adding spoonfuls of tomato ketchup. Lay the haddock fillets on top and serve at once, with the remaining ketchup on the side.
British Seafood by Nathan Outlaw is published by Quadrille.