Time to explain, briefly, the recent glut of carb-free recipes here at Salad Club: I try to follow the GI diet wherever possible which means no refined starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar and, very sadly, beer. As you may have guessed, however, I very rarely deprive myself of the things I love and there is no need to see a low-carb diet as a sacrifice. At the end of a meal I feel full rather than bloated and my taste buds are stimulated not numbed by blandness. However, hangovers are often my downfall (I live far too close to Franco Manca) and I sometimes wobble home and devour a bowl of pasta at 3am but who doesn’t? I hate all the preachy, low-carb cookbooks with their suicidally dull weekly menus and patronizing portion ‘pyramids’ – the joyous and creative process of making a meal should never be dictated, only gently guided where necessary. I hope some of the low carb recipes I post here inspire people to see a meal without potatoes or bread as a feast not a morsel. If not, please feel free to throw in something beige.
Tonight I made simple and delicious fishcakes without the aid of breadcrumbs or potatoes: chop 500g of Pollack (a sustainable and economical alternative to cod), half an onion and a shallot and put it all in a mixing bowl with an egg. Whizz everything into a rough paste with a hand blender and then stir in 2 egg whites, a big pinch of salt and pepper, a finely sliced red chilli and a squeeze of lime juice. Heat some groundnut oil in a frying pan and, when the oil is quite hot, take a heaped tablespoon of the fish mixture and chuck it in the pan – it should sizzle. Flatten the cake into a patty with the back of the spoon or a spatula. After about 5 minutes (the base of the cake should be golden brown) flip it over and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve on a bed of lightly dressed leaves with this very quick tartar sauce: 2/3 finely chopped cornichons, 2 tablespoons of mayo, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, a pinch of paprika and the juice of half a lemon all mixed together. Lovely.