Pollock with Thai purée and lemongrass sauce

A fragrant, aromatic and impressive Thai-style fish dish from Michael Caines
By Michael Caines
Pollock with Thai purée and lemongrass sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus draining overnight
  • Effort: easy


For the Thai purée

  • 80 g butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ tsp Madras curry powder
  • about 8 threads saffron, soaked in 1 tsp warm water
  • 1 ½ limes, juice only
  • 450 g button onions
  • 150 ml fish stock

For the lemongrass sauce

  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g shallots, sliced
  • 70 g (about 4 stalks) lemongrass, bashed
  • 175 g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • 50 ml fish stock
  • 250 ml fruity white wine, such as Gewürztraminer or Chardonnay
  • 250 ml double cream

For the pollock

  • 4 x 180g pollock fillet
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ limes, juice only
  • 2 limes, halved, to serve


1. For the Thai purée: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low-medium heat, add the lemongrass, garlic and ginger and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened and translucent but not browned.

2. Stir in the curry powder, saffron and soaking water and the juice of 1 lime and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes then pour in the fish stock and 3 tablespoons of water. Simmer gently for 2 hours.

3. Using a stick blender, blend to a smooth purée, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl lined with a muslin cloth. Tie the cloth into a bag then hang over a bowl and leave overnight.

4. Reserve the juices in the bowl and set aside.

5. Scrape the purée from the muslin bag into a saucepan with the butter. Bring to a gentle simmer, season with salt, black pepper and the remaining lime juice and stir in enough of the reserved juices to give the purée the consistency of double cream. Keep warm.

6. For the lemongrass sauce: melt half of the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots, lemongrass and a pinch of salt and fry gently for 5 minutes, until the shallots are softened and translucent.

7. Stir in the mushrooms and lemon thyme and fry for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are softened, then pour in the fish stock. Increase the heat to high and boil for about 5 minutes, until the fish stock is reduced in volume by half.

8. In a separate saucepan, boil the white wine over a high heat for 5 minutes, or until reduced in volume by a third, then pour into the lemongrass sauce.

9. Stir in the cream, bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes, or until reduced to the consistency of double cream. Pass the sauce through a sieve into a clean saucepan (discard the contents of the sieve) and whisk the remaining butter into the sauce. Season with salt and black pepper. Keep warm.

10. For the pollock: season the flesh side of the fish with salt and black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat then place the fish in the pan, skin-side down.

11. Fry for 3-4 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden, then turn the fish and cook for 1 minute of the flesh side. Squeeze the lime juice into the pan then transfer the fish to serving plates.

12. Spoon the Thai purée and lemongrass sauce over and around the fish and serve with wedges of lime.

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