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Peppered Coley Tempura with Rocket Mayonnaise



Andrew Maxwell

It is not very often that an individual has as much impact as we have seen from Hugh’s Fish Fight campaign to end discards.

Many of you will have seen or read about the campaign at some point, and looking at the numbers, I am sure that a lot of you might have gone as far as signing his petition.

What is incredible is not that the campaign seems to have won the support of a large proportion of the EU’s fishy decision maker people... It is the fact that a side effect of the campaign is that people actually seem to be willing to consider trying new fish.

In spite of years of television chefs such as Rick Stein and the legendary Keith Floyd championing the likes of gurnard, the simple fact remains that salmon, cod and tuna account for the overwhelming majority of all fish consumed in the UK today.

But now, the supermarkets (yuk, spit, wash my mouth out with a bar of soap) are actively encouraging shoppers to try new species by giving space to more unusual ones, which was previously occupied by a glorious technicolour display of salmon, that resembled the ‘peach’ paint aisle of B&Q.

So this is a recipe for something a little bit different. A fish that you can use in abundance without being worried about what you are doing to global fish stocks.

Peppered Coley Tempura with Rocket Mayonnaise

Coley (or Pollachius virens) is a white fish with a light, flaky flesh which lends itself very well to being deep fried.

These home-made fish fingers are a league above anything you can buy in a fast food outlet, and they are so easy to make that you could even get the kids to help – although probably not with the deep frying!

They are great as canapés, snacks or even as a starter with a fresh herb salad, some sesame oil vinaigrette and the amazing peppery rocket mayonnaise.

For the fillets

  • 2 large coley fillets, sliced into finger sized strips
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 160g flour
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 250ml soda water
  • 1 egg

For the rocket mayonnaise

  • 250g mayonnaise
  • 1 cup rocket, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice


Grind the peppercorns in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Whisk together the pepper, flour, salt, soda water and egg until smooth. Dip the coley strips in the batter and deep fry for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.


Place the rocket, mayonnaise and lime juice
in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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