Rosemary-and-cheese-crumbed fish with courgettes and basil chutney

“This simple dish is popular with children and adults alike,” says its creator, Nathan Outlaw, a Michelin-starred English chef. “I’ve used plaice, which I love deep-fried, but you could use anything really. The chutney is just lovely to have to hand – it’s great with cheese.”

Serves: 4


600g skinned fish fillets
200g stale bread
50g freshly grated Parmesan
2 tsp chopped rosemary
(to dust) 100g plain flour
2 lightly beaten eggs
(for deep-frying) oil
Sea salt and freshly ground balck pepper
(for cooking) canola oil
1 peeled and finely chopped white onion
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp onion (nigella) seeds
3 peeled and chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp saffron strands
1 tsp chopped rosemary
150g ripe tomatoes
150ml cider vinegar
75g brown sugar
350g diced courgettes
2 peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
20 sliced basil leaves


First make the chutney. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. When it is hot, add the onion, mustard and onion seeds, garlic, saffron and rosemary.

Cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Cook for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes collapse and the liquid becomes syrupy. Next, add the courgettes and apples and cook until the courgettes are just tender. Remove from the heat, season with salt to taste and add the basil. Leave to cool, then refrigerate unless serving straight away (the chutney will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a month).

To make the crumb coating, cut the crusts off the bread and discard. Tear the bread into pieces and blitz in a food processor with the parmesan, rosemary and a pinch of salt, for 1 minute. Spread the crumbs out on a tray. Get ready to crumb the fish: have the flour seasoned with salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs in another, and the tray of crumbs to hand. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C.

Deep-fry the fish, in batches if necessary: pass through the flour, then dip into the beaten eggs and finally in the breadcrumbs to coat. Add the fish to the hot oil and deep-fry for about 2 minutes until golden, then remove and drain on kitchen paper and season with a little salt.

Serve immediately, on warm plates with the chutney and some chargrilled courgettes or simply dressed salad leaves on the side.

Recipe courtesy of Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen by Nathan Outlaw. Available for R399.00 at selected stores. Published by Quadrille Publishing; photography by David Loftus.

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